Thursday, 5 December 2019

Bills! Bills! Money out. Money in.

Manage your Money. How to Budget Spending.

Q.  You earn £20000 a year. Do you assume that you have £20,000 to spend?  If yes - wrong.

Q.Do you merrily pay for everything by card? If yes, how do you keep track of your spending? Do you know what you are spending?

Q. Do you have a sheet (budget) that lists all your expenses? ALL your expenses or a basic one?

Convenience of Card Payments versus Cash. 

I am not a fan of contactless payments as I prefer to consciously key in my number after confirming the amount on the screen and safely store my receipt for later recording.

In one grocery store where the counter was crowded, my card must have been too near the payment unit as it just 'snatched' my card details. Upon protesting, the customer behind - who possibly thought that I was not technically literate - casually calmed my startled surprise by reassuring me that 'it would show up on my statement'. I responded that I know it will but I didn't want to use contactless. I wanted to be in control. In any case I think there is a security risk. Someone else dismissed concerns by stating that the limit is low. Even so, I don't want a stranger running riot with my card.

This is by the by but illustrates the fundamental issue of managing personal money and is the  crux of this article. Most wages are paid directly to your bank account. You never actually see in hard cash what you are paid. You rarely hand hard cash over. The concept is different.

I included a chapter on Managing Your Money in Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment. 978-1-908302-20-5 

After all, avoiding debt makes for a happier employee and reduces temptation to solve problems in other ways.

Pay Slips.

Don't just glance at it and screw it up for the bin. Check it. Your  Income Tax deductions are your  responsibility, not your employer's responsibility. They simply have your Tax Code which determines how much tax you pay. Any queries should be directed to your Tax Office.
Every employee is subject to paying a certain amount of Income Tax and National Health Insurance.

Income Tax.
An example of  basic deductions for a single person who earns an average wage.
Before income tax is deducted, a personal allowance is deducted from your gross wage.
Figures below are for England and Wales. (Source
Personal AllowanceUp to £12,5000%
Basic rate£12,501 to £50,00020%

  • Earnings of £20.000 per year minus 12,500 allowance = tax due on £7,500 @ 20% 
  • This is £1500 per year.
  • If you are paid weekly this is divided by 52 = £28.85 per week income tax due.
  • If you earn £20,000 this is £385.62 per week before deductions.
  • £385.62 minus tax of £28.85=£355.76 per week after tax,.

National Health Insurance (NHI).  
Contrary to what some believe, our National Health Service is not free - only free at point of use (sometimes with a small charge e.g. Dentist). In addition to you as an employee paying National Insurance Contributions, your employer also pays on your behalf. How much you pay depends on your 'category letter'.
Our example will use someone in Category A (Source
Category letter£118 to £166 a week (£512 to £719 a month)£166.01 to £962 a week (£719.01 to £4,167 a month)Over £962 a week (£4,167 a month)

  • We have already established that our figures are based on earnings of  £385.62 per week before deductions. 
  • No payment is due on the first £166 a week. 
  • National Insurance in this example is due on £385.62 minus £166 = £219.62 @ 12%. 
  • This is £26.35 per week NHI contribution.

How will your average take home earnings look now?

  • Weekly Gross Earnings:  £385.62
  • Less Income Tax            -£28.85 = £356.77 
  • Less National Health Insurance     -£26.35
  • Basic Net Earnings(take home £'s) -£330.42

Total deductions to the Government before you even see your earnings =£55.20. Keeping track of spending is now even more important.
(You will also see that, based on the above figures extracted from the HMRC website,  someone on a very low wage - less than £166.00 per week will pay neither Income Tax or National Health Insurance contributions.)

A simple example of budgeting your expenses.

(Extract from Managing Your Money, Skills for Employability Part Two: Moving into Employment.) Feel free to print off and use.  Pay Slip image courtesy Google Images.

Rosalie Marsh.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Our Journey: Benefits of the NHS Prehabilitation Programme.

Enhanced  Recovery Programme works.

My amazing husband went through a gruelling 4-week exercise programme tailored to his limited heart/lung capacity - which was carefully measured beforehand in the Cardio-Respiratory Unit at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. The three-weekly sessions were closely monitored by physiotherapists. Combined with group sessions for mindfulness run by the Occupational Therapist and course coordinator together with nutrition advice from the Dietitian to prepare the body for the oncoming onslaught, the aim was to raise fitness levels to enable him to cope with the operation and subsequent recovery.

He smashed all his targets in the gym, kept to the eating programme that I carefully designed to increase protein to the Dietitians advised 1.5g per kilo of body weight - without increasing sugar levels to keep with his diabetic programme - and kept up his home exercises with the 'Power Breathe' - purchased by the Shooting Star Cancer Unit - to train his diaphragm in deep breathing to aid him after anaesthetic.

Result? He not only survived the long operation but was ready to go home two days earlier that expected.

The BBC made a film of his journey and, due to 'early release' had left for home when they planned to film him post op. So Matthew and his cameraman came to us at home.

The clip  of the BBC Wales News item was videoed for me from iPlayer. We are so keen that this pilot programme in Wales is cascaded to other hospitals that we can't say enough about it. 
Best for a patient at high risk and it frees beds earlier than normal.
What not to like?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Another Twist in the Tale of Life's Journey with NHS Wales

Getting fit with around the world as I pedal and walk.

In my last post about bikes, I ended with a comment about bikes of a different kind. . .

We are fortunate in North Wales to be the first hospital in Wales to have this four week  Enhanced Recovery Programme (pre-surgery Prehabilitation run by health professionals from the Wrexham Maelor Hospital) (Photo courtesy

My husband was invited onto the programme. I decided to accompany him on his thrice weekly sessions in case he needed me to drive home even though the exercise programmes are all tailored to a patient's limitations and are under supervision by Jo and the other physiotherapists Steve and Chris. The participant is taught how to breathe correctly using a nifty piece of hand-held equipment called Power Breathe. The Shooting Star Cancer Unit in the Wrexham Maelor have provided these and there he sits twice a day practicing.
During his initial assessment I was finally motivated - no more excuses - to restart my own programme but the days of this one clashed with my local Aquafit/pool/gym days. 'Biting the Bullet' I signed up for a ten-day membership card which the Plas Madoc Leisure Centre (Acrefair) offer. It is a 'swimming and sports centre offering a tropical lagoon pool with slides, sauna and a climbing wall'. (A few years ago, the local community raised the money to save it from closure by the council.

Getting fit around the world.
Bearing in mind my own post-op recovery programme and exercise limitations, I was a little wary of resuming the rowing machine but chose a low resistance level as described in the excellent book  by Sue Croft, Physiotherapist'.
I have missed the rowing machine. In days gone by I used to sort out all my staffing and work-related problems as I pulled and released the resistance chain.

The bike and treadmill were a revelation.

In my local gym the cardio-respiratory equipment have the usual Bluetooth connections plus TV channels. I was excited to find now that I could travel the world effortlessly. Effortlessly? Well, no stressful planes or airports. Simply set the incline and speed and enjoy the scenery as you pedal and walk.
Paris? No problem. A trip around the Seine? Stroll through the streets?
The snow-covered, mountains of Tibet? The countryside of Languedoc-Roussillon in France? The green countryside of Ireland/ Germany with a choice of locations? Dreaming away really does take the hard work out of exercise. That is, until you come to a panting stop. When I have 'done my bit' I decamp upstairs to the cafe to wait. 

Other aspects of the programme for participants. 
I was interested in the sheaves of notes that my husband brought home from the mindfulness part of the programme that is delivered by Claire, occupational therapist; they covered a variety of areas. Also the nutrition guidance and monitoring from Paige the dietician on the programme. (Another spreadsheet while I worked out the increased protein levels balanced with sugar intake so as to not upset diabetic requirements.)

I do hope that this pilot programme - already rolled out across England - is continued throughout Wales by GIG Wales/NHS Wales. Speaking from a personal 'carer' point of view it has been so valuable and reassuring to both of us. As my husband commented, "You don't have time to think (and brood)". In spite of his initial reservations about a gym and group sessions, but determined to go through with it, he has thrived, stayed positive and enjoyed the interaction. I wish that it had been available to me last year.

Oh, I almost forgot! 
The local papers have picked up on it (follow the link under the photo above) with the result that BBC Wales are making a documentary and guess who is the guinea pig? Yes, my quiet and retiring husband who has been interviewed and will be filmed in hospital both before and after the operation. That is how strongly he feels about the benefits of the Enhanced Recovery Programme as he wants it to continue.
Me? I am in total awe at the skills, and seamless organization of this patient's programme in the Wrexham Maelor Hospital where everything was already booked before we even had the diagnosis.

He is a star ****


Thursday, 24 October 2019

The Cycle of a Biker's Life

Scenario: Boy meets girl. Boy rides a pedal bike to work.

Girl visits her boyfriend's home and finds him sitting on the back step with his pedal bike in bits. Unbeknown to her, this was a flavour of the future. 
Not the exact one but  the type.

Boy had a stroke if luck. A man came to the workshop where he worked  and asked him to repair the smashed wheel on his Norman Nippy 49cc  moped. The man decided that it was of no use to him and gave it to the boy-young man who was now in tinkering heaven. He tinkered, greased, fiddled and fettled until it was roadworthy. After trying it out one summer's evening, girl-young lady begged for a ride. She hopped on and rode it around the block. Although feeling as if she was flying,  at the speed she was limited to she wasn't really. 
"How do I stop it?" 
"Put the brakes on and pedal backwards."
She did - and the bike promptly fell over. 
"You are supposed to put your feet down," said  the young man laughingly as he picked her up. "You didn't tell me to do that", she retorted - not being able to ride a bike.

Young man started work in a nearby city. He needed more money for his forthcoming marriage. After battling with buses he bought his very first second-hand motorbike. An Excelsior. One foggy night on the way home from work he had an accident on a major road as a huge kerb stone from the roadworks had found its way into the road. Bike was a write-off!

The young couple were married soon afterwards and the insurance money - all £30.00 of it - from the damaged bike paid for a stair carpet. Young man bought a white BSA Bantam motorbike as he was still working in the city and struggled to work on the busses in the early morning. He added a fairing. Other motorists thought that he was a policeman as police bikes at the time were white with a fairing. He passed his bike test and bought his wife a crash helmet and goggles. This bike was wonderful. They wrapped up warmly and zoomed around free as birds. Always keen on maintenance he still took his bike to bits to oil, clean  and polish. It rained once during urgent maintenance; with no garage or shed - being just married there wasn't much spare cash for luxuries - young man brought his beloved bike into the young lady's brand new kitchen. The carburettor went into her brand new kitchen sink for cleaning. Such is love! At least the bike didn't go into the sitting room.
Image Ariel Square Four motorbike
Courtesy Google Images.

Young man went to work in North Wales for a better life and rode his BSA Bantam there every Sunday returning on a Friday or Saturday lunchtime to  his young wife and baby girl until they could relocate.

Eventually, the bike was upgraded, in turn for a a Honda 90 cc motorbike, a CZ motorbike,and an Arial Square Four 1000cc. Now this Arial Square Four was a wonder to behold. It was big. It was rusty. It liver under the dining room window. The young wife spent her afternoons when the children were in school polishing what she named as 'Gleaming Gloria'.
Young man got sick and had to sell his bike as it was too heavy for him to handle.

Twenty years and more passed passed and he was fretting that he had nothing to fiddle with. He wanted a little bike. Not for work as he had  a car for that. After looking at kit cars, little scooters and big scooters he saw a Honda Pan European 1100cc. Such is love that the wife - not so young now - did a deal. "If you have a bike, will you travel? Will you ride over the countries over which we have flown?" He said he would and the deal was done (Just us Two Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery.)

The middle-age couple were in heaven. He with his bike under his legs again. She, having swapped well-groomed hair and high heels for a crash helmet and biker boots, with the world at her feet - or at least on maps. Was this the end of the biking story? No. 

After two months, they quite by chance saw a Honda Gold Wing motorbike is a North Wales showroom. This middle-aged wife pronounced that if they were to travel, this was what they needed. "Look at the luggage space." she exclaimed, thinking about shoes, wash bag, hair bag etc. etc.

Husband walked out thinking he really had gone to heaven. Normally the husband has to persuade his wife and here his was. . .  What a birthday present he had. The chosen number plate even incorporated his age. Such was love.
And they travelled. They rode big trips into Europe and had a whale of a time.

Some years later, illness struck again. The touring bike was converted to a trike and travels resumed but this was  eventually sold as the illness made it impossible to manage his beloved bike. 

Husband needed to exercise his legs but without strain. 
He bought a brand new pedal bike with lots of gears but after a couple of rides around the block it remained in the garage.

So we have come a full circle and the pedal cycle with all its gears will soon have a new home with a young man who will ride it and have pleasure from it.

The young-at-heart but now elderly man has to content himself with reading the weekly Motorcycle News paper and watching motorbikes in MotoGP races on TV as well as motor racing in F1. Oh, and biking chat in the motorcycle club of which they have been members for twenty years. (GWOCGB)

The cycle of a biker's life.

This  is not the end though. As I write this husband is being put through his paces on cardiorespiratory  machines including a bike as part of a pre-op programme - under supervision - to increase his fitness levels of whatever is left of his heart ❤ even just a bit in order to aid recovery during and post op. Excellent #NHS Prehabilitation programme three times a week for  four weeks. Gruelling but worth it. Prayers needed.

Rosalie xx
Gold Wing  Photos copyright Rosalie Marsh
Images Google images.

Monday, 2 September 2019

The English Riviera: A Perfect Sojourn at the Palace in Paignton.

A lazy weekend in the long hot summer.

The occasion? Husbands birthday which fell during August Bank Holiday. Never one to miss an opportunity for a hotel stay we set off in the sunshine for Devon.

They say that a picture says a thousand words. As I am very late writing this blog post, I will waste no more time in sharing our delightful weekend with you and post some photos.

Firsty: The delightful Palace Hotel on the seafront and close to everything that we wanted to do - which was not much at this time! The staff met all our needs; service was seamless, silent, staff ever helpful; room was perfect with every comfort especially fresh water in the room every day; food wonderful. The view from the conservatory lounge to the gardens and Spa.

Secondly: a pleasant hour along the seafront watching families on the sands and boat-watching in the harbour ten minutes away with plenty of seats along the way.

Thirdly: a cool stroll through Victoria Park a few minutes from the hotel. Lovey to sit and watch the ducks splash under the fountain in the pond.

 After all this we settled in the hotel for lunch, a sleep, dinner, after which we listened to the wonderful and varied nightly live music. 
We can well recommend  this short programme and a stay at the Palace for a birthday treat.


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

A Busy Bee with ICT Changes on Rosalie's Chatter

Hello again! Good to be back - I have been away for a while.

After much time to ponder over the last few months, I have made some much needed changes to our main website discover-rosalie and now, to this blog.

My last post stated the:
To consolidate both websites.


  • Keep a focus while maximizing visitor activity.
  • Make the whole updating activity more manageable.
  • Less duplication.
This blog, Rosalie's Chatter has a few interesting features: 
  • At the side you will see previews for two of the Kindle books. Talking the Talk is about speaking to groups in a workplace, staff , social/business meetings etc. following on to more formal presentations in a variety of more public situations. The Long Leg of Italy charts our adventures and discoveries over many years as we explored Italy from north to south both independently and as part of touring groups.
  • The side-bar shows a featured post. Currently this is our recent road trip over the border to Portugal via the excellent roads in France and Spain plus the nightmare atrocious condition of the M20 and gridlocked M25 in the UK. . . The least said here the better.
  • The archive at the side makes it easy to browse all the posts since I started Rosalie's Chatter in 2010 - Nine years ago. What a lot of travelling, learning and fun on the way.
  • This blog's header photo is updated with a simpler and clearer arrangement. 
  • I played around with the theme and have settled for now on a background of bookshelves - complete with books. The colour theme is meant to reflect the discover-rosalie website. I might go back to a plain background if you find it too fussy but I thought that the bookshelves told its own story about what I do. Given that a picture speaks a thousand words.
  • Our bookstore has moved back to our own website and away from the Christal Publishing one. It seemed confusing and obscure to me but . . .I did follow advice. I have further consolidated information. 
  • I have updated profile pictures on social media platforms.
  • The header on my Facebook page changes from time to time to keep it fresh.
  • I have retired the Just Us Two Travel and LLL Development accounts on Twitter. Too cumbersome.
  • I have rationalised the various e-mail accounts that I use for marketing and independent publishing. This involved checking each organisation and updating contact details.
All to make life simple and less stressful as I look now getting back to some serious writing and reviewing of writing plus more marketing through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter using Buffer as a one-stop scheduling platform. I do find that I am not a big 'poster' on Instagram and Pinterest. The latter seems to be losing popularity in favour of Instagram. 


Rosalie xx


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Feeling Focused - Updates to Websites.

Lying awake in the early hours this morning as dawn broke I began to plan some much neglected marketing work. The priority was the websites.

To consolidate both websites.


  • Keep a focus while maximizing visitor activity.
  • Make the whole updating activity more manageable.
  • Less duplication.
I decided to move the bookstore back to my author website I had been advised that this should be on the publisher website and so, after a lot of work, I moved it and channelled  most of the links to that site.

I reflected that this was confusing and laborious for those who visited discover-rosalie first - and the majority of visits are to that site.   

I have also analysed where the sales are coming from - distributor-wise and consolidated that. We remain with Ingram for print and e-books with their extensive worldwide channels including Amazon which saves us a lot of work and heartache. The marketing and promotion that they provide is amazing. And they put on huge promotional discounts for my books.

For instance, today
Island Interludes: Just Us Two Escape to the Sun (Just Us Two Travel Book 4) 
 is on offer at knockdown prices: Kindle £2.39. Glossy Hardcover £2.39   and Paperback £2.51

For future reference, my bookstore offers PayPal - no account needed - to purchase author-signed copies. The perfect present.

Monday, 22 April 2019

About author Rosalie Marsh

Can Dreams Come True? - Opportunity. Access.

"The little girl sat at the table, carefully unwrapping the fruit she held in her hand."

"Not all oranges were wrapped in paper and she loved to choose one that was – they were special – so that she could read the labels and dream of faraway places.  This wrapper was made of flimsy white tissue paper. In the middle, there was a coloured circle with lots of foreign words around the inside but she could just make out the word ‘Valencia’. In the middle of the circle were funny pictures. ‘Mummy, where is Valencia?’ the little
girl asked the lady standing nearby."
‘It is in Spain, Charlotte, where the sun nearly always shines.'"(Oranges - A Journey.2013)

  • When bananas had arrived in the UK after the Second World War, I was fascinated to see on the map where they had grown and ripened in the hot sun. In later years I learned and saw that they also grew in the Islas Canarias and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The sight of huge, juicy, Jaffa oranges were more fodder for my dreams. Today we take for granted that foods from all over the world are readily available in the shops.
  • Learning about the explorer Marco Polo when I was about ten years of age and the richly coloured silks and the spices that he brought back from across the world transported me to distant lands. My teacher sharply brought my attention back to the lesson!
  • Later, one Christmas, I was given a pack of playing cards with pictures on the back of exotic faraway places. The picture of Istanbul caught my eye. I was transfixed and longed to travel there one day and see the sights and sounds of the bustling bazaars and ancient ornate buildings.
  • At school, an innovative and inspiring teacher taught me Spanish. She taught us about the country and customs, bringing examples of a matador hat, castanets and other Spanish souvenirs and examples into the lessons. 
I dreamed on. 

Then came the dreaded pivotal question about my future. I was just sixteen.
"What do you want to do when you leave school?" I was asked.
"I want to be a hairdresser and beautician and go on the big ships." 
Google images.
(That was after I was discouraged from becoming a nun - the convent education influence - as there was a dowry involved!)
However, girls were rarely educated beyond school age in those days. Not having the opportunity or access I dutifully got a job in an office - a bank - and followed the route of boy meets girl, a fulfilling marriage, full-time motherhood and a late career in sales management and adult learning. (I did have the opportunity, access and encouragement  to achieve this last one.) I was never bored but the dream of the big ships never left me. This dream became laid to rest over the years as subsequently the issue of motion sickness/vertigo in my travelling companion was the deciding factor. In spite of medication, short ferry journeys to Ireland, the Hovercraft across the English Channel, Isle of Wight from Portsmouth, Los Cristianos to La Gomera were all an ordeal. We satisfied ourselves in later years with overland travel and tours.

Can Dreams come true?

The time came when my husband pined for something -a little bike - to tinker with. The kit-car idea soon went out of the window when I realised that I would get wet if it rained. During a stay in Lourdes, France, in May 1998 he decided that he would like a little scooter and pulled me all over the town to admire the different models that were parked up, including Police bikes. I of course wanted to travel through the countries we had flown over in the last ten years or so, in our search for sun and exploration of other lands.
‘If we buy a scooter will you travel? Will you brave the ferry? Will you? Can we?’
The deal was done. The little scooter idea soon became a big scooter . . . a Honda Pan European touring motorbike . . . two months later a Honda Gold Wing. The ultimate touring machine. (Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery 2009/2012). 
Ireland beckoned. Europe, as I pored over maps galore. And my dream of Andalucia in the far corners of Southern Spain. Our Andalucian Adventure.

Yes, dreams can come true. . . but sometimes you have to give them a helping hand!

Nerja and Ronda, Andalucia, Spain.

Nerja, Andalucia, Spain.

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Rosalie Marsh