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Beating Debt | New Years Resolution

I see all of those money bloggers who discuss beating their debt and the tactics that they take to curb the spending and I respect them, it takes a lot to discuss money woes and debt balances yet they've done it. 

I've yet to meet a person who doesn't worry about income, money or debt and how they will manage when the shit hits the fan and that's why I am making 2020 a debt-free year for us. While I realise this realistically means that we won't literally be debt-free in 2020, we will be actively working towards that goal, owning it and paying off any dribs and drabs possible towards the debt. 

I'm excited! 

So I've made my own Excel Snowball tracker and Sinking Fund tracker and while most use the snowball trackers the correct way, I don't. I have direct debits set up for the minimum so I don't account for those. Instead, I take my Paypal balances, sent it to my account monthly, open my tracker and pay off the ''bits''. When I check my online accounts every few days, weeks or months I adjust for the Excel to reflect any added interest or direct debit payments that have come off. 

Every few days I skim our joint account. So if we have £867.09 in there, I will take either the £2.09 (rounding it up to £865) or the £7.09 (rounding it up to £860) depending on how truly broke we are. That skimmed amount is paid to one of the many accounts listed on my tracker Excel. Especially those that are rounded already, for example, balances of £300 are nice and clean, so breaking that by a few pounds makes me want to continually balance it, it's a winning OCD trait.

To begin with, we took all of the accounts that held a balance. Big and small. Adding those to the Excel was scary, especially if they were accounts that were manageable or small but they had to be added as they accumulated a balance and we were never fixing the issue if nothing was done about them. So, they were added. 

We then agreed that even the smallest amount was better than doing nothing or putting it off until the next month, I mean even £1 - every pound chipping away counts? right? 

Next, we agreed that we should check every few days, setting up a tracker was no use if nothing was being tracked or tackled. So I tend to open our Excel and set about logging into each account online to check the balances don't need adjusting. If I can I pay small amounts and update the tracker. Sometimes it's literally been £1 or on one occasion I paid 56p to a credit card. Crazy, but it all helps. 
Here's what we're working with, I've changed the headers for privacy but you would add your own headers to suit what balances you have. I've added notes for login details and account details etc: 

 Loans - £2,772.68
 Credit Cards - £7,006.93
 Store Cards - £1,236.72
 Total: £11,016.33

Absolutely shocking! 

Can you see why it's so necessary to add up all of the accounts, our balance is high but the total is made from seven-plus accounts, some with small balances. If you have so many small accounts it's easy to lose track and to think it's OK because they are small and manageable but what you pay out is accumulative. So, some may add more accounts until eventually there's not enough income to pay what's necessary. 

Who is with me? Who wants to make 2020 a debt crunching year? The first step is to embrace what debt you owe, we can do this together. 

Elyse & Connor

Statement: Nothing to Disclose 

Things Brits Wouldn't Do in a Horror Film

I love Halloween and one of my favourite things to do over the Halloween season (yes, there is a Halloween season and it’s called October…) Is make a Halloween playlists, tell scary stories and watch scary films and spooky tv programs. It just helps me get excited about the seasons changing and of course, Halloween - I have been known to throw a party or two or five...Halloween kinda lasts a week for me. 

As I watch so many scary films, I have pretty much become an expert in Scary movie tropes. For example...

Never split up the group especially after discovering a dead body. 
♥ Never say you will be “right back” - That’s like making yourself a walking target!
♥ Never, ever lose your virginity
♥ Don’t and I can’t stress this enough, buy the cheap house where the family was murdered decades ago. It’s ain’t gonna pay back dividends. 

You get what I mean...

Which is why I was so excited when I saw these survey results. Turns out the majority of us Brits have been watching and learning from horror films and have pretty much prepared a survival plan.


Run into the woods and not stay on the road 32 percent
Run and hide somewhere you’ll be trapped 32 percent
Get split from the group after someone has been murdered 31 percent
Not look behind you 31 percent
Trip and don’t get up immediately 31 percent
Run out of petrol on a deserted highway 31 percent
Make a noise near the zombie 30 percent
Drop the car keys 28 percent
Not having my phone on silent 27 percent
Fail to charge your phone 26 percent
Get in a cupboard or wardrobe 25 percent
Not have a charged phone 25 percent
Don’t call the police 24 percent
Investigate a bump in the night 23 percent

The survey was performed by giffgaff - who blooming love Halloween, they have even got a snazzy little Halloween Hub on their site, complete with a retro Halloween costume generator. Turns out when I was born, everyone was dressed as Ghostbusters - am I showing my age here? Hours of Halloween fun, right there.

Despite our confidence when it comes to surviving terrifying scenarios, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of us Brits admit to getting really scared by horror movies, and one in five (20 percent) said they point blank refuse to watch them because they find them so frightening. Yikes! 

Yet more than a fifth (21 percent) said there is something very pleasant about being scared out of your wits by a scary movie, although a quarter said they don’t make horror films like they used to...which I wouldn’t disagree with. I mean, is actual reality become scarier than films these days? 


When quizzed on the role they would want to play in a horror film, 80 percent of the 1500 Brits polled would like to be the hero, while a more contrary 20 percent would love to play the villain - to be fair I do rather like the horror movie villains more in some films and they have more fun, right?

Zombies, mummies and crazed family members were said to be the easiest people to defeat in horror movies - which makes sense as they tend to be slower moving, but it really does depend on the film and if they are also part of a ravenous horde.

When it comes to surviving zombie attacks, 15 per cent of us would head for a river or the sea to try and find a boat to escape the hordes of flesh-eating zombies, while one in ten favours high ground, planning to climb to the top of a tall building and make camp.

So what about you, do you have an escape route planned should any horror story scenario take place? Do you agree with the results? Let us know below or continue the conversation on our social channels.

Elyse & Connor

Statement: Collaboration


Happy Monday everyone! 

As a somewhat introductory post, I wanted to firstly say 'Hello' to everyone who is reading this and welcome to our new blog. 

What you'll note quickly is that the layout and the articles are somewhat similar to Sweet Elyse Blog. Sweet Elyse was a blog I started back in 2009 after having my third son. Blogging especially at that time was a way of escape, of socialising and helping others where possible. It was an incredibly raw time especially for me because not only did I have three sons (ages three, two and newborn) I was battling a multitude of health issues that were snowballing. 

Fast forward many years and I finally have a diagnosis for what was happening back then, at the time I was incredibly worried and depressed because the NHS kept adding new diagnosis onto my multitude of symptoms, I had no i
dea how to fix it or why I'd gone from being reasonably healthy to not. Living with daily fatigue, pain, and feeling like an absolute failure hit me hard and that's when blogging came into my life - and it helped. You all helped. 

Now ten years later I am not an independent blogger, Connor joined my blog back in 2016 and it became clear that 'Sweet Elyse' didn't apply to a duo-bloggers. At that point also both of our lives had equally changed so much and we became aware that sharing so much personal information could be used to our detriment or twisted into something that may lead to bullying. So what to call ourselves? To keep it simple we went with Elyse and Connor (Fact, these are our middle names). 

Going forward, we're hoping to bring you a range of appropriate articles based on things we love and hate, hopefully, over time this will adapt and we will find our niche but at the moment we just love writing about topics we love, know about, and, think you will enjoy also. 
Since 2016 we've gotten to a place of comfort once again discussing taboo subjects, we no longer worry about others twisting our words, especially if those words were initially published to help others. So expect more articles about real topics, viewpoints, and debates. 

And, that brings us full circle to a new blog, with new topics and a new outlook. We hope you will join us on this new journey as we head into 2020 and onwards. 

The Hockins'

Statement: PR Sample

Mini Candle & Gemstone Haul

We have the most amazing shop in my local [crappy] town centre called Harvey Willis, it stocks lots of gift products such as jewellery, candles, soft toys, figurines, etc but it's the scented products that draw me in and have done for years. 

I rarely hit the town centre but I had to go and collect my new glasses and sunglasses *yay* and figured I should go pick up some Yankee goodness, twenty minutes later I ended up with this little haul and I love every single item. 

First up is the Kringle candle in Warm Cotton (£2.50) - It's a Daylight Candle which is surprisingly big would you believe. It's a clean scent and reminds me of baby powder before it's put into the washing machine, it's so fresh and delicate but still powerful enough to travel around the room, I find some of the cotton scents with Yankee don't travel that far if at all. Initially, I only picked up this size of Kringle candle because it was my first brand purchase, the ladies in the shop advised it's created by the same people who created Yankee and that the scents are stronger - they weren't wrong that's for sure. 

This shows just how round the Kringle candle is, this is a travel Diptyque candle and this is larger than the top of it! 

I also picked up a plain glass Yankee Votive Holder (£1.80) and my favourite clean scent - Soft Blanket in the Votive Candle size (£1.50). This is a tricky scent to explain but it's definitely clean with a hint of warmness, like warm blankets out of the tumble dryer. The notes in this scent includes Bergamot, Citrus, Blackberry, Cashmere, Vanilla, Powdery Rose and Tobacco Flower with bottom notes of amber, cocoa and musk. I get the freshness from the tobacco flower and citrus but the amber, musk and cashmere are strong in this and oh so good. I do love amber! I even have some amber resin that I keep in my undies drawer just to keep them smelling sexy (not that my drawers would honk without it of course). 

I also picked up a could of the East of India magnets because they're so cute. I'm not normally a soppy type or someone who even collects magnets (I think we have 1 on the fridge-freezer prior to this purchase) so this was completely out of the blue for me but look at them, so-darn-cute. The first one is a little wooden heart (£1.50) that says 'Fashion fades, style stays' and the second is a sweet little girl (£1.99) with 'Women are made to be loved, not understood' on her dress - both of these quotes are what sold them. 

And then there are my tumble gemstones (75p) - I do love my crystals and gemstones and I actually have so many so hairy boy just rolled his eyes at me when I pulled these out *haha* My favourite tumble stones are moonstone and labradorite but I didn't pick up any labradorite in this haul. Included here is serpentine, smoky quartz, milky quartz, malachite, lapis lazuli and goldstone - there are a few others I can't remember of the top of my head but I adore these. Let me know if you'd like to see a post showing their uses and how I use my crystals guys.

I purchased these from an independent local store and looking at their website I don't know if they sell online or plan to but I'll definitely ask them. I know you guys would love this shop, it's so serene and if you're a human magpie like me - it's like being dropped off in magpie heaven. They have a Facebook page if you wanted to take a peek. 

What do you think? pretty products huh. 


Statement: Purchased all items myself