Thursday, 31 January 2013

More Tesco Bargains

Evening bloggers. Made a trip to Tesco tonight to stock up on half price washing powder, whilst there managed to snaffle more lovely bargains for my freezer. Two packs of large gammon steaks reduced from £4 to £1.20 a pack, two packs of 8 pork sausages reduced from £1.87 to 60p per pack, Two Warburtons loaves reduced from £1.49 to 20p each and last but not least Mr Kipling's Cherry Bakewells reduced from £1.49 to 22p. I almost have a full freezer now so I am well stocked for the next few weeks.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Waitrose Whoopsies

Good evening bloggers and hope you are well. 'Whoopsies' used to be a dirty word, in years gone by I knew many people who would not consider buying or eating a reduced item. Friends, family and work colleagues who look in horror at anything displaying a yellow sticker but times have changed and so have attitudes. I have always bought reduced goods and shall continue to do so but also nowadays there does seem to be less bargains to be had. Yesterday I had to go by a Little Waitrose, depending on the time of day I pop in to see what bargains are lurking around and I managed to snap up some goodies that went straight in my freezer. This is what I got;

Tuna Steaks ..... ...............2 packs reduced from £7.31 each ( !!!!) to £1.29 each .....Saving £12.04
Scampi .............................1 pack reduced from £4.49 to 99p.....................................Saving £3.50
Aberdeen Angus burgers.. 3 packs reduced from £2.99 each to 79p each..................Saving £6.60
Chicken crispbakes...........1 pack reduced from £1.49 to 49p.....................................Saving £1.00
Wholemeal loaf ................reduced from £1.35 to 29p................................................Saving £1.09
White loaf..........................reduced from £1.09 to 29p................................................Saving 80p

I wouldn't usually buy Tuna Steaks at £7 each but I thought they would be a nice change. So the freezer has a bit more stock for not much money.  Have you got any bargains lately ?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Wedding guest

Hi Bloggers. Hope you are well. We all look forward to things for the year ahead but I have for some reason completely forgotten about a wedding we have been invited to this summer. That means I have to factor in a gift and outfits for the big day. All being well ( fingers,legs and everything else crossed ! ) I may have lost weight by then so I may have to get myself a new outfit. It would be nice to have something new and smaller to wear but the thought of going out clothes shopping fills me with dread. Maybe a new lighter me may not feel like that but I won't know until if/when that time arrives. Regarding a gift , the happy couple already have a home so I may get something like new towels so at least I have time between now and summer to source something nice but affordable.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Preparing for emergencies - Candles & phones

Hi Bloggers.Welcome to two new followers who have joined up, big hello to 'Compostwoman' and JoAnn Hewitt , thanks for joining and please drop by from time to time.

I have been reading a series of posts by A Thrifty Mrs about being organised and she has been sharing great ideas about being more organised. One post was about emergencies and it got me thinking about something that happened last year when we were in our rented house.

One winter evening around teatime all the electricity went off. Looking out the window the whole street was in darkness. It later transpired that there was some problem and half the town was without power for around an hour. Being in a temporary home I had bits and pieces everywhere but couldn't lay my hand to anything quickly, so we sat in the darkness and waited it out. It was only for an hour but we didn't know that at the time. So after that I got some candles and matches in stock and placed , safely around the house. Each room now has at least one candle ( in some form of nice decorative holder ) dotted around the place should the need arise again with a big stock of traditional candles in the kitchen.

The other thing with the electricity going down was that the modern cordless phone we had in the lounge didn't work as it was powered off the electricity. We have now reverted back to the old BT style phone, so not only does it work off the phone line but also saves us a bit of cash not using the electric. Maybe if you have a few phones in your house, consider having an old style one somewhere so at least you have a fallback phone if the power does fail.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Just for fun

Hi bloggers. Hope you are well. Its still snowing here today and we have woken up to a fresh blanket of snow covering everything.

Its always nice to read your comments, today I thought just for fun it would be nice if you would leave a message to say Hi , where you are reading from and what your weather is like. That would be really great xx

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Cutting down on laundry

Hi bloggers and hope you are keeping warm and well over this cold spell. In the old days I was very much in the 'wear it once' camp. I wore an item and it went straight into the laundry basket. Nowadays I have changed our habits to save time , money and energy and also because life is too short ! I wear the same skirt for work ( I am part time ) I put it on Monday morning and it goes into the basket Friday afternoon. I wear a clean top each shift and after work I take my work clothes off and put my house clothes on. If my top is not too pongy or dirty I will wear it another day when I am not in work. If the weather is good outside I will also air my clothes to freshen them up. Again when I am off work , if I go out and wear my jeans , I take them off back home and wear them again a few more times before they get laundered again. I also find that by wearing my old stuff around the house it prolongs the life of my decent stuff I wear when I go out. I also used to use a towel once then put it to be washed. Nowadays we use a towel and hang it over the banister on the landing. This can then last us a few days which has really helped to cut down using the washing machine. Again in the summer time I air the towels outside to freshen them up. I often used to have the washer on every day but now I may do 3 or 4 loads a week : dark, light, coloureds and towels. I also make sure the washer has a full load and not just half a dozen items.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Its like Narnia !

Hi everyone and a very warm welcome on such a cold day to my new follower Ragged Wren, thank you for joining.

It is like Narnia where I live, deep snow everywhere and rather chilly. I have made it back and forth to work today and I am now back home with a nice hot drink reading my blogs. School predictably was closed today so my daughter has been out all day with her school friend enjoying the snow, I await the return of a damp child and a pile of wet clothes any time soon ! I hadn't thought ahead yesterday to get something out of the freezer for tea so we are going to have soup and crusty bread. I have plenty of milk, bread and tins in my store so I have enough to keep us going should we be stuck indoors for a few days. I heard on the news that people have been fighting in supermarkets and stripping the shelves bare. Surely over the winter months it pays to keep some stuff in stock on the off chance of illness or inclement weather, or is that just me ? My husband cooked his big lump of gammon yesterday so that will keep him going for days, when I looked at the label it weighed over 5kg ! So if all else fails folks we will be living off the gammon and the remaining tins of tomatoes, 27 at last count ! Enjoy your evening xx

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Food for thought

Good afternoon bloggers and hope you are all well. The recent news about the contents of beef burgers brings to mind again about what goes into our food. We discussed it at work today. Some people seemed genuinely surprised that all these unannounced ingredients go in. Surely by the look and taste of ready made food, you can tell its not the real deal , or is that just me ?? Some foods taste so chemical and artificial they are just disgusting. Recently I had a freezer meal of fish fingers and chips, it was a quick in stock meal and after I ate it I felt really disappointed and had a yukky after taste. We have never really had much in the way of processed meals, I would be lying if I said never but certainly not on a regular basis. I think my taste buds have changed especially of late since I have trying to be good and cut down on the junk. This week I made a shepherds pie, mince lamb, leek,  onions and mashed potato. This time however I had half a bag of vegetable stir fry lurking around so to use it up I put that in too. It contained broccoli, red and white cabbage, onion, carrot and beansprout. I then chopped it up really finely and quick boiled it , then stirred it into the shepherds pie. I used the veg water to make the gravy then I also added my own little special twist, mint sauce to the gravy. It was delicious and as there was enough for two nights meals I didn't need to cook again last night. Despite my husbands initial reservations of adding stir fry to a pie , he did concede and agree that it was tasty. Afterwards we had a slice of home made sponge cake. A nice meal, prepared at home and empty plates afterwards.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Tesco Burgers & Bargains

Good evening bloggers and welcome to a new follower 'Hope', thank you for joining.

I saw the news last night about the burgers and emailed Tesco at about 10.30pm as I had some in the freezer. Someone called me around 9.30 this morning to say I could return them for a refund. Quite prompt reply I thought. We had to get petrol so I took them back in the store and returned them. For the first time in ages I managed to get some decent bargains whilst there;

Gammon joint , should have been £19 , reduced to £5.60
Warburtons square wraps, £1.45 per packet, reduced to 22p ( got two packs to freeze)
Slice loaf 15p reduced from £1
Roberts Deli rolls 10p reduced from 89p.

Its all gone in the freezer to use later. I like to keep a loaf in stock, we have a lot of 'on toast ' for breakfast, eggs beans etc. Rolls and wraps will be used for lunches.
My husband is looking forward to cooking the gammon, it will be interesting to see how long it lasts. Its a big piece and it was like carrying a new born baby round the store !!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Keep for best - jewellery

Hi bloggers and hope you are well. A week or so ago I wrote about my china dinner set and whether to keep it for best or use it more often. I then got to thinking about other possessions I have and the next one was jewellery. Like a lot of people over the last year or so I have sold unwanted items as the gold price has been high but I still have some left but again kept for best. I decided that I would start wearing it. For the last few days I have been wearing some of my rings, not all together I add, but I have been wearing one and changing it every few days. Of course being so close after Christmas , people are thinking that's what I had but some of the items I've had for years but they rarely see the light of day. So I am going to start wearing more of my collection so I can enjoy it.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Weight loss

Afternoon bloggers and a very big hello and welcome to my new followers who are Amanda Ayres, Hawaii Planner and Frugal in Bucks. Thank you all for joining.

Today I have weighed myself and found to my astonishment that I have lost 5 lbs in weight. I weighed myself last week and noted the higher figure and was flabbergasted to see the new lower figure today. I must admit that I don't feel it in myself but a couple of people have said I look slimmer in the face ( what about the rest of me ??) Anyway I am encouraged by the loss and perhaps the small steps I have taken have all helped. The real bonus will be when I can get my ample frame into smaller clothes. Excuse me for not sharing the weigh in figures with you but its rather like reading the lottery results, there's quite a few numbers. Bye for now xx

Friday, 11 January 2013


Hi Bloggers and welcome to another new follower Fiona Moss, thank you for joining.

Here we are Friday evening and I have had a busy week again. I like to relax, sit about in my fleecy PJ's and watch TV. For some reason I always fancy an early night on a Friday as I like to recharge myself , some people on the other hand are out partying all night and back home on Saturday morning. Especially in winter time I just want to stay in all warm and toasty. No plans for tea tonight so to avoid takeaway temptation I stopped at the local butcher on the way home and bought some minced beef. I am going to rustle up a quick spag bol. Nice and tasty , easy and quick, perfect for a Friday night dinner. How will you spend your Friday night ?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Trying to be a good little pig instead of a lazy one

Hi bloggers and welcome to my new follower May, thank you for joining.

Since New Year I have been trying to be good and keep new resolutions, the old favourite being ' lose weight' popping up again to make an appearance. I have tried to make small changes but hopefully these will be long term improvements not just to lose weight but also to be healthy.
Since childhood I have been a massive sugar addict having two sugars in every hot drink. I have never before attempted to curb this addiction, you may think this is ridiculous as some people can just cut it out completely and easily but I never have. The day after Boxing Day I reduced from two spoons of sugar to just a quarter of a spoon. The tea has taken some getting used too but its getting better. Also and this is good as I didn't realise I was doing this !! I have stopped eating biscuits with my hot drinks, I haven't done this now for at least three weeks and I haven't really missed it. I always used to like a biscuit to dunk in my drink and can't remember the last time I did - again major achievement for me as 'McVities' was like my middle name !
At work I have been taking just my sandwich , no extra like crisps and again I haven't really missed it and in the evenings I have stopped snacking . Some nights I have even gone to bed early so hopefully I am fast asleep when the snacking would have started.
So far so good and I don't feel cheated. You probably read this and think how pathetic but I hope that these little steps will improve things for me overall.


Monday, 7 January 2013

My own little food store

Hi Bloggers. Firstly a big hello and welcome to two new followers 'sarahfoxx and claireevanscritten', thank you both very much for joining.

When we moved house we were fortunate enough to get a garage. Never having had a garage before we were delighted with this as it gave us lots more storage. We acquired some shelving and over the weekend my husband has built it and we now have our very own food store. No its not huge and really I suppose its like having a pantry/larder but we have all our stuff sorted and organised, easily viewable and accessible. We have dry goods on the top two shelves, tins on the next two shelves, then veg on its own shelf, then cleaning goods and bottles on the bottom shelf. I can now see at a quick glance what I have and also what I need to replenish. The largest item we have in stock is 28 tins of tomatoes but these will be used as they are a staple item in our cupboard. I like being able to have the space to store stuff, with prices increases or the possibility of inclement weather its good to have things to hand. It has also freed up space in my kitchen as I had things on top of my cupboards, whereas now it looks clean and uncluttered.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Nice Family Day out for less than £10

Hi Bloggers and hope your are well. We are busy getting ready for first day back at school tomorrow, making lunches and getting bags and kits ready. To end the school holidays we have spent the day together and we went out for a film and lunch. However it wasn't a big spend as my budget doesn't stretch to that, but nevertheless we had a fun time and didn't break the bank. First we went to see a film Hotel Transylvania, very funny and this was a kids showing at £1 each so £3 in total. This film was out a few months ago but we always wait to see things when they are on the kids showing heavily reduced !! Afterwards we had lunch in Pizza Express, now in real money it would have been expensive but we traded our £10 Tesco voucher against a £40 restaurant voucher and had a yummy free meal. We had starters and mains each and just had to pay £6.75 for our drinks. So all together we spent £9.75 today for entertainment and food. I do like a cheap day out :-)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Things for our new home

Hi Bloggers. Over Christmas my friend came over to visit, that being her first visit to my new house. I showed her around and she liked my new place. As we went round from room to room , she liked what she saw but then was very surprised to find it was all mainly 'new to us' and other items that had been recycled;

Porch - Ding Dong doorbell - we acquired this wireless doorbell via someone who had a deceased relative. It has lots of settings and also a flash light if you want it. We set it to the traditional chime and put the box in the kitchen. We can hear the bell from all around the house whenever anyone calls. This doorbell is still on sale and the cheapest we have seen in online is £49 - free to us.

Wall light - In the B&Q sale, reduced from £15 to £3

Cloak cupboard - It is the size of a double wardrobe and had one shelf near the bottom and pegs around three of its walls. Using the inners from the fitted wardrobes we knocked out upstairs we made three lower shelves so we have a shoe shelf each. We also put one of the clothes rails at the top of the cupboard so we can hang full length coats in the space as you open the doors. This area is something we are really pleased with as it holds so many jackets and its all neat and tidy. Cost £0

Hall - Burglar alarm - The vendor unkindly never gave us the code so when the electricity was turned back on , the alarm was ringing like mad. We had to isolate the alarm switch that was until we worked the code out. As a smoker the alarm was nicotine stained except for the four digits she used. We then knew what the four digits were but not the order. That was until we found some paperwork with her date of birth on. Guess what the alarm code was ??? That saved us a few hundred pounds getting a new alarm and the box cleaned up very nicely with some cif. Cost £0

Lounge - New suite - or at least new to us and yes it is from DFS but I bought it second hand from someone I knew for less than £300 and it is 3 years old and very well looked after. Leather and very comfy.

Wooden side table - This has had a few admiring comments, my table with a drawer cost me the grand sum of £5 from ebay .

Lined curtains - These were given to me by someone who thought I may need some dust sheets. They had a skip at their house and a neighbour kindly dumped their rubbish inside ! When they opened the bag it contained a set of curtains which was then offered to me for dust sheets. When I saw them they were almost similar to the ones I wanted from M&S , albeit these are a pale gold damask whereas the M&S were a mushroom damask. They were the right size for the window and I had them dry cleaned . People do not believe they came out of a skip ! Dry cleaning cost me £16. M&S would have cost me £119.

Ceiling lights - The vendor kindly removed the two ceiling lights, inconvenient but not to my taste. Nevertheless we had to pay to replace. Two new in the box ceiling lights , from ebay £5. When I collected them they were in the original box and they are still on sale now at £30 each.

Bathroom - The door had split and was not repairable. I found a door on ebay, not very old, newly glossed complete with door handles and hinges. Cost £2

Main bedroom - Again lights removed by vendor. A friend gave me a ceiling light and we got two wall lights from the B&Q sale, £5 each reduced from £20 each.

Spare room - Light removed again. A friend gave me a new unused cream lamp shade which coincidentally matches perfectly with the colour scheme.

Daughters room - She had chosen a big round mirror from Ikea which is £27. We then spotted the same mirror at a car boot, for the grand sum of £3.

Garden - we wanted to get some slabs for outside the shed. We managed to get some old large pavement slabs, larger and stronger than modern slabs. Got these free from someone who took up their front path to block pave instead.

I am always on the look out for things. Like other bloggers I am happy with my home and surroundings and don't feel the need to live my life out of a glossy magazine or to keep up with the 'Jones's'.  Cheerio for now x

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Keep for best or use everyday ???

Hi Bloggers. When I got married 16 years ago I put together a wedding list and all the guests bought items from it. Lots of guests buying an item each resulted in me having a china dinner service, plates , dishes, side plates, serving plates etc etc. I used to use the set for special occasions and it was in a base cupboard in my kitchen for a long time. That was until my daughter started crawling when it got boxed up and put in the loft out of harms reach. Then we moved house last year and all the loft boxes were bought down and although still boxed it is now back in my kitchen in a base cupboard. I got it out and used it over Christmas. It was lovely to see, it is white with a gold rim , very understated and classic. It got me thinking that I should use it more often as it has sat up in the loft for ten years ! What do you think bloggers ? Should I use it or cherish it ?

Mortgage Overpayment

Hi guys. I made mortgage overpayment number 2 yesterday but I then read Frugal Queens post yesterday about her mortgage milestone and I got worried. I thought that my overpayment was against capital but some bloggers suggested that sometimes it gets applied against interest. I emailed the bank straight away to ask the question as I didn't want to make overpayment's to find out further down the line that it has been applied against the interest. I have checked my email this morning and the bank have replied promptly and confirmed it is against capital. Phew !! Panic over. I did think it was against capital but my brain has been such a sieve just lately that I thought I'd better double check. I was initially worried last month when we made the first overpayment as I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew but it was OK and the second one went out yesterday. I may try and increase the overpayment later this year. When we first moved into the house the water company took the direct debit over 5 months , in April we start a new year so it will be taken over 10 months so my d/d will reduce by 50%. I may then put that chunk of money into the monthly mortgage overpayment. This time last year I would never have dreamt that we would be overpaying on a mortgage. It goes to show that you can achieve things even in a short space of time. TTFN x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

House is now back to normal

Evening bloggers and hope all is well. Today we have bit the bullet and got rid of all the Christmas decorations. The tree has been boxed up and all the decorations packed away. I have recycled again today. My daughter was given a slanket at Christmas and it came in a large , clear zipable bag. I have put all the decorations in this to keep them tidy and safe. Next Christmas I can then see at a quick glance what is inside and it is all kept together. I have also taken the cards down. I recycle these but I pick out the best ones to recraft. I am going to make some Christmas cards for next year. I have been cutting and sticking for about an hour this afternoon. I will keep my creations in a tin ready to stick on the cards at a later date. Today unfortunately was not a No Spend Day as I had to go to the supermarket and restock as the cupboards were bare after the Christmas festivities. I managed to spend £45 buying all my essentials so I was pleased to come in under £50. The fridge freezer is well stocked , there was lots of Warburtons bread reduced for 59p per loaf so I had 3 , one to use and two to freeze. I even managed to attack the ironing basket although I still have the school uniforms to do ready for next week. I only have two days left of my holiday then I am back to work myself, have you started back yet ? 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Day

Happy New Year bloggers and what a lovely start to the New Year. The weather here is glorious, sunny and dry. I feel strangely invigorated today so much so that I may tackle the ironing basket. I have done a few loads of washing and they are blowing nicely on the line. I have decided to keep a food diary from today to try and watch my weight and count the calories, it may or may not work but I am giving it ago. I also gave up sugar in my drinks last week and today was my first palatable cup of tea. I am hoping to end my life long habit of two sugars in my hot drinks, again I can try ! I started in Wednesday last week and as today is Tuesday I am doing fabulously well by my own standards, as previously stated I have NO willpower when it comes to things like that. I have done my first recycling of the year as well. Each year as I take the old calendar down , I save the back page with the new years dates on. I use this at work as a quick reference guide in my desk folder as I use a lot of dates in my job so it saves me the expense of buying a desk calendar. Is there are anything unusual that you recycle ?