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Showing posts from April, 2015

Other Things

I've been a bit stuck on the finances recently, as you may have noticed. I think it's to stop me thinking about my hair. I'm growing it a bit you see and, as predicted by my hairdresser, it is driving me insane. It was very short and lovely, at the moment I look a bit like one of those blokes you see occasionally - the ones for whom Britpop never went away, thankfully I don't own a Parka.

I have not been doing exceptionally well with exercise recently, I still have a cough so it doesn't make leaping around very easy. I'd also got out of the swing of wearing make up. So that's back in focus for May, unless it gets so hot that make up just slides off my face as it is prone to do. 

A surprise came through the letter box the other day, turns out someone from the shop (my drinking buddy from the ill fated Christmas party) wants my vote! He kept that one quiet. Dan is looking forward to next Thursday and Friday, he has a small nerdy list of things he's like to …

Where The Money Goes - May

The budget for May is £150 because we need hay and rabbit food, which will cost £40.50. We have two vouchers, one for £5 off a £35 shop at Booths and the other for £3 off £20 at Sainsbury's. We'll be using both and have written and rewritten lists for each. I'll also need to go to Home Bargains, the health food shop and Superdrug too. 

Most of the Booths shop will be our usual stuff - veg, salad, lunch stuff, washing up liquid, tea, cereal, tofu, general things. Sainsbury's is our go-to place for junk! From there we'll be getting pasta, puy lentils, nut roasts, soy mince, d/f milk, basics stuffing, pitta, houmous and washing up sponges, oil, harissa, bin bags. I am close to needing red lentils too, but I don't know if the huge bags are available, if they are I'll get some. 

We're just over the amount for each voucher. I don't want to go too far over as I'm sure we'll get a till spit from one and we've close to getting a loyalty card vouche…

The Spring Fling Continues

After the junk drawer episode yesterday I faced friend of the junk drawer, it wasn't full but it was doing an amazing impression of a bin. Here's what I removed from it

It's just stuff. Most of it went away, a few bits were rehomed in the spare room. The spare room was already in disarray as I'd washed the mattress topper and cleaned the woodwork the previous day. 

There wasn't much room to move in the spare room, so in readiness for the start of May and two large (for us) shopping trips I decided to clean the pantry. I tickled it a couple of weeks ago, but this time I took everything out, chucked some stuff away, rehomed other things and put the rest back. Wow it holds a lot of stuff. Every inch of worktop in the kitchen, plus half the dining table, was piled up with stuff. I parted with the baking stuff we bought when Em came over to visit in 2013, I figured if I hadn't used it since then it probably wasn't going to happen. There was some out of date emerge…

Tracking Back

As you can see from the state of the junk drawer, I've been feeling disorganised recently. 

In the past I was messy, then messy and disorganised, then tidy and disorganised, then messy and organised then tidy and organised, then regimented, then tidy enough and organised, now I'm mostly tidy but not very organised. 

I didn't post Father's birthday card on time. I have posted it in time for his birthday, but not in time for him to get it before he goes on holiday. He won't care but my Mum will. I bought the cards in good time, then I lost them because I didn't put them where I usually put cards. I stashed them somewhere safe when I did a frustration clean the other week. Then I couldn't find my address book. It wasn't in any of the three places it could sensibly live - the letter rack, the box of cards or the junk drawer. 

So I tracked back. Where might I put cards in a fit of frustration? Well, they were on the island in the kitchen, so that means I might …

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Dan got up this morning because he was freezing, I got up too. Neither of us were in a particularly splendid mood. So I stripped the beds in the unused spare bedrooms and washed the sheets and mattress topper - they were decidedly "vintage" smelling. Luckily the sky was clear and the sun was out. We finished the jammy dodgers, cleaned the whole house and did yet more laundry. 

Then I noticed it was only 10am. 

Last week was long, I think this week will be longer. We've done some nailing down of the budget, hopefully there will be no surprises next month.  

The menu plan for May is hiding away in the menu tab at the top of the page should you be interested.

I Went To The Shop and I Bought

Loads of stuff. 

Before I went out I had another fridge check and found three carrots, success!

After my shift at the shop I went to Sainsbury's and spent £6.19 on peppers, broccoli (cheaper than loose), houmous, chickpeas, milk, pitta (the yellow sticker man called me back as he was about to reduce them), bread and lettuce. It leaves a few bob left over for anything we might need to buy next week. 

Lizzie asked me how I buy veg so cheap, my answer is that I don't really, but I think we use it efficiently. I buy plenty of things that are inexpensive/last a long time (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery) and less of more expensive items/things that don't last all that long. I base our meals around the cheap stuff - like lots of people I use onions, carrots and celery as a base for curries, chilli, stews, pies etc. then add the other veg to fill in the rest. 

We also move from fresh to preserved, I don't try to make things last or buy larger amounts so we don't run out, we…

Shopping Day

We have £9 for shopping this week and I'm off to do it this afternoon. I was asked yesterday if I would do an extra shift at the charity shop this morning so I'll be in the town anyway.

We have in the fridge -

soy milk
chocolate almond milk
various chutneys etc
1/2 courgette
2 small peppers
a few tomatoes
a cucumber
1/2 a thing of broccoli

On the shopping list is

bread for Dan
pitta for me
beans or something for lunches
bunny veg
more milk

That doesn't seem to bad really does it. If there's extra cash I'll get some extra veg. Feeling more positive now it's written down. Happy times. 

Week Three Review

I said last week was the danger week didn't I? Did I learn? Did I heck.

We were sailing along nicely then the vet bill hit and sucked virtually all of our remaining cash away. I'm pretty upset about it, obviously because Big Grey was ill but also because I had an invitation to go out for birthday fun with my brother this weekend. He has been skint for the past few months (he's just moved in with his girlfriend) and is now seeing light at the end of the tunnel *yay* so has offered to treat us to a couple of drinks, but I think we're going to have to give it a miss as I don't think we have the cash to get us down to Liverpool. It's sad, I haven't seen him since January and then I was ill so wasn't really much company. Hopefully there will be another time soon. 

Five things this week 

1. I made pizza. 

2. I repaired a tie.

3. Someone gave Dan a packet of sunflower seeds. I'd decided I wanted to grow some after seeing the Anselm Kiefer exhibition we went to …

Pattern Shy

Today I readied my summer wardrobe, by which I mean I picked up the summer clothes that had fallen off the hangers and moved them from the middle to one end of the cupboard. 

Top left - blue/acid yellow GAP dress £2.80 outlet shop. Maxi dress 99p, charity shop a couple of weeks ago, yellow dress paid full price for in Settle, about £7 I think. Top right - accessorise dress 99p charity shop, brown dress paid full price for about 4 years ago. Bottom left - gift from Dan for our trip to Bournemouth last year, black and white dress £2.49 charity shop last week. Bottom right - seaside t-shirt 50p charity shop about 7 years ago, blue t-shirt and shorts paid full price last year, Boden skirts from charity shop last year £4.99 each. 
I have a pile of vests too. I hope it's going to be hot this summer, or I'm going to freeze!
My summer shoe collection is small but perfectly formed 

I don't wear these shoes equally. I wear the green Teva sandals virtually all the time, the black flats g…

The Grey Thing

The massaging and treating of Big Grey bunny the other week only got us so far. Last night she was very very ill, cold and shivering, very forlorn so she had an overnight stay at the vet. We were not hopeful.

However, this morning the vet phoned us to ask if we'd like to collect our scary, dangerous rabbit and bring her home. So we did. We now have a £127.41 hole in the budget and an angry rabbit. 

It's just as well we had a low spend weekend. We went tot he beach on Saturday, puttered in the garden, watched some daft tv, had an afternoon nap and made pizza - I even did the bit I don't like when the dough is all sticky and horrible! It was the kind of weekend we've been saying we want but never quite get round to having. It was ideal.

A nice quiet week would be ideal this week too. 

Week Two Round Up

I am aware I've sounded like a bit of a misery this week. I'm not miserable, I just sound it. Anyway, week two of April, we had a big day out, which was pretty much just the cost of petrol. I crossed a few things off the shopping list (is it over the top to tie the new scissors to the handle of the junk drawer to stop them wandering off?). We've not had the sunny weather a lot of people have, so I have done nothing at all in the garden, and I am starting to fear for my leeks, I think they need more room, this will happen at the weekend. 

Dan had the urge to spend! There was nothing he wanted, but he hadn't bought anything for ages and he just wanted to do it! He waited 24 hours then still wanted to spend so he filled the car up a day early. He is very much looking forward to going to the supermarket tonight, just to look at things. He's doing so well, maybe a little treat will find its way into the shopping basket. We received some vouchers for £5 off a £35 shop, th…

Home Again (Naturally)

A few weeks ago we celebrated living here for five years. Well, we didn't celebrate it, we commented that it was a fact, there was no fizzy wine or anything. It was actually a little bit depressing because had we stayed in our old house we would only have had 10 mortgage payments left, rather than the hundreds we have now. I also made the mistake of looking at how the house and yard looked when we left that house... it was lovely, but we had our reasons for leaving. 

Although we both had a pretty clear idea of the general direction we wanted the house to move in, neither of us are keen on decorating and we certainly don't have the cash to do all that much. As you may recall, we had no proper flooring in the living room for over three years. Every room had magnolia walls and woodwork, the carpet in the living room was peach, everywhere else they were brown and threadbare - other than the living room and main bedroom they still are! The main bedroom was the most depressing of all…

The Danger Zone

Around this time is the most dangerous time of the month for me. I paid for the various bits and bobs I pay for and I think to myself "we're half way through the month, look at how much money I have" then, if I don't watch myself I go a bit bonkers and we're left with not all that much cash at the end of the month (because, of course April 13th is not the middle of the month, it's around a third of the way through the month). 

Yesterday Dan was going out and about for a meeting and asked me if I wanted to go, have a wander around then meet him later. Of course I did!

I have to say that it wasn't all that difficult to not spend loads of money. I bought things on the list - three cards, scissors, bread and mushrooms then decided to have a look around the charity shops. Well, I know people say that our shop is the friendliest they've been into and if yesterday is anything to go by I'm starting to think it's true. No-one said hello or goodbye to me …


Dan was in a bit of a fug yesterday. Partly due to the weather, partly due to having had such a big day on Saturday and partly because of the lack of wiggle room in his bit of the budget, he's just not used to it.

We talked each other into going out somewhere (just for the sake of it). But due to the weather our only real option was to go to the shops. We didn't want to do that, even though we really tried to think of something to spend my desire map money on. In the end we had a lie down on the small bed, each had a shower then looked in the pantry and did a menu plan. We received some vouchers through the post and wanted to see of we could spend enough without waste to make it worthwhile - it's borderline. 

By this time it was time to chop some veg ready for tea, have a cuppa and watch the football. So it was easier to stay at home than we thought. The best thing about it was that we were just at home, we didn't start a project, we just bodded about. 

The Spirit of Optimism

I have to confess that until we visited in 2009 I didn't know Sunderland was at the coast. We hadn't been in that area again until yesterday. Dan made some biscuits, packed the sandwiches and prepared the flasks and off we went to East Durham. We didn't actually go to Durham it's not really my kind of thing, but the seaside is, so we went there instead.

We had a slight detour to Bowes Museum to see the "Milksnatcher" Gerald Scarfe exhibition which was brilliant. We also just caught Confected, Borrowed and Blue (ends today, 12th April) which is a brilliant collection of ceramics by Paul Scott - if you can see any of his work (there's some at the V&A apparently) then it's well worth it, very clever. After that little break we got ourselves to Peterlee to see the Apollo Pavilion, built in 1969 (hence the name) and serve to link the two parts of Sunny Blunts estate which is separated by the small stream running through it. The pavilion is a Grade II* l…

A Matter Of Taste

Dan has had another positive complaint experience, we had a bit of an issue at a coffee shop the other week. Dan decided to tweet the company about it, yesterday they sent him a message to say some points would be added to his loyalty card. Result! It's enough for a free drink so that will come in useful at some time.
The charity shop was really busy this week, there were lots of visitors as the dun finally came out on Wednesday, we sold a lot more than usual. The fun thing to notice was the type of things we sold too. Usually we sell a lot of books and electrical items. This week we sold more ceramics and glassware than anything else. People said that the stuff we had in was so different to the things they see at home that they were making room in their suitcases or beach bags for it. 
Obviously I know it's true, I always look into charity shops when we visit somewhere different, but it was really interesting to see it from the other side. We get so many visitors who come once…


In the war on fluff (we have already surrendered in the war on hay). Our previous buns were both Rex rabbits, so had beautiful velvet fur, this in no way prepared us for the fluff porcupines we have now. So we need allies. 

This is the best thing ever for getting fine fluff from their rugs. We bought it from a craft fair in a very functional part of Blackpool Winter Gardens. As you can probably tell, the rabbits think it's a wonderful toy so it is a little chewed. Prior to this I did the wet rubber glove thing, but this makes life so much easier - other then when I'm trying to wrestle it away from The White Thing. 

These are my other willing assistants

I've had the green thing for longer than I've had rabbits, it's at least 13 years old I know that as I bought it when we still lived in York. I may even have had it for longer than I've known Dan, they're both very loyal. I mainly use that to defluff fabric lampshades. The sticky tape is for my clothes! I keep a…

April Week One Roundup

We put the savings into the bank and haven't thought about money since. There have been a few things we thought we were going to spend money on bit didn't, such as having to take Big Grey to the vet (she's fine now). Dan has book a fortnight off work at the end of June, so we'll be working towards having a bit of cash to spend for that. 

Five things from the past week

1. we started using the soap we made back in March. It doesn't look great as  just chopped up it rather than making it look lovely, but it's actually very nice, lightly frothy and gentle, even on Dan's skin. 

2. Dan has started cycling to work. 

3. At the third time of planting we have a chilli plant! Just one of the... 12 seeds we've planted, but we now have lift off. One plant may be enough, we're only just near the end of the chillies we were given and froze last year. 

4. I'm in the middle of darning all my socks. My winter boots (now deceased) were quite slouchy so one of my feet w…

That Kind Of Woman

If you are the keeper of a very tidy house, or feel ill when presented with not very clean things then you may wish to look away!

Do you remember ages ago a politician (maybe a UKIP person) had particularly strong views about women that don't clean behind their fridge? I am certainly one of those women. 

Dan does most of the hoovering here, and I occasionally give everywhere a quick once over (I know he doesn't do under things and all that stuff). So when I accidentally started spring cleaning our bedroom yesterday I found a very fluffy mess under the bed. It's too heavy for me to move and too low for me to get under so I had to stick my arm between the slats and clean up that way. 

That's what I extracted, lovely.


I noticed this sign in the town today - never let it be said we're behind the times!

Anyway, this is nothing to do with my fun and games at Radio Shack. Whenever the adverts for Aldi or Lidl are on I complain at great length to Dan that I'm sure we all get the message that they're cheap but great quality - we all know that by now. Pretty much everyone I know at the mere mention of either place can name their top 3 products. My Father, for example, like the rosemary crackers plus any tools available, he also has a serious LED torch buying problem. 

I don't go to Aldi very often - mainly because it's packed but I do ask my parents to pick me things up as they shop there all the time. I haven't been to Lidl for ages because it's not all that convenient for me. Today I was in the queue at Sainsbury's, Scarlet mentioned the other day that their veggie mince was nice, I don't usually buy it but thought a change is as good as a rest. The couple in front of m…

In The Pink, Not The Shop

I'm very happy this morning. Dan has posted the savings cheque, the menu plan is still working - meals for tonight and tomorrow are ready and waiting. There are no emergency purchases needed before the supermarket trip tomorrow night. We've only just opened a new bag of hay, so we may not need any this month. The daffodils have been flowering for weeks and they're still going strong. We're going to a folk music gig tonight, not usually my cup of tea, but we're meeting up with some friends we haven't seen since last year. It's still windy but I think I can get to the charity shop without being blown away!

We had an extra bonus treat last night too, someone from Dan's office very kindly gave everyone a bag of mini Easter eggs, so we shared them last night *yum*.

Oh and a parcel arrived for Dan yesterday too. His best friend from university sent him a belated birthday gift - a birthday pack of beers local to him. I think it was part birthday part apology bec…