Sunday, 30 October 2011

Back to Work Tomorrow :-(

Well its back to work for me tomorrow and I don't want to go. I've checked my lucky dip from last night and I only had one number so paid employment it is. I've had a quiet week, lots of lie in's and relaxing. Done quite a bit of walking, baking and cooking. I have a beef brisket in the slow cooker for this evening and it looks/smells great. I have also tried a gammon joint cooked in apple juice this week, was quite apprehensive about this beforehand but it was really moist and tasty. We will definitely be having that again. I have made a few cakes:  fruit , lemon madeira and choc chip madeira. The cakes are going down well, in fact too well ! And to top it off, I have wrapped most of my Christmas presents. Tonight I am going to catch up on my TV programmes, Kirsties Homemade & Beenys Restoration Nightmare - how the other half live !! Then like clockwork turn over at 9pm for Downton Abbey.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Morrisons Christmas Voucher

Start collecting receipts tomorrow. How do I know ? I spent £47 in Morrisons today to discover if I had spend it tomorrow I could have saved my receipt towards the scheme....GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Friday, 28 October 2011

Making My Own - Christmas Gifts

 I have been making some Christmas Gifts this evening. My daughter goes to some clubs and they are all run by volunteers so I like to send them a little something as a thank you at Christmas time. Previously I have sent chocolates but it has been known that the chocolates have not lasted until December, which is not good for the wallet or the waistline. This year it is little home made gifts of toiletries. Here's what I used ;

Tuck the flannel over so the braid faces you. It should look like a little duvet on a bed ! Tuck the toiletries inside as if they are lying in the bed!

I used some wired ribbon to wrap the parcel up tightly , with a nice big bow on the front.

I will then put the toiletry parcel inside some gift bags I have ( recycled of course ) . My parcels cost 45p for the flannels ( picked up in Department store sale) 19p each for the Dove toiletries ( Home Bargains) = £1.02 per parcel. The wired ribbon I picked up for £1 in January sales which has done the 4 parcels I made up , so grand total £1.27 - what do you think ?

I have done the same thing before with larger towels putting in bubble baths, shower gels etc. You could also do it for a new baby: a gift of baby towel and baby toiletries.

Making My Own - Fruit Cake

Yesterday I had a go at baking my own fruit cake. I don't like fruit cake but hubby does so I thought I'd give it a try. I soaked the fruit in some alcohol overnight, a bit of port I had left in a bottle. I found a recipe on the Internet and I had enough to make two cakes. The one baked in the loaf tin looks best. Hubby said it tasted good but I found that the fruit had sunk to the bottom of the cake. Someone told me yesterday that I should have put the fruit in a bag with flour, given it a good shake , and that stops the fruit sinking ?? I will give that a try next time. I am going to make something I like next, lemon madeira cake. This sells in the local bakery at £1.85 per cake. A quick calculation costed my cakes at £1 each but that included the fruit, a lemon cake would be even cheaper.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Making my own - Tasty Savoury Treats

The creative vibe continues ! Yesterday I had a go at making sausage rolls. I had in stock some little sausages and some frozen puff pastry, which were both yellow sticker items at 20p & 39p. I fried the sausages and rolled out the pastry. I was doing this blindly as I had no instructions but how hard can a sausage roll be ? I was doing OK except that I had a mental block as to how one looked and I couldn't think how to roll the sausage inside. Some were OK but others looked rather sorry and mishaped ! I egg washed them and put them in the oven. I had some pastry left over so I thought I'd try making something else, with cheese and onion in stock, I made some savouries. These I found easier, just filled them then folded them over and egg washed them. Hubby arrived home just as I was taking them out of the oven. They were a big hit. We ate some last night then have some left for today, which I have sampled cold and they are delicious.Tasty treats for 59p !

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Making My Own - Dauphinoise Potatoes

I've had a bit of a creative urge these last few days to make my own things. Now if you have read my blog before you will know that I am no Delia Smith but I thought I would share with you how I made my Dauphinoise the other day.

We were having steak for tea . I didn't fancy chips so in the supermarket I saw their Dauphinoise, a small portion at £2.35. This portion would have only been sufficient for one person so I got the ingredients and made it myself. It was quite easy. Slice the potatoes and onions and layer them putting some creme fraiche on each layer. I also sprinkled garlic granules on each layer. Build up your layers as high as you want and then I put some white wine over the potatoes, about 100 ml. Then I baked them in the oven for about an hour. For the last 15 minutes I sprinkled some grated cheese on top. The end result was so tasty and much cheaper than the supermarkets alternative. I paid £1 for the creme fraiche and £1 for a bag of potatoes. The wine, cheese and onion I had in stock. There was enough for us to eat that night , then half again to eat the following night.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Asda Bargain Books

Good Evening all and welcome to my new follower dinavanessamercado - thanks for following.

I have been enjoying the half term break. I have annual leave this week and have had lazy lie ins and been in PJ's until lunchtime. Nothing on the agenda which is nice sometimes so you can just kick back and see where the day takes you. This afternoon my daughter and I went into town as we had to get a few bits and pieces. She needed a Guide top so I bought one about three sizes too big so it will last a good while. I also picked up two pairs of jeggings at £6 each. She had a pair last year and they have been a good wardrobe 'all rounder' so we chose black denim and blue denim. They had an adult pair in the blue denim and she wants me to buy a pair so we can ' dress the same'. She is young and slender and can get away with the style but I'm not sure I could pull it off ! Whilst in Asda I spotted these books, a dictionary and thesaurus which should be £4.99 and £6.99 each. They were on offer at the super bargain price of 25p each ! I'm not sure if this is every Asda or just our local one but a great bargain nonetheless.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Friday Night with Noddy

Last night we went to a charity quiz night at our local town hall. The quiz master was local lad ' Noddy Holder' from the 70's band Slade. It was a really good night. Noddy was very nice and friendly,chatting to all the teams, signing lots of things and having pictures taken. My husband had a copy of Noddy's book ' Who's Crazee Now' which Noddy signed for him. The evening raised lots of money for local causes and the Mayor thanked Noddy for attending , saying that Noddy and his family had given their time for free. Noddy seems a really nice guy. They played a few Slade songs but we didn't get to hear the classic ' Merry Xmas Everybody' maybe because we haven't even had Halloween yet !

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Festive Freezer Food

Hello and welcome to my my follower Lindjemp, thanks for joining.

Last night I ventured out for the first time since my mishap. I am walking a lot better now but I do still have some pain in my leg. I have been off work and home alone each day so it was nice to have a little normality and get back to the land of the living. I also had a drive in the car whilst the roads were quiet and I was OK so I shall be returning back to work. We had to go to the supermarket as the fridge was bare and I was out of essentials. The fresh meat section had pathetic reductions and I think they had priced them wrongly, only 10/20p off meat that was use by yesterday and this was at 8pm !I do still have quite a bit of meat in the freezer so it was no great loss. The deli aisle had better reductions which were all freezable. I picked up a pot of deli pasta sauce reduced to 29p from £1.89 and 4 large pizza's 39p each reduced from £2.99. To be honest I don't think they will last as long as Christmas, as its half term next week they may get gobbled up by my daughter and friends if they have a movie night, which at 39p each is a cheap night in ! I also bought some reductions from the new Morrison's Bistro range which should have been £2.49 each ! These were reduced to 45p each, I picked up Battered Calamari x2, Potatas Bravas x 2 ( Spanish potatoes with paprika, chilli and tomato sauce ) and also Prawn & Jalapeno Empanadas x2 ( little pastries shaped like pasties). I had 6 packs for £2.70 just slightly above the price for one ! I thought I would start picking up little bits and pieces for Christmas and New Year when I see them reduced. If I have an impromptu gathering at least I'll have some bits and pieces in stock that won't break the bank. I also picked up a gammon joint which I am going to try in the slow cooker with apple juice, I saw this on another blog and thought I'd give it ago.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Years Eve is getting closer.....

Good Morning and welcome to my new follower Pamela.

Yes, New Years Eve is getting closer and it is only ten weeks away. Now in itself , that doesn't bother me, what does bother me is that we aim to put our house up for sale in the New Year and its nowhere near ready. We have made some progress by decluttering and getting rid of useless objects that we have stored needlessly for donkeys years. The house inside , we intend to give a fresh coat of paint and I have the paint already in stock. I just want to freshen it up and not spend a fortune. The garden is looking a bit weedy so hubby will be giving that a good clear up soon ahead of the winter weather. The bathroom was given a makeover about 18 months ago with new tiling and carpet so that still looks good. Finally a friend has a carpet cleaner so we will clean all the carpets as well. The only cash outlay we have to make is for a new carpet in the front reception room. It was about ten years old when we moved in 16 years ago and it is frankly an area that we have neglected. Its a shame really because it is an Axminster carpet and the quality is there but it is a creamy colour with a really dated pattern and because it is in the very front reception, it hits you as you walk in. I am reluctantly going to buy a new one as I think it would put people off. I think if I can make the house look clean, fresh and neutral then that should be OK. I am thinking of accessorising around the house with bits and pieces, ie coloured cushions etc to add a bit of visual interest. I'm hoping that 2012 will be the year we can sell up and move on.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Crikey , its Half Term next week !

I know its Half Term next week, but it just hit me as to how we will amuse ourselves with Payday falling at the end of the holiday. I have been thinking of cheap ways to keep us occupied. In the summer we went to the Black Country Living Museum, my daughter went free that day but I got a day ticket that came with 12 months free admission. I think we will go there again, the child ticket will cost £7.10 but she will get the 12 months free as well , so we can return again until next summer as often as we like ( plus they do fantastic old style fish & chips). My daughter has been invited to a sleepover with friends so that will occupy her for one day/night. I have been looking at the cinemas to see what Kids Showings they have, they can be fairly inexpensive at around £1.25 each, and of course we will take our own sweeties. Other than that it will be having friends over, (home) movie nights and trips to the park/walks and bike rides. The finances are looking a bit grim until Payday but unlike previous years, the credit card won't be touched. It will be fun on the cheap :-)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Recommend a Friend - and get a bad service

Recently we changed broadband supplier. Everything was going great until today when we have a large direct debit taken from our account. Called the supplier and it appears that the cowboy who came to the house to sell us the broadband has mucked it up. Here's how the story goes; A friend had an email to recommend a friend to the supplier, they would get £50 and the friend would get free installation worth £40. Our friend followed the instructions, gave our details and the company said they would call us to arrange things. Despite getting an acknowledgement email from the company, after a week they still had not called us. During this time the company had put a flyer through the door with the local sales rep's details on. We called the rep and he came round and signed us up. He was made aware of the recommendation, given the details and the reference number and said he would sort it. He signed us up for 18 mths ; 6 months at £23.00 then 12 months at £29.00 - all confirmed in writing on the contract .Activation/installation/other charges he wrote on the contract as NIL. So today when we queried the DD we were told it was made up of £23.90 x 2 and installation of £40. According to the supplier we are signed up as 6 x 23.90 then 12 x 33.90. We have to pay £40 installation fee plus the friend doesn't get the £50. They want to see a copy of the contract we have signed, strangely for us to send them OUR copy. We are sending them a photocopy of OUR copy - whats the betting it would get lost in the post etc etc. I am so annoyed.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Getting last little bits for Christmas

I have got nearly all my Christmas presents and I thought I would get some last bits and pieces for my daughter. This was earlier in the week prior to my mishap yesterday ! I set my self a budget of £20 . I actually spent £19.78 and here's what I bought;

Faux silk pillow - My daughter has wanted a 'posh pillow' for a while. I did look in Home Bargains. Theirs were £4.99 but weren't really very good quality. I saw this one in Sainsburys, should have been £10 but had 33% off = £6.66. I had a £5 Nectar reward which I used against it so actually cost me £1.66.

Zelda DS Game - My daughter saved her money earlier in the year and bought a Nintendo 3DS. They were around £199 but in August they dropped the price globally and she paid £120 from Morrison's on a special offer. I am not into this kind of stuff but I said if she wanted it she would have to save. She had pocket/birthday money and paid herself. Other friends have had them 'bought' for them as the latest must have toy. I think its good for kids to buy/budget for themselves. The game should have been £25. My husband was given £11 gift vouchers by someone who didn't want them. When he got to the shop the game was reduced to £22, so we paid £11.00.

Black Bag - Primark £4

Novelty Foot Sharpener - 12p from Tesco

Skirt and Waistcoat - These were from H&M. The skirt was reduced to £3 from £7.99. When I paid I was given a £5 promotion card. To be used fortnight commencing 10.10.11 with a minimum of £5 spend. I bought the waistcoat this week, £5 reduced from £9.99 paid for with the promotion card =£0. Total H&M spend £3

Saturday, 15 October 2011

This little Piggy has spend the morning in A&E...

The day started nicely. I had a lie in while Hubby dropped our daughter at her friends. I was lying in bed debating whether to have another ten minutes, but I decided to get up and peg the washing out. There was a church jumble sale due to start at 10am that I was going to go too. Got up and dressed then went outside to peg the washing. This is when the day went to pot ! I slipped ( somehow ) on the patio, it has a step up and I landed on my right knee with my left leg squished behind. The left leg was scraped badly from the ankle up to the knee. Hobbled back inside, Hubby returned to find me bleeding and blubbing in the kitchen. He said my ankle was looking a bit 'iffy' so off we went to A&E. Was in lots of pain and couldn't put my weight down. They thought I may have fractured my tibia but the X Ray came back OK , the doctor said I have strong healthy bones ! It is just soft tissue damage but still very bruised and painful. They advised pain killers and keep showering to clean wound. Luckily my daughter missed all the 'fun' and was playing happily at her friends unaware of the drama. We got home and had our 'breakfast' at 3pm. I had some painkillers and had a 3 hour sleep on the sofa. I'm feeling the pain now when I move around. I am a poor little piggy :-(

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Earning some extra pennies

Hello Readers and welcome to my latest follower Frugal Wife.

Today I had the rare opportunity to go into work and do some overtime. I haven't done any since early in the year, I had no plans today so in I went for 5 hours. The credit card will be paid off this month, the statement should be here any day now. We do have some things to pay out for in the next few weeks so the extra money will come in useful. Although I had a lucky escape at the dentist on Monday, my husband went along yesterday and he is looking at dental work of £204. It came as no surprise. When he was being made redundant last year we put off the work , which I think then was £196, but if he wants to keep his 'choppers' looking nice then we do have to pay it sooner rather than later. Also in November we also have the MOT for the car. Fingers crossed nothing seems to be wrong but you never can tell ! So although we have things to pay out for , it will be paid with lovely crisp cash and not sleazy credit cards like on previous occasions. I doubt if we will have any money to save but at least we won't be in debt. I also have a lovely sum of £50 coming my way soon. When my husband changed bank account, he got £100 joining incentive but as I recommnded him I got £50 as well. I think however that the bank forgot about me so I chased it up a few days ago. They have replied promptly saying I should get it in the next 28 days. I think I will use the £50 to start a savings pot for the new school uniform for next September.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Table Top Goodies

Good Evening Bloggers and welcome to my new follower Susan.

Tonight I have been mooching through the table top goodies at the place where my daughter goes to Guides. I saw a nice glass tea light holder but forgot about it until I'd got back home. They have a rail now with clothes so I took the opportunity to have a look through. I never see any of the other Moms looking which is good really as more bargains for me. For myself ,I am awkward to clothe anyway so I never really pick up anything for me but I do look for my daughter. Although she is only ten years old, she is quite tall so she can get away with some ladies clothes size 8 depending on the fit. Tonight I stumbled upon a brand new Regatta fleece, with the label still attached , and a jacket which is from Primark. I paid 50p each and I was really thrilled with them. My daughter likes the fleece and is pleased with the jacket , so much so that she wants to wear it for school tomorrow. We also picked up a book from the Percy Jackson series, which she is currently into. This was 30p and would have been £6.99 full price. I will be surveying the clothes rail each week to see what I can find. At a glance it does mainly look like clothing for the mature lady, but as tonight has shown its always worth taking a closer look.

Monday, 10 October 2011

My A-Z

Age - 36 in December
Bed Size - Has to be King Size
Chores I Hate - All of them but specifically ironing
Dog- If we were to have one it would be a Pug
Essential Start to Day - Cup of tea
Favourite Colour- Black, boring I know !
Gold or Silver - Gold
Height - 5ft 7
Interests - Travel, Cinema, Meeting people
Job Title - Clerical Officer
Kids - One daughter
Live - West Midlands
Mothers Name - I've always called her Mom
Nickname - Whatever daft mood my husband is in, depends upon the name at that given time
Overnight Hospital Stays - Maternity, Tonsillectomy
Pet Peeves- Bad manners, being ignored.
Quote from film - ' I hate manure' , Back to the Future
Right/Left handed - Right
Siblings - Two brothers
Time you wake - 7.30 ish, sometimes its more ish than 7.30 !
Underwear - Black/white cotton
Vegetables you hate - Cauliflower, swede, broccoli
What makes you late - Usually other people !
X Rays- Teeth, Arm, Neck
Yummy Food I make - Omelette's
Zoo Animal - Elephants

Happy Monday

Hello and welcome to Sandra who is my latest follower.
Today has been a Happy Monday. Rather pleasant day at work although tension still looms in the air. After work a quick trip to the dentist for my six monthly check up. Teeth are doing fine so £17 and five minutes later I am on my way home. I always have to chuckle to myself when the dentist says 'would you like a clean and polish?', I always say ' yes please' whilst thinking I am paying for one !! After school my daughter tells me she has had two invitations ; one to go to a friends house on Saturday , the other to go to the cinema after school this week with another friend. It seems just lately that her social life is far better than ours ! Nice family meal around the table at tea time and then we went for our evening walk together. Back home nice and early to relax. I just checked the bank accounts on line and my husband has had his joining incentive paid into his new bank account today, £100 - that will do nicely. It is 'already spent' as it will go towards paying off the remaining balance of the credit card.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Here's hoping for a nice week next week

First of all a big hello to my two new followers Rainbowchild and Michelle P.

This week has been complete pants. In no specific order I have had a horrible hospital appointment, a situation at work and a relative having a heart attack. Each day has been hard work and I'm trying to be positive and focus on a new start tomorrow. This seems to be a big of a regular thing now but I am looking forward to some Edwardian escapism with Downton Abbey and a nice cup of tea.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Getting Organised for October

September has flown by so quickly and it was a very busy month for us. Our senior school application is now logged on line so we have our fingers crossed for that, we hear on March 1st if as to where we have been successful. I took the opportunity today to try and get ahead for the month. I have sat down and looked at the 'books' which looks very healthy. We have £201 left to pay on the credit card so all being well that should be gone very soon. I have done a stock check of the freezer and meal planned for the forthcoming week. Its so good to know 'where we are at', the last few weeks felt very disorganised indeed ! This afternoon I'm having a good tidy up and my goal is to iron the big pile that has accumulated. Then a nice relaxing evening with Downton Abbey.