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Showing posts from January, 2016

Grocery Round Up

We've come to the end of our month of vouchers. We used most of them, some were for products I wouldn't tend to buy so we gave them a miss, but we used the ones we received through the post. 

This is what we used - 

£4.50 off £30 
£1 brand match
£1.50 off £10 
£ .87 loyalty card 

The £1.50 and 87p were for Booths, this was the only spending we did there this month for the first time in... 11 years or so. I thought I'd miss it but I didn't, it's only a shop after all. 

£4 off £20
£4 off £20
£4 off £20
£ .13 price match
£4 off £20
£1.47 price match.

Total £25.47

Dan also swiped the card whenever he bought petrol, we had a couple of other buy x get y points vouchers too from till spits and the My Coupons site. For example, this week we had till spits for 60 bonus points for buying fresh soya milk, 80 points for buying Alpro yoghurt, we also had one for triple points on our next shop. I loaded vouchers onto the card for 40 points for buying potatoes, avocado and melon. All of those …

How Are Things?

I've just finished reading How Are Things by Roger-Pol Droit. As I mentioned yesterday this is a book I've had for years but never got into, I don't know why as it was such a straightforward, funny and interesting page turner. The author sets out to discover if there is anything to learn from the items we use every day, and if so what is their nature? It is a book not to be taken too lightly nor too seriously. If anyone is interested I've added a page tab at the top here to list the books I read this year, it's called Books 2016!

I say things and stuff a lot, you may have noticed and thought what an uneducated puppy I must be. It's not for want of more illustrative language, it's a conscious choice. When I removed the hoard from my house and started to organise myself  I also shed a lot of mental associations, it was a physical and mental getting my house in order. I now use stuff and things to remind myself that although an item may have memories associated…

Food Hangover

I have a food hangover and feel terrible. Last night we were both home late so we just ate the remaining junk that was in the house left over from Christmas. Last night I was starting to feel odd, but this morning I feel awful. I've just about managed a cup of herbal tea but nothing else, I just can't cope with all that fat!

So it would be an ideal duvet day, only I left my bottle of milk at the charity shop yesterday, if I don't collect it someone will sell it, especially as we are replacing the fridge today so there will be a sort out (it's a second hand fridge, no charity money was used to buy it).

Hopefully a windy walk will do me good, it is slightly more sunny today so not having a full day in the gloom will cheer me up. I may stretch my legs a bit further and go to the library, I haven't been for months, but I am happy to report I've nearly finished my current book. I've had this book for 10 years and hadn't got further than page seven before. 

I ha…

Freebie And Bargain of the Week

Another dark, wet, windy day. 

No freebies this week. Although I was very happy to hear from the roofer that he is delighted to be doing a roof for someone who wants to keep the original look of their house.

I did indeed find a top for gardening on the sale rack at a charity shop, I wasn't picky which made it easy. 

I also bought three packets of chestnuts (200g) for 50p each from M&S, they're dated August of this year. 

That's it!

Duvet Day

I love having a duvet day occasionally, sadly today is not one of them. Due to my terror of using the phone I've already had to go out into the wind and the rain, and the rain without the wind, to rearrange my haircut. I think I realised I'd procrastinated long enough when I received a facebook message from Jay telling me that my hairdresser had been into the charity shop looking for me.

It's a glum day today, the coffee table is full of things I've picked up and abandoned, not the end of the world, only a few minutes away from tidy. 

I was glum yesterday too, it all started when I went into the kitchen and saw a pile of washing up. I was not too chuffed, but it inspired me to do some cooking and get the steam cleaner out. Who'd have thought that doing something about the thing that was annoying me would make that thing go away?

After about eight months of thinking about it I moved the hay rack from the back to the front of the bunny pen. It's not really a hay rac…

The Big Screen

We spent £7 at the weekend which wasn't too bad. Saturday was a no spend day, Sunday was supposed to be a no spend day as Dan had to work. It was going well until the work IT system locked him out and wouldn't let him back in. So we went to the cinema to see The Big Short.

I love our cinema and hope to visit lots this year, its £3.50 per ticket, they are also part of the Meerkat Movies scheme so if you qualify you can get two tickets for £3.50. What a bargain! Snacks are cheap, the smallest tub of popcorn they sell costs 50p. Of course the building itself is no frills but who cares?

Before I met Dan I used to visit the cinema at least twice a week. Over the past decade and a half that's dropped to maybe twice a year. I hope we'll make more use of the cinema this year, it only re-opened a few years ago so we're in a use it or lose it situation. For such a reasonable price it's an affordable luxury. 

Speaking of luxury, we decided to spend our change jar money on so…

The Tyranny of Loyalty

We arrived at week three of our "spend £20 get £4 off vouchers" and I found it really hard to write a list. There are some things that I can't get or won't buy from the supermarket because they're just too expensive. So to get up to the minimum spend became quite hard, the balancing act of buying things we wanted/needed without spending more on individual items than I usually would, or just buying for the sake of it was hard. It really has made me wonder how I have burned through the grocery budget in the past. 

Switching this month to a cheaper supermarket has helped of course, but I wouldn't want to, and couldn't afford to just shop at one place all the time. By the time we got into the car to go shopping I still hadn't reached £20 worth of groceries, Dan kindly offered to have a bottle of beer and some falafel to help things along. It did help and we were all happy. 

Just next week to get through and then it's over. We received some decent till s…

I Have It, Use It

During my use it up period I've been making a note of everything we have and when we use it up. When I came to look at the breakfast cupboard there is a lot of money in there. When they were on special offer we bought a huge box of the individual packets of porridge, not the cheapest way to do it but they're convenient for Dan to take to work etc. We had a full box - 22 sachets, 22 breakfast times for me just hanging around. Yes, I only spent one pound odd on them but even so. 

Same with seeds, we have loads, we eat them every day but there are still lots of other things I can do with them. The last time I made soup I roasted the squash seeds and sprinkled them onto the soup. Well, we ate most of them while we waited for the soup, but even so. So the seeds can be our new weekend snack. I tend to use the oven on a Thursday or Friday so I can roast the seeds at the same time ready to ad to lunch or just to munch over the weekend so we're not tempted to sneak some crisps into …

A Nice Tight Belt

The roofer came back to us with his quote for the new roof, it was a painful experience. By the time we have the work done, whether it be by him or someone else, we will have the cash which is a very good thing. We've had to cancel our trip to Manchester next week for the Manchester Modernist film showing, but we can't justify the expense, we've seen the Keith Ingham film already so not the end of the world. 
There is a bit (lot) of expense pulling in to take care of in the meantime. I have taken another look at the pantry and freezer and have rewritten the menu plan for the rest of the month.
Here it is - 
20. l/o chilli w. sweet potato fries, this was a small lunch-size serving of chilli but as we ate late it did the job.  21. chestnut orzotto, to use up a small amount of freekeh and to make headway with the big bag of pearl barley, leftover for lunch on Friday, using some leeks from the garden *yum* 22. curry already in the freezer  23. shepherdess pie, to use up a few bits o…

No Day At The Beach

Yesterday the doorbell rang and it was the roofer, he'd got a few feww ours and nipped by to see if I wanted the chimney sorting out. Of course I said yes so he got on with it and I went out, of course I made him a cup of tea first. Dan had also asked him about something else to do with the roof so he said he'd have a look. 

I decided to have a stroll to the beach as there was plenty of time before my stint at the charity shop, as the tide was really far out, so far I couldn't see the sea at all just a few large puddles, I wandered out to this structure, what's left of the pier's landing jetty. 

The pier, as you can tell, used to be far longer but much of it was destroyed by fire years ago. 

I had a bit of a wander around, and although the beach looks pretty empty from these pictures there were plenty of people around, mainly dog walkers but there was lots of life. 

Although I didn't have time to walk all the way over, on my way back to the town I could see the cou…

All The Junk

The drawer in the sideboard had silted up with junk, it's all pretty much Christmas related, ribbon and braid from the stockings I made for the shop, the rest of the junk is from Christmas presents. MIL bought me the notebook and the person shaped book light, the tin was a gift from my manager.  They had certainly been stashed and dashed. 

The log pencil case was a gift from Dan as I am a huge fan of the tv show Twin Peaks, so of course I love The Log Lady. It has come in very useful this morning. Then I moved on to the junk drawer proper.   

I received a calendar for Christmas so my chalkboard was relegated, even though it's probably more useful than the calendar, I'll have to find a place for it. In the junk drawer I discovered eleven pens/pencils, plus the sharpie I keep to label freezer cooking, they now live in the pencil case. 

There's not much left in the junk drawer, but I still notice that many of the items in there are things other people gave to me rather than …

Bits And Bobs

Along with the cotton box I bought a new coat from the charity shop the other day. It was the only one I even remotely liked, it's a size 10 so it's a little bit big but it means I can wear a thick jumper or layers underneath without being too constricted. It was £6.99, so not absolute bargain basement price but it's a good price for a nice coat - I was starting to worry I'd have to look at real shops for one. I bought it not a moment too soon, the temperature has really dropped and it looks like I'll get some good wear out of it this weekend. 

We visited Dan's mum last night to set up the tablet. That all went fairly well, Dan showed her how to do the very basic things and downloaded a few apps and games. They have already exchanged emails so that part of it is sorted out. 

I bought quite a bit of veg at the supermarket this week so today I'm doing some cooking for the weekend and the freezer, it's as much to keep warm as it is to fill the freezer. I mad…

Useful and Beautiful

Apologies, this is picture heavy.

I was picking something up off the floor at the charity shop yesterday when I spotted a box, I mainly had a look at it as I liked the design, I thought it was just a box of thread. It was not, it was a box that became a birthday gift for myself. 

When I opened the lid this is what was inside. 

It's an education kit all about British cotton!

Along with the raw materials and fabric swatches there is lot of printed information. 

I just love it, Dan also loves it, I think I mentioned before that his Great Grandfather was an engineer in the mills in East Lancs and worked all over the world setting up cotton machinery.

Not bad for £4.

It All Adds Up

That's what they say isn't it, things come in threes.

Expense one. On Sunday we noticed The White Bunny had been chewing her front foot, so much so that it was bald and very very pink. As the day went on she wouldn't put any weight on it at all, so we took he to the vet on Monday. The vet seemed to think that the chewing was a symptom as there was nothing wrong with her foot, so she poked and prodded her and we think she has sprained her leg somehow. The White One is a bit of a hunting, shooting, fishing action rabbit so it wouldn't surprise me. She had a painkilling injection and we brought some pain relief syrup home for her.  

Expense two. The power steering pipe had been leaking for quite a while, the man at the garage said it was nowhere near as bad as some he'd seen so he did a temporary fix a little while ago and he would fix it in the new year. the new year has arrived so Dan took it in yesterday, we had been warned that the new pipe was reasonably inexpensiv…

Don't Panic!

There was minor uproar in the living room last night. Dan was obviously in a bit of a grump and I didn't know why, it turned out he'd found a chewed patch on the reasonably new rug. So we decided to rotate the rug to hide the patch. I wanted to do this anyway so it wears more evenly. 

This did not go down well with the rabbits, it was worse than going-to-the-vet time with running around, loud sniffing and general carrying on, they had clearly just got their side as they liked it and any change means starting afreshWe rotated the rug and it turned out the bald patch was just a small squidged down part with a bit of a mark on it, some spot cleaning and an ice cube later and it was fine.  Unlike our relationship with the buns who were most upset for the rest of the evening, although a small amount of broccoli started to make amends.

Taking The Tablet

Here's a really good thing to happen this week. 

Dan's mum uses an old mobile phone, Dan texts her every night and she texts back. It costs her 14p every time she texts, it's a lot of money for someone who is learning to live on a reduced budget, but she's a bit scared of newer technology, let's not dwell on that. 

Over the months things have got to a point where Dan has said "ENOUGH!!!" and informed her last week that we were buying her a tablet whether she thought she wanted one or not. There are many reasons why we know she would benefit from owning one, but the main reason is so we can email each other, send pictures etc without it costing her anything (she already has internet access). After much back and forth she agreed and they planned to go shopping. 

A couple of days later Dan received a text. Dan's mum has made friends with one of the taxi drivers that takes her and her mum around the place, and he seems like a generally nice bloke. They'd…

Day Trip To Llandudno

We've taken to having a day out on my birthday, I don't know when this started or why, but it's now a tradition. We packed some falafel sandwiches - made with the 29p ciabatta, falafel and some tomatoes left over from new year, some raspberry buns made by Dan and a bottle of water and we set off. 

Some of you may have already noticed the above building is not in Llandudno, or even in Wales, we ended up in Barnard Castle at Bowes Museum. 

What a great choice it was too, along with the permanent displays - from the silver swan to paintings by Goya and Canaletto there were three excellent exhibitions. Firstly, the one we knew about another Artist Rooms featuring the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe (if you think you don't know him you've probably seen his work, he shot the cover of Horses by Patti Smith, for example). Then there was New Light, an exhibition of contemporary northern art, some of the pieces there were just fantastic. Finally Quiltscapes and Quiltline by…

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

A few things this week.

We have been using our vouchers, at the minute it feels lie we're overshopping but we're buying things to last for a few months so I'm planning bargain basement shopping next month to make up for the extra spending*. 

I needed a birthday card so went to the cheapy card shop in the town, I used to use the independent one, but it closed last year. I picked up a card for 59p thinking it was a good price then the lady at the counter told me I could pick another four cards and it would only cost me a pound! Fantastic. So I have cards for all the children for the year. 

My brother passed the Owen Jones book onto us when he visited last week, we'll both read it so it's very much appreciated. 

Dan has been after a bluetooth speaker for ages, we saw one in the sale the other day at the supermarket so he went off and did a bit of research and decided it would be good for his needs. It was £20 which meant even before we'd bought our bread and veg we co…

Simple Pleasure

Along with the XXL savings tin MIL bought me another very useful thing, a notebook. There are many things to love about it, firstly it's a notebook and that's always a good thing, secondly the cover is a nice colour, thirdly it's a cheapy with thin paper which make a very pleasing sound when I flick through. But at the minute the most important thing for me are the see-through flaps at the front and back. They are ideal for me to keep my coupons and vouchers. 

I'm using this book to keep my pantry lists, menu plan, shopping lists and spending diary. So having the vouchers to hand makes things lots easier, plus they're not going to languish in the junk drawer for me to find when they've expired. 

I am far too happy about this.

Change, No Change

The washing machine is on, the windows are open, the kettle has just boiled and there are piles of stuff in different places around the house. I am, for the first time in ages, alone and able to get on with anything or nothing. 

There's a bonus £8 for the savings pot as the window cleaner didn't come last month. I have been around collecting up the small coins that have scattered themselves around the house. 

As I bought a new pair of shoes I have added things to the charity bag, these are things I've been keeping for assorted reasons, none of the reasons involved me liking or wearing the items. There's a long glittery tunic that I thought would be useful for festive evenings at the pub or visiting people. I have had it since 2014 and wore it once when we went to the theatre and I could hardly concentrate on the play as it was so prickly. 

The other things are a really unflattering t-shirt that I kept for layering, it doesn't matter how many layers I put on, it still …

Getting Through It

Having Chris and Holly here over New Year went very well, thank you to everyone for your kind comments about my buffet - we're still eating it! Holly emptied their fridge and brought it over so they didn't return to anything stinky. On Thursday evening we ate some of the things I'd made and she made lasagne. Dan ate the last of that yesterday. They also brought a bottle of gin and a couple of other bits and bobs, so between us we had a lot to eat and drink!

We ate and sat around chatting, it's not that often we are all together without the rest of the family, so we came to the conclusion we'd rather stay in and catch up than go out into the windy evening. It was great - and we saved so much money! The following day they went for a walk on the beach and we met them for drinks later, it's always good to have a bit of time to yourself when you're staying with people I think. We were going to go out for a meal but as there was so much food left we came home, wat…