And We’re Back…

Quick Life Update

Well, that was a long absence, wasn’t it?! Most of you know, I’ve been afk due to the birth of baby Edward on Boxing Day. Life has been basically chaotic most of the time since then. But I think I may be getting into a decent routine, finally. Who said having kids was easy, hey? We’ve been on tons of trips, including the FIRE Escape, and had plenty of outings and visitors over the last three months. Now it’s time to get back to some sense of normalcy, if that ever can be achieved again (I don’t know!).

Investing Update

Lots has been happening on the investing front. Obviously, because it’s me, I’ve opened up a Junior SIPP, Junior S&S ISA, and Junior Cash ISA for the new baby. I’m yet to open a current account though. Wee baby has some good old Vanguard Lifestrategy funds in his accounts, just like his big brother does.

On our dividend ISA, we’ve moved some money from our emergency fund to take advantage of all the crazy prices that have been happening over the last few months. Also, the EF was getting rather bloated. There’s just no need to keep more than a few months’ worth of cash in there. So with the new money, we filled our ISA allowance (first time ever, yay!) for the 2015/16 tax year. We bought VGOV for safety, as well as some stocks that are not the usual suspects i.e. I did not do my usual method of checklisting.

Instead, I’ve bought more recovery and growth-orientated stocks. ARM Holdings (growth), Shawbrook Bank (growth), Pearson (recovery/value share), Next (recovery again), British Land (recovery), Greatland Gold (speculative/growth). I understand these are not really in keeping with my general rules and the purpose of the ISA, which I designated as being for value/dividend growth investing… but things apparently change from time to time, so there you have it. I managed to get Pearson at £7.23 and ARM at £9.03 so I’m pretty happy about it.

I’ve also made a few sales over the last quarter. Unilever being the most important, as it was one of my largest holdings. I sold it in February. A few people have been talking about getting rid of Unilever, guess it’s in the water or something? I also sold BAE Systems in January. Both of these are often stalwarts of many a value/dividend portfolio, however, I am not as keen on their ability to keep growing and a decent rate, and thus returning money to me…

However, I am still very much a value investor and am always on the lookout for dividend growth stocks. I am probably going to keep adding to my Carillion and Interserve holdings. I added to the latter before it recently went ex-div.

Other News

My friend Martina and I have finally gotten around to setting up our publishing company. Both of us have worked in education for a long time and have had various flirtations with writing books and other shorter pieces of writing. In 2014, I wrote a selection of outlines for various books, signed up to Kindle Self-Publishing… and then did nothing. I was simply too busy with other things. Likewise, Martina has been sitting on a book for years, and is full of all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas for other writing. So, we finally did it and we’re making progress. No small thanks goes to Huw and Richard who graciously answered a lot of questions we had after we first started. Gladly, Kindle is not the only thing we’re doing as I think it’d drive us mad. We are largely concentrating on a few websites which we’re developing, the books will be an add-on to those.

What have you been up to?

Lastly, I’d love to hear what you guys have been up to over the last few months, so drop me a comment below!

Cheers 🙂


  1. Hi M,

    Great to see you’re back!
    Congrats on the birth of baby Edward and fair play to you for making it to the FIRE escape meeting! We were definitely not brave enough for that although the timing was very bad for us, I think baby TFS was like 4 days old or something haha.

    We’ve just been looking after baby T and cracking on with as much life as possible in the mean time and very much enjoying the process so far!

    Exciting stuff about the publishing. I’ll be interested to see where that takes you.

    All the best!
    theFIREstarter recently posted…self build your way out of the housing crisis and a free pdf about money creation!My Profile

  2. Hi M!

    It was great to meet you, Martina and baby Edward, albeit briefly, at the FIRE Escape last month. I thought I’d come check out your site and was delighted to see you’ve started posting again!

    I’m so impressed at the investment products you already have set up for baby – he’s one lucky boy! With a head start like that he should be set for a great start in life.

    Looking forward to future posts!

    Organised Redhead recently posted…Goals progress update for MarchMy Profile

    1. Hey! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Was good to meet you, but way too short! Hopefully we’ll meet properly at the next one!

      I hope to write my (now well overdue) dividend stock list post very soon. It’s one of my regular items, and I hope you’ll like it


  3. Welcome back, M!

    It was great to catch up with you (and to meet Martina and little Edward) recently at the FIRE Escape.

    Congrats on filling your ISA allowance, something I’ve never managed to do and unlikely to do so, unless I came into a very large sum of spare cash! I have decided to favour my ISA over my SIPPs this year so aiming to fill half of it!

    Your buys are interesting and I can see why you’ve deviated from your usual rules just to take advantage of current climate. I’ve been looking to increase my holding in British Land but have something else planned for this month. Might have to wait another month or two before I have another look at them.

    I’ve been looking more at investment trusts and want to build some of those up too – have a few in mind, some that I’ve mentioned previously.

    Good luck to you and Martina on your Kindle publishing, I look forward to reading more about your progress.

  4. Ciao TV,
    Missed your updates!!! First of all Congratulations again and it’s good to see you back!
    Regarding stocks, Unilever and BAE are two holdings that I am not looking at selling right now, but I’d love to hear more about the reasons behind the sale… As to PSON I am in too (at higher prices alas)…
    Interserve and Carillion are two big headaches for me, I did not understand the recent dip (especially Interserve)… Generally speaking the UK part of the portfolio is underpreforming for me, but I guess it’s also because of the Euro uncertainty (I still hope that Brexit will not happen). The good side is that pound is now cheap and I am accumulating it slowly.

    Anyways glad to have you back!

    Ciao ciao


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