Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year Bloggers and lets hope that 2013 is a happy and prosperous new year for us all. See you next year xx

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

Nice baubles and lights

One of  my friends recently had a clear out and I was lucky enough to come away with some goodies. My daughter wanted some exterior Christmas lights but I said that I didn't have any spare cash this side of Christmas and that if I saw any reduced afterwards we could get them. In the stash was a set of white outdoor lights brand new in the box. I was really chuffed with these although I now have to figure out how to hang them. Also brand new in the box was some chubby teardrop baubles. They are shiny with glittered decorations. They look really nice spaced around the tree catching the light. There was also a box of 4 chubby round baubles with a look similar to that of Faberge eggs. Again these look really nice. My husband has conceded that they do look good despite saying initially we have enough already ! Have you acquired anything nice for the tree ?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Works Christmas Party

We are off to my husbands works party tonight. It is a family party where you can bring the children along. Years ago it was friends and family then it got whittled down to immediate family only. It is still a good night out. There is a hot buffet, drinks provided and a present from Santa for the children. They also take a photo with Santa and you receive that in the New Year. We have been going now since my daughter was a toddler so we have many photos over the years with Santa which is nice to look back upon. I particularly like having the evening off and having a hot meal put in front of me !

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Hasta La Vista Irish Stew

I had some reduced diced lamb in my freezer that I had bought earlier in the year. It was a yellow sticker item reduced to £1 for 750g, it had been lying in the freezer forgotten and unused. That was until the other day when my husband had to go in to work for a long meeting and I decided to cook it for his return home. I got out the slow cooker and browned the lamb in the frying pan. I then added all my left over veg that was to be used up; potatoes, leeks, carrots , cabbage. I added some chunks of garlic and mixed herbs. I did not have any lamb stock so I improvised with beef stock and topped it up above the level of the meat and veg. I left the slow cooker on for hours to work its magic whilst I got on with my day. My daughter had some stew after school and my husband did when he got home. They have had about another four bowls over the last few days. Friends of ours say they keep adding tins of soup to their stews to make it last. Sadly the last bowl of stew was consumed today. I will make some more as soon as I get some more lamb , of course at a decent price.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Pay Day

Both my husbands and my own employer pay us early ahead of Christmas. Our paydays are usually at the end of each month but each year both , separate, employers pay us before December 25th. A lot of people like this as they think it gives them extra money over the Christmas period however come January they have the harsh realisation that they then have a 5 week month to survive until the next pay day at the end of the month. I personally don't like being paid early, I would much prefer to keep things as they are the rest of the year. One employer I had many years ago used to pay their staff 1/13th each pay day. It was a bit weird to begin with as obviously you do get less each month, but you got used to that. The big bonus was that in December you got paid 2/13ths so it was great to get two months pay in one go.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Sherry Christmas

Evening all and hope you are well. I am happy as I have discovered some forgotten treasure. From last Christmas I have a bottle of QC sherry and half a bottle of port , these will be added to my Christmas hamper. I also picked up a box of Mr Kiplings mince pies for 99p. I don't like mince pies but my guests do so that will add to the Christmas night spread of goodies. This time next week it will be Christmas Eve, I don't know where the year has gone. |I have posted all my cards now , hand delivered and a few through the post. All the presents are wrapped and ready. All I have to get now is some fresh veg at the weekend and I am good to go. Are you guys all set ?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Keeping warm in the bedroom

I thought I would share with you my latest discovery for keeping warm in the bedroom. No its nothing saucy , far from it , in fact it reminded me of my grandparents when I first saw it. Oh the suspense is probably killing you but it is a fleecy mattress topper ( I did say it reminded me of grandparents ! ). Where we live there is a store called B&M, kind of like Home Bargains sells all sorts. Whilst there recently I saw these mattress toppers and wondered how good they would be, a king size being £6.99. I decided to buy one and give it a try. Its like a fitted sheet so very easy to fit but the fleece only goes up 75% of the sheet as there is no fleece under where the pillow would go. I found that after a few minutes I could feel the difference already and in the mornings it is so snug that you don't want to get out of bed . I was so pleased with it that I went a few days later and picked up one for my daughters bed, a double size at £5.99. Needless to say she is thrilled with hers and is all toasty each morning. Not a bad investment for just under £13 in these cold times.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Hamper Update

I have been trying to cut the cost of Christmas by buying an item each week with my regular shop to not only cut cost but save time and energy in the madness before the big day.

After our Christmas lunch we like to have cold cuts and nibbles in the evening and then again the next day. I like slices of turkey with picked red cabbage, yum yum.

Recently I have picked up some more goodies to add to our stash;

Quiche Lorraine which was reduced from £2.59 to 46p, was freezable so in it went !
Pack of 5 different cheeses - £4
Brussels Pate ( with January date ) £1
Key Lime Pie £2
Cream , on offer 2 for £1 - long dates so can use later if not consumed at Christmas
Frozen Sprouts £1

Here's what I already had in stock ;

Christmas Pudding - Bought after Christmas last year
Brandy Sauce - Bought recently reduced but long date
Cranberry Sauce - Bought recently reduced but long date
Bread Sauce - Supermarket
Pickled Onions - Bought a few weeks ago , on offer
Pickled Cabbage - Bought a few weeks ago, on offer
Beetroot - Bought a few weeks ago, on offer
Crackers - Bought from B&M 79p, long date -price in supermarket £1.99
Bread sticks - Supermarket
Custard - Bought on offer recently
Turkey Crown ( feed 6-8 people ) in freezer - £10 bought recently
Gammon Joint ( in freezer) - £5 - bought on offer recently
6 bottles of wine ( 3 red, 3 white - bought on offer 3 for £10 from Asda )

Do you have a stash or are you getting it all in one go nearer the time ?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Lovely new bedding

I mentioned a while ago about my M&S vouchers and that I was waiting for M&S to have a 20% sale. They had one recently and I took advantage and ordered my new stuff. It has now all arrived and is in 'situ' and its great at bedtime to snuggle down ! I worked out what I needed and played around to get maximum goods for maximum value using my free vouchers. I ordered a new duvet, 4 new pillows, a new duvet set, a new fuchsia fitted sheet with 2 matching pillow cases and a chocolate brown duvet, fitted sheet with 4 matching pillows cases. I chose colours that would work well with each other so I can mix and match. The duvet set has coloured leaves on so it goes with the fuchsia and brown bedding. The best treat is the new duvet. It is so thick and warm , it goes to show how thin our old one was. I have kept the old one in the spare room should we need it for visitors or an extra layer on a  freezing cold night. Because I had 20% off I still have some vouchers left over to use another time. Its really perked me up having new bedding as my old stuff was years old and was looking tired ( not that anyone ever sees it ! ) but I didn't have to fork out for a huge outlay as I used my vouchers, so it has been a real treat.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas Parties

Hi folks and hope you are well. Christmas party season has kicked in and parties will be taking place up and down the country for the next few weeks. At my workplace we are never given a party or any kind of 'doo'. The most they go to is leaving half  hour early on Christmas Eve, subject to your managers discretion of course. A group of colleagues always organise a night out, usually book up in the summer and then attend in December. This year our 'doo' is tomorrow night. In principle I like to catch up with people. Although you can work with people you can't always , nor want to , socialise with them outside work. This group I am going with all get a long and it can be a good evening but now it is upon me I don't feel as enthusiastic as I did earlier this year. I have been recovering from the usual nasty winter tummy bug and feel tired and fed up. Plus I don't have much cash to spend and I know for a fact the drinks can be very expensive. The sticking point is the cost of my ticket, which has been spread through the year bit its still enough that I don't want to write it off. Now for the party itself I am not the type to dash and buy a new outfit especially , I dig something out the wardrobe. Likewise with the hair I wont be having a blow dry at the salon beforehand so no extra costs there. I have a lift there and back so no taxi money is needed. I am thinking of just going for the meal and then coming home shortly after. Now after a few vino's I'm sure I will be met with cries of 'spoilsport' by my friends but like I said I don't want to write the meal off. Its a three course meal with coffee and mince pies after ( and I have chosen roast beef, yum yum ). Like a lot of people I have so much on these next few weeks and I don't want a huge expense. I think I will dine and dash !

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Washing on line = telling off !

Hello folks and hope you are well. Its quite sunny here today although its a bit nippy. It is however quite windy so I have sneaked some washing on the line in the hope that it dries off a bit. My husband is completely against this and this is where the telling off occurs. He is of the opinion that its not warm enough to dry washing and that its a fruitless exercise. I think that if it is windy the washing still dries off even if it is still a little damp, its a lot drier than before. We often debate this and I get moaned at as soon as the washer completes it cycle '' you are not hanging that out are you ?''. Reading blogs and real life conversations have taught me that not everyone puts the drier on ( or in fact owns a drier, ourselves included ).  As I type I can see the shirts blowing back and forth in the wind. So readers are you with me or are you going to tell me off ?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Whoop, first overpayment !

Hi Readers and hope you are all well. Here we are in December, how the year has flown ! Today is a big day for us as we have made our first mortgage overpayment. We have had the house now for six months although we did not move in straight away. Each month I have been meaning to save but various things have happened and the savings have been gobbled up elsewhere. Recently I have seen other blogs where authors have revealed their income and outgoings. I have to admit I am nosey by nature and have always wondered how other people manage and do the things they do in their lives. Our family does not have a huge income and we don't have a high disposable income, that's where we struggle with the saving as its not there to begin with. However with time passing by I decided to take decisive action and set up a monthly overpayment. I have managed to allow for £100 per month. It is not a huge amount but equally it is not insignificant either. I hope that over the year if I have any spare monthly cash I could increase the amount accordingly. Like anyone else , I do want to get rid of my mortgage as quickly as possible but realistically I am not going to be able to pay hundreds of pounds each month into it. Another reason for the overpayment is that I am trying to think ahead. When my five year rate ends I will then have less to refinance, also if I do want to sell I will have more equity in the property however I can't see that I will want to move again for a very long time, if at all. Next year I want to try and start a savings pot. I mean well but often my good intentions slip by the wayside. I still have jobs in the house to complete that will take time and money. TTFN x

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Acts of Kindness

Evening all and hope you are well, safe and tucked up nice and warm. It is horrible, rainy and blustery where I live and I am now in for the night !
I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I feel I haven't got anything to say or that anyone would want to read. I am still reading other blogs but like other areas in real life I feel lacking in enthusiasm. Maybe its the winter blues but today I was perked up a little by two acts of unexpected kindness. First was a gift from a work colleague. A dress , worn once, that she has no use for and wondered if I may like it. I tried it on at home and it looks OK. It is not one that I would have picked up off the peg but trying it on ,it does look OK. Maybe I should broaden my horizons and try different things. That said I rarely go clothes shopping as I find it such a bore and a chore, but now I have a nice new outfit. If I could shed a pound or two ( or ten) it would look even better.
Second unexpected act of kindness was a card through the post with some photographs in. Recently a great uncle of mine passed away whom I only met once or twice many years ago. A relative ,who I don't see often, went to the funeral and was given some photographs by my uncles widow. The relative copied the photos and sent me a copy. The pictures were of my great grandparents who died long before I was born. One photo was of my great grandfather in his World War One uniform, the other of my great grandmother looking smart in her coat and hat, maybe in the 1930's?  I had never seen a picture of them before today and I was really surprised to receive the card .I will be penning a thank you letter later on this evening. Bye for now x

Thursday, 8 November 2012

New phone

Good afternoon and welcome to two new followers Kerry and Monica Luis, thank you both for joining.

My mobile phone is about five years old. It was my husbands before mine and has worked well until about a week ago. The screen keeps disappearing and going all strange I decided it was time to replace it. Now I am not fussed about gadgets and certainly not bothered about I Phones etc , all  I need is to be able to make a call and send text messages. I am also keeping my existing £5 Virgin simcard which gives me free calls to other Virgin mobiles, 100 free minutes and unlimited text messages. I can go on the Internet at 30p a time but I never do. My old phone was a basic Nokia and suited me fine for a long time. I looked on line at various phones but I wanted one with digits to press and not a touch screen, again I'm not into the gadget thing so not bothered about touchscreen. We went into Tesco last night and I bought one off the shelf for £40. It is a Nokia handset ,sim free and Virgin compatible, with a more modern QWERTY keyboard. I'm really not fussed about Facebook,Twitter and other social apps to be with me 24/7 as I carry my phone around and I don't see the point of expensive phones and contracts. So today I am having a play and finding out how the new phone works. All my contacts have been successfully transferred over so hopefully no one has been left behind on the old phone. TTFNx

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hello :-)

Good evening and welcome to my new follower Cornish Claire, thanks for joining.

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I was in America last week , in New York and came back just before the storm hit. Its hard to chat about 'your good time' when a day or two later everything is in chaos and people have been killed.

Bryallen from the Frugal Graduate blog asked me some questions so here are the answers ;
1. If you were the prime minister/president for the day, what would you change?
Without sounding too political , I would try and make the UK a better and fairer place for all those hard working ,decent , law abiding citizens who have payed into the system all their lives.

2. Do you have a nickname? What is it?
Nicknames vary according to my husbands mood !

3. Why do you blog? (Stolen from Pamela!)
Because I enjoy it ( most of the time )

4. What was the last film you saw and was it any good?
Men in Black 3 on the flight and it was OK.

5. What is your favourite thing about yourself?
I can sleep on a clothes line !

6. What was the first CD/tape/record/mp3 (whatever it was) you ever bought?
A record by Chas & Dave, 'Margate ' - how embarrassing !

7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
America, everytime :-)

8. How do you get to work?

9. How would you spend your last day on Earth?
With my loved ones.

10. What was your first job?
At fast food outlet.

11. Where is your favourite place
Home :-)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Planning a weekend away

Evening folks. I mentioned a few weeks ago my daughter is going on a school trip to Wales next year, she goes from Friday until Sunday evening so we have the weekend to ourselves. It occurred to me that we could go away without the need for a babysitter which is a rare opportunity. Since my daughter has been born I have only had one weekend away when I was 30. A friend of mine was selling the benefits of time away , alone, with your spouse. Its not something we have ever done really but another friend in the conversation added that it is an annual thing for them and they really enjoy it. But for us it is time,money , babysitting etc that has contributed to us not doing it, in fact I can't really say I have ever given it much thought until recently. So what we intend to do is wave our daughter off at school on the Friday morning and then set off ourselves. We love North Wales but haven't been for a while. We looked into staying at a Premier Inn which for two nights on the saver rate was in excess of £80, not bad but not cheap either. Then I looked by chance at Travelodge. I found one 4 miles away from my chosen location but to my delight a family room for the two nights worked out at £38 ! Now I know it is Stopober but I couldn't let the weekend away for £38 slip away so I booked it up, with real money all bought and paid for. We will go to some of our favourite places, Conwy, Llandudno, Betws y Coed and of course Snowdonia. We still have yet to venture over to Angelsey so we may get chance to do that this time round. Its a part of the world that we really enjoy so we are looking forward to it.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Free M&S Vouchers

When I moved house I took advantage of some offers with the various insurance companies for the new policies that we needed. We needed buildings and contents, life and decreasing term assurance policies. I ended up with £150 in M&S vouchers which after the qualifying three month wait came through the post recently. The initial plan was to buy lounge curtains, they were £218 ( for two pairs ) which minus £150 left us with £68 of real money to pay. After waiting patiently for the three months to receive the vouchers through, I was a little bit peeved to find the curtains had been discontinued in the colour I wanted. Then a discussion with a colleague about tatty bed linen, I realised I could renew mine with the vouchers. I want to get a new duvet, pillows , duvet set and bed linen. I have priced it up what I want and it comes to £157, so only £7 of cash to pay out. I know that M&S isn't cheap but it is for free after all and I think sleep would be a good investment to make. My duvet is getting a bit thin now , I cannot even remember when I bought it. I may just keep that in reserve and spend this winter under a nice new toasty one. Had I have thought of this a fortnight ago , I could have used the 20% off coupon I was given when I bought my new jeans. My mom tells me M&S often send this coupons through so I am going to hang fire and buy the linen when the offer is on or failing that maybe in the New Year Sales. I've had my current linen so long a few more weeks to wait won't hurt. TTFN x

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Piggy goes back to college, for free !

Hello readers. Sometime ago my local council was advertising free GCSE Maths & English for anyone who wanted to improve their grade or who had'nt got the qualification. I did do my GCSE's years ago at school and whilst I got good grades in the other subjects, Maths was'nt my strong point. Combined with the distraction of friends messing about and the teacher not really engaging us, I got a grade D. I did resit and got another D ( at least I am consistent !) The years have passed and I always wondered if it was a true grade, was it a real reflection of my capability or could I have done better ? So when I saw the advert I jumped at the chance to take the course again. I want to improve my grade, or at least try my best too, but more importantly try and understand or help my daughter with her Maths homework. I went for a taster in the summer and signed up. We all had to introduce ourselves and explain why we wanted to do the course. I gave my reasons like everyone else. At the end , the tutor was talking to me when the others had gone and said that she commended my efforts to improve my grade and that how she thought it was great that I was willing to go through the course to help my daughter and set a good example to better myself and to encourage learning. I was quite touched by what she said and I am not the type of person who fishes for compliments , nevertheless I was encouraged by her positivity. For the last three weeks I have attended an induction, and yesterday I began my regular class. I was really pleased to discover that I had the same tutor from the summer taster session. We are a class of 5 adults in the session and the tutor explained things really well. The book we used in the session I have seen on eBay for 99p so I am going to get my own copy. So here I am getting a free course via my council and so far so good.I must dash now as I have homework to do ! TTFN x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Yummy Spag Bol and Impromptu Treacle pud

I've had such a delicious meal tonight, I could eat it all over again and it was tasty and cheap. I have been using some of Tescos Everyday range and now have converted to some items on a regular basis. Heres what I used all from the freezer or the cupboard;

Waitrose mince £1.39 400g - freezer
Onion and Mushrooms
Tesco Everyday beef stock cube 10p per pack - I think there are 10 in a pack ! so 1p each
Garlic granules - cupboard
Salt & pepper - cupboard
Tesco Everyday chopped tomatoes 30p tin - cupboard
Pinch of chili powder - cupboard
Pinch of Tesco Everyday mixed herbs - 9p pot !- cupboard
Half a packet of Tesco Everyday Spaghetti - 24p packet ! - cupboard
Tesco Everyday Garlic baguette - 32p - freezer
And lastly a splosh of red wine - was a gift , again from the cupboard
Grated hard cheese - 59p from Lidl- cupboard

For pudding we had some of my weekend Madeira cake, I lay the slices fat side down and drizzled some golden syrup on the top and left in the oven whilst we ate the Spag Bol. We had some custard with the sponge and it was delicious, I would even go so far as to say tastier than some restaurant sweets we have had in the past. If I ever do Come Dine with me, that is the pudding I will serve up.  I have said before I can be a greedy pig but I could literally eat it all again.

I am enjoying making the meals just lately. Its such a buzz when they turn out well, empty plates, full tummies and smiley faces. 

Stoptober Day 2 - Failed :-(

Hi Folks. I have failed and have had to pay out some money. The blame is not all mine but nevertheless I have had to part with money for a school trip. My daughter gave me a letter ( that she'd had for a few days ! ) saying the money should have been paid by 28.9.12. I have had to send a cheque up to school today quick smart so she has a place on the trip next summer. Other than that I haven't spent anything , is it cheating if I turn a blind eye to the school trip money ?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Hit the card hard

Hello. As I mentioned a few days ago we put some spending on the card when we moved and have had the statement through. We decided to use all our money after the bills have been paid to clear the balance. We are left with virtually nothing but the card is paid off. We have plenty in the freezer and the cupboards are reasonably stocked. I have stocked up on flour and cake ingredients so I can make us some goodies during the month, when the oven is on of course ! Yesterday we had a roast for lunch and I filled the oven up with a fruit crumble and two Madeira cakes. We shall be having a slice of cake in the lunch boxes this week and the crumble was pudding for yesterday and today. Its interesting to see every ones concerted efforts for Stopober. Everyone has their own story and reasons for saving money. My short term objective is to save for my carpet and long term is to start overpaying my new mortgage. I will be really pleased if I could make a start with the overpayment's before the end of the year. My husband has asked me to start meal planning again as it has proved so invaluable with time, money and effort so I will try and get that done in the next day or two. TTFN x

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Time to crunch the numbers again

Evening folks. I get paid tomorrow but the cash is already earmarked to go straight out. When we moved to the new house some unexpected things ate into the little pot of cash that we had for the move. We got as much done as we could but some things had to be put on the back burner. One of which was a carpet for the hall , stairs and landing. All the rest of the house is done but we ran out of cash. What didn't help was that the carpet people upped their quote by £400 at the eleventh hour. It may have been a tactic to squeeze us for more money but I didn't fall for it. I told the carpet guy that I would do without the hall and get it at a later date. We have used offcuts on the upstairs landing and in the hall way as we had a long off cut the length of the lounge which was 24ft . We had intended to get the carpet this month but there has been some spending on the credit card so the carpet will have to wait again. I don't want to be in debt again, at least not for something that can wait a few weeks. That's where we went wrong in the past, the 'must get it now' mentality. Also the man is coming tomorrow to look at the conservatory and I'm sure that it will cost ££££.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Leaky conservatory

Good Evening. For the last 24 hours almost it has rained non stop here and everywhere is soaking wet. Having recently moved house we are still discovering things that we have inherited from the previous people and today's find seems to be a leaky conservatory roof. It didn't leak previously in the summer when it rained a lot. It is only a slight leak and maybe its due to having had a months rainfall overnight but nevertheless it is time for another tradesman to come out just when I thought I'd said cheerio to the last one. Hopefully it wont be too expensive as we are having a friend of a friend come out to take a look. TTFN x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

New Jeans

I had to go and get some new jeans today. My current ones are now a few years old and look shabby plus I hate clothes shopping so I always find it an ordeal. I forced myself to go today as someone gave me a 20% off voucher for M&S dated this weekend. |I went to the big M&S in Birmingham and was astonished to get two pairs that fit and look OK. I tried a few pairs on but strangely it was the economy range at £12.50 per pair that looked and fitted the best. As they had two of my size in stock I snapped them up and got £5 discount so it only worked out at £10 per pair. I opted for the indigo blue colour which is more of a navy than a denim colour. After that I managed to find another bargain in WH Smith, a wooden ball in a cup toy priced at 25p in the bargain bin. I got this for someone who loves wooden toys for their children so I know it will be well received. En route home I always pop in the little Waitrose who sometimes have great reductions. No great ones today but I did manage to get two packs of Aberdeen Angus steak mince reduced from £3.99 to £1.39 each,  3x peppers reduced from £2 to 89p and a wholemeal loaf reduced from £1.59 to 39p. I am going to make another batch of Chili tomorrow for later in the week. Its getting rather chilly round these parts nowadays and theres nothing better than a pot of Chili on a chilly night. Well its time to get snuggled down and ready for Downton Abbey, I do believe we have the wedding tonight dear readers . TTFNxx

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Getting there slowly

Evening all and hope you are well. Productive day today, slowly getting things packed away. Managed to tackle some of the boxes in the garage and sort through and re home some of the stuff. Most of it went in the cupboard under the stairs but the garage is slowly being freed up from its alternative life as a storage unit. Another trip to the tip as we seem to have cardboard boxes multiplying. One of the finds today was a box full of camcorder tapes from years ago, I am thinking maybe of having some home movie nights during the winter months ahead. I was also very good and gave the Dyson a good clean, the removable bits have all been washed and left in the conservatory overnight to dry out, the filter was more than fifty shades of grey but now looking much cleaner. It said to wash the spongy bit every 6 months, I don't remember doing it before and I have probably had it more than two years. I also tackled my wardrobe , folded and organised everything. It now looks so much better and less like a jumble sale and I can find things more quickly too. Feeling tired now so will say nighty night. Its almost midnight and I might turn into a pumpkin. TTFN x

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Pays to be prepared.

Good afternoon dear bloggers and I hope you are all well. Apologies for the recent absence. It was unexpected due to a hospital appointment last week and a procedure that the doctor decided to do immediately. Being taken by surprise has its advantages as at least I wasn't dwelling on it days prior but I was writhing around in agony for a few days after ! Almost back to normal now but I have to go back in 2 months to see if the treatment has to be repeated. Luckily I had some time off work so I could writhe around without having to tell people why I was off work, you always get the nosey ones don't you.

Making some meals in advance really helped me out last week and goes to show how its best to have some stuff in as you never know what is around the corner.When I was recouperating I happily wolfed down the chilli I had made earlier in the week prior to my treatment.  We had an unexpected guest for lunch on Sunday so the roast chicken didn't make it through to Monday but nevertheless we have been doing well with meals. On Monday we ventured into the unknown with a vegetable stroganoff. We all love meat in our house but I fancied giving something different a try however it wasn't that much cheaper in all honesty once I'd bought all the peppers, mushrooms etc to go in under the veg category. Although it tasted nice I did notice the absence of meat but it was a good meal if you wanted a veggie alternative. Tonight I am cooking gammon which I hope will last a day or two.  TTFN xx

Monday, 10 September 2012

Cooking once, eating twice

Evening all. I feel really tired today and my husband offered to cook tea. I am not knocking his kind offer but it was comical as I had cooked the meal yesterday. Trying to cut costs and save time, I am cooking meals to last a day or two again. Yesterday we had roast chicken and I made enough veg for the same meal at dinner again tonight. The chicken even saw us through for yummy chicken wraps for supper and a couple for our lunch today at work. Tomorrow I will be making a bolognese/chili for tea on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have the generic ingredients for both , onions mushrooms and peppers both topped off with some grated cheese at the table. Tomorrow I am giving Tescos Everyday Penne pasta a try, I think it was about 39p for a bag. I am trying the value brands to see how they work out. TTFN x

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Getting a bit more done

Good Afternoon and welcome to new reader ' sh3ri301', thanks for following.

I am enjoying the sunshine and getting jobs done. I still have boxes and bags around that I am slowly getting unpacked. Rather than doing it all at once I am doing a few each day so I don't get fed up, I figure that way I can keep productive and still enjoy my new surroundings without feeling burnt out !
This weekend we have managed to get some more things done, not big things just time consuming. New blind in the bathroom which seemed the simplest job but took forever ! New curtain rail in our room and a new shower curtain rail. Because we have a corner bath, we ordered a bendy rail which you can bend to suit. A lot of corner rails come in sections which eventually fail so although a little bit more expensive, we opted for the bendy as it comes in one piece. The bathroom does look transformed with the new blind, its amazing how little touches can finish a room off. At the moment we have a fitter here , fitting a new bathroom door as the old one had split and was beyond repair. This should be the last of the tradesmen type people now for a very long time. It will be nice to give the purse a rest as it has been open none stop these last few months and the pot is now empty. The essential jobs have now been done but the more cosmetic things will have to wait until we have more cash to hand, whenever that will be !! Enjoy your weekend, TTFN xx

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I am '' Little Red Hen''

Who remembers the story of Little Red Hen ? I am that Hen at the moment ! This post is a bit of a moan so look away now if you don't want to read my gripes !! I have just moved into my new house and with the exception of my parents , no one else has helped us in any way shape or form. This includes family and friends who I have helped in numerous ways over the years and also in recent months. Since we completed in May I have been in a mess , like most people, working to financial and time constraints. I have been working at my place of work, then working into the evenings at my house most days and weekends. Eating meals out of sync, keeping my daughter amused as she was completely bored with us working away. Fetching, carrying back and forth etc etc.No one has offered to help, babysit or give us a welcome hot meal or packed lunch ! Now here's where it gets a bit ' Henny'! Now we have moved in, these people who have lay back dormant, silent and invisible seem to be reappearing , suggesting come dine with me meals and housewarming parties. Is it me fellow bloggers or do you also think its a bit of a cheek ? I try to stay positive but this has shown me what short memories people seem to have and how people are willing to take but not give.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Planning for Christmas

I am always quite organised buying gifts in advance for Christmas but this year I thought I would make up a food hamper in advance to cut down on the expense and running around nearer the time. It started last week when I went into a local shop and saw the shelf of reductions. Amongst other things was jars of cranberry sauce and cartons of Birds brandy sauce. The cranberry was 69p dated 2013 and the brandy sauce was 50p dated Dec 2012. This prompted me to start buying. I plan to buy something each week with the weekly shop. Last week I bought some breadsticks and tonight I got some non alcoholic beer for one of my guests which was on offer. I hope to get some of the offers ahead of December. I already had my Christmas pud in stock, a luxury one with brandy which should have been  £7 before Christmas reduced in January to £1.50. Its dated BBE Sept 2012 but I have no doubt it will be OK. It will be our first Christmas in our new home so I have invited a few family members over for lunch. Are you thinking about Christmas yet ?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

New School

Good Morning and firstly apologies for the delay in welcoming new follower Halfrida, thanks for joining. Also a big thank you to fellow blogger SFT for awarding me the ' Lovely Blog award' a few weeks ago. Thank you so much and sorry for the delay in accepting.

This last week has been another milestone for our family, we have moved into our new house and my daughter has started at senior school. We are hoping that this stress of the last eighteen months is now behind us and a new period of calm will follow, time will tell !

I am sat at home all alone feeling strangely redundant. Daughter has gone off by herself to catch the school bus. Its weird, completely different from the more hands on approach that you had to have at primary school. She has stayed school dinners so I have no idea what she will eat until she gets home and tries to recall what shes bought. At least with packed lunch I could police the meal but now my control has been taken away a little. First day she ate pizza and a brownie. I have tried to advise that she needs to make healthy choices or she will have to take a packed lunch.

She looks smart in her new uniform, but that has also been a costly exercise. I have managed to save some money as her school shoes and trainers still fit her from before but inevitably they will need replacing in a month or two, it is only a temporary saving. The uniform I had to get from one of two suppliers as it is has school emblem sewn on and not plain. The suppliers had sold out of everything so it was a bit close getting everything in time, will make a note to self next summer to get anything I need before July so I don't have the same problem again . Here's what she had to have ;

School coat ; £52 Next, managed to find black decently made duffel style coat for winter with a hood. Lots of the coats are fashion style and poorly made.

School blazer ; £32

School trousers; £17 one pair ,managed to get these from M&S. Again had to be straight leg which was hard to find as they are all boot leg fashion style trousers which are not allowed.

School skirts ; £18.50 each bought two.

School Jumpers ;£17 each bought two.

School cardigan; £18 each bought one.

Black tracksuit ; £24.50,  Had to be plain black with no slogans/brand. Got this from M&S, bought hoodie style jacket £15 and black joggers £9.50. Some parents said they don't wear this much, luckily as its plain she could wear it at home for casual clothing so not too worried about that.

School PE top; £9

School shorts ; £5

School ties ; £7 each, bought two

School blouses; £12 for a three pack from M&S, got two packs.

That little lot does not include new socks, tights, stationery etc that she had to have as well.

I'm not moaning it was inevitable, its just come at a time when we had a lot of expense with the house move and all we have done for the last two months is stand at tills paying for stuff !

Enjoy your day, TTFN xx

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Just a quick hello............

Hello and welcome to my new followers Mrs M and Betty, thank you both for joining.

I have been a bad blogger and its been ages since my last post. I have been sooooo busy . I am moving into my new house in a fortnight and its been really chaotic. I am still having work done but am hopeful that it should be finished shortly. Its been a long and exhausting journey but the end is in sight !

I hope you are enjoying your summer and will I be back in September. TTFN xx

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Gold Cash In

I have cashed some old jewellery in today. I have had these items in my jewellery box for years and could not possibly tell you the last time I got them out let alone wore them. I decided to cash them in as they were not sentimental pieces. I cashed in a necklace, bracelet and a few old rings. I got back £270 cash which I am going to put towards some stuff I need for the new house. I saw some items at Ikea that I wanted, a new bed for my daughter and a cabinet which came to coincidentally £269. I am going to use my cash bonus to buy the items. I may even treat myself to a lucky dip with the leftover £1.... TTFN x

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

One room finished, only eight to go !

Finally I have one room finished ! I have redecorated the box room and the nice carpet fitter man came today to lay the carpet. I can now start to use that room for storage whilst the other rooms are being finished. I was like Queen Bee today with my workers all busy around me. I had one workman doing the loft insulation, one doing the cavity wall and another fitting the carpet. The loft is like a room of clouds with all the new thick insulation lay down. I can't wait to be inside my new house all toasty !!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Neverending Decorating

Things seem to be moving forward now with the house. This week I have the loft people coming over to insulate the loft. Once this job is done I can start storing things away again. I have also had some quotes for a new boiler and fire to be fitted. I had a budget for the fire and managed to get it on offer with 20% off, the saving has almost paid for the fitting so I have some money to go back in the pot. This week I have been decorating. Most of the house is now undercoated ready to be glossed but I think I will have this done after the jobs have been completed so it doesn't get knocked about. I have painted the lounge ceiling, after the fire is fitted I just need to paint the walls and get the carpet fitted , then I will have one room ready and finished ! I can't afford to get the hall and stairs redecorated . It was papered but aged and a bit dingy ! I have given it a few coats of white paint and it looks so much fresher and bright. I have some other paint for the top coat but again I will do that once the  jobs have been finished. This afternoon I painted the ceilings in my daughters room and the box room, I also gave the box room its first coat of wall paint and that is looking a lot fresher too. I'm finding that even if I can spare an hour or two in the evenings it seems to be getting so much done. 

Friday, 6 July 2012

Freebie for a homeowner

I am still here, my time just lately is spent at work, working overtime, doing favours for others (more on that another time) and trying to get my new place sorted. I am tired , aching and fed up but trying to keep my chin up and keep motivated. I recently enquired about the energy saving schemes and our local council is advertising free loft and cavity wall insulation for homeowners. So a lovely surveyor came round, and confirmed we meet the criteria and can have it done for free. Yes FREE !! Saving around £500 on the upfront insulation costs and then future savings on our energy bills. Its a refreshing change not to be knocked back for something. We are looking forward to having a toasty house in the winter. The lovely people are coming next week to complete the job.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ongoing DIY

A few days absence from blogging as I have been busy working at work and also at the new house. At work we have overtime again so I am trying to make hay whilst the sun shines, as usual it could be withdrawn at anytime so I am racking up as much as possible to add to my DIY pot. The DIY pot although it is not an insignificant amount of money it is not huge and a quick calculation of jobs required and money available shows that there is not enough money available ! Some jobs that were ' nice to have' will have to wait will the 'need to have' get done first. I initially intended to do some bits in the garden but that will have to wait until next summer, time and money permitting. In the meantime we have concentrated upon jobs that we can do ourselves. To date we have rubbed down all the woodwork and plan to undercoat it in the coming days. We want to get a local decorator to gloss it as neither of us are particularly skilled in that area. My husband spent Saturday on top of the garage roof clearing away the tropical garden that had been growing there, evidently for quite a few years. Where we live it has been really rainy of late and the rain drain was blocked with a beautiful fern growing out of it. It is now all cleared and the rain can drain away properly. Some of the jobs are messy and time consuming but at least we are not paying people to do it. We do not intend to move house again for a very long time and want to get as many , messy jobs done and out of the way before we move in.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Gas & Elec Meter ..Continued

Hi folks and thanks for your comments regarding the prepaid meters. I have googled them but there is so much contradictory information. I am annoyed because either way it is going to cost me more money through no fault of my own, either pay inflated prices with the key or pay to have them taken out ! I had a conversation yesterday with someone about it and their argument was that I shouldn't have bought the house then as I knew those meters were in there ! If that was the case no properties would ever get sold because there is always something you dislike or needs updating/repairing ! In the short term I need to have the key to have power to do jobs but when I move in I will get the meters changed I think. It is a different provider to the one I have always used so if it is that I do have to pay , then I may as well pay my existing provider to remove them and keep my business with them. I could keep the key and see how I get on but I think it is inconvenient to have to keep going and topping it up every week or so. Have a good weekend x

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Gas and Electricity Key Meters ???????????

Help ! Does anyone have any knowledge about the key/card meters please ? Our new property has both due to the previous owner being in financial difficulty and I have learned that we have to pay to have the meters taken out , at a cost of around £50 per meter. I have never had these type of meters before and have heard they can be quite costly as the power is more expensive to buy per unit than having a regular meter.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Freecycle and other freebies

Good evening and it is a real wet one here , the rain is coming down hard and fast. We are in house mode at the moment. I had a plasterer come over yesterday and give us a quote. I have seen his work and the price was very reasonable, which luckily fell in my budget that I had allocated. Yesterday I was given some old garden slabs. They are large and thick and are quite weighty. I have a little patch by the garden shed and two of these slabs were just the job. Someone told me I could get some new ones for only a fiver each but my budget is tight and I have reused something that was destined for the skip. Besides these are old slabs and seem much better than the ones you get nowadays. Also tonight was another first for us, I looked at Freecycle and saw that someone was offering bark for the garden. The person emailed me back and off we went armed with garden bags to collect the bark. This will be used in a smallish patch we have for underneath some trees. Again our money saved and someone else doesn't have a trip to the tip. It is quite interesting what people offer for free, I shall certainly be keeping an eye on it. The last freebie we had was a book my daughter had wanted from the Eclipse saga. Walking to school a house had a table out front with a sign saying ' please help yourself'. There was lots of books, cassettes ,videos and other bits and pieces all for free. TTFN x

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Bathroom Shower

Thank you for all your messages and kind wishes.We are trying to get as many jobs done before we move in. One job was a new bathroom shower , the old one looked ancient. The property had a new bathroom fitted but they had kept the old shower. When we had the new one installed , we found new property surprise number 1. The shower had been sealed onto the wall and not fixed on properly. Also inside the shower it was not wired up correctly so wouldn't have worked ! I had a budget of £100 for a new shower and managed to get one over the Bank Holiday for £69 in the sale. A friend fitted it for free as a nice favour so £31 goes back in the kitty. How many other surprises will I find ?

Friday, 8 June 2012

Piggy gets a new sty

Hi folks and apologies for my lack of contact. Firstly welcome to my new follower Squirmy, thanks for joining. Had lots going on but the big news is that my house has completed. I am now a homeowner once more back at the start of a new mortgage term of 25 years :-( however this mortgage unlike my other allows me to overpay so I will be taking advantage and hoping to bring the balance and the term down. An on line calculator has told me that if I overpay by £100 pcm it would knock £27k off the balance and five years off the term, sounds good ! It has taken years to get to this point but now we can move on and enjoy our new family home, a bigger house in a better area. Don't get me wrong its not huge, its just bigger than what we had before. We now have three bedrooms, garage, driveway, utility room and conservatory as well as kitchen , dining room and lounge. We also have a hall which we never had before and stairs with banister and spindles ! You are probably thinking how sad but our last home was a small two bed terrace with not much space at all. My frugal journey continues with the exercise of getting the house ready to move into. More on that another time ! Have a great weekend, TTFN x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Hello and welcome to my new followers Squirmy and Catherine Brown, thank you both for joining.

Its one of those months I'm afraid, not much to say and when I do its moans. At the moment I am considering applying for a promotion at work, just weighing up the pro's and con's. It will be much more work for not much more money however it is a chance to learn new skills , get experience in another area and work at a higher grade. It is also a change of scenery which would be a good thing. I am cautious of jumping out of the frying pan into the fire but it could turn out good, if you don't take a risk you will never know ?

Also I am stuck in limbo solicitor land. The house we made an offer on is dragging and dragging. My solicitor is ready to go and so is my bank, the other party however are on a permanent go slow. Strange really as they wanted to complete within four weeks. We will wait and see..........

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Weekend Whoopsies

Its been really wet and horrible here today, its hard to believe that its May next week, where is the sunshine ?

I managed to have three big bags of shopping today for £10.02, and the freezers filling up again but I can't resist the reductions. Luckily we caught the shops at just the right time, here's what I snapped up;

Sainsburys £5.49;

Sausages........................................... 30p from £1.29
Two cheese and potato bakes............50p each from £2.15 each
Two packs of Asparagus...................50p each from £2 each
Limoncello Cake...............................99p from £4.79
2 cheese and potato pies....................50p each from £1.89 each
Cream Horns......................................40p from £1.50
Pork pies............................................50p from £2.12
English muffins.................................30p from 80p

Waitrose £4.53;

Two packs of Aloo Gobi Saag ...............................39p each reduced from £2.09 each
Seven curries, Jalfrezi, Tikka Masala and Korma...39p each reduced from £4.17 each
Single Cream ..........................................................25p from £1
5 pack of sesame seed bagels..................................39p from £1.31
Houmous.................................................................19p from £1.67
Smoked salmon pate................................................19p from £1.67

This should have cost £61.60 purchased earlier in the day. A few minutes earlier and I could have snapped up the reduced fresh meat, some students beat me to it and made their way off to the tills with baskets full of chicken breasts at 59p each from £5. .... TTFN xx

Meal out

Hello and welcome to a new follower ' Cheap Chick', thank you for joining.

Feeling a bit of cabin fever this week as I have not gone out at all. My daughter was sleeping over at a relatives last night so my husband decided we could go out for a meal, partly for a treat but partly because he has been head chef all this week. We went to a local Indian restaurant where we have been before. However last night it was really busy, they had two big parties in there. Consequently it took us almost two hours to have our starter and our main. The food was nice but it took too long. The starter took nearly an hour to come out but this is where common sense should kick in. If I was the owner would send over a few complimentary poppadoms, smile and explain the delay, try and keep people happy and distracted so they are not ravenous by the time the food arrives. After we ate the food I must admit I didn't feel full, and the bill was over £30. Years ago I would have not given that a second thought but nowadays I do feel cheated. Never mind :-(

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sunshine at last

Today its been really sunny so we have taken advantage of the good weather and get some washing on the line. The basket has been piling up just lately due to bad weather and my bad foot ! Unfortunately for my hubby, pegging out washing is a job he hates but someone has to do it and I'm resting my foot per doctors orders. Tonight is another oven full of food cooking. Its a bit of a mix up for tea tonight, using up odd bits from the freezer that are just lingering around. Its going to be more like a buffet, chicken goujons, ribs, chips and a few other bits. I want to use it all up so I can defrost the freezer and then restock with some home made meals. I am getting bored being off work , sitting around all day but on the plus side its given me chance to catch up with blogging and read other blogs. Today I'm looking at the bank statements on line and planning our spending for next month. I got paid today and I still had some money in the bank yesterday , only £12 but it was my £12, all mine. That has gone into my bank holiday fund, but that is another story. TTFN xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My wasteful past

Last night whilst cooking dinner, I thought about my wasteful past, in particular with food and shopping. Last night I had the oven on with lots of stuff cooking inside. I cooked chicken and haggis and also Yorkshire puddings. There was some mix left over , previously I would have poured it away but now I keep it for breakfast pancakes the following day. There was enough haggis and mashed potatoes left for my husband to have some at lunch and my daughter to have some tonight for her dinner, previously after the evening meal any leftovers would have been binned. My daughter made Angel Delight for pudding, again we had some each but there was enough left over for her to have a portion for desert tonight. Also last night I made a chili to freeze. In went the left over onions, peppers and mushrooms. The chili was then portioned up and frozen for quick meals on busy evenings. Years ago, and I remember this quite distinctly, on a Sunday evening anything that I had not used over the weekend I would bin and then buy fresh in the week. How much money and food must I have wasted over the years ? Nowadays anything gets kept and even the odd left over bit of onion may get thrown into an omelette or a toastie. Another thing that gets eaten in our house now is the crust of the bread. I usually toast this but in bygone times it went in the bin as well. My favourite thing that I have rescued from the plug hole is the vegetable water. I use this now to make gravy and it so much tastier. What did I do before ?, flicked the kettle on and boiled more water like I imagine a lot of other people also do !

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Larry Crowne

Watched a good film last night, for free , Larry Crowne. I'd seen it advertised at the cinema last year but at £8 a ticket I don't often go at full price. This was a film we watched via our free film subscription. Its about a middle aged man who gets made redundant and starts college. Its a feel good film and he basically makes new friends and turns his life around. I read a review of the film today and one person described it as a real view of America not glamorised by Hollywood, where people are too rich for welfare but too poor to save. I thought that last sentence was quite indicative of how people are today in the UK with the way things are going.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Trying to keep my chin up

Hello and welcome to a new follower ' Mabel and Maisy', thank you for joining.

This post could very easily turn into the moan zone. In the last week or so I have had a few negatives happen; a funeral,  was put in an awkward situation, my holiday has been double booked ( and guess who has lost out ) and I am off sick from work. Its hard not to let things grind you down and especially other peoples actions and attitudes get you down.
On the optimistic side of things though, prior to being off work, I was able to do some overtime so that will go into the house moving pot. We saw a house and made an offer. The offer has been accepted but although the people say they want to complete quickly , things seem to be going slowly. In my head I am mentally redecorating, perhaps I shouldn't but its nice to look forward to moving on. Last week I went to the shops and snapped up a few bargains; a summer top for my daughter from Tesco £1.50 reduced from £12.Some stuff from Debenhams which will go into the gift stock for others; Ruby & Hammer 5 lip gloss pack £2.10 reduced from £7 and a Betty Jackson skin care set £7.50 reduced from £25. Also from Debenhams on line I bought a Christmas Tree ( sad I know as we are still in April) but it was £5 reduced from £40 with free delivery.
We are still enjoying our free lovefilm trial, its quite exciting when the postman delivers the discs. You chose the films on line and they send them out. We have about 40 films on our list so we don't know what film it is until it arrives. Once the free period expires we can sign up but we are still debating that one.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Freezer Audit

I'm feeling a little bit better each day and have tried to get things done. I'm back to work on Monday and back into the routine of school, activities etc so I want to be organised up front. The ironing and clothes mountain I intend to conquer tomorrow but today I have ventured into the freezer to check on whats in stock. Again, I am trying to use everything up before buying more however sometimes you go shopping in autopilot and buy more stuff that gets thrown in. I did throw a couple of suspicious looking items away but here's what I have , all listed, present and correct;

2 gammon steaks, packet of turkey mince, 2 packs of beef mince, 2 tuna steaks, 3 salmon steaks, box of spare ribs, pack of beef stewing steak, chicken, haggis, packet of spinach tortellini, 2 packets of pesto ravioli, 1kg gammon joint , tray of garlic potatoes, pack of chorizo croquettes and a Jamaican beef pattie.

This evening I have also made a big cottage pie for our dinner. I have also made enough for an individual portion and a double portion - and guess where the extra portions are going - straight in the freezer !! These will be good for midweek meals when I am pressed for time and the individual one , my daughter will eat when we eat chilli as she is not that keen on it. I hope to get through that food stock in the next week of so and try not to go to the supermarket.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Feeling yuk and free films

Hi everyone and welcome to new follower Michelle1973Cooper, thanks for joining.

The weather over the weekend has been dreadful but today it has been quite sunny and pleasant, however I am home feeling ill with a bad cold and headache. I slept til nearly 11am today and then went back to sleep just after 2pm till after 6pm. I feel thoroughly rotten. Luckily my daughter is at her friends today & tomorrow so I can be ill alone and not hamper her fun. I hope that if I can recuperate today I can be back to normal tomorrow, I hope !

A kind friend gave us a two month free trial of Lovefilm recently and my husband set it up yesterday. You can get DVDs sent through the post or streamed to the Xbox. There is not as much choice on the Xbox but we did watch a few things yesterday and we have ordered other films to come through the post. We have made a 'watch' list so we can take full advantage of the free viewings but typically we have gone blank on what we wanted to watch ! I have managed to remember a few films, any suggestions of good films to watch ? I like more of the comedy genre, Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell but my husband likes horror movies which are frankly not to my liking. Any ideas ????

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Hi people and welcome to some new followers, they are Caroline, Julie , Never too old and VW Paul. Thanks for joining!

Apologies again for the lack of posts recently. Time is flying by and its hard to believe we are now in April ! We are settling into the new place well. This week I had to go back to the old house and collect some mail. It was weird in that it had no hold on me, I didn't feel sad or sentimental. In fact I felt rather glad I no longer live there. We have seen a house that we like, but time will tell and so many things are out of our control, I'm conscious not to get my hopes up. We are still saving where possible and trying to keep an eye on the finances, any spare cash gets put into the moving house pot. This sounds ridiculous but I find it hard sometimes to stay focused. When we were paying off debt we could see it coming down but now we are saving, sometimes it is easy to get carried away and think ' we can buy that, it'll be ok''. Saying that it is very satisfying to see the balance grow , just need to keep my eye on the prize.

Have a Happy Easter and a great Bank Holiday weekend.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Trying to stay frugal

I am still trying to keep on the financial straight and level but I have strayed recently and been out spending money. Not particularly big money but nevertheless money we could have saved. The main area of weakness was eating out, 2 meals out but sometimes I think you do deserve a treat. On the positive side I have still got some bargains. From the church sale in the last few days I got a few books that my daughter wanted 30p each. One was a ' Horrible Science' book that she hasn't put down since. The books from the church are always in such good condition, it is as if they have been read once then donated. We went into a charity shop recently and my daughter spotted one of the Harry Potter books she would like. Quite well read and battered , the book was marked up at £3.99. We didn't buy it. I felt it was overpriced for a second hand book, which is a shame because they are donated and I think the shop is pricing things too high. Also from the church I picked up 4 DVDs, quite recent films ; Crazy Stupid Love, Unstoppable, Expendables and the Adjustment Bureau. These again were priced at 30p each so an excellent buy and good for movie nights. Have you picked up any bargains lately ?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Trying to stay positive

Sorry for the long absence. Its been a few weeks since my last blog but when I logged in today I had the pleasant surprise of two new followers 'Counting Pennies ' and ' Annette Webb'. Thank you both for joining.

The last few weeks have flown by. Its now been a month since my house was sold and we are getting on well in the rented place. To be honest my house sale went through quickly and easily so I got suckered into thinking that a new purchase would be the same. Not having bought a property in over 15 years I forgot about the process involved. Dealing with estate agents ( apologies for any estate agents reading ) , I have found them to be dreadful. I have dealt with about 7 different companies and they have all been the same. Silly stories, exaggeration, lack of contact, misinformation and forgetfulness. I am just so glad I didn't have to pay nearly £5k for the privilege of them selling my old house. They seem to look down upon you like something on their shoe. I just don't get it ? We are chain free, have the deposit in the bank and the mortgage agreed. Some of the agents have seen the paperwork to prove it. I kind of thought the phone would be ringing off the hook asking us to view but nothing. I really am surprised. We last went to view a place last weekend. I feel like I'm a bit fed up now. Sometimes the pictures and descriptions are really disappointing when you seem them in real life. One house we went to view, we would ask ' whats this' or 'whats in there', to be told we couldn't look as its a mess !! How do people expect to sell and why do they expect people to buy when you can't look at something ? We have a property in mind that we may ask for a second look.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Happy faces at home

Its been few and far between lately. We have been so busy , sorting and unpacking its never ending. We have also been out to look at a few properties although nothing has caught our fancy. We are going to look at some more houses over the next week.

March 1st was Offer Day for all the school children moving up to senior school. We applied on line for our school choices and waited up until midnight for the email. Except it didn't arrive, the system crashed !! We stayed up a while then got up early but still nothing. Finally we got the email as we were about to leave for school and were thrilled to discover we had got our first choice. We were all delighted as the school has an excellent reputation and is rated as outstanding by Ofsted. Its such a huge worry that's now behind us. The last fortnight has been a bit surreal, a house sale and a school place. We feel that we are finally moving forward. Now things are calming down a little , I hope to be blogging some more.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Mystery is .....................

Welcome firstly to my new follower Mumasu. Thank you for joining and sorry for the delay in welcoming you.

I've been absent for a while now, but I can finally reveal why...... I have sold my house !!! Yes its gone and completed this week. We have moved into a rented property on a temporary basis so that we can look for a new place and be chain free. At the moment I am really busy and living like Steptoe with stuff everywhere but it is slowly been packed away. My decluttering

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Bogged Down

Hello and welcome to my new follower Becky Bee, thanks for joining.

To be honest I am having one of those phases of being completely bogged down and overwhelmed. Its been a few weeks since my last blog and I haven't stopped. I have so much going on at the moment and feel like a piece of elastic being pulled back and forth.I feel so tired and worn down. |I have been working, working extra hours, hubby has been working away, I could just go on and on but I'm sure you don't want to hear me rattling on.
Being so busy has had its bonus, I haven't been to the supermarket and have been living out of the freezer. Have popped to the local shop for bread and milk etc but nothing drastic. I managed to take my old clothes to the cash for clothes place, I had two bags ( bin bag size ) and they weighed them and gave me £7. That pleased me as I was going out with some friends and it paid for my meal which was £6.95.
Yesterday the children broke up for half term. I plan to let my daughter have some friends over and she has also been invited to a birthday party/sleepover that she is looking forward too. I'm looking forward to a week off work and catching up on some sleep & housework.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bargains at Boots

Good Evening and a very warm welcome to the three new followers who have joined today, they are greenflag, Fariha and applevalley.

I had to go into Birmingham today with my husband. I had a quick look in Boots for any sale bargains that were lingering around the store. I had a good walk round , couldn't see anything then spotted the treasure close to the tills. Today's treasure was toys. I'm doing well with my gifts in stock for next Christmas, I have made a detailed list and everything is packed together in one place ready for the festive season. I spotted the toys under the 75% off banner. There was a lot of baby toys which I didn't bother with but I picked up these little gems ;
Star Wars Lego £26 reduced to £6.50
Meccano set £20 reduced to £5
Duplo Farm £10 reduced to £2.50
My First Duplo £10 reduced to £2.50....................Grand Total £16.50 with a saving of £49.50!!

I couldn't believe my luck. I now have some birthday presents as well to go in stock. Interestingly we went into WH Smith and they had the Star Wars Lego at £35.99, imagine my glee when I saw that with my £6.50 Lego safely in my bag.

So folks if you have any spare time/cash get down to Boots and bag the last of the bargains.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Last of the Sale Bargains and return of the missing Christmas Cards

Whilst delcuttering the missing Christmas Cards turned up. They had been hiding in with some of my husbands paperwork so now they are safely in the 'card bag' ready to be used next Christmas. I hate losing anything and it drove me mad trying to find them !

Last week when I was in town I nipped into Boots as they were advertising 75% off. There wasn't much left to be honest. I picked up a Wallace & Gromit Rocket soap reduced from £4 to £1 and two White Cranberry soaps reduced from £6 to £1.50 each. I was surprised by how nice the soaps smelt. I am keeping these for gifts for the two Guide leaders next Christmas.

Then I went in Matalan. I don't usually go in this shop but they had various sale items, nothing really took my fancy until I saw the costume jewellery. My daughters really into this so I picked a few bits to keep in stock for her birthday and Christmas. I bought a pearl necklace and bracelet set £6 down to £1, chunky bead bracelet £4 down to 50p, Silver Shape necklace £6 down to £1 and a leopard print corsage/hair accessory £5 to 50p. Things like this she really likes, mixes and matches with her clothes and they are nice, inexpensive stocking fillers.

High's and Low's

Good Evening and a big welcome to my new followers SammyLeia and Babybluewater, thank you both for joining.

Since my last post I have been really busy and I thought I would sum it up in bullet points as highs and lows just for a change. Here goes;


Home - We have made real progress decluttering and sorting out. The loft is now empty and we have taken  more stuff to the tip and the charity shop. I have sorted all my daughters baby clothes and been ruthless. I had three suitcases of things, I have now just got one. I have kept all the stuff I can't bear to throw and the rest is bagged up. I am going to take it to a local place that gives cash for clothes. I will re post as to how much I receive when I get round to taking it in.

Work - Overtime has returned and we are told it is available until the end of the financial year. I have done an extra 16 hours this month so that will be paid to me next month. I have decided to keep any overtime money in a separate pot for moving house as this would come in useful for fees etc.

Financial - Our mortgage statement arrived and the balance was a few hundred pounds less than we thought. Every little helps.

Mystery Situation ???? - I don't want to sound all mysterious but we have had something positive happen but I don't want to count my chickens before they have hatched. This is tricky because I haven't said anything in real life either and I have to think before I speak. More on this at a later date.

Lows ;

Work - My husband sent us overdrawn. By using his own debit card to pay for work expenses instead of using his credit card. Consequently we will be overdrawn until the expenses get paid in about a fortnight. Needless to say I was not amused.

Health - We have both had this nasty chest infection bug that is going around. I am still trying to shake it off but I am coughing and spluttering as if I am on 20 a day ( which I am not !! )

Home - Working over and decluttering has meant I have fallen behind with certain chores. I hope to catch up within the next few days.

Well I think that's it for now, has anything exciting been happening in your world ??

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Topping up the Freezer

Good Morning and a nice surprise today to find four new followers, they are Mrs Thrifty, Jo, Kim H and another Mrs Thrifty, welcome and thank you all for joining.

All this week I have been using up what I've got. On Sunday we had a roast and I made double of everything so we could have the same again on Monday. On Tuesday we had fishfingers and mash, then last night we had sausage and mash. The big bag of potatoes has now gone. Tonight my friend is coming over and we are having a takeaway so I am having a night off from cooking. The freezer was looking a bit bare but I topped it up last night at Sainsburys. I had to pop in for something. They are doing a good offer at the moment with towels but as we don't need any I didn't bother looking. I saw my favourite member of staff, the one holding the yellow sticker machine and he was reducing the stuff. There was a bit of a crowd but I managed to get what they had left. I picked up;

Chicken Breast Roasts , 2 packs at 79p each reduced from £4. They have a breast with stuffing, wrapped in bacon and a sausage.
Lamb Leg Steaks, 99p reduced from £4
Steak Pie, 79p reduced from £3.49
Pancetta and Parmesan sausages , 2 packs with 6 in each, 59p reduced from £2.79
Steak Diane Sauce, 2 sachets 25p each reduced from £1.50
Strawberry Cheesecake, 2 reduced from £1 to 15p each. These were sickly sweet and not very nice. Glad I only paid 15p.

I have at least 4 meals and I paid just over £5 for the lot. They had lots of bread reduced but I knew I didn't have much freezer space. I just about managed to get this little lot in. Have you picked up any bargains lately ?

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Crunching the numbers

Thank you to my new follower Pink Fairy Vicky, thanks for joining.

The estate agents have been round this week, three local agents and now we have three valuations, one high , one medium and one low. To be fair, the lowest one is probably the most accurate and interestingly that agent has the lowest fees, which are less than half of the other two. It is also an independent family owned business as opposed to the other two which are part of national chains. I think that the family business would work harder for the customer. So now we have figures to work with. I am going to ask for a redemption statement as well this week from the bank to see what the mortgage balance is. We have been on the variable rate for a few years so we won't have any redemption penalties to pay for paying the loan off early.
I think I'm going to have to get a bigger notepad for all the sums we will be doing !

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Finding Cheaper Alternatives

Sometimes I write this blog and all I seem to talk about is spending money. With a young child I do inevitably have to buy things but I always look for cheaper alternatives and I always try to live better for less.

My daughter is in the girl guides and I bought her the guide top before Christmas. The guides nowadays are a bit more flexible, as long as they have the top they can mix and match with jeans and other clothes. They do have a hoody type jacket that can be bought as part of their uniform that they wear when they go out/parade etc. The jacket is basically navy with a hood and starts from £19.50. Over Christmas I saw a sale in the Edinburgh Wollen Mill shop. Its clothes are mainly for the mature lady but they do good discounts and you can pick up basic items quite cheaply. We saw this navy fleece in the sale, reduced from £24 to £7.20. This , I thought, will do nicely for the guides. The good thing is ,as it doesn't have any guide logo's on it she can wear it at other times.

When we do go shopping my daughter now likes to look in shops like Primark and New Look. The things are OK and quite cheap but it fast fashion and the quality is not really there. She saw a pair of fashion slip on shoes £13.99. They were made from awful mock suede material and looked as if they would dissolve if they came close to a puddle. I managed to persuade her they wouldn't last long and would be a waste of money. We then came across Clark's and they were having a sale. I spotted these black ( real ) leather pump style shoes for £12.99, originally £29.99. Even my daughter agreed they looked,felt and smelt so much better then the cheap shoes and were actually £1 cheaper ! So we picked them up, they are half a size bigger than her current size but should fit in a few weeks no doubt.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Mug Tree starts a new life

Hello and welcome to my new followers Jo and Cross the Pond, thanks for joining.

One of the ways that I like to save money is to try and be inventive. Recently my daughter wanted a jewellery tree to hang all the beads and necklaces that she has acquired. Before Christmas they were upwards of £15 so I told her to wait for the sales. So we had another look and to be honest they were not really reduced and seemed quite flimsy as well. Most of them have four tiny hooks so you can't really hang much on them. As we were shopping I spotted this mug tree in Wilkinson's priced at £2.50. I put it to her that this would be good for the jewellery, its a lot cheaper and more sturdy. In fact it would hold a lot more stuff that the actual jewellery tree itself. After a bit of deliberating she agreed so we bought the mug tree and it rapidly was stocked up with all her stuff.
I think it was a good buy and doesn't look much like a mug tree any longer, what do you think ?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Busy week

Hello dear readers and a big welcome to my new follower The Log Cabin, thank you for joining.

I've had a busy week this week. Back to work and school and getting into a routine again after the Christmas break. I had the day off on Wednesday so we took down all the decorations and put away the remaining clutter from Christmas. I gave the house a good clean but it does look rather bare now ! I have recycled all the gift bags and ribbons/wrappings for next year, some things are so lovely it is a shame to throw them away. I have also been given chocolates for Christmas which to be honest I can't face eating. In previous years they would have been long gone by now but I just don't fancy them. I am going to regift them over the next few months, I always regift if I won't use an item. So people regard this as wrong, but I think it is wrong to waste something , its better used elsewhere in my opinion.
   We have also been busy doing jobs in the house, my husband is cleaning the shower cubicle as we are going to renew the sealant. I have got five more bags of rubbish for the tip. The decorating upstairs is almost complete, just need to give the bathroom a quick lick of white paint to freshen it up. We have also called some local estate agents as we want to put the house on the market asap. They are coming later in the week to give us a free market valuation. Once we know the figure, we can start doing some sums and make plans.
I just hope someone wants to buy it !!
    I have also been buying a few more bits and pieces for my gift stock. There have been some good reductions. I haven't walked the town but when I have been in shops I have had a quick look. In Sainsburys I bought this gift set for my daughters friend who is having a party in a few weeks, £1.50 reduced from £5. The mug set was from Dunelm and I picked that up for a gift for the class teacher for when they leave in summer, this I was very pleased with , £1.24 reduced from £5. There is a mug, coaster and a little tea tray. Recently in Boots they gave me two £5 off No 7 vouchers. There was nothing I wanted but then I noticed that they do No7 for men. I picked up two shaving gels £6.75 each but using the voucher I paid £1.75 each. These will go into stock for either Fathers Day or Christmas stocking fillers. I also saw some reductions online for Debenhams. I got two dressing gowns for relatives, reduced from £21 to £10 each. One has arrived, it is really thick and fluffy. I'm keeping these for Christmas as well. Some of my work mates think I am absolutely bonkers buying ahead but I think if you are able to , you should as you can get good bargains.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

My Just Perfect

I have just been reading Tales from Beyond the Nook and today's entry Just perfect.............. regarding the presents received over Christmas and I thought I would share my pressies with you as well. It was also my birthday in December and I had a few pressies then as well;

Birthday ;

A pair of fleece pyjama bottoms which I had from a friend .These were exactly what I wanted and I was really pleased to received them.
Hot Styling Brush. I saw this earlier in the year and toyed with the idea of getting one. A relative got me one for a surprise. It is really good for quick styling and drying my mop of unmanageable hair.
Cash. Always useful, I have saved it and not spent it.
Just Dance 3. To try and dance away those extra inches
Skin Care & Toiletries. Always welcome to add to the depleting stock
Body Shop White Musk Eau De Toilette. My favourite , not too heavy or expensive


More Skincare & Toiletries. Based on what I received last year it saw me through until Christmas 2011. I hope this years haul will do the same.
Big box of Thornton's. Naughty but nice.
Cash. I have saved this and added it to the birthday coffers
Framed picture of my daughter. Nice gift of a snap shot of my daughter over the summer.
Wine. In the cupboard waiting for a nice occasion
Pair of China Mugs.

I was pleased with my December goodies and the fleece Pyjama bottoms are excellent, so warm and toasty.

What presents did you get ?

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 - Back in the Black

Happy New Year !!

This year , for the first time in 16 years , we have began the year debt free. No credit cards, overdrafts or loans. In fact we ended the year with a credit balance of £249,  which I am highly delighted with after all the expense of Christmas and New Year . We spent New Year with friends in Devon and got back home today. On the mat was a gas bill. I opened it with great enthusiasm, strange you probably think but I had put the money away for it so I was keen to see the amount. It came in at £95 less than I anticipated so I have an extra £95 to put away. I really hope to make more progress this year and get into the habit of good saving and also careful spending.

Thank you frugal friends for your support in 2011 and I hope that we can all make great progress in 2012.
See you soon x