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