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Showing posts from October, 2013

£90 November

£90 is the grocery budget for November, I really wanted it to be £80 but there was no chance without totally redoing the menu plan and I couldn't face that! I addition to the groceries I will be spending £32 on two bags of hay and £25 on my hair cut. After all that if I stick to budget I'll be able to save around £83 from the usual budget. Better than a kick in the face.
Doing my sums it leaps out that the biggest expense by a long way is milk. I have cow milk Dan has almond, so we spend almost £20 a month on just that. Yikes. Next biggest expenses are greens for the buns, bread and sandwich fillings, each coming in at around £9 - £10 a month.
We need to buy a few storecupboard items, we only have a couple of tins of beans in and we need oil. There's not much household stuff to buy other than bin bags which is a bonus and I know that the cereal and passata we buy is half price until the start of next week so I'll stock up on that too. 
We're working through all the st…

As Seen On TV

I'd heard about the power of "the old school tie" and yesterday I experienced it for myself. We were packing up to go to Hull for our first RLWC 2013 game when I had the bright idea that wearing my old university college scarf would fit perfectly for watching Papua New Guinea. It did and it attracted plenty of attention!

When we arrived we nipped off to take some photos of the ground as we hadn't been there for a while and Hull KR had been busy building. A man called me over and it turned out he was from BBC Hull. We chatted for a bit then another bloke came over with a tv camera. It took several takes but finally the light and microphone worked (it was very windy), I think I'd been in good flow during the first few takes but then the reporter asked me a totally different question! The final take was not my finest moment as I was a bit flustered to say the least. Still, it was fun and if it's only shown in Hull I'll never see it!

Luckily for us our tickets …

November Menu Plan

Now including lunch!

As we're out and about at World Cup games in November I'm having to jiggle stuff about and include lunch as some games are far away, some are in the afternoon, some are in the evening so it has the potential to be meal chaos. Maybe not chaos but the temptation to buy a pie or some snack while we're out looms large. 

I've had to redo the plan for the last couple of days of this month too as there's stuff loitering about from Em's visit and the finances are in a sorry state. 

25 roast veg pasta (freezer)
26 curry (fr)

27 fry up brunch/ falafel sandwiches hull
28 chilli (fr) rochdale
29 nut roast (fr)
30 roast veg risotto (fr)
31 shepherdess pie
1.  l/o shepherdess pie
2. beans on toast/ falafel sandwich & maybe soup huddersfield (and maybe st helens at 8pm)

3. brunch toastie/ houmous sandwiches & pie workington
4. quorn & roast veg pasta (fr)
5. nut roast (fr) leigh
6. jambalaya (fr) 
this is where I run out of food from the freezer
7. tacos salfo…

Keep It Coming

It would appear we started to get serious at the right time. Dan found out about the new budget for the next year and should he avoid the swinging axe there will be no pay increases (obviously, used to that one by now), no pay increment and a freeze on that for two years (not surprised again but two years is a bit depressing) and another unpaid day off (ouch).

So in real terms he's getting a pay cut. A full working week with no pay is where we find ourselves. It's better than the alternative but it's not fun. 

I think the most difficult part of all this emergency fund bolstering is going to be keeping spirits up. When we were paying off debts then saving up for a car it was ok, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. Not so here. I fear big changes are coming and how to pay to watch Widnes will be the last thing on my mind.

The First Spanner

Yesterday was very positive, thinking about savings and all that stuff then the postman came. There were two identical letters, one for me and one for Dan. My letter informed me that I can no longer use the Direct Debit scheme to pay for my season ticket thanks to some selfish people who took advantage of it and cancelled the DD when the ticket arrived or otherwise didn't pay up, costing the club money. Unless I can pay for my ticket in full in the next little while I will have to either have no season ticket at all or I can subscribe to a new scheme. The new scheme is to have a line of credit and pay a third party each month. 

I'm a Dave Ramsey girl, there is no way I am going to sign up for a loan to pay to watch Widnes. It is just never in a million years going to happen. It's not that I don't have a good credit rating, it's not that I think the club are doing a bad thing - they have to do what they can to not be ripped off by so-called fans. But I am not borrowi…

The Boy's No Good

Have you ever had a romance that ended badly and then got worse? I know I keep promising not to talk about him but once again My Bad Boyfriend feels the need to hurt me and refuse to give me my stuff back.

Dumping me and sodding off with a beautiful beach babe I could have coped with but no, he dumped me for the charmless lump who lives next to the sewage works. Then he did a good thing by making my dream come true. Now he's even taken that away by getting himself kicked out of the England squad four flipping days before the tournament starts.

You, sir are a cad, a bounder and I don't know why I ever gave you another chance. My mother warned me about people like you.

If I ever mention him again please take me out, ply me with sherry and show me pictures of ferrets, or give me a shake. Either is fine.

Ditching Salad

Ditching salad was one of the first small ways we came up with to save money. So money saving and a way to not have to eat salad, wonderful! For sandwiches from now on I'll be having a bit of grated carrot and some beetroot and Dan will be having beetroot or olives. 

I'll be extra vigilant about weighing food and portion control. The freezer will be extra important and the shopping list is a thing that must be obeyed. the shopping routine and menu plan will be more regulated, shopping day will return to being an unplanned "use up whatever's left" day, whether that's eating everything or cooking stuff for the freezer. 

We received a letter telling us that the cost of our electricity will be going down, very slightly, but going down nonetheless and there's a price freeze until the new year. Bonus time!

The change jar is back in situ and I have already found a few coins to stick into it. Our small change will be going into various collection buckets when we att…

Being Very Serious

I know I've said all of this before but you know when you feel the difference between just saying the words and understanding what they mean? That's what this is. 

We had a very serious conversation yesterday with MIL about the past and the future. You can't help but think about things when that happens. For the past 18 months we've been pretending to save money but we've been in a "life's too short" phase. That phase can't turn into a lifestyle so the real, proper, honest belt tightening and saving needs to start up again. There have been a few false dawns in this regard but I feel more than ready, I'm craving the challenge. 

To start with I'm knocking £50 a month off the grocery budget, looking at our spending habits it should be more than possible - cut down on waste, cut down on impulse purchases and go to the shop twice a week maximum (the second trip should really only be for greens). We've been going to the supermarket at least 4 …

Festive Feeling

Firstly the good news. After 8 days of being jammed shut I managed to open the junk drawer. I had reached the point where I was just going to leave it but then I remembered it's where I keep the emergency £20 grocery money. The motivation of cash was enough for me to give it another go, thankfully I'm quite small and have tiny hands so I could fit into the cupboard below and squeeze my hand into the back of the drawer. Even though the drawer is now empty I'm almost too afraid to close it. 

I'm not a huge Christmas person but I have a couple of days a year where I think it would be nice to make some decorations. Today was one of those days. A little while ago Dan mentioned that a wreath would look nice on the front door, as we live in a place where it would almost certainly not be nicked I agreed. On our travels today we found ourselves in a shop - I can hardly believe it as I still haven't recovered from the epic trip on Monday, we saw a ribbon wreath, very nice but…

Celeriac Schnitzel

I don't generally post recipes here but this was so delicious I thought I would in case it had passed anyone else by (although I'm probably the last to have heard about it). We don't usually have eggs in the house but due to the huge amount of cake making that's been going on this week it's been a necessity. To use up the last couple Em made this for us yesterday -

1 celeriac, peeled and cut into thin slices
some plain flour
a couple of beaten eggs
some oil for shallow frying
seasoning of your choice

have a dish ready with each of the coatings - flour, egg, breadcrumbs. Flavour them with whatever herbs or spices you like, dip the celeriac in each dish in turn then fry until crispy and golden. Drain on some kitchen paper. 

Really really easy and yummy. I made some plaki to go with ours but Em tried out the recipe last week and served it with salad. 

The Cost Of Being A Domestic Goddess

Flipping nora!

In order to have a weekend in making cakes and cooking soup with our guest I've had to buy multiple cake tins, spoons, all manner of exciting foodstuffs I didn't know existed and some kind of electric whisk. It has also meant ditching our regular shop and going to one of the big stores - one I usually avoid. Not just a normal one either an Extra I think it was. Inside there was a cobbler/key cutting place, a health food shop, brow bar, dry cleaner, mobile phone shop and a hair salon! It was like a whole new world. We'd been in there 10 minutes before I saw any food!

Yesterday we braved the Trafford Centre. A place I have been to many many times, I have no real issue with it. We were there for 8 hours. A full day. Wow. Towards the end I was waiting for Dan and Em and a man came over to me and said "You too, eh?" and I said "I've gone to my special place". He said "I'm just waiting for my wife to get hungry so I can go to the foo…

To Make You Feel Better

I don't know if anyone reads blogs thinking that the authors never appear to drop a pie on the floor, lock themselves out or fail at anything. I do all of those things quite a lot of the time.

Despite feeling not too well this week I've had to do the spring clean due to Em's visit and the need to spring clean. It was all going so well, I was reaching jaunty mini welly lady status until yesterday. The heavy cleaning was virtually done so I was on to primping.

We had some ants in the house earlier this year and for some reason this lead to us removing one of the kickboards from the kitchen. It has never been right since. The kickboard was wonky and the hideous lino had a bump in it. I had plenty of time and some energy to remedy it. Or so I thought. By the time Dan got home things were not in a good way.

I quickly discovered that Dan was right (not that it's a rare thing here) it was difficult to put back. I admit during proceedings I got more than a bit cross. I hit the bo…


I know I must be busy and have really important things to do when I set off to make a cup of coffee and ended up cleaning the front of the house. Yes, today I was one of those jaunty ladies I see when I go for a walk who are always up a step ladder wearing floral mini wellies and a pinny doing stuff

I do not have floral mini wellies and was not wearing a pinny but I did get to do the jaunty lady thing of saying hello to folk walking their dogs and share japes of "you can do mine next" with neighbours I've never spoken to before.

That is a fun way to spend a Tuesday morning. Long live lemon cream cleaner!

Photography and Letting Go

I love taking photographs, I know everyone does but I really do. Dan used to not quite tell me off but tell me I didn't need to take the camera everywhere. This has changed over the last little while, especially since I took a photo of one hotel that I loved and then the next time we passed by it had been demolished. This has been on my mind since I spoke about it here last week

I need to find the balance though. I think I've mentioned before that my house used to be a tip. It really was a mess, I've always been an untidy person and I find it hard to throw things away. When I started clearing the house out I realised that part of my thing was that I felt the need to keep hold of memories. Not that it was my role to do it but that it was important that someone was looking after things. This lead to me keeping hold of ridiculous things including odd socks that I remembered wearing when certain significant things happened and the paper napkin that was wrapped around the first …

Lights, Kirkham, October Spending

It's a bit like "lights, camera, action" only more market town based.

Something's wrong with the light in the toilet cubicle room thing. Normally it wouldn't be an issue but with Em arriving on Thursday it would be nice for her to be able to see if she needs to visit during the night. Two of the three bulbs in the big lamp have gone and of course they're special fittings - what was I thinking? The shower gel handwash solution took a turn for the worse when the dispenser sprang a leak and Dan needed shampoo. 

Kirkham is great, it's a small town on the Fylde and despite the fact it doesn't have the jaunty look of Lytham or the cuteness of Poulton (do I mean Poulton?) don't be fooled, there are some wonderful shops. Not one but two hardware shops, a health food shop, plenty of cafes, a deli/cheese/local produce shop, small but perfectly formed fruit and veg shop and of course Silverdell bookshop. Last time we were in there it was someone's birthday…

The Small Things In Life

I promise nothing about Rugby League today. 

A piece of interesting news popped into my ears first thing this morning. Cuadrilla, the shale gas extraction (fracking) people have decided to not ask for consent to frack the site closest to my house and it will be returned to the state it was before. The reason given was that they were constrained by the rules concerning overwintering birds in the area. There are still a number of potential sites in this area and it remains to be seen what will happen, the Prime Minister certainly seems keen to turn the area into the "fracking capital of Britain" which sounds very grand. 

Today I am being a bit of an old lady as were supposed to be going to a gig this evening but the venue has been changed from a not-as-great-as-everyone-says but decent pub with lovely fruity beer to a city centre nitespot. This does not please me in the slightest. The thought of Friday night in a town centre makes me want to stay in my armchair, have a snooze an…

2018 Is The Next Great Year

1996 was a great year for me. I turned 21, I passed my A- Levels, I was young, free and single and had a great bunch of friends around me. We had a totally free summer with nothing to do other than wait for our exam results and enjoy Euro '96.
2007 was a great year for me. We became debt free, I hit my weight loss goal, we were zipping around in a brand new lease car which cost us a mere £20 a month, we were overpaying on the mortgage, socking a ton of cash away for our next car and we had money to spend for the first time in years. We had the best pet ever, the house was coming together, work was going well for Dan and I finally had the house in order. It was almost the perfect year. 
We went to virtually every Widnes game that year. We ploughed up and down the M62 to get to Bately, Dewsbury, Castleford, Doncaster and up and down to Whitehaven, Leigh and Rochdale. It was the best, singing, stuffing our faces with pies and swilling rubbish beer, singing songs, making friends and in …

My Bad Boyfriend Is A Dream Come True

This is 99% about sport, 1% about my dreams and wishes. 
In 2004 we went to the Tri-Nations final at Elland Road, Leeds. While waiting to use the facilities I got a right load of old stick from a group of St Helens and Leeds fans for supporting Widnes - why was I there, what was the point of supporting Widnes etc and as I soaked it all up I thought to myself that I would love nothing more than to see a single solitary Widnes player represent the national team (it was Great Britain at the times whereas now it's England, Wales and Scotland).
Not-very-fast-forward to this year and here he is Gareth Hock, Widnes Vikings, Wigan St Judes. It's a bit of a hollow win as he was never really ours, he was only on loan from Wigan Warriors and I fell out with him but it doesn't change the facts. Lloyd White is in the Wales squad and Ben Kavanagh features for Scotland who also have one of my favourite ex-Widnes players, John Duffy, on their coaching staff.
I'm not saying I support Eng…

October Spending 2

This has the potential to be boring. 

I probably don't have a great deal in common with David Cameron but I don't know how much a loaf of bread costs either. I'm having a "coolness amnesty" this week (after causing a stir by telling someone that not only have I never seen "Breaking Bad" but that I have no interest in the slightest in ever seeing it) but I don't know if not knowing the price of a loaf counts as part of that. 

I am very much enjoying the coolness amnesty. The people I thought would join in have and the people who I thought would be too cool for it have made their views known. It's very funny. We've had everything from people admitting to not liking wine, to having bought a jacket from Matalan to my own huuuuge list of all the things that shatter my image *removes tongue from cheek*.

After my solo wander featuring shopping trip yesterday morning we did our proper big shopping trip last night. Without a list, exciting. I'm stil…

October Spending

I'm going to attempt to keep more of a note on my spending. I went to the town today and bought lots of dull but necessary things like rabbit food, a brush, toothpaste and lentils. 

I took a different route into the town and ended up on a street I'd never walked on before and it was full of rather nice houses, there were lots of photo opportunities so I did some snapping away too. I didn't take any pictures of the ducks because they were having a right to-do amongst themselves for some reason, I did take the above photo of the rose garden though. 

So far this month I have spent - 

£7.50 gifts for my niece (can't and don't want to resist)
£6.08 rabbit and bird food
£8.85 pantry stuff
£10.55 toiletries/medicine cabinet stuff
£0.50 treats
£1.98 household

which is £35.46 or thereabouts. Rather a lot for the morning of day one! Ah well.