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