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. :-)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Congratulations Are In Order!

A real quickie but as I am not sure if you will check the comments on my last post, I wanted to put it RIGHT OUT THERE for you you sl.tudor:  


I am amazed and pleased and all those things!  Being in the forties club myself, I do think "YIKES!!" at such news but hey, it IS good news especially in the current atmosphere of doom & gloom.

Better start putting every single penny away now then luv!  :-)

Congrats again, and be assured I am smiling away here!


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Countdown to Christmas

Hi there.  Welcome to my new follower and thank you Rainbowchild for your recent comment.  Nothing more has been said about Race for Life but that's not to say it's gone away!  I definitely will need to do some sort of training for it, though I am hoping the cycling I do now for work, will at least give me a better level of base fitness now than I had this time last year!

So here we are nearly at the end of November and Christmas is coming around pretty quickly.  I'll be honest and say I could do without it this year for various reasons but I won't be bah humbug! about it and will try to get into the spirit of things as best I can.

I have decided not to do Christmas cards at work and I will take in some mince pies instead.  I popped to supermarket today and coincidentally there were so many special offers on mince pies it was untrue!  However I was on my bike and couldn't get them all back without crushing them so I will have to pop back in the week in the car. 

I made a budget for Christmas presents this year, like I normally do as it's pointless going into debt over it.  I am of the opinion that those who love & care about you will understand if you can't afford to get them anything or maybe just a token gesture.  It's what you do during the year that matters most.  Saying that though, my budget is just about breached and I haven't got for everyone I want to get for yet so some creativeness is called for here! 

I have all hubby's presents and will enjoy wrapping them even though I am the world's worst gift wrapper.  Honestly, even a CD ends up looking like a football by the time I have finished with it and sellotape and me do not get along!  Someone created those user friendly sellotape dispensers with the cutters on and I still get tangled up with the bloody stuff!  Not my finest hour.

We're entertaining at ours this Christmas Day - should only be four of us but I am worried about it already!  It'll be a veggie Christmas so that's easy enough but I am only used to cooking for two and usually only one course!  What fun it will be on Christmas Day then eh.  Might just cheat and make a big soup a day or so beforehand for starters which can be heated up easily and after main course (whatever that's going to be) have something easy to nibble on for dessert.  I've never ever claimed to be a domestic goddess and life's too short to pretend to be one now!

Have a great rest of weekend....


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Foggy Soggy Sunday

Hi all.  Thanks for your comments on the previous post, it is is good to know that I am not the only one who feels at odds with the modern world (or at least it's tv!) at times.  And also pleasing to read that others are using freegle type websites.

Urgh it's horrible out there!  It's been misty or full on foggy around these parts for what feels like weeks now.  Getting washing dry outside has been impossible and the house is constantly damp through drying on radiator airers.  So yesterday I had to give in and use the tumble dryer a few times as we had a mountain of "big" laundry (sheets, bath towels etc).  I was so miffed about using it!  I did leave one use of it till late at night so I got the cheaper electricity bracket but still, I don't like having to use it.  On the other hand I suppose you could say if I only do have to use it once in a very rare while I am not doing too bad.

I've had a good weekend - went out on Friday to a local gig where tickets were cheap & purchased months ago and the money for drinks and a taxi home was budgeted for.  I also brought some cash home!  So that was good.  A good friend visited me yesterday and I passed on some bits & pieces to her as she's strapped for cash....some clothes and make-up and a few other odds and ends she could make use of, were happily taken away.  I felt pleased that the stuff was going to a place where it would be used rather than gathering dust at my place.

Stayed in last night and made a yummy lentil & vegetable curry which was so cheap to make and I will definitely make it again.   Tasty and healthy, a winner all round.

Got up stupidly late today.  I have been so tired since the course....no way could I ever become a full time commuter to London!.  I haven't gone out or spent any money at all today.  Or yesterday in fact.  Heating has been on and off, curtains closed to keep what heat in we can and I am sitting here wrapped in a, erm, wrap, to keep warm whilst listening to football on the radio (yes I like football).

So the weekend has gone in a flash.  It'll be "up time" before I know it and back on the bike to work.  I hope it's not foggy tomorrow morning, it is one thing I can't bear.  It's horrible to be out in.  If you are driving and it's foggy, please take care.  You just don't know what's ahead of you.

It's pay-day on Friday and I have about £7 in my purse and a budget of £12 to get fresh fruit, vegetables and whatever else we need to see us through till the end of the month.  Hopefully should be ok, we've got a few tins of pulses left in the cupboard, some chopped tomatoes, frozen veggie mince, veggie burgers, tofu and 3 boxes of Linda McCartney sausages!  I am sure I can cobble together some decent meal plans for the next ten days.

How about you?  Do you find it a struggle to get through to the end of the month or are you super organised and have you learned to budget accordingly these days?  I'd be really interested to read your stories!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bleak Times

Evening all.  Be prepared.  I may rant tonight.

How depressing it is today with the news that over a million young people are unemployed and unemployment as a whole is at it's highest peak for seventeen years.  No growth predicted for a year or two.  Petrol prices set to rise again and I don't suppose much else will come down in price will it?

I remember life in the 70's (I was a little kid) when Mum was on her own raising three of us and times were hard then.  I recall it being really cold with ice on the inside of the window in my bedroom because we didn't have central heating fitted.  Actually even if we did Mum wouldn't have been able to afford to put it on.  She couldn't afford any kind of heating apart from the fire in the living room, the occasional burst of the gas fire in the back room (if there was no money for coal & wood for the living room) and a paraffin heater at the top of the stairs for the whole of the top of the house.  God it was cold.

I remember lots of people being out of work and I remember strikes...,.specifically the bin men strike as all the rubbish had to be piled up on our local recreation ground in black bin bags!

Anyway to me it feels a bit like those times again....this time with internet and skinny jeans instead of flares.  But once again, bleak and depressing.

I really don't understand the stock market and banks and all that - and part of me really doesn't want to.  Because I know I would probably explode with the unfairness of it all and the greed that goes on in the financial markets.  I know though that someone somewhere is getting really rich (or will get really rich at some point) off the back of the struggles "normal" people are facing at the moment.  Because that's how it works...isn't it?  Peaks & troughs, buy low sell high and all that malarkey. 

Changing the subject slightly but still on the topic of money, I saw a snippet of a programme about Tamara Ecclestone, on Harry Hill's TV Burp the other day and then she was on the front of a newspaper I glanced on the train yesterday.  Now what I want to know is this:  why for f***s sake, are people watching this crap?  This person from what I saw, could burn twenty pound notes to keep warm all this winter if she wanted to.  She didn't go to a meeting with a client because she had a SPOT so she went to a private doctor.  Excuse me?  How is this relevant to the massive percentage of the population right now?  Why do people want their noses rubbed in it?  What has happened to people in this country that they would choose to watch this drivel and give this extremely rich woman even more publicity and ultimately, probably more money?  Why why why?  I don't understand and it's making me angry!  Reject this b*llsh*t!

And changing the subject again I would also like to ask people to reject something else....self service check outs in supermarkets.  Not only are they a royal pain in the arse most of the time, but they are also helping do yet someone else out of a job.  Jobs are scarce enough as it is and some people are grateful to work in retail (even if the Tamara Ecclestone's of this world wouldn't even know one end of a barcode scanner from the other) and they need their retail job to put food on the table and keep the roof over their head.  Please.....think twice before using one if you do choose to shop in the big supermarkets.  Just go to the shortest queue and help that human being stay in a job. 

I guess you could probably look at quite a few things in your community to see if you can help out.  Believe me I do want to save money but saving a few pennies at the expense of something greater (meaning, my community) seems a little selfish right now.  For example, petrol at the local Tesco is £1.329 per litre (or something like that) but it is £1.339 at local garage/shop/car repair place who also employs extra staff.  My car takes 35 litres (it's a little 'un!) so I would rather spend the money with the local garage every time for the sake of saving 35p if I feel up from empty.

If I need a few little bits of fresh veg or some teabags or whatnot, there is a little shop a stones throw from my house.  Definitely more expensive than one of the big four supermarkets and Aldi but, I would spend the extra on petrol to get to those cheaper places and probably end up spending more on impulse buys anyway.  So I am happy to use the little shop and hopefully help keep the young people that work in there (as well as some middle aged ladies!) in a rare job.  No I don't do my "main" shop there but I don't think they expect anyone to...it's there for bits and bobs and essentials.  You know the sort of place.

I have my windows cleaned bi-monthly.  I did go through a phase of cleaning them myself but do you know what?  It was a bloody nightmare.  I can't be bothered to faff about with the hard to reach upper floor windows and the pole bends all over the place, so £9 every two months for the local guy to do it, is fine by me.  (And he hasn't put his prices up in three years bless him!)

I supported the local firework display this year, I sometimes say "sod it" to making a hot lunch at home and walk down to the local chippy a mile away and have delicious fresh chips with salt & vinegar, we sometimes treat ourselves to a Chinese takeaway in the area and tip the driver a quid, I source local tradesmen if there is a job that needs doing in the house that we can't do, I used a nearby independent computer repair shop recently instead of "those other" PC global giants and he was probably a bit more expensive but you know what?  He knew what he was doing and got it right first time and didn't try and sell me anything else I didn't need.

I can say these things because I am in a job, I am not in debt any more and I make sacrifices in other areas of my life, so that I can budget accordingly.  I know that if someone is out of work, struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table then they probably won't care about window cleaners.  Quite rightly.  I am just speaking from my own experience and hope that people in the same or similar situations can see the picture I see at the moment, of supporting the local community, as well as yourself, during these tough times.  God knows Buttock Faced Cameron won't help them out.

But there is one thing everyone can do which won't cost a bean.  If you don't already please do check out Freegle or Freecycle in your area.  If you have got anything at all that can be of use to someone else, I really hope you'll put it on there, then wait a short while for your responses so you can choose the person you believe needs the item the most.

I absolutely love my local Freegle and you just don't know how helpful you are being.  We had an old king size mattress to get rid of - clean, very clean, but just old and not massively comfortable.  But we advertised it and were honest about it not being the most comfy thing in the world...........a fella took it who had split up with his wife and had a single mattress on a king sized bed frame.  He was so grateful he had something to tide him over till he got back on his feet. 

There is obviously the desire to donate to charity shops and that is fine, but, if you can, please offer up useful things from time to time for those who just need a break.

I think I need a paracetamol.  I got so wound up about Tamara Ecclestone's zit that I have given myself a headache.

Thanks for reading, I really needed to get all that off my chest. 

Take care.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Sleepy Update

Hi everyone.

The course is going ok, last day tomorrow with an exam at 3pm, if you see this before that time, positive vibes please!  I really don't want to have to repeat this as getting up at 5.30am is horrific!  Yeah yeah I know loads of people do it all the time but I'm not loads of people and I like my sleep!  LOL.

Still I have my battered old mp3 player to keep me sane on the train in the morning and evening (don't worry I am not one of those annoying people that has it playing REALLY LOUD) and I am getting to learn new things on the course so it's good really.

On my stats I have noticed I have some Russian viewers...well привет to you!  How exciting.  I recently found out I have Russian ancestry would you believe.  My great grandparents emigrated to England in the late 1800s and settled in the East End of London.  It is all really new as my Mum was adopted as a child and all this has only VERY recently come to light.  

Anyway enough of the genealogy lesson for now.  Bedtime soon as my eyes are getting very tired.  

Roll on the weekend I will certainly be ready for it this week I can tell you.

Goodnight.  Or if you prefer...... спокойной ночи
(I really hope that's right!)

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Just a Quickie...

Hello!  Thanks you guys who commented on the last post I made re: cycling. 

I am going to on a course with work for a while meaning getting up at stupid o' clock for a train to London and getting home late (no money for staying overnight....possibly quite rightly as it's the tax payers money after all) which means I may have zero energy for anything apart from the basic life functioning necessities until the mid to end of next week!

But I wanted to let you know that the rides home in the dark are far from pleasant but do-able for the moment.  Wet slushy leaves all over the cycle paths will become treacherous going around corners on the bike once it starts falling to zero so I will have to reassess. 

Other hazards include other cyclists with no lights (idiots), pedestrians in black clothing walking in the middle of the cycle path when there is a perfectly serviceable path to their right (idiots) and overgrown spiky bushes hitting you in the face as the council have ignored your email to cut them back.  Sigh.  I shall persevere...carefully!



Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Enjoying My Last Day of Holiday

So back to work tomorrow.  I feel a little sad as it has been a lovely few days away from the office but, I must remember that I am going back to my new job and not the old stressful one! 

I definitely think I have a 'hangover' from the last job as I had dreadful Sunday night blues previously and end of holiday depression when the time came.  I feel like my brain got rewired in that job and now I need to undo that wiring and remind myself when the old feelings set in, that it's a new and happily, different job, in a better environment and is a lot less stressful!  (Plus, if all else fails, I can always just start planning the next long weekend!)

Well it is a typically yucky British weather day today with endless grey skies and drizzle.  I haven't gone out anywhere today (except to do a few checks on my bike in the back garden which doesn't really count) so I have done loads of bits & pieces around the house.  I watched Kim & Aggie again today (How Clean Is Your Home) and that always sets me off!

I am making a mushroom stroganoff tonight for dinner which I hope turns out ok, then it will be time to relax before an earlier night tonight.  Getting up well before dawn tomorrow is going to be a shock to my system!

The last few days have been seriously lovely though, meeting friends, doing a little shopping, having a bite to eat with them, coming home and relaxing with hubby, pampering myself a little in the mornings because I've had a bit more time to spare....oh it's been wonderful. 

Wish me luck for tomorrow and indeed for the bike ride home as well as it will be the first time cycling home in the dark since clocks went back.  Sickness & holiday have meant not having to bike in since then so, tomorrow is first time!  Can't say I am looking forward to it but from a visibility point of view, I have stuck a load of reflective strips on my bike, my bike helmet, my rucksack and even my trainers as well as polishing the bike lights and reflector panels.  I just hope the cycle route home is sensibly lit...and that it's not too cold!  What am I going to do when proper Winter gets here eh??  Freeze, that's what! 


Saturday, 5 November 2011


Happy Firework Night to those who enjoy this night of the year.  I personally love it.  We are hoping to go to a display at a local school and then come back for mulled wine and veggie hot dogs with onions and potato wedges....yum!  It depends on the weather though.  Yesterday they forecast teeming rain...if that turns out to be right, we won't be going.  But now there is talk of just drizzle, which is more bearable.  We shall have to see.  But the hot dogs & wine are still on the menu whatever happens!

Hubby & I went out for our meal last night and we really enjoyed every morsel.  Fortuitously the restaurant has an offer on at the moment of £10.95 per person for poppadom & pickle tray, a starter, a main course and one portion of rice or a naan with it, which we didn't know about till we got there so that was a pleasant surprise.  We had a really good chat about things and just enjoyed each other's company.  It gave us a boost I think.

We came home and watched a favourite film on DVD together and had a few more drinks and generally felt happy & contented before retiring like fat beasts, to bed.

This morning I am doing some chores & laundry and later will pop out for fresh vegetables and to pick up my re-soled work boots then can settle down for the afternoon at home before making a decision on the firework display. 

Tomorrow I am meeting another friend for a good chat and a couple of cups of tea I am sure which I am very much looking forward to.  She's one the best friends a girl could have and I don't see enough of her as it is so, a lovely way to spend an afternoon of my time off.

I hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are up to.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

It Slips Through Your Fingers Like Water....

Money that is!

Hi everyone, I hope you are well today?

I am on some annual leave from today until next Tuesday inclusive which is lovely after having been ill this week.  Some legitimate time to myself and luckily I am feeling heaps better.

So yeah, money.  So one week I have 50p in my purse and I can make that last literally a week, and the next, I have £40 in my purse in the morning and come 7.30pm in the evening I've got £3.40 left.  Argh!!

Do you ever get days where no matter which way you turn, you need to get your purse out?  I have had one of those days today.  Admittedly one part of it was meeting a friend for lunch and I well & truly pushed the boat out with a panini and a hot chocolate! Everything else has gone on mundane stuff like petrol, groceries and the like.  I have also put some boots in for re-soling (not included in the £40 mentioned above) and I am having the Timpson's "Rhino" soles put on which aren't cheap at £21.95 BUT:

a)  it is cheaper than a new pair of decent boots suitable for walking around a large site at work


b) the soles are guaranteed for the life of the boot.  And seems they are decent boots, that should be quite some time!

Hubby and I are going out for a meal tomorrow.  It's our first meal out for.......umm....ages?  That long ago, I cannot actually remember.  I remember being *out* but I couldn't tell you when it was.  We went out for a free film at the cinema about 6 weeks ago and that was the first time we'd been out for a very long time too.  It may be my imagination but if I listen really intently I think I can hear the cracks of extreme boredom setting in.

I hate not being able to do much socially I really do.  And I live in a really boring part of the country too so it's not like we can even go and walk by the coast or the river or a lakeside or up a mountain (you get the picture) for free.  I know I have to be sensible and I know I don't want to get into debt again but Christ on a Bike I want to feel like I am living sometimes.  There's only so much of the same four walls you can take.

Anyway I know there are far far worse things happening all over the world for people so I won't go on about it cos it's trivial really but...just in case you wondered.....I'M A BIT BORED!!!!!!!!!

What have you been up to lately to keep you out of trouble?