Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Hump Day Already?

For those of you just joining....hump day does not represent anything rude...it just means you've got over the middle hump in the week and it's downhill all the way to the weekend now!

So why does hump day seem to take an eternity to come around when you're at work but a blink of an eye when you're on holiday then, eh?  Anyway I hope you've all been having a good week so far?

I have felt ok since Saturday and have been enjoying the week.  I met my friend for lunch yesterday and we had tasty chip shop chips for a treat and I had a mooch around some second hand shops before & after meeting her but I didn't find anything I wanted.  Never mind - sometimes the pleasure is just in browsing. 

Today I went for a bike ride to seek out a route to the new job and I found one that takes probably about 20 minutes....which is about double what it will take me in the car unfortunately.  But I am hoping that I will see people queued up at the traffic lights waiting to get onto the main road out of the works site, which I will be able to sail past on my bike going home and maybe be about a mile home before they even get past the lights!  I know that sounds mean and I don't mean it horribly really as I know some people have no choice but to drive but I am just trying to talk myself into cycling rather than taking the easy option.  I guess I need to keep telling myself I will be saving money on parking & petrol too!

I think it will be difficult in the winter though as the route is mainly cycle paths which will not get gritted in the snow & ice and I also have to push my bike over a railway bridge which definitely won't get gritted and it will be a bit scary when it's dark (no lights there) but I need to be brave!  Hopefully there will be other cycle commuters coming home that way at the same time.

I think I will take another bike ride out before my week off is up to check the route and look to see if there is another 'leg' I can take as part of it was a bit confusing going through housing estates that all looked the same!  Maybe I just need to to it again and make some mental 'markers'.

Anyway I did enjoy the bike ride which was good as if I had hated it, there would have been nothing to encourage me to even try it.

So my treat for the weekend is a journey down to London (train ticket booked ages ago in advance for cheap) to see a show with a friend who bought the tickets as a gift for my 40th birthday this year.  How generous is that?  It's the Much Ado About Nothing show with David Tennant and Catherine Tate which is very exciting as I have a soft spot for David Tennant shall we say!  Anyway I shall meet my friend and we'll go for some lunch (money for this has been budgeted for some time) then head off to the theatre.  I am booked on an early evening train back from London so no hanging around being tempted by expensive shops, bars or restaurants!  However I may pop into a pub on the way home (right next to train station) where an old colleague/friend is having a birthday get together but I think that depends on how much ££ I have left over.  But I would like to.

I don't want the weekend to get here too quickly for a change but at least when it does I have something brilliant to look forward to eh?

Thanks for reading today and I wish you a happy remainder of the week.


Monday, 25 July 2011

First Day of Week Off!

Thanks to those who wished me well from Saturday when I was feeling poorly and Sara I have added another comment re: your daughter.  If anyone is reading this and has some HR experience I wonder if you would mind having a read and contributing some knowledge?

So here I am on a Monday, feet up on the sofa doing some internet browsing after a busy morning in the home. ....I had a lie in but nothing too obscene!  I got up and had some breakfast then watched "How Clean Is Your Home" in my PJs....that programme makes me cringe in disgust but also fascinates me at the same time and I love to see the houses at the end.  I am pretty clean & tidy anyway but after watching that programme I am always inspired to do a bit more!  So I:  

  • Washed up
  • Cleaned the kitchen down (including the sink & floor)
  • Hoovered everywhere & removed all cushions off the sofa and hoovered up underneath them
  • Cleaned the bathroom floor
  • Wiped down everywhere in the bathroom (it had a deep clean on Saturday!) including skirting boards
  • Made the bed 
  • Emptied bins! 

Sat down for 10 minutes with a cup of tea reflecting on a few things.

I then did my nails & toenails and applied a facepack before jumping in the shower. 

I have had a frugal lunch of a banana and two slices of marmite on granary toast as we haven't actually got much in the house at the moment.  I am trying to eke out everything we have before I do another 'stock up' shop which means there isn't much to nibble on between meals...which is a good thing really!

I've logged on to check all ok with bank account & credit card - does anyone else feel compelled to log in every day to check in this day & age of fraud?

Been reading a bit more about Amy Winehouse and Frugal Queen posted about it this weekend on her blog, which pretty much encapsulates how I feel, although I don't have a daughter myself.  The news this weekend has been awful, so many dreadful stories.  The world is a brutal place at times.

Well it is time to go and do a few more useful things now and as Mum said, I can enjoy taking my time over them and having gotten them out of the way I will be able to do the other things I have planned this week guilt free. 

I am meeting a few friends over different days for drinks at lunchtime, I am also hoping to get out on my bike to see how long it would take me to cycle to my new job to save on petrol and parking fees (it's not a free car park unfortunately), am going to pay the loose change in our jar into the bank tomorrow and perhaps pop into the charity shops too to see if I can spot any bargains.  I have one evening out planned on Thursday which is just a couple of drinks with a friend to celebrate the new job but I will drive there so won't have to fork out for taxis.  It'll just be nice to be out and chat with my good friend as I don't see her that often these days.

I do have one big thing to look forward to though on Saturday - a trip to London to see a show!  But more on that later....

Have a good day and I hope your Monday wasn't too bad!


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sick Saturday

Oh dear this is not how I wanted my Saturday to be.  I don't feel well! 

I was fine this morning, I got up and went to get my hair done, no problem.  I have come home and made some lunch with bits & pieces laying around (used up some tomatoes, mushrooms, a tin of beans and a few hash browns) and did some chores.  Then about 2 hours ago I started to feel a bit dodgy.  I just feel a bit woozy and a little bit sick with a slightly sore tummy.  I really wanted to walk down to a local shop to get some lovely incense sticks they sell but I couldn't even face that.

I took two paracetamol earlier and catnapped for 30 minutes which has helped a bit but I don't feel 100%.  Hopefully it is nothing that will spill over into tomorrow and definitely not Monday as that is the proper start of my week off and if I am sick I will be really p'd off!

Sara if you are reading this & didn't spot it, I replied to your comment from yesterday about your DD.  She needs to take action - don't let him get away with it and her health has to come first as I am sure you have told her. 

So, I have not done too much today, just had my hair sorted out, cleaned the kitchen down, cleaned the bathroom, done three loads of washing which I have been able to line dry (hooray!), cooked a lunch/washed up and snoozed on the sofa!  Also drank copious amounts of comforting tea.

The little electrical gadget that tells us if we've used a lot of electricity has a sad face on today what with all the washing, kettle boiling & use of the oven/grill.  I get the feeling I won't have driven down the electric bill this month what with all the rain as I have had to use the tumble dryer recently.  I'll be submitting a reading in the next week or so, so I shall have an idea then. 

Well I think it may be time to use a few more pennies and make another hot drink, I am craving them at the moment.  And before anyone says anything about 'cravings' and feeling a bit sick, no it is not because I'm pregnant!  Definitely not! 

I hope everyone else is feeling much better than I am and has had a nice day so far.  Bye for now.

Friday, 22 July 2011

It's Here...It's Here!

The weekend is here!  And my week off follows!  And I have a bottle of chilled wine!  Does it get much better?  Actually it does as hubby treated me to a king size Twix!  My God the excitement.

Hello and welcome Sara, thank you for following and I'll look forward to reading your comments too (as I will everyone's).  Honesty.....I have it in abundance which is mostly good.....sometimes maybe not so good but I'll always try and be subtle if I need to be.  I think you know what I'm saying.  (We've all got a friend who has made strange wardrobe choices for instance....)

Thanks everybody on the job congratulations.  I am still so happy and I feel like even now I am starting to get 'me' back. At work today I was able to just get on with it thinking "This is not forever...I will be moving on!" and I was at peace.

I have been spoken to twice now to see if they can change my mind about leaving.  I don't blame them for trying and I guess I'd be insulted a little if they didn't bother to even ask but the answer is no anyhow.  Within the core of me I feel this is a great move and I will remain positive.  I don't want to build my hopes up too much but I want to go in with an open mind and not be thinking that it'll probably be awful just like the last two jobs were (well the last one for sure).  But I definitely feel like this is a good change of direction and I just want to hang onto that.

Hubby was able to contribute more towards the house this month as his wages were a bit more than usual due to some overtime so that was a nice surprise today.  All in all it's been a good day and even the pelting rain can't dampen my mood.

My God what a turn around in a week eh? 

So what are your plans for the weekend then?  Are you up to anything exciting or just relaxing in a frugal way?  I am off to get my hair cut & coloured tomorrow which is a treat but I am not ready to go grey yet.  I get it done at someone's house which is very much cheaper than a salon but certainly more expensive than doing it myself.  However there's no way I could attempt to cut my crazy hair and a home dye kit would literally make it die.  I am jealous of people who can do their own but for me it's just not an option.  But what I spend is still pretty cheap considering and it's money well spent.

I think we'll be staying in tomorrow with another film which is fine by me as I have all next week to go out & about it I want to.  I have already set up a few meetings with friends which will be lovely to catch up and won't be expensive as I will drive rather than drink/taxi. 

My social side has been 'unwrapped' this week...I am definitely in the mood for fun with my friends!  But unlike years ago, it'll be done on the frugal side.  The old (young!) me would've booked us a table in a restaurant for a three course meal, bought wine, got taxis there & back, maybe even tried to talk a friend into taking some time off as well and going off somewhere for a night for a laugh! 

Hmmmm so why was it you got in debt then Mrs?  Lessons learned!  But hey at least I have had some fun and at least I can continue to...but it'll just be fun on a budget!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

And Now...For The Good News!

Well that new blouse turned out to be a lucky blouse didn't it?  Yipeeeeeeeeee I got offered the job!  I had to keep pinching myself last night to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  I was ecstatic!

I called my current boss pretty much straight away to tell him - I had to because the new employers will be contacting him for a reference before they put the offer in writing but verbally it's been offered.  Current boss slightly gutted but understanding.  We had a chat today as well and I was able to tell him (again) why I was unhappy and no, I wasn't going to be talked out of leaving.

So I am soooooooooooo happy knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel now! 

I really want this to be the start of a fantastic new chapter in my working life and I would dearly love to be there for years - even for the rest of my working life, that would be great.  I have had so many jobs in the 24 years I have been working that I swear if I stayed in this new one for the rest of my working life I would probably still have had more jobs than a lot of people do in a lifetime!

I love that blouse.  From now on that blouse is my lucky charm, haha.

So that is my good news.  And on top of that it is Friday tomorrow, I have a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge (yep, naughty but I bought it to celebrate!) and double yipeeee I am on holiday next week.  Sweet.

Finally, hello & welcome to Anne, thank you for stopping by & reading and deciding to follow my blog

Here's hoping you all have a good evening and enjoy the countdown to the weekend.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Best Laid Plans.....Go To Pot!

Well all the intentions were there for today!  Unfortunately it all went down the toilet.

So, first off, apparently no rain forecast for my area for TWO WHOLE DAYS so yipeeee I think, I can get a load of washing ready to be put on later when hubby comes home and he can also put it out when it's finished.  And it had to go on as he needed work uniform washing.

So at about 1pm it starts to chuck it down doesn't it?  And does it stop?  Does it 'eck!  It absolutely threw it down for hours...thunder....lightening....local flooding......no rain for two days my arse! 

So hubby puts tumble dryer on to get all the clothes dry.  Which is bad enough as it is but when I get home I find out he's tumble dried four of my tops that shouldn't even look at a tumble dryer let alone go in it!  ARRGGHHHH!!

I think one of them may have shrunk but I won't know till I put it on as it is a 'gathered' kind of hemline.  I can't face trying it on yet.  I've only worn it one weekend since I bought it.  If I put it on and it reveals my belly button I think I'll cry!  The other three I think are just about ok.  I told hubby to just leave my stuff alone in the future and leave it in the washing machine if he has to and I'll sort it out myself as he seems incapable of reading a laundry care label (this is not the first time such a thing has happened). 

Anyway my other plan was to leave work and go straight to shops for the weekly groceries.  Wrong!

Due to all the rain, the car park of my works was heaving trying to get out - complete chaos and it took my twenty minutes just to get out and onto the main road.  It was lashing it down again and I just wanted to get home as I had no coat with me and peep toe shoes on.  Not conducive to flooded car parks and crazy weather.  So I phoned hubby (whilst still stationary I must stress!) and asked him to pop over the road to the local (equals expensive) shop for just the bits we needed to get us through a simple meal tonight (an onion, some mushrooms and a courgette) and I would pop back out later for the main shop.

So he does go out bless him and comes back with a pack of three of onions & courgettes and a punnet of mushrooms (and biscuits!).....spending about £3 more than he had to when our budget for the rest of this week is only £15 anyway.  ARRRGGGHHH!  I didn't say anything though, it wasn't his fault as it's all they had but how annoying when you're trying to just keep the spending down?

So I had dinner then popped to the nearest supermarket where I bought as many 'basic' items as I could and I also picked up some reduced new potatoes which helped but still spent £11.10.  Which would be fine if I didn't have to pick up more fresh bits on Friday to see us over the weekend and early next week.  That'll be at least another £5 I think. 

So budget blown and weather ruined laundry/no tumble dryer plans!  Well done Met Office for predicting that.  I wish they'd just give up and tell us the forecast for the next half hour if that's all they can do successfully!

Right time to chill out I think and 'let it all go'.  Tomorrow is another day and let's hope for better and some good news on the job front maybe?

Now....where's my cuppa?

Have a great evening! x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Proud To Have Got This Far Today....

Well now, today was the day I finally got to wear that blouse I purchased, for my interview!  And I am happy to say I feel it went quite well.  Oh and I saw two people check out my blouse too!  (Didn't tell you it was smart but eye catching did I?)

I found out that between 50 - 60 people had applied for the job and only 8 people were invited in for interview, of which I was first in.  So, although I really want the job and don't get me wrong I will be bitterly disappointed if I don't get it, I feel fairly proud of myself for even making it through the door.

I was interviewed by a panel of three people who all threw various questions at me.  I couldn't answer all the questions but I was honest where appropriate as nothing worse than a blagger!  And they did say at the beginning not to worry if you couldn't answer them all.

Afterwards I was shown around the campus by someone else - which I think was a bit of an exercise on their part to see what sort of person I was, did I chat, was I approachable that sort of thing and without wanting to get my hopes up I do feel that went really well too.

I should know this week and if I don't get it, because it is the NHS they said they would be obliged to give feedback.  So that will be useful for future applications there or elsewhere.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me!  I feel so excited about having a chance to work for an organisation where my hard work ultimately goes into helping human beings rather than just making someone rich, even richer.  So now I wait......hopefully I should know Wednesday/Thursday.

In the meantime my challenge is to see us through the next week with a food budget of £15 and half a tank of petrol in my 1100cc car (it's about 14 litres of fuel!) has got to get me as close to 3rd August as possible which is when next the credit card statement cuts in.  Absolutely no chance of eking it out that long but I am rationing car journeys until the end of the month and at least making sure I can combine journeys where possible i.e. tomorrow I will go grocery shopping after work on the way home rather than coming home, having dinner and then going out again.  I know I know I should be doing that anyway huh?

I try and set myself a budget for food & fuel for the month and I pay off my credit card bill in full every time but I use it for everything possible to collect Air Miles.  You have to be filthy rich I think and booking lots of your own travel to make the Air Miles really work for you but I thought I would give it a go to at least try and get something for the money I would spend anyway.   I am determined to get at least something out of it at least once!  After that I think I'll 'tart' it for something that offers something a bit more realistic even if it is a small amount of cash back!

Yesterday I did an inventory of the food we have in the house and we have quite a few tinned items and some frozen stuff - enough to get us through this week and probably next week, supplemented with fresh veg/potatoes for mash and some fruit.  I have £15 for this week and £15 for next week, plus some Nectar points I can use if I have to because I really don't want to spend more than that £30 combined.  I'd really like to try and save the Nectar points for Christmas time though.  I have been collecting quite a few through British Gas as I they offer them for submitting your meter readings online and seems I do that monthly for gas & electric I have accumulated a fair amount.

However I am changing energy suppliers.  As soon as British Gas announced their latest hikes I went onto USwitch via QuidCo and changed to the best I could find for my area (Atlantic) and earned £22 from them and hopefully will save money with the cheaper tariff too, later in the year when it switches over.

I have been continuing with the short bursts of water in the shower to keep the gas boiler from firing and have started to wash my hair bent over the bath very quickly, massaging the conditioner in and pinning it up/leaving it to soak into my very dry hair whilst I then hop in for the good old scrub down!  I feel much better about the resources I am using, doing it this way.  Just over a week till I can submit latest meter readings and we'll see how I have done.  Hoping for £18 or less for the gas and £24 or less for the electric.  Feeling a bit gloomy about the electric as have had to use tumble drier once or twice in the last week due to the massive amounts of rain we've had however the forecast looks dry for the next couple of days so a good 'load' of washing will be going on tomorrow to be dried outside that's for sure.

I am off work next week (hurrah!) in which I will be either celebrating a new job offer or commiserating with some economy biscuits and a cup of tea whilst enjoying free exercise and as many frugal activities as possible to enjoy my week's absence from the office.

What are your frugal fun ideas for a week off work?  Happy to read any suggestions!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Oh Dear....

So just when I was getting a bit of a handle on things and trying not to get too het up about my job, things ramp up a gear in terms of stress.  It's like an obstacle course on a daily basis with new hazards hurled in to trip you up. 

I can't bear it much longer.  I noticed how stressed I was driving home when I realised how clenched my teeth were, how hard the grip was on my steering wheel and how completely ridiculous it was to yell "FAAAAAAAARK!!" just because I didn't make it past the amber lights in time!  That's on top of having to put the phone down on someone earlier in the day who just wasn't listening to me and refused to put me through to someone else and the unmentionable words stropped out on a regular basis throughout the day.  My shoulders ache constantly as I am so tense. 

I'm well & truly fed up and have had enough.

I know some of you will say "Talk to your Manager!" - believe me I have.  He's in the same boat.  The issues go deep.  The issues in my opinion are streamed down the chain.  Attitudes of those on high leave me incredulous at times and when it comes from Director level....where do you go from there?  That's right, job websites.  But as we all know we're fighting over not many decent jobs right now.

Trouble is I am not sure how long I can take it before I start seeing detrimental effects on my health both physical and mental.  I put some music on my Media Player earlier....a great dance track from a few years ago (way before this job) and you know how music can just transport you back?  Well it did, and the feeling was amazing.  It was like a mini 3 minute holiday!  It shocked me because I recognised this feeling........it was called cheerfulness.

Wish me luck for my upcoming interview.  I need to get out of where I am for sanity's sake!

Anyway, tomorrow is Friday.  That deserves a smile at least, no?

Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

HOW much?

I wish I had space for an apple tree!

Popped out tonight to local Tesco for some fresh bits & bobs to see us through the rest of the week & Saturday.  Hubby added a few extra bits to the list and I also remembered I needed to buy a card for a wedding (as I am yet to discover my inner creative crafty Goddess on the card making front....best I get in touch with her soon eh?) so the budget I'd set went out the window.

I am in shock at the price of apples!  I know we're not in our own season yet but even so.....flippin' 'eck!  It makes you think twice about even bothering but I am not at the stage yet where I want my semi healthy diet to go down the tubes.  I would have just bought some basics but there were none left.  I think I need to seek out somewhere else for fresh stuff as Tesco is getting ridiculously expensive for day to day items in my eyes.  Does anyone else find the same?

Any recommendations for fruit & veg gladly welcomed.  We get though apples, bananas, onions, garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, courgettes (trying to grow some of them at the moment) and some carrots & parsnips too.

We're growing some tomatoes at the moment as well but they're not ripening in a hurry!

Anyway I decided seems the budget was blown anyway that stuff it, I was going to buy us both a glass of wine anyhow so a cheapy rose and a cheapy red went in the basket and we'll have those tomorrow on our "date" on the sofa with The King's Speech.  Some basics bourbons actually did find their way into the trolley as well.....

Apart from the groceries, no other pennies spent today.  The shoes have been taken in for elastic buckle repair and will cost about £7 upon pick up.  I also need to buy some need heel grips and insoles for them but once done that'll be it for at least another year.

I'm off to update my spreadsheet!

Bye for now. x

Monday, 11 July 2011

Making Up For It On Monday!

So....today was back to work and I kept in mind that although it was going to be stressful and I'd be gagging to get home later, going to work was slightly more rewarding in that it's paying for my massive tumble off the wagon yesterday.  Well actually truth be told the money is there to pay for my shopping expedition but it means I will have to kiss good bye to some savings I had been putting away for something else but that's the whole point isn't it....you can't have it ALL.  Well you probably can but you'll be in debt quicker that you can say "Yikes! Credit card statement!".

Anyway today I've had a no spend day, not a penny, which is good.  I have also drilled down on all my direct debits to see what I could reduce or cancel and made those adjustments accordingly and after receiving an email from British Gas telling me my gas & electric are going up by 18% and 16% each, I have switched suppliers via USwitch and earned myself £22 (it's tracked already too!).

I've made a frugal menu for the rest of the week, using up whatever is possible in the house and should only need to spend between £10 - £15 on fresh fruit & veg and a few other bits for take-to-work lunches (I never buy lunch at work, EVER!).

Have planned a 'date' with my husband for Wednesday....we're going to stay in and watch a borrowed DVD together.  If I can get any bargains at the supermarket tomorrow and if there is any spare £ left over from my budget perhaps I'll sneak a couple of beers or 'one glass' wines into the trolley for us to sip on as well.  Otherwise tea & basic range chocolate bourbons it is.

Tomorrow I have to take a favourite pair of shoes to the shop for repair....completely freaky as I was only talking about them on Frugal Queen's blog the other day!  Hopefully it won't be too much to get them patched up again for another year.  I love them so much and they are irreplaceable!

Hope your Monday wasn't too bad and I hope you have a good week.


Erm...Sinful Sunday.....

Whoops.  I have been a very bad girl.

Let's just say I did get the interview shirt with the help of the John Lewis voucher. 

John Lewis have clearance sales on from time to time....I just happened to go in, during one. 

I'm not saying any more about it. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Satisfying Saturday!

Well now what a lovely day I have had.  It's days like this that I am so grateful for and enjoy so much.

I got up about the time I planned and did a bit of housework before getting ready and toodled off.  I had about 30 minutes in the end before I met my friend and I only made it to one of the charity shops.  I tried on a few tops, one would have been perfect but it was too sheer.  So that went back on the rail.  I did end up with a red & white 'wrap' top from Wallis for £2.75 that has been washed already and is drying as I type!  Not exactly interview material but a lovely leisure time top and possibly a work top too where I currently work (or if I get the new job, when I am settled in a bit).

I also stumbled across a Tracy Shaw "salsacise" DVD for £2!  Now I loved dancing up until about 18 months ago and also used to do salsa a long time ago (as well as aerobic 'dancing' too) so I thought "why not?" as I really have been idle of late and my midriff is letting me know about it!

Hubby is out tonight so I put the DVD on - it was good fun and only 51 minutes long which was enough time to get a glow on and know I was working out but it was fun to do.  So I shall have to get that on at least once a week as well as trying to fit in some walking in my lunch hours and at weekends which I also enjoy once I am out there and hopefully I can nip this budding spare tyre in the bud!

Back to my day.....

Met my mate and we had lunch then walked around a little whilst chatting then ended up in a cafe where we indulged in a dessert and a cuppa.  I wasn't thinking then about my budding spare tyre obviously was I?

We were in the cafe for a good hour & half I would say (on top of about the same having lunch I'm sure!) and had a massive catch up.  We did pop to another shop but I didn't buy anything...I was tempted but I put things back on the shelf, thinking about stuff I had at home that I could use instead.

We chatted & chatted even back at our cars and probably didn't stop chatting for 5 hours!  So we clearly had a lot to talk about....

I came home and then relished the fact that I was inside just as a storm broke and enjoyed the lashing rain on the window and the claps of thunder, knowing the water butt would be full again soon as it really did pelt it down.  Perfect!

I haven't had dinner as I am still feeling full from lunch & dessert (though I might have sneaked a few Sainsburys Basics digestive biscuits with a cuppa) so that's good...saves on the oven and I can keep back what I might have used for another day.

The exercise DVD perked me right up too so in my book this has been a successful day....even if I didn't find my interview shirt.  Ah well....to the shops clutching my voucher tomorrow then!  Wish me luck.

Here's hoping you have a wonderful Sunday.

PS:  Mum if you are reading this, I left a comment for you on the Friday post.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Oh wow what a long week this has been...and I was only in work for 4 days of it!  So so glad it's finally the weekend.

I didn't watch my film tonight but I did have a chilled beer and watched some trashy TV which I enjoyed although one bit did make me cry....when I watched Super Size vs Super Skinny and they showed a woman in the states who was so so obese (morbidly) she needed six people to care for her and get her through a day.  She made a heartbreaking plea to the Super Sizer on the programme to do something about it now before it's too late and it just made me so sad for her.  At the end of the programme they said she'd sadly passed away two months after the filming.  I was really hoping she'd have lost some weight and brought her risk down but there was no happy ending.

Like a lot of things, this brought some perspective.  She'd said "If I was just fifty pounds overweight I'd run screaming to the gym...I'd go out for walks..." and such like.  Now I am not about to go out and join a gym but it did make me think about the simple pleasures she couldn't enjoy like a bike ride in the sunshine, a walk holding hands with a loved one after dinner watching the sun set or even just dancing around the living room to your favourite cd.   So sad - may she rest in peace.

Well tomorrow I plan to get up at a decent time and get out to search for a second hand bargain shirt before meeting my friend so it is off to bed for me now (let's just say I like my weekend lie ins and I can't - or shouldn't if I want to be productive - tomorrow!)

Good night and here's hoping for a good weekend for us all.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Downhill Now Till the Weekend!

That's why it gets called hump day!  No not being rude.....it just means once you're over lunchtime on a Wednesday it is over "the hump" and down hill to the weekend :-)

Well today was such a busy day again and my body aches from constant nose to grindstone, fingers ablaze on the keyboard and not even moving to go to the toilet till I was desperate!  But at least the bosses weren't in today so we could just get on with it without having them breathe down our necks.

I popped out at lunchtime to look for a new top, something smart because....I have an interview coming up!  Yes good news indeed.  I won't go into detail but suffice to say I am excited about it and it could open up a whole new world to me. 

I did find one top in the sale in Oasis for £20 (was £38) but I wasn't sure about the colour at all.  It was smart & functional, fitted and well made but I just wasn't sure.  I have wasted so much money in the past on clothes I "wasn't sure" about so I put it back and bought nothing.

Also I should really be having a trawl through second hand shops for a good quality bargain before I buy anything new.  I haven't got too much time though and there is only one shop close to my work (which is a bit crap to be honest) so I need to get it sorted to visit some others in the time I have. 

I have a small amount of time this Saturday before I meet a friend; there are two shops in the area I could quickly dash to.  But if I find nothing, the second hand shops will then close everywhere and in the city centre, until Monday but I'll be back at work then. 

If I don't find anything then I do have next Saturday (16th) but that's cutting it fine. However I also re-discovered a £10 John Lewis voucher in my purse left over from a birthday present so I could put that towards something new if there is anything good (but reduced!) in John Lewis.  Maybe I could pop in on Sunday and have a little look in case the bargain of the century is waiting for me!

I have had someone contact me for the item I offered on Freegle so that is good - hopefully she's coming to collect that tomorrow evening.  Unfortunately no offers to me for the item I needed though.

Well not much else to report today - I think I will go off to bed now as I am feeling very weary.

Here's hoping you have a pleasant downward slide all the way into Friday night!

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Back to Work....

So it was back to work today - ugh.  Still I know I should be (and am, in my heart) grateful to have a job to go to and a salary coming in at the end of each month.  It's just a bit painful after a long, fun weekend.

Anyway some good news today about money saving.  The house insurance is up for renewal this month and I had already had a quote in by post, which was less than I thought it would be.  So I called tonight to renew it.  The phone rang & rang & rang and I was left in a queue for ages (at 4p a minute damn them!) so in the end I hung up. 

I had a look on their website and filled out a new quote form and hey presto!  It was even cheaper.  By about £25.  So I bought it on-line instead of course!  So I am pleased about that especially as it means I can happily stay with the supplier of choice (ethical) and I get cash vouchers to spend in store towards Christmas and next Summer so something back at the end of it too.

I also found out that the £18 a month direct debit for the child I sponsor through World Vision is coming to an end in August.  I am not going to commit to another child at the moment whilst things are so tight financially here month on month - but it's something I will consider again in the future.  I would never have stopped sponsoring him unless I literally lost my job but seems it has come to a 'natural' end with the project in his village ending, I feel ok about it now. 

As far as life's experiences goes, I have today agreed to do next year's Race for Life with some family members so that is something to look forward to and in a good cause as well.  Plus quality time with some favourite female relatives back in my old home town - sorted!

This Friday I think I will settle down with a dvd (The King's Speech) and if I still have any change rattling around from last weekend, perhaps a bottle of chilled beer and that will be a nice evening in for not a lot. 

I am meeting a good friend on Saturday for a very cheap lunch and an overdue catch up, then Sunday is open to ideas at the moment.  Perhaps an hour's home pampering with a DIY facial, a deep moisturising hair mask and I'll do my nails & paint my toenails too!  I have all the stuff already so won't cost me a bean.

I hope you're having a good week (or at least bearable) so far and hang on in there...not long till the weekend once we get past Wednesday lunchtime!  (Am I saying that more for my own benefit do you think?)

Bye for now.


Just a quickie...proper post later.

I am sure you may have seen QuidCo advert on TV but if you haven't you need to check the site out if you spend money on-line (insurances being a good example).  I have been a member since 2005 and received a fair whack back in that time.  I promise it's not a scam.

Here's a link to get you started if you're new to it and you can then go on to refer other people too.

I hope it's useful to you.


Monday, 4 July 2011

Utlility Frugalness is Paying Off

I can't believe I forgot to mention this, hence I'm posting again today.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been cutting back on the amount of running water I've been using whilst washing/showering in the mornings.  I had hoped this would reflect on the gas bill as the combi boiler wouldn't be firing for so long.

Well I am so chuffed as the latest gas bill for a month (we submit meter reads every 4 weeks and only pay for what we use) was....£18.09!  That is the cheapest it's been, ever.  We can't get away from it completely because of washing up, washing hands after loo and also hubby is yet to take on board my "hosing down" method but I am hoping this will help encourage him.  I can't tell him what to do but I do hope he'll see the light soon.  Also I hope that the water payments will come down in October which is when the next meter reading is.  I can't believe my new method won't help and we use water butt/buckets for the garden pots & I save the washing up water that comes out cold (whilst waiting for it to heat up) for the pots at the front of the house too.  So that's all got to help.

Electric. Our electricity has fallen a bit too but is still at just over £24 for a month.  I was a bit disappointed with that but then there are still washes to be done in the machine, meals to be cooked in and on the oven and a fridge freezer to be run.  We don't watch that much TV and we don't have loads of gadgets so really, the big players of washing machine, oven & fridge freezer are the ones I need to concentrate on.

It's my mission to manage next month's bill down to lower than £24.  I don't care if it is even only by one pound....I just want to prove that I can do it.

So that means:  making sure I get the best out of my washing machine 'loads', ensuring we use the grill where we can instead of the oven, and ensuring I keep the freezer full with the right choices so it runs efficiently.

I think the TV could probably stay off a bit more though to be honest.  We got into the habit of watching the news over dinner then leaving it on an hour or so after that but really TV is crap at the moment and the news is depressing (sorry - I know I sound like an ostrich but I do read news on internet instead) so may as well save electric and keep it off.  Another year like this and I may decide not to bother with the licence fee at all and just keep TV for DVDs!

So there you are....utility bills down this month.  Good stuff!  Not looking forward to the winter though......brrrrrrrrrr!

The Weekend is Over....The Weekend Approaches!

Good evening to you.

Well I have my first follower (hello Keshling!) and I also had my first comment left (thank you Mum!)  That is...someone called Mum, not my actual Mum by the way!

This is all quite exciting for me...knowing now that this is real and that there are actually real life people out there in the big wide world reading my thoughts.  It made me go "Oooooh!" and my tummy flipped a bit.  So thank you, you made my day!

Anyway.....the festival was great.  It was actually "Wireless Festival" in Hyde Park and we went because Pulp had reformed and we really wanted to see them.  It was a lovely day in that we did what I said we'd do and had a big fat cooked breakfast (mostly grilled & all veggie so not that unhealthy!) which set us up for hours.  We took bottles of chilled tap water and some fruit/cereal bars for the train journey. 

We met a friend in London and headed to the festival with him and we had such a lovely day, just sitting and chatting and sipping our (expensive) beers slowly to make the most of them!  I bought two beers at £4 each and refused to buy any more!  I had a veggie burger at £4.50 and that was it.  I didn't spend anything else whilst I was in there but my word I was mightily tempted by an ice cream.

I took £30, that was my saved up budget for the whole day/evening & today and I came back with about £7......£1.70 of that had to go on bus fare home.  Oh the temptation to jump into a taxi so as not to wait for 20 minutes in a hot bus station was immense but those days are well and truly over!  So I have a bit of change rattling around of which I put the coppers into a jar we use and at some point soon I'll take a trip with the jar's contents to the bank and pay it all back into my account using their lovely loose change counting machine.  I love it!  It's free - no charge or commission for using it.

I digress. 

The other saved up budget funds were spent on: bus fare into my local train station on Sunday,  a bottle of water, a muffin & a packet of Kettle chips on the way back to hotel last night from a local corner shop (cheaper than room service right?) and I reused the bottle with hotel water, for the trip back across London on a baking hot tube this morning. 

I also bought a large cup of tea at King's Cross and an Italian mozzarella baguette which served as breakfast.  The hotel's continental breakfast was £17!!  What???  Lovely hotel for the reasonable money I paid in advance though and we got upgraded for free upon check in....to a massive room with a huge bathroom!  That made my day.  Obviously I've snaffled some of the posh shower gel.  Also some shampoo which I am going to give to a friend who's going to festivals this summer - perfect size shampoo for them with their short hair!  I can't use it, it would turn my already dry hair into straw. 

Anyway the gig was great fun and it was so good to see Jarvis Cocker up there doing his thing again after so long.  Their finale was "Common People" and it was superb.  I had a grin from ear to ear I'm sure.

After the gig we waited for lots of the people to clear out before we headed for the exit then walked to Bond Street tube station - God my feet were killing me by the time I actually got on the tube but no seats for us!  Hell no, just a packed out, boiling hot tin can with my face stuck in someone's armpit...you know how it is on the London Underground when it's busy.  Good job it was only 3 stops that's all I'm saying.

Had a lovely long hot shower this morning but I was still mindful of the fact that it was much needed water (and not just a money thing for me) so I didn't over indulge. 

Got back and have spent the day doing some washing to get all the sweaty festival/hot underground journey clothes all clean & fresh and they've dried on the line too.   I think that's it for washing now till hopefully the weekend.

So I have had a much welcome boost and that'll keep me going for a while.

Mum:  I liked a lot what you said about doing something you like once a week and then you won't have regrets.  I need to turn my thoughts to the things I like doing and how I can do them for free or for very very little money.  I'll admit I was a complete spendaholic in the past with expensive taste and a penchant for dropping everything and just buggering off somewhere....that was how I enjoyed my life.  DOING and SEEING 'stuff'...buying 'stuff'...experiencing 'stuff'.  I also loved dancing but classes aren't cheap and going out to dance in the evenings 'socially' isn't cheap either!

I should & need to be, more creative with time & what little money I may be willing to let myself have.  So I'll get my thinking cap on with regards to that and will post soon on the results.

Oh something else I did today was wax my own legs & bikini line for £6.80!  Saved me £15.20 that did!  I have also listed something on Freegle and asked for something on Freegle too.  Fingers crossed for a result and a taker on my item.

Have a good evening and hey....only 4 more days till the weekend.


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Weekend At Last

So after another long hard stressful week it is at last the weekend. Thankfully it is a long weekend for me as well as I am off Monday.

I am off with hubby to a day/evening  festival tomorrow and we're staying overnight in a bargain advanced booking hotel and travelling back Monday morning.  Train tickets were booked well in advance too, to get the best prices possible.  Return to London for two of us on pre-booked seats came in at around £30 maximum from memory so pretty good.  The only way it'd be cheaper is to go by coach but seems I have a pathological hatred of travelling by coaches that wasn't an option.  It's not the coach that bothers me...it's the fact that every time I do have to travel on a coach I always seem to sit near someone who has no respect or courtesy for me or the other fellow passengers which winds me up a treat.

Anyway I digress.  The festival tickets were bought months ago when I was feeling flush (I was just kidding myself) and seems travel & accommodation are paid for too, the only cash we need is some for a drink and a veggie burger or similar at the festival to stop us from passing out.  We're having a big cooked breakfast before we leave tomorrow morning, taking our own drinks & a sandwich for the train and hopefully that'll see us through till we absolutely HAVE to eat something!  Oh & bus fare to get to train station tomorrow and home again Monday afternoon.  So hopefully a fairly cheap night away.  Fingers crossed anyway.

But it's great to have this to look forward to!

Today I have been very very busy with stuff around the house which I've tried to do as frugally as possible.  Three loads of washing to be sorted (one of which was done overnight) which were 2 x full loads and one load of jeans which I could do on a quick wash as they weren't 'dirty' as such...just needed that freshen up if you know what I mean.  All were dried on the line - I love clean, aired laundry :-)

I cleaned the house, using dust pan & brush where possible on non carpeted areas and vacuum cleaner only on the carpets so to save a bit of leccy.  Also cleaned bathroom & kitchen, making a conscious effort not to go mad with the water to rinse down after scrubbing.  Our water bill is £34 a month for two of us and I really want to manage it down somewhat.  I have started having shorter showers by hosing myself down then turning the water off whilst I clean myself thoroughly with soap/shower gel then only turning it back on to rinse myself.  It's helped with the gas bill as the boiler is not firing all that time (combi boiler) and hopefully when the water meter is read again in October that will show a reduction too.

I hope no-one reads that and thinks "Euw!!" because I am still really clean!  In fact I feel cleaner as the water is not constantly washing off all the lather.  Please don't think anything negative....I promise I am as fresh as a daisy!    (I wonder if on Monday at the hotel if I will treat myself to a long luxurious shower or if I'll just automatically switch it off whilst I lather up.)

I cleaned the car inside & out today using three buckets of water in total and it's shining....that makes me happy.  I like my little old car to look clean.  I just thought....I no doubt used more water on my car today than I did on myself! 

I also did stuff like cleaning down garden furniture, cleaned cobwebs away from patio doors & front door, cleaned our letter box (hangs outside on the wall) and general housekeeping stuff which made me feel quite virtuous. You have to be in the right mood to tackle all that stuff on the same day though!  I guess today was the day.

I also gave myself a home administered manicure & pedicure so I feel a little pampered as well.  It's not perfect but unfortunately I haven't got the spare cash right now to pay for someone trained to do it.  But it'll do and my feet are as smooth as a baby's bottom.

Anyway that's my little waffle for the day.  I hope that the festival & the bands give me a boost and some good memories to take away.  I'm happy when I'm having fun!

I hope you've had a good weekend so far too.

Thanks for reading today. x