Use the Force I mean the Forum!

This Forum

I have read more moving than joyful posts very recently on the forum.

What comes through to me, is the inspirational and unconditional support from forum members to each other. These are people, most of whom I believe have never met, probably never will meet, who knows.

What I do know is that after having a pretty troublesome few weeks myself, this is nothing compared to what some are going through, and I honestly think that for every bad person on this planet there is a shining star who outweighs them by far!

I have witnessed many on this forum and I will always be dazzled by this.

Hang in there, keep posting and use the force! I mean the forum!

Best wishes

I wish I could find a p/t paid role that suited me, maybe one day one will exist?

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Do you have friends or relatives abroad or just don’t see those in this Country even as much as you would like? If so READ ON!

Do you have friends or relatives abroad or just don’t see those in this Country even as much as you would like? If so READ ON!

Just very recently through the discovery that I had a Cousin, I discovered Skype. I had been told about it before but never did anything about it.

By using Skype I| now keep in touch with my other Cousin in Australia and actually virtually meet him through video link as well as being able to speak with him and it is not costing either of us anything because we both have Skype.

You just sign up and it’s an easy process. The most difficult thing for me was getting the microphone setting right on my computer but I sorted this out after a bit of fiddling around with the audio settings and changing it from USB to Realtec which I think must be the sound system my computer uses.

I even get video calls from my next door neighbour occasionally and on one occasion before her husband knew about Skype he said he couldn’t understand how or why the lass next door was in his computer looking out saying hello hello!!

As long as both parties sign up to Skype, which is free, this video call should not cost you anything.

So if you want to say a bedtime story to your child when away from home or say goodnight to someone etc. even if they are not abroad you can do it, without even having to go out of the house if you have a modern computer and a web cam.

Even if your computer is old it might still work and you can share those extra special moments that you would otherwise miss, like seeing someone in their Holy Communion dress or new school uniform for example, or even seeing a meal that someone has prepared that you otherwise would not believe!

It’s worth a go I spoke with my Cousin in Australia yesterday for over half an hour and could see him at his home whilst speaking with him, this thing is absolutely amazing, especially as now the dark nights approach and we may feel more hemmed in and unable to see those we’d like to as often as we’d like to for whatever reason, including cost!! (

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My Cousin found me, a tiny tornado I did not know existed!

A relation I did not know I had!

A letter came addressed to my late mam.

Dad just happened to mention it to me.

Amazing what you recall from your childhood days, but I knew straight away there was more to this letter.

It was from my Cousin, the Cousin I thought had either been still born or had died straight after birth!

My recollection of two sisters arguing at a hospital was there.

It must have taken so much courage for this person to make contact after years of searching, and then to come up and meet us in person! Wow.

I feel like it’s a little ‘sister’ I now know definitely does exist and it’s great that she found some of the answers to questions she had been asking herself for a very long time! What a tiny tornado and how cool is she!

Also now our IVA is over I don’t have the worry of not being able to afford to meet up etc. again.

I hope your day is a good one!


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1 year on from completion, modern life is rubbish, don’t look at other people’s grass, yours is greener!

1 year on from completion, modern life is rubbish, don’t look at other people’s grass, yours is greener!

Even though our IVA is in the past, we still find that our best nuggets, clothes especially are from charity shops. The ones bought new get ignored in favour of the charity shop bargains.

My husband decided to treat himself to a shirt from a well-known store to be nice for the summer, but then we found two on ebay for twenty pounds!! Just one cost forty before!!!!!DOH

We recently thought we might ‘upgrade’ the car to a slightly newer one! – a Primera to an estate car, after going to a reputable garage saying no names but it as not quick it was slow, the car wanted they could not find on that day despite saying it was there somewhere?? (We told them we wanted to pay cash not HP etc).

So my husband decided the Primera although 12 year old, could still haul us all 2 adults and 3 hefty Labradors and quarter of a ton of camping gear to Norfolk, so, we decided to keep, it. Just did four new tyres, tinted the back windows for a cool dog far never let us down. Sometimes seen people, neighbours and work colleagues with nice new sporty cars, but then they worry about paying the interest and £500 a month to maintain the things??? Why? it’s not worth it. Sometimes keep and maintain and just realise what you have because the grass is not always greener, it just is not.

Then, we have just ordered a new carpet but cheap, its about to arrive for just one room. So furniture outdated and literally splitting at the seams we bought a telephone table/chair from the 1970s at the charity shop. We can make a bit on it but won’t sell it. It’s great, a nice silky cushion, a little lamp a good book..We are fancying a classic telephone to set it off. We could not do any of this before.

We still won’t shell out more than we have to for a meal out. Vouchers and leaflets to hand in at the local restaurant, Deal monster for haircuts (better than my own homemade haircuts though of the past), are all very welcome to us and always will be.

The grass is not always greener.

We are planning a picnic with rug and home made treats this weekend in the park, what more do you need, just yourselves and those important to you including pets…

You enjoy what you do have



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My own IVA survival guide!

My own IVA survival guide

My own IVA survival guide

Keep calm

If you are awaiting IVA approval please read the beginning articles of my blog it might just help you to realise that I felt similar feelings at that time and it will get better

Think things through logically, sleep on it but do not panic

Speak with your Insolvency Practitioner

Remember that an IP will not propose and IVA if they are not almost certain that it will be approved or it would be a waste of their time

Always use a reputable company there are many mentioned on the IVA forum so check it out to see what people say about them. Get advice from at least 2 different companies to see who you feel you can trust the most and do not pay fees up front. Make sure they are included in your overall IVA.

Always put or confirm things in writing e.g. on email maybe, keep all paperwork for the duration of the IVA, including names, dates times what was said etc. If unsure ask your IP to explain again and confirm on e.g. e-mail.

Be assertive and honest with your IP

Whilst in your IVA, always send in your payslips each month. If your income changes liaise closely with your IP to ensure your payments are correct. Don’t forget though, expenditure can also change so weigh up any extra income and also mention any bills that have increased, even a few small amounts can add up in your favour.

Always keep your petrol receipts then you can track if this is rising, as this is usually a major expense.

Try and build a relationship with your IP and get to know people’s names (always make a note of conversations with date time name etc.)

Don’t bottle things up, sound off on the forum confidentially you do not have to give your own name etc; others have probably been through this or something similar before

Be kind to yourself, you are human and deserve a break, eat properly and get a good night’s sleep, give yourself some time out wherever possible and get regular exercise which can seriously help combat stress and anxiety

Don’t blame yourself, there are many people in a similar situation, stay focussed

Make a plan

Think, things could always be worse and try and be creative – create days, walks, make a picnic etc. fun and quality time out does not always have to be expensive

If you are more than one person in e.g. an IVA, talk to each other, offer support, listen and make this life experience have a positive impact ultimately as you grow stronger mentally, use the Force! Sounds ridiculous but it worked for us

At review time, if you are expecting the papers and they do not arrive chase them up. Please read my article of be less stressed at review time it’s part of my blog.

Start a file and always keep copies of all of your review paperwork. Send the originals back by recorded delivery or if not make sure you get proof of postage and ring the company to confirm receipt of all of the documents about a week after sending them off.

If you are becoming really worked up about things, speak to someone you can trust, e.g. your other half if there is one, a close family member or trusted friend, even your family G.P., your I.P. or the Samaritans, don’t feel on your own

Focus on getting to the end of your IVA.

Enjoy and appreciate your family

Keep your spirits up, you can do it, I did it, it seemed like the impossible and utterly ridiculous at times,

Laughter will make you feel better if you can find something that makes your day.

Look for your own ways of combating anxiousness, e.g. walks, running, skipping, dog walking, even writing down how you feel to release excess energy and emotions you feel unable to share with others.

Be true to yourself and allow yourself leeway, try and focus on and appreciate what you have got and I don’t mean material things. Easier said than done but you can do this

Keep positive, keep calm, to almost every problem there is an answer and what you feel so down about today you will probably look back on and smile with relief hopefully sooner rather than later, no sh….Sherlock!

Hugs and very best wishes

What we thought was the impossible we have come through and our IVA is really completed, it will be a year this September 2013 still can’t believe it

Big hugs



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Hang In there truly is an end to your IVA

7 months since completion

Well it’s flown. We received our completion certificate 7 months ago and since then we have treated the full amount we used to pay into the IVA as a separate amount each month and boy have we been able to do so much.

We needed so many very basic things.

Our so called wish list of things much needed is now almost complete.

In March we have managed to pay cash for a new sofa (well second hand off ebay but it’s a little beauty) in addition to a smart car to replace the micra.

By some amazing thing the car was bought just before the nice weather and the fact that the man who sold it did not speak much English meant he just wanted it sold he did not want the hassle of price haggling. I still can’t believe I have it and can’t stop looking out of the window at in disbelief.

We have managed to grab a few clothing items also and had a camping break last week which we all enjoyed in the Sun!!

I’m still not used to spending money but one thing I think is great is I can buy the ten pound meal deals at M&S which are really good value.

The strange thing is, it’s been years since I could buy eg a top at somewhere like Next, but I am finding that in the shops that I thought used to be the most expensive prices have come down big style whilst prices in eg some supermarkets for clothes have risen, so shops that may have been no go for us before are almost the same prices as supermarkets for some items?? Weird.

Oscar is still here and he loved the camping break last week for a couple of days. His excitement when we got to the campsite almost made me cry. He was on his back kicking and enjoying every minute on the grass (we don’t have grass at home).

He’s made it through the winter and I hope that he continues to enjoy Spring and Summer this year. (He’s 13 and I think of this all the time).

So it goes to show, there truly is an end to an IVA. After the disbelief of getting approval etc. there will come an end to it all.




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Almost 6 months after IVA completion and…….

Almost 6 months on from IVA completion and…….

Well my little old automatic micra of 13 years has gone to the first person who looked at it!

Weird, although it was almost never used it was always outside of the window and was a useful backup for peace of mind and especially in the snow, incase my husband’s other rust bucket ever failed, as he works 65 miles round trip on all night shifts.

Now we have managed to get the little things we needed the next thing is another little runabout for me. Over the next 2-3 months the money we used to pay into the IVA will go into a car fund (minus £200 each month which will be saved)

I’ll think I’m the Queen of Sheba having a car that cost £2,500 –3!!!!!! As mad as it may seem. I just want one where you can wind the windows down and you can open the boot so you don’t have to climb in through the back seat to get shopping in and out, it’s definitely not a joke! Also, one with some suspension would be quite nice, although mine never went over 50 miles per hour with me and my trailing convoys!!

We managed to grab a 3 night break for £150 with the dogs not too far away the other week, near the sea and had a wood burner so we all had an amazing relaxing time despite being only 60 miles away. On the way there we called to pay in some collection boxes collected to the Dogs Trust and drop off dog treats and dog food which I had collected from the local College I used to do voluntary teaching at, until they all started fighting and getting excluded by the paid tutor whom some student threatened to kill, whom I did not think empathised with some of the underprivileged students a lot of the time, and so I eventually decided to draw the line at that point, especially as I felt I was starting to be taking for granted and filling in whenever this paid person could not be bothered basically with nothing in return, although I have the pleasure of knowing there were at least 6 students who without me would not have succeeded in their achievements at that time.

Mainly because my time has been needed elsewhere, I have not been on the forum for a couple of months. Oscar is still here and enjoying his senior years and he loved the fishing cottage especially the wood burner blazing after a day at the beach, I’ve never known him not try to get into the bedroom at night but he was more than happy to stay by the fire.

My dad’s latest monitoring results are due soon, I’m using the force they will be good and his cancer won’t be any worse at least. He’s as annoying as ever at the minute, so hopefully this is a good sign????

My husband had always wanted to take up sailing lessons for when he retires so I am now looking into this although I’ll only ever be a passenger on a sailing boat I feel.

We’d not had a take out for 6 years, but the other day we had a Chinese take away from a local place we did not know existed and I think I’m now addicted to Chicken and sweet corn soup with prawn crackers.

Just bought a second hand tent of ebay for £59 so looking forward to Easter camps in that, I can just feel that camping weather coming towards me….

No matter what try and keep positive easier said than done I know, especially in an IVA.

But you know what I still find something to worry about and probably always will.

Life is a roller coaster!! Take care



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First year and we really are debt free unbelievable!

This is the first new year that we are debt free and we really are !!!!

We’d never have believed it in a million years.

The 5 year term has flown despite everything, and we are still in disbelief at reaching the end of this IVA journey literally.

How fantastic that our money is now our money! Still cannot believe this but it really is.

We are approaching 6 months after our IVA completion and it has definitely been a learning journey for us, wow…..phew……….is this real? Our mini break shortly will remind us that it definitely is how fantastic that’s all I can say.

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1st Xmas with no IVA

First Christmas with no IVA

If you’d asked me a couple of months ago, I’d probably have said I’ll be doing cartwheels at Christmas. Yet it’s almost here and I’m not. It is such a tremendous feeling not to have the money worries we had before, whilst in the IVA I feel my husband and I managed to retain a wicked sense of humour at very difficult and some very sad times. Through loosing a parent each, to health worries, the fact that we had to shop at charity shops and go without so we could give our Labradors what they needed, we came through as we were both determined to support each other, not show how really worried we may have been and keep each other’s spirits up and come out smiling.

Next to meeting each other all those years ago, our IVA is the next best things we’ve done and it has made us debt free which we never really felt we’d be, even after IVA approval it all seemed so unreal, would we really be debt free? There were so many questions and concerns and also outside economic influences over which neither of us had or ever will have any control.

In the last year, from 2 old cars to 1 old car, how would we manage with no car, getting to work would have been an impossibility due to there being no buses at the times worked and working 65 miles away.

I feel like we can both have a really peaceful Christmas this year and it is the first Xmas I can remember enjoying Xmas carols on the radio and being able to give just a little gift to the bin men, the barmaid an the postman has really made me smile a lot.

Can’t wait to give my dad his Xmas stocking this year. He’s poorly I’m not sure if he’ll be here this time next year but I’m using the force for a positive outcome!

My 13-year-old Labrador seems to be hanging in there but looks very tired indeed.

I have put the sleeping bags into his bed to remind him that the camping season is not too far away; hopefully, anyway he will get those camping smells he loves when he snuggles on top of us when we are in the sleeping bags.

Although my husband and I have now bought a few of the necessities desperately needed whilst in the IVA, we are not doing anything different for each other this Xmas, except the token stocking where we do a few choccie bars and maybe a hair colour or a belt (the last one we used to share to make our clothes fit us whilst in the IVA as both lost weight).

I had a few money off tokens the other day e.g. £5 off £25, £5 off £35 at particular shops. I went with the intention of using them but ended up seeing so many stressed and angry people in the 2 shops concerned that I approached selected people and gave the vouchers out to people who could use them there and then.

Although I’ve done fund raising for the Dogs Trust I feel there is something lacking and I could do more, so this is my mission for 2012. I will continue with the Dogs trust fundraising etc. and I will continue to post on the forum but there’s something missing that I can do to feel like I am useful and I’m not sure what it is yet.

Sounds crazy but I think I had some sort of illusion that once out of our IVA everything would become suddenly magical. It just goes to show that what is most important to us is our family and much loved pets and that will never change.

I really feel for people who are just considering an IVA or BR and who are just beginning the process. There’s almost a guilty feeling for being completed in a weird way. We did not know about this forum until 2 years into our IVA. It is amazing that such a lot of people come together and not only have concerns or queries themselves but who have such diverse backgrounds themselves and give a myriad of advice and support to help others. I have not seen anything quite like this before, this is really unique.

It gives me faith in the human race.


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Merry Christmas and a successful 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone

Although our IVA concluded a few months ago, I am still thinking of everyone on the forum, including anyone who is either considering or still in either their IVA or BR. Christmas can be a tricky time in particular, with money tight and emotions often running high.

Cars, being able to maintain them and keep them going and carry on, regardless of adverse weather is always a worry, not to mention the safety of loved ones battling it out through any snow to get to and from work.

My husband bought me a card this year, I really wanted a home made one but there’s time yet!

I hope that you can have a peaceful and enjoyable day on 25th, regardless of everything. It’s a time to be thankful and appreciate those around us, family and friends, aswell as remembering those we may have lost.

A few people on the forum have lost very special loved ones very recently and if this is you, I hope that somehow you are finding the strength to get from day to day and keep going. If you feel really low maybe you might get time to check out my blog, tears and laughter sides to our IVA. If you do, I suggest that you go right to the bottom of the page and read my very first blog.

A lot of people have also either been very poorly, had health worries, or had loved ones or much loved family pets experience worrying issues in 2011.

Our IVA brought us into contact with some very special people, both at Debt Free Direct and on this Forum. Thank you to all of those who have inspired my husband and I at times when we thought things were impossible we used the forum and it helped us to carry on and know that we were not alone.

What a wonderful support this has been and still is to us.

I just want to wish you a very happy and successful New Year for 2012.

“Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself”…
~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas,” 1976



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