Friday, September 28, 2012

Spanish Stress Test Results

Here are the results of the stress test conducted on Spanish banks, as per the FT.

Seven banks failed and seven passed.

The shortfall comes in at under Euro60BN which, bizarrely, Juncker finds comforting!

Here is the reaction of the European Commission:
"The European Commission welcomes today’s publication by the Spanish authorities of the results of the independent valuation of Spanish banks. This is a major step in implementing the financial-assistance programme and towards strengthening the viability of and confidence in the Spanish banking sector.

In line with the Memorandum of Understanding governing the financial-sector programme for Spain, an external consultant conducted over the past few months a stringent bank-by-bank (bottom-up) stress test and a thorough asset quality review. The European Commission was closely involved in this process, as were the ECB, the EBA and the IMF.

The capital needs for individual banks disclosed today are a key step in the process of restoring and strengthening the soundness of the Spanish banks. They will form the basis for the eventual recapitalisation of banks with the help of the programme. The necessary State aid provided to Spanish banks will be determined in the coming months. It will be based on today's published results. It will also reflect measures to be taken by the banks, such as the disposal of assets, other restructuring measures and tapping funding markets, and subordinated liability exercises. In addition, the capital shortfall of credit institutions receiving public funds will be adjusted as a consequence of the transfer of assets to the Asset Management Company.

Banks with a capital shortfall will present recapitalisation plans. Upon approval of these recapitalisation plans by the Bank of Spain and the European Commission, banks requiring state aid will present restructuring or orderly resolution plans to the Spanish authorities, which will notify these to the European Commission for approval under EU state aid rules. Upon approval of these restructuring and/or orderly resolution plans, the recapitalisation of a first group of banks is scheduled to occur by November. "

Thursday, September 27, 2012

ONS Revises Its Figures Yet Again!

On July 25 I wrote the following:

"UK GDP has contracted by 0.7% in the second quarter of 2012, thus bringing the UK into a double dip recession.

However, this figure needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, ONS figures are out of date and are invariably wrong
In August I wrote the following:
"As predicted, it transpires that the ONS figures were of course wrong. Economia reports that the ONS has revised its figures upwards from -0.7% to -0.5%."
One month on and the hapless and hopeless Office for National Statistics (ONS) have yet again revised their figures upwards, this time to -0.4%.

As I have noted many times before it is extremely unwise to rely on figures provided by the ONS, they are always out of date and invariably wrong; eg in February this year inflation figures spiked partly because the ONS (as per usual) had been erroneously under reporting inflation (clothing) for several years, and the resulting correction caused a spike in inflation.

Instead of the government and the Bank of England relying on and using ONS figures to to try to manage the economy, they may as well rely on reading goat entrails as these would be more accurate, timely and easier to interpret!

My New Fitness Blog is LIVE (Honey We're Healthy)

Hi guys!  I'm so happy to be launching my new health and fitness blog today!  I decided to call it . . .

as a "sister" blog to this one.

Right now there are 15 posts up, including "Making Time to Workout", which includes where I fit my workouts into my week, and "Getting Started Getting Fit", which I hope will help get you out the door and get moving!  If you're already working out and need a new workout routine, check out these "3 Weight Training Routines"

and I will continue to update the blog pretty frequently, as I have lots of ideas that I want to write about and more posts that I just need to add photos to.  

Under the Honey We're Healthy title, you can click on "About Me" "Food" "Fitness" and "Before & After" to read more about each category.  I'm really hoping to get reader submissions for the "Before & After" section- please send your story and a photo my way via (

I'm hopeful that through the comments we can encourage each other and help answer each other's questions.  You can just hit "Reply" under a comment if you have something to add to the conversation.  I will most likely be responding more in the comments on that blog, so feel free to check back if you haven't gotten a direct email from me after leaving a comment.  

If you are interested in following Honey We're Healthy, you can click HERE or subscribe HERE.

I'd be thrilled and beyond flattered to see my cute little button on your blog! 

Thank you again so much for your support on my new venture!

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I'm very thankful to Designer Blogs for designing the site for me and for doing it so quickly!  Lindsey was great to work with, responding promptly to my emails and fixing every last detail until I was completely satisfied.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Organized Home Link Party (Your Posts Featured)

Thank you so much for linking up in my Organized Home link party!  I so enjoyed seeing everything y'all have been up to in your homes.  Here are a few of my faves . . .  ENJOY!

Desk Organization via 20 Minute Mom

Art Closet via This Is Happiness

Playroom via New House to Home

Organized Family Shoes via 20 Minute Mom

Organized Pantry via Hi Sugarplum

Organized Makeup Brushes via Domesticability

First Aid/Medicine Organization via A Thoughtful Place

Workroom Makeover via 11 Magnolia Lane

Organized Playroom via Shortcake & Orange

Closet Organization with a Printable via The Creativity Exchange

Getting and Staying Organized via The Sunny Side Up Blog

Magnetic Makeup Board via Momnivores Dilemma

Organized Scarves and Coat Closet via Hi Sugarplum

Organized Pantry via 11 Magnolia Lane

Organized Hall Closet via Home Everyday

Organized Bathroom Cabinets via Pretty in Place

Organized Linens via Our Fifth House

Organized Drawers via Simply Organized

Kids Artwork via Life Love Larson

Coat Closet via Penny Heaven

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Greece's Euro30BN Blackhole

In February I noted that the Troika had have discovered that Greece needed an extra Euro15BN on top of the Euro130BN second bailout that it had yet to receive. In August I noted that the Troika's assessment was that there is a Euro14BN hole in Greece's finances for 2013/14.

A grand total of around Euro29BN in blackholes!

Now Süddeutsche reports that according to senior EU officials, Greece will require an additional two years and additional funding of Euro30BN in order to meet the conditions of its second bailout package. It is not clear as to whether this blackhole is the combination of the two blackholes I wrote about in February and August, or a new blackhole over and above those already highlighted.

Either way it is now unclear if/when Greece will receive its next tranche from the package. Seemingly any decision is being delayed until after the results of the US Presidential election, lest a financially destabilising event propels Romney into office.

Updates to Our Entryway

Thank you for all the sweet and supportive comments the last couple of days regarding my upcoming venture into the health and fitness arena- I really appreciate it.  I've been writing and photographing a lot lately, and hope to have the blog live soon.  In the meantime, my house got an update to the entry way recently.  

I'd had my eye out forever for a large leaning mirror.  I wrote about it back in July 2011, when our entry looked like this (and we had no dining room drapes or rug yet)!

A leaning mirror from Restoration Hardware finally won out.  It's huge (43 inches wide x 90 inches tall).  I love the subtle curves (kind of reminds me of a headboard), natural wood, and how it opens the space and reflects the staircase from this angle. 

After living with our new rug for a few weeks, I really like it.  It shed a bit at first but seems to have stopped now.  It's the Moroccan-style Beni Ourian rug from Pottery Barn.

The smaller, rectangular mirror opposite the leaning mirror will be replaced with a piece of art, but I've just started looking and haven't found the piece yet. 

My favorite part of the entry way is the DIY LOVE art though.  Go HERE to see how I did it.  (The picture below is with our previous rug- an indoor/outdoor rug from Home Decorators).

* * * * * 

Also, I wanted to let you know about exciting news from one of my favorite interior design teams, Casey Grace Design.  You probably know one of the designers, Courtney, from her beautiful blog, A Thoughtful Place.  

In addition to their regular design services, Casey Grace Design is now offering two new services:  

(1) Just 4 Things- where they will recommend four items to revamp your room (perfect for when you just want to change up a few things for a whole new look); and 

(2) Spruce Our Space- where they will provide you with a virtual consultation.  You just email them some photos of your room, and within three days they will email you back with a written description of how to arrange your furniture, ways to incorporate color and pattern and suggestions on accessorizing the space with decorative items and wall art. 

Go check out Casey Grace Design- you will fall in l o v e !

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm Starting a New Health & Fitness Blog

Hi all!  I wanted to share some exciting news with you and get your feedback.  Many of you know that I've been looking for a new job, and with this extra time on my hands I've been devoting more time to a passion of mine, health and fitness.  Even after I struggled to lose the baby weight, the emphasis on being healthy and maintaining my weight/gaining muscle remains.  It's even more important to me now because I want to pass on healthy eating habits to my son and let him become familiar with home cooking.  He certainly loves to help!

James might want you to know this is an old pic.  Paci now "lives in the bed" and is "only for sleeping." But he's cool if you still like your Paci too. 

I decided to start a separate blog on these topics so that Honey We're Home continues to be focused on creating a beautiful, well-organized and happy home and in case you have no desire to hear about food and fitness here.

I've been busy writing posts about workouts, (my routine, what works for me and what doesn't, and how I fit in into my week- even with a child and full time job), along with recipes that are healthy and taste good, including the splurges (that aren't so healthy, but a real part of how I live).  I have discovered I am kind of obsessed with food photography, so I've been experimenting more with my camera in my kitchen too.  I've got a lot to learn, but I enjoy it so much.

I also want my new blog to be a source of motivation to help get you started or keep you moving toward your own fitness goals.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, what you'd like to read about, need help with, etc.  Also, can you let me know if you workout and how often.  Do you participate in classes, run, lift weights, do yoga or  Pilates and how often?  What are your goals- maintain your weight, lose weight, gain muscle?  Are you content where you are?  Is there a fitness/food blog you like? Feel free to comment Anonymously if you prefer. 

You can also email me at: with "New Blog" in the subject line.  I want to get a sense of where we are in this journey and how I can best contribute.  Thank you so much for sharing with me.

I'm working with Designer Blogs on the website design and I'm hoping the site will be live soon!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Stagnation Abounds

The purchasing managers indexes (PMIs), released today make depressing reading.

Reuters reports that the composite Eurozone PMI fell to 45.9 in September, from 46.3 in August. A level of less than 50 denotes contraction.

The ongoing decline in PMI indicates that the ECB "plan" to buy Eurozone debt has not impressed companies, or restored their faith in an upturn.

It is not just Europe that is suffering, the ongoing recession in Europe has negatively impacted China (seen by many as the last best hope for pump priming a global economic recovery). Although the China manufacturing PMI rose in September to 47.8 from August's nine-month low of 47.6, it remains below 50 which indicates that Chinese growth is slowing/stalling.

In theory China and the Eurozone should work together to try to address their mutual problems. Unfortunately, China is less than pleased that there is still an arms embargo and that its products are subject to tariffs.


Yep, I've been bitten by the Instagram bug!  Have you?  I've had an account for a long time, but wasn't using it until Cassie (Hi Sugarplum) recently prompted me to join in on the fun.  I must say, I'm quite addicted and love it in a different way than Pinterest because you can see glimpses of your friends' daily lives.  It's a small (fun) way to stay connected across the miles.

Instagram not only allows you to edit your photos with really cool effects, but you can also write captions and your friends can comment.  Yeah, pretty fun if you have some time on your hands. :)

I'm @honeywerehome if you're interested in following along.   

Left to Right // Top to Bottom

1.  Cassie and me one year ago

2.  Carnations in a mason jar in my kitchen 

3.  Too hot for anything but ice cream

4.  Birthday gift for my BFF

5.  L O V E

6.  Me & James

7.  James' monthly haircut with his hottie haircutter, Andi 

8.  Paint swatch for kitchen cabinets

9.  My new toys

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Financial Sector Receives 36% of All Bonuses

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the total level of bonus payments received across the whole economy, during the financial year April 2011 to March 2012 (2011/12), came to £37BN. This is an increase of 3% compared with 2010/11, and equates to an average of around £1,400 per employee in 2011/12.

Those of you who are wondering why you did not receive a £1.4K bonus will be "relieved" to learn that it hasn't got "lost in the post", but has in fact contributed to the higher than average bonuses paid to those working the in the finance and insurance industry who received a total of £13BN in bonuses. This accounts for 36% of all bonuses in 2011/12, even though the sector only accounts for 4% of all UK employees.

Fall Bag

With the "official" start to Fall beginning on Friday, I'm ready with my new Fall Bag:)  I've been wanting one in this pattern for ages and found this beauty at DSW of all places!  It's by Elliott Luca and has a shoulder strap and double arm straps.

 * L O V E *

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fall Decor in Our Home (Simple Updates)

Slowly but surely I've been welcoming the Fall season into our home.  One of the quickest ways to change up the decor seasonally is by switching out the pillows on the sofa.  Over the weekend, I spotted two plaid! pillow covers at Pottery Barn and brought them home.  They add the perfect cozy feeling I want for Fall with the pattern and colors (brown, tan, orange, and cream), but also have light blue, which goes great with my drapes and existing blue pillow and throw.

With the sofa properly outfitted, the rest of the house was sprinkled with Fall touches.  Don't pumpkins signify Fall?  These ceramic pumpkins from Hobby Lobby had purple stems and leaves, so I spray painted them gold.  

Before putting them on the wooden console table, I tried them out on the gold glass table. 

A gold bowl filled with pinecones, apples, and pears sits on the second shelf.

I waited for weeks to find these lanterns half off at Hobby Lobby- I just kept missing the week they were on sale.  Finally, I picked up three- two shiny silver ones, and one giant aluminum one.  

In the butler's pantry, I added my Hobby Lobby Harvest sign that I've had for years.  

                                                 Are you in the Fall decorating mode yet? 

Linking up with Sarah (Thrifty Decor Chick)