Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Week Four Round Up

It's pay day, we made it!

Things continued to take care of themselves, thankfully nothing cropped up to blow the budget - I was a bit concerned about the strength of the wind last night, but everything is intact. We had a fantastic not-holiday and got out and about a lot, but we kept out of the shops and most of the expense was travel. I had £18.30 of the grocery budget left, the change went into the change jars, the tenner stayed in the bank. 

Five things from the past week 

1. We used the Art Pass to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at Tullie House in Carlisle for free. We looked at the rest of the museum (for free) while we were there which was very enjoyable. I didn't think I wanted to spend the afternoon looking at things to do with the Romans, turns out that's exactly what I wanted to do! Entry to the museum is usually £7.50 (which we would never pay, so it's not a genuine saving) and the exhibition alone is £3.

2. Bonus cash! Last month Dan moved our gas and electricity payment so all direct debits go out at around the same time at the start of the month. Then we forgot that had happened and left £65 in the bank, then we checked and realised it had already gone!  We spent a bit (on garden stuff) and saved some. 

3. The menu plan worked brilliantly. I'm reducing the food budget for April to £100 as we don't need to buy more when we already have lots. 

4. We dusted off the toastie maker - delicious weekend treat, with no special ingredients needed, better than lunch out somewhere. Plus Dan made some really simple biscuits as a sweet treat, they did the trick. 

5. We did the April budget. Didn't take long. We'd planned to go back to 25% of take home pay but something happened last night and although we can't save as much as last month we're having another boost month, saving around 40%. 

Dan also got hold of some bank bags last week so he put £4 into his current account yesterday. Well, he actually put £3.99 in as a penny had gone astray somewhere, but as it was going into his account it didn't matter. Then what did he find on his way back to the office? Of course, 1p.

We both feel good about how the month went, although we both highlighted the amount we'd spent on coffee and little treats when we were out and about. So in April our aim is to not visit cafes or buy any food when we're out and about, other than if it's a planned social event e.g we're going to a folk music night on Wednesday so we'll buy a drink when we're at the club. 

Neither of us have a list of things we really want to buy, usually when we get to the end of a push push push month we're desperate to buy something, but this time we don't feel like that at all. Dan really needs a belt for work, but he doesn't want to buy one!




Curry Curry Curry


Campfire asked yesterday how I make my curries. The answer is, it's a mix of things. 

For a quick and easy curry I use the Patak's paste, they're often available for around £1 and last a while, so they're good value to me. For Thai curry I use the big pouch in the bottom left, again these are on offer a few times a year for just over £1, we get 12 lots from a pouch.  I freeze the the paste in portion sized amounts, really convenient. I do have recipes for Thai-style pastes though so I might try making my own, especially as we have planted some chillies - although they are showing no signs of life. 

For the rest - stuffed mushrooms, dhal, lentil curry, potatoes, bhajis, rice etc I use spices. I've mentioned before that I really like Seasoned Pioneers, the pouches are small, but I wouldn't get through a bigger packet, and they last for yonks so I think they're value for money (although I know lots of people might wince at the cost). For the past couple of years I've had to buy from the direct but Booths has now started stocking them again *hooray*. 

For recipes I usually turn to Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast (I bought it from The Book People) as the recipes are clear and easy to follow. A couple of exceptions, I use this recipe for mung bean dhal and always make the baked onion bhajis from here

I think that's all there is to say about that!

Monday, 30 March 2015

I'm Not Eating That

There is no April menu plan, I'm over food.

As I've probably said before, if I didn't have to eat I would happily never do it again, but I do so I menu plan to make sure there's something to eat in the evening. It's not that I don't enjoy the taste of food, it's just that I don't see it as something to get excited about to the extent that a photograph would be necessary. 

So what are we doing in April? It's going to be simple. Dan loves food and loves eating but he's said many times that if we ate the same thing over and over it wouldn't bother him, just as long as we eat something. So that's what we're doing. 

I'm going to make sure we have lots of things in - fresh veg, some fruit, breakfast stuff, milks, soy yoghurt, all the usual pantry stuff and I'm going to work to this very loose plan - 

some kind of curry twice a week (I include the spiced stuffed mushrooms, Thai curry, dhal and all that stuff in with "curry")
a roast
something beany
pizza or "lazy" weekend stuff (bean burger, roast tofu sandwich beans on toast, jacket potato with houmous, salad etc)
use it up (jambalaya, bubble and squeak, stirfry etc)
leftovers 

It seems all I do recently is think about food and the more I do, the less interested I am. Hopefully this will help. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Good Shot!



A really long time ago I started scanning in some of my old photographs, inspired by a book launch we attended (not as grand as it sounds). You may or may not know as well as being a fan of concrete I am a fan of football grounds. The photograph above is my favourite, taken in 2002 at The McCain Stadium in Scarborough. 

This, of Giant Axe (best name ever) in Lancaster comes a close second


There used to be the food and football one stop shop in Hull too



For the best football photographs (which are also a record of social history, terrible haircuts, advertising and fashion, if you're not interested in sport) have a peek at Homes of Football, it's fantastic. 


Friday, 27 March 2015

Thursday

9 am

where am I? at the hairdresser

what am I wearing? a cape!

what's the sky like? grey, fast moving clouds

what's motivating me? a very deliberate image change

2 pm

where am I? at home

what am I wearing? amazing dress, pink slippers

what's the sky like? blue/grey

what's motivating me? cup of tea, digestives, nap, slow tv (Dan has been watching a train journey from Bergen to Oslo)

5 pm

where am I? at home

what am I wearing? as 2pm

what's the sky like? grey

what's motivating me? jacket potatoes, binkying bunnies, leeks, cosy

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Rise And Fall



We went to Manchester yesterday. As is the way with all train journeys we'd eaten out packed lunch before we were even out of Lancashire. Delicious. I decided to leave my phone and camera at home and just to enjoy the day, and enjoy it I did. 

We started off at The Whitworth gallery, which is part of the University of Manchester, so a nice 20 minute walk along Oxford Road. the gallery recently reopened after a major tart up, but it's been well documented so I won't go on about that too much. The major exhibition there is Cornelia Parker - she of the exploded shed. I knew nothing about her work at all so it was all new to me. I'm usually the most awkward person in any room, but not yesterday - someone fell over one of the art works. Yikes! The irony being that the piece in question was a pavement! Neither the chap nor the art were damaged. 

We then wandered over to the People's History Museum, just off Bridge Street, where the talk with Michael Crick was held. What a place! I wan't going to talk about it really, but I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd mention it in case anyone hasn't heard of it but might like it. 

The museum is the national museum of democracy, so yes it's political (what isn't?), but you don't need any real knowledge of social history to be able to enjoy the galleries. When it comes down to it, this is a museum about normal people, people like us who made things happen and helped shape the country. Even if you're not all that interested, just to see the amazing art and craft from yonks ago is fantastic. There's also a textile conservation space where you can watch the preservation of the old union banners etc. 

It's very simply done but there is so much in there - things you won't remember - Levellers, Chartists, The Peterloo Massacre, Corn Laws, and lots of things you will, such as Spitting Image puppets, Michael Foot's donkey jacket, campaign posters from general elections, CND badges and banners, the many and varied wars. If you've ever had a cause, it's probably represented there in some way. It's free to enter, but of course donations are more than welcome. 

I think after a cathedral, three art galleries and two museums I might have had enough for one week, a few quiet days at home are probably in order. 




Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Week Three Round Up

The past week has been a little bit more expensive as we're on holiday. We went to Sale to see Jon Ronson, although the tickets had been paid for months ago. On Saturday we went to Coventry as mentioned, we booked tickets to see Michael Crick in Manchester, and the train tickets to get there. But it was all in the budget so it has just gone to show us that if we choose to do things we really want to do over mooching around and spending on things we feel we get more for our money. 

Next month we won't be saving as much as we have a couple of birthday gifts to buy and we need to have something done to the car. So our mini challenge will be to not buy any food or drinks when we're out and about (unless we go for a night out). I just mean the coffee that it's easy to grab when we really want a sit down, or the cake we share when it just seems like a nice idea. It will be interesting.

The past week has prepared us for the quite well. Whenever we've been out Dan has made sandwiches (something I hate doing) and a flask of coffee, we take a bottle of water too. There are also some Fruit Shoots left from when the children came to visit, they're not actually all that nice to drink but they are not the worst thing in the world and they'll keep us going for quite a while. 

Five things from this week 

They're more spending than saving but that's the way things go!

1. Dan used a loyalty voucher to make our train tickets a little cheaper. We also qualified for a duo ticket which makes it buy one - get one half price 

2. I bought a summer dress from the charity shop for 99p. 

3. read, then passed on, three magazines my mum gave to me

4. my bum is a little smaller this week so another skirt now fits that didn't fit me before!

5. sewed up some scraps to make my pink quilt a bit bigger, rather than buy new fabric (which is what I really wanted to do), it looks good

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Big Day Out - not too shabby


Dan's on holiday, and that can be dangerous for the budget! 

We went to Sale to see Jon Ronson on Thursday evening, a belated birthday present from Dan. I was very excited when we arrived as we were on the second row. It was a low spend evening. We did go to a bar beforehand for a drink and had to pay for parking, but we didn't buy anything when we arrived at the venue - even though we were very tempted by sweets, drinks and all manner of other things. Dan had also used some of the credit we got from the purchase of the Chromecast to pay for Jon Ronson's new book, so we weren't too tempted by the book signing table either. 

Yesterday was our big day out in Coventry. We had budgeted in advance for the cost of petrol, entry to the cathedral and the tour, we gave ourselves a budget of £20 for everything else. I made some sausage rolls and dhal pasties on Friday and Dan made up the rest of the picnic on Saturday morning so we weren't tempted to buy lunch out and about or to spend anything (other than a penny) at the services. Parking in the city centre was only £1 for the whole day which was brilliant. We did buy another coffee and shared a cake in The Herbert and we had another drink before we came home, but we were well under budget. 

I have nothing but positive things to say, for £3 (plus entry fee) the tour was amazing. It took over 2 hours and taught us so much about the city in general and the cathedral in particular (we did the art and architecture tour, more general tours are available). The value for money is second to none. We also Gift Aided our entry fee so we can visit as many times as we like for a year at no extra cost. We sat outside to eat our lunch then went back in to take some photographs. I think we were in and around for nearly 4 hours including the tour. Thankfully we still had plenty of time to see other parts of the city. We did as much as we could before we were worn out and headed home. 

So yes, it was an expensive day out - it's a long drive, but it was so worth it, and it means today we want to do nothing but flop around at home. Well, I say that but Dan is chopping things up in the garden, the green bin was emptied last week so the gardening world is our oyster. 

In other not-spending news, we're eating from the freezer all week this week so I get a week off cooking and there's nothing to buy. Win win. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Shop Stuff



I bought these seeds from the charity shop yesterday, they all have good plant by dates, some as far ahead as 2018, I also made a decision. I start my shift at 1pm and live around 12 minutes away from it. So when I found myself still in my slouchy clothes at 12.35 I thought something was probably a bit wrong. I just didn't want to go, but go I did. 

When I arrived I found the words "I don't want to work here anymore" come out of my mouth! I talked with the manager for a little while and we came to a compromise. To be honest, I think it suits me more than her but there you have it, yesterday was my last Tuesday and I'm going to continue with my Wednesday shift to see how it goes. I felt bad for a little while, until the things that I don't like about being there on a Tuesday started to happen (as they always do) and I felt better about my decision. 

As the summer will be here in the not too distant future I think, if things go well, that I might offer to fill in the odd shift here and there as holiday cover if needed. I think that would suit me and would at least be of some use to the shop. That's my problem at the minute you see, I don't feel as though I have the balance between being useful to the charity and getting some satisfaction from it myself. I never just wanted to be stuck behind the till, but that's how it has worked out. I know selling things is really important but it can also be a bit boring. I like to be doing bits of fetching and carrying, cleaning, tidying etc but as I was the only one out of three of us who could use the till properly I couldn't do anything else. It's frustrating to be the person "working" when the others are just chatting to customers or just standing around looking for things to buy for themselves. 

I don't think I feel better or worse about it today, what I do know is that I'm already showered and dressed. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Week Two Round Up

There's not much to report from last week. Things podded on, as they do. 

Five things we did 

1. instead of nipping to the shop for Friday night treats we saved our cash by having had some chocolates left over from Christmas and making some spiced almonds instead

2. we swapped some plants with my parents

3. I didn't buy a couple of things I was tempted by at the charity shop, and I didn't buy a magazine when I foolishly did some window shopping at WH Smith. 

4. we managed to find three Christmas stamps to use on the cards for Mothering Sunday rather than buy some from the post office.

5. I picked up the binding for my pink quilt for 22p a metre

I can't remember if I said lat week or not that I received a £5 voucher from Booths, so we used that when we went shopping last Thursday, always useful. But that's about it, a quiet week all round really. 

This week will probably be more expensive. Dan has a week off starting on Thursday. The first thing we're doing is going to Sale to see Jon Ronson on Thursday night (a belated birthday present for me). On Saturday we're having our big day out to Coventry Cathedral *yay* then next Wednesday we're going to Manchester for a talk by Michael Crick. The talk is about what it's like to be a journalist covering a big political campaign, so that should be fun. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

From My Seat

I'm cleaning today, and cleaning means having a sit down for a cup of tea as much as actual cleaning. It will become clear that I'm not yet finished. Firstly the bit of the room I rarely show, we had the rabbit pen made for this room so it could tuck in to the side of the stairs, it's 8ft x 4 ft x 2 1/2 ft, so it takes up a bit of space. It is handy for stashing stuff when cleaning is in progress though, I've cleaned the little magazine rack/table with good old cream cleaner, worked a treat. The tunnel is for the rabbits, not for us to play in.


Looking the other way, next to me is my quilting basket. That's about as tidy as it gets.


The other end of the room with the fireplace. Today I have cleaned the slate, removed and cleaned the logs (yes, they're just for show at the moment!), I don't think I've stacked them as nicely as Dan does though. The picture was a birthday gift from Dan, bought from Mostyn in Llandudno at the start of the year. The Victor Pasmore postcard was from an exhibition Dan went to when he was working in Newcastle the other week (I was very jealous). I've mentioned before that our amazing fried Em carried the radio in her hand luggage all the way from Germany when she came to visit, her father refurbished it for us.


In front of me, in the gloom is the chair that always looks wonky and the kitchen cabinet I bought last year, the thought of decoupage still makes me shudder, but it does great work as a tv unit, the doors are never closed properly. Also note dirty cleaning cloths on the table to prove I have been working! 


Over my shoulder, my favourite part of the room, I love the stairs. Just visible is tray with all my teeny leeks, this is the only window sill in the whole house big enough to put anything on, luckily it gets sun for most of the day. 


That's about it, better get back to work. 

Linking up with Mum today as I have nicked her idea for a post.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Plus/Minus



Plus
- we went to another talk last night. This time to hear Heather Phillipson at The Grundy. We'd seen Heather's show at the Grundy in Blackpool last year, so it was very exciting to have her back again. It was a little less slick than it might have been, but the curator of the gallery has been struck down with the dreaded vomiting virus so obvious he couldn't attend. Poor lad. 

Minus - I have acquired a cold from somewhere and feel knocked off my feet. This is the second one this year, not like me at all

Plus - my best mate is coming to visit next week

Minus - my boots finally gave up the ghost 

Plus - there's a little more money to add to savings

Minus - the house is a mess

Plus - yesterday I wore a skirt that didn't fit two weeks ago

Minus - the rabbits are very quiet, this usually means trouble

Plus - We have a couple more talks booked

Plus - Dan has been offered a little extra job at the election count

Plus - bargain! A margarita mocktail for 20p (pictured)

Plus - freebie! A bag from the Contemporary Art Society, I carried my mocktail home in it.

Plus - should anyone be interested, the event we went to at Edge Hill University "The Divided Self" is now available to view here.
 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Many A True Word Spoken In Jest

I want to make it clear that I am in no way upset about this, it was a little bit of an eye-opener but in the end I chose to find it funny.  

I went out for drinks with people from the shop at the weekend. It was interesting, well it's wasn't all that interesting. The first thing I noticed was that none of us really know anything about each other, so it was quite difficult to have a conversation about anything other than the shop, I don't mind talking about shop things when I'm there, but it's not interesting or important enough to me to spend my spare time talking about the same things over and over.

Secondly, the manager and deputy manager bought some sharing platters for everyone, which was very kind of them. After last time everyone remembered that I didn't eat any of it as it's mainly chicken and prawns, so they kept offering me the salad garnish and the lemon. It was fine the first time or two it happened, but the more the wine flowed the more the point was being pushed.

I was repeatedly called boring for not drinking (to be fair I was really bored after an hour, so I wasn't the best company). Oh, then the manager asked me what I would do, as a childfree person, if I did find out I was pregnant - there's no way that conversation can end well, so I just said I wished I had a pound for every time someone asked me that. 

And so it went on.

Fast forward to yesterday when the subject came up for discussion, the manager said she would be happy to just have one glass of wine but her sister pushes her into drinking more so she does it for an easy life. The punchline to all of this niceness was fantastic - she said to me that it's important to get out every now and again to have a dance and a good time, otherwise "you spend your nights in doing really boring things like... quilting". 

Ouch!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Small Things



I was collecting up all the 2p pieces from around the house yesterday. We're hopefully going to the land yachting thing on Saturday so we thought we'd make an afternoon of it and spend some time on the pier too and use some of our change on the slot machines. I found a pot full of pennies too. Not all that useful in their current form, but I counted them up anyway and there was £4.58, that's not bad is it? Dan is going to the bank to collect some bags today so we can add it to the savings. I assume the bank will take it, if not we'll just have to take the hit by using one of those machines.

Here are a few other small things, I'm just as excited about these - leeks!







Monday, 9 March 2015

Looking Up



After our recent visit to Morecambe I was reading something or other and the trail lead me to reading about Ghost Signs, those old faded adverts you see from time to time on the side of buildings, or the old shop signs that appear when a shop changes hands. So we (well, I, but Dan drove me around) decided to have a look around the local area to see what we could see. I have to say I'm very disappointed with our town as I've only seen one so far (pictured above).

It's one of those things, when you start spotting them they become obvious. Here are a couple we spotted on a drive up the prom in Blackpool 

Opp. South Pier, Blackpool 

This sign for Lucky Star amusements doesn't exist anymore. I took this last month, we drove past yesterday and the remaining sign has been chipped away as the building is to become a pub.



A couple of shop signs in the Waterloo area. 

Rigby Road

off Springfield Rd (I think).
Looking up has revealed lots of beautiful and interesting things. You can draw attention to yourself though, so be warned!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Round Up



It's been a bit of a wonky week, so I'll be glad when it's Saturday. Normally I'd be happy for it to be Friday but I am going out this evening so won't get to relax properly until I get into bed tonight.

We saved £7 on the stock up shop and petrol purchase on Sunday.

Just in time for our shopping trip I received a £5 voucher from the supermarket. We also managed to snaffle a few reduced bargains, we saved just under £10 in all so £10 will be going into savings today.

We haven't bought anything other than groceries and petrol so nothing to report there. 

The exercise, although slack this week, is working as I can now fit into a couple of skirts that were a little tight before, so now my wardrobe is bigger for no spend.

The first signs of leek growth are there. I'm staying away from the garden centre, just planting the seeds we have. I think Father might have a couple of plants or some veg for me I will happily accept them and offer some chilli plants in return. 

I fell out with the blue quilt, so the pink lap quilt is out. I've done lots of pressing and cutting this morning (I like to do it in the morning because the heating is still on and I can lean against the radiator!). I'll be working on the back (pictured above) today. 

Tonight is curry night, I'm going to attempt to make naan for the first time (Dan usually deals with bread), I'm also going to make raita as we have some dried mint leaves, and some baked onion bhajis. As you know I'm not an enthusiastic cook but when I'm in the mood I'm in the mood!

This weekend is home-based. We'll be walking to the library, making some bread, hopefully spending some time in the garden and otherwise doing not much. 

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Man Spoke, I Listened

Last night we went to another public lecture, this time we headed up to Lancaster for a talk by former MP Alan Milburn who is now Chair of the Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty. We went for a few reasons - because we could, because it was so exciting to be in an academic setting when we went to Edge Hill and because Dan does quite a lot of work on Child Poverty at work, and not least it's a nice drive.

Neither of us attended Lancaster University so some of the preamble about Mr Miburn becoming the new Chancellor was a little lost on us as we don't know anything about the University itself. Well, I do know they've recently changed their logo from a rather cool Atari-style affair to something more boring traditional. (compare here)

We didn't actually get to poke around the campus as the talk was held at the Dukes Playhouse in the city centre, never to worry. A couple of things that stuck out for me from the talk

1. the amount of people wearing brown shoes. Of the footwear I saw over half was brown. I think that's unusual. 

2. the talk was about the problems and potential solutions to social inequality. A question was asked about bankers, and the reply was that it's easy to get a round of applause if you bash the rich, it's harder to get people as angry and fired up if you talk about the consequences of inequality rather than just the benefits of inequality. That hit me really hard, it doesn't seem like people are as angry about food banks, zero hours contracts, the amount of children who aren't "school ready" by the age of five - unable to dress themselves, go to the toilet unaided, pick up a book etc as they are about people who legally earn loads of money*. 

3. something thing that hit me on a personal level was talking about strategic vs. tactical thinking and how the two should go hand in hand rather than choosing the short term tactical over the long term, less likely to change strategic. I thought abut that in terms of my life and our finances, as well as the general point. To get to our financial and life goals we do have objectives and our broad idea (strategy) but then have more specific tasks and resources within that in order to get things done. We have the long-term plan and our philosophy but they we also have to be prepared to change how we go about things as situations crop up, but things that still take us in the direction i which we want to go.  

All in all it really was worth going, of course there were more questions than answers. It was inspiring, frustrating, depressing and motivating, a good blend for me. 


* he did also speak about the gap between achievement and effort in many sectors.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

"Should"

This is a bit of a rant I'm afraid.

I come from the standpoint of "your problems are your problems". If you're having a hard time then it can feel like the end of the world, even if people who have been through a similar thing know that it will be fine in the end - teenage heartbreak, smashing your favourite cup, having manflu, losing your job, just feeling a bit down.

I have "you are blessed" fatigue at the minute. I also have Marie Kondo fatigue, but there you have it. If someone is having a rubbish time then it's OK for them to say so, we all know there are people worse off than us, it doesn't mean we can't ever feel like crying, or feel that there's no light at the end of the tunnel. We're finally starting to get over the stiff upper lip aren't we, it's good to talk about our feelings and our struggles, at least in part to know we're not alone. Telling someone who is having a bad time they should be glad they're not in *insert horrible life-or-death situation* isn't helpful. Be a friend or remain silent is surely the best policy. 

Just to add, nothing bad is happening in my life at the minute but I've heard friends of friends say it to someone who is having a hard time and it makes my blood boil. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Monday

9am

where am I? in the kitchen

what's the sky like? grey, shaking off the poor attempt at snow

what am I wearing? grey yoga trousers (never seen a day of yoga in their lives, I just had a moment in Hebden Bridge), black Burnley FC jumper (I have been to Turf Moor, also had moments there).

what's motivating me? washing up, wondering why I'm been stared at by two men in a white van, avoiding exercise, tofu

2pm

where am I? the town!

what's the sky like? really very blue, really very windy

what am I wearing? black jeans, black boots, grey jumper, black jacket, very springlike

what's motivating me? dental floss, avoiding a chugger

5pm

where am I? at home

what's the sky like? grey-blue, still windy

what am I wearing? grey jumper, black jeans, flip flops

what's motivating me? Dance Moms (highbrow), hay, pretending for yet another month that I'll keep up with the spending diary (this will be the 87th month in a row)

Monday, 2 March 2015

Habits

This isn't a post about alcohol, it's about habits. I don't believe that thing about doing something for 21 days/ a month/ 40 days and it will become a habit, in my experience it doesn't, maybe it does for some.

We didn't drink alcohol in January, as I think I mentioned at the time. It was easy. It didn't really occur to me that I wouldn't celebrate my 40th birthday with a glass of champagne (mainly because I'm too stingy and champagne is disgusting at the best of times). What did occur to me is how much of a habit it was to drink - when we went to football, visiting people, to "wind down" from work on a Friday evening, to try the local brew when we visited a new place. 

When I did have a bottle of beer on Dan's birthday it was horrible. I didn't get through it and was surprised at my indifference to try something else instead. I've concluded that I mainly like going out in order to have peanuts.

It was context related, there are certain friends that we never go for a drink with, but others it would seem weird to stick to a cup of tea. The pressure I was under to have a drink at my birthday meal was incredible, and the response to saying I was off drink from friends was very odd. Half saying that I must be mad and why would I do that to myself, a glass of wine is good for you (not for me I can't stomach wine at all) and all that. The other half greeted me as though I was joining some amazing club of the morally superior. 

I'd love to say it's been a life changing experience where I feel brighter and more alert, have lost weight (no chance) and generally feel better about life. I don't, I feel the same as ever. But that's good, things are as normal as they ever were and that's that. I'm making no statement, I'm just not having something I don't like, in the same way I wouldn't eat cheese and onion crisps *yuck*. Sometimes it's just about doing something and then not thinking about it.

edit - I've added a tab at the top of the page for menu plans for the few people who want to read about it!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Trolley Dash

Today we went to Sainsbury's. This doesn't alter anything, the menu plan is the same, the spending plan is the same, we just did a stock up. It all started yesterday when I half heard something on the radio about cheap petrol.

I checked online and the offer was 10p per litre off petrol when you spend £30, until Wednesday. Dan liked the sound of the offer as the tank was very low. Dan had a look in his wallet and found a soon-to-expire voucher for £3 off a £30 spend, so we got to work. We wrote a menu plan for the month, checked for any non-food items we needed and I checked the prices on the website. Done. 

This morning we decided we would like a little time out of the house, and we needed to go go the tip anyway so we combined the errands. I remembered to take the list and Dan had the calculator on his phone to help us tot up. The first minor annoyance was the trolley pound. We don't usually use supermarkets where you need a pound for the trolley. Luckily Dan had a fiver so he bought a cheap thing off the list so we could get going. Second minor annoyance was that the shop didn't have everything we had on the list, but we it wasn't the end of the world, we spent more on a couple of things but a lot less on others. Of course I remembered a couple of other things I wanted to buy too, but they were things I usually buy at Home Bargains, so that's saved me a trip later in the month. 

We managed to get some multibuy deals, so we are fine for soy milk for weeks! So we saved a few quid there and got the voucher off. We saved just over £4 with the petrol deal. It was stressful though! Was it worth it to save £7? Hmmm, just about I think. We'll see for sure at the end of the month.