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. :-)

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

All Over For Another Year.....

Hi there, merry post-Christmas to you all!  And welcome to my new followers as well.

There we are then, it's all done & dusted for 2011...only 363 days till we do it all again!

Well I think it went quite well here (and houmous, potato salad etc were all fine!)  But...how was it for you?

Mum seemed to enjoy herself, definitely better than last year anyhow.  I extended her stay another night as well so she could pop down the road (30 miles or so) to see other family and come back when she was ready whilst hubby & I visited his family and she was really pleased about that.  We waited on her pretty much hand & foot which was the plan.  I wanted her to have a relaxing time.

Boxing Day though was rounded off with moronic nearby 'neighbours' kicking off LOUD and obnoxious dance music at midnight which went on until after 2.00am.  This also happened last week which resulted in me banging on their door so hard I broke the skin on one of my knuckles before they could hear me!  It's also happened a time before that as well so it's not a one off.

Last night (or should I say early hours of this morning) it was hubby who went around after police failed to show up, which I can understand as there are no doubt more pressing things for them to deal with.  I'd called them though this time as last week one of the 'friends' got a bit verbally aggressive and I didn't want it to escalate further if hubby went around.....y'know blokes vs blokes and all that macho crap.  Luckily it didn't and they did turn things down/close their windows.  But I am so angry that they have to be told every time and refuse to take on board that this loud music is not acceptable in the early hours especially.

Anyway I shall be taking action about all this through official channels now as this can't go on.  I have lived next to noisy neighbours before and I know from experience it only gets worse if they are allowed to get away with it.  I need this nipping in the bud as soon as possible.  I am dreading New Year's Eve.  I do stay up for midnight and I appreciate people have a good time but I just know these people will take the p*ss.  Sigh.  Wish me luck!

Honestly though....the music.  It's loud but it's also truly truly awful.  As I said to one of my friends, you might as well just dance round a pneumatic drill which has set off a nearby car alarm.  Awful. If that was playing in my house this would be me:

In fact it's not far off that anyway!  (I can even hear it through earplugs.)   I know all this makes me sound about 124 years old but it's all true.  Glad I haven't got children as if they decided to play that crap I may have to turf them out.

OK rant over.

Any plans for the New Year then you guys?  If you do have special plans I hope it goes really well.  I don't think we'll be doing much except drinking a bottle of Cava I received for Christmas and watching the London fireworks which always makes me say "We'll go next year!" but we never do!

Any new year resolutions?  Do share!  I need some inspiration.

Well that's about it for me.  I wish you all the best for 2012 and I'll be back on here soon.

Take care.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

5 More Sleeps!

Hi there.  It's been a busy time of late! So apologies for the lack of posts.

Well now, I said I wasn't going to do much for Christmas this year......hahahahahahaha, well that went out of the window!  I have spent so much more than I anticipated, mainly on food, drink and such like.  But actually looking at it, it's pretty modest still, the pile of goodies we have so it just goes to show how much more items are costing now I guess.

Mum is coming to spend three nights with us.  Bless her, last year was her first year on her own as she split up with her husband (my stepfather) and I think she felt she couldn't be a burden on anyone (I have siblings with children) so she booked herself a trip away over Christmas 2010.  She did this before talking to any of us.  She didn't enjoy the holiday though and felt lonely.  It broke my heart to think about that so earlier this year I made it clear she could come and spend some time here.  I am a bit anxious about it but hopefully it will be ok and we can have a nice time and this Christmas will be more comfortable for her.

Hubby has done a 'dry run' of the Christmas dinner he is going to make.  As we're both vegetarian and hubby doesn't eat dairy products, it's not "easy" - it requires a bit of effort to find a suitably festive recipe.  We have found one which involves puff pastry with blended chickpeas, walnuts, breadcrumbs, leeks, sherry, mushrooms and a few other yummy bits wrapped up within it, which we'll have with roasted potatoes, parsnips, broccoli and carrots.  It's massively filling so no starter required but hopefully room afterwards for warmed Christmas mini lattice pies and dairy free cream or custard.  Mum's making a dairy free Christmas cake as well bless her.

We've got chocolates, nuts, fruit cocktail and other nibbles for the festive period...we're certainly not going to starve!  We're popping over to my parents-in-law for Christmas tea-time with my Mum as well, where there will be a feast laid out I am sure, should we feel like we're fading away...!  (As if.)

So all we have left to do now is buy the fresh vegetables required....we may venture out tomorrow night for those as they should keep till Sunday.  I can't go out Thursday night (unless I go really late) and I am not sure I can face Friday night or Saturday, I am sure the shops will be bonkers on those days.  I can feel  myself breaking out into a sweat just thinking about attempting to walk around a supermarket on either of those days.

How are you all getting on with your preparations?

I did get some shopping delivered tonight and I have had to put in a complaint to Sainsburys.  We didn't notice till everything was being put away that, some of the chilled items we'd ordered for Christmas tea-time i.e houmous for dips and coleslaw/potato salad all have sell by dates ranging from 21st - tomorrow!!! - to 23rd December!  I am so disappointed as it leaves me two choices:

1. Eat them and hope for the best (i.e. no 'off' mayo)
2. Waste them and spend even more money buying fresh ones towards end of this week. 

Hubby thinks they will be fine and I guess I am thinking the houmous probably will be (it'll all be kept in a very chilled fridge) but it's the mayo based stuff I am worried about.  :-(

Any advice?  It's a use by date not a sell by date.  The more I think about it the more annoyed I am!

I had to buy a new front light tonight for my bike.  The one I had got smashed tonight so I had to risk getting stopped & told off (and fined!) by a policeman and I felt like apologising to every other cyclist on the way home...wanting to say "Sorry...usually have lights....got smashed on way home....sorry...please don't hate me....sorry!"

Anyway had dinner then dashed down to Halfords and got another one....£16!!!  And that was a cheap one!  Things really have changed.  The one I had was a bulky bulb light that takes C (or is it D?) batteries...the chunky round ones.  Well you'll be lucky if you can find any more of those these days it seems.  It's all bright LED stuff.  Hopefully it will last a long time and it does seem pretty hard wearing and very bright for such a small thing.  My old fashioned back light is perfectly fine (fingers crossed).

I have to wrap things up here now (no pun intended honestly!) as my eyes are stinging and I need my bed.  If I don't get a chance to post again before the weekend I would just like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very happy Christmas, may it be what you want it to be.  I also wish you a healthy and satisfying new year which I truly hope brings to you, what you need.

Take good care....and enjoy!


Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Night for Staying in & Battoning Down the Hatches!

Sunday night rolls around again and it's cold, windy and pouring down.  Definitely not a night for being anywhere but on my sofa!  However on the positive side my part of the country is "in drought" so all rain is welcome.  Mind you I do wish they'd fix the burst water mains a bit quicker round these parts, it might help the issue a bit too, whaddya reckon?

Welcome to new readers and commentors.  I have left a comment to the lady in North Australia in my last post, in reply to yours.  Very interested to hear how things work out with your solar panels.  And No Spend Days, it's good to know someone else knows how I feel at times (and it was definitely how I felt at the time of starting this blog!).  I hope you stop by often.

So it's the end of the weekend but I have a day off tomorrow which is lovely, I am meeting a friend and escorting her for lunch.  She has some health issues and currently can't focus properly so she can't drive and needs a helping hand getting about safely.  So I shall pick her up and I'll drive us to the nearest town (she lives in the middle of nowhere) and we'll get some lunch and have a chat.  I have about ten pounds to get me through a lunch date tomorrow which may or may not be ok depending on where we end up!  We'd mooted a Frankie & Benny's last time we spoke about it but I may have to knock that on the head as I think it would be quite pricey.  Just a sandwich and a hot drink or two somewhere simple would be great but we'll have to see what there is available. 

Changing the subject completely but I thought I'd talk about them anyway.....clothes!  Today I am wearing a lovely ruby red cardigan that was given to me last week by a friend.  She'd bought it and it was too big for her....it's a size 10!  And she had a baby this year!  Teeny tiny delicate friend I have (jealous).  Anyway it is just about the right size for me (I'd say it's a generous size 10 if being honest) and I do like it.  One of those kind of trendy ones with deep V neck and matching colour buttons and long cuffs on the sleeves.  Wearing it with a little black vest I got cheaply from M & Co last summer and a pair of Next bootleg jeans I got off EBAY about three years ago!  So all in all, I am a walking talking clothes bargain rail today!

We've had a bargain dinner tonight too.  We had a large potato to use up, some frozen baby spinach in the freezer, some left over mushrooms and an onion.  Plenty of rice & spices in the cupboard so a tasty curry was whipped up by hubby.  I now feel stuffed to the gills. 

Heating has been on & off today as planned (we did pop out for the afternoon to see Mother & Father-in-Law so that helped) so all in all quite a good day from a frugal point of view I think.

Well that's about it from me, I am looking forward to watching the second instalment of Charlie Brooker's "Black Mirror" tonight then I think it'll be bedtime after that with a hot water bottle.

Thanks for stopping by for my ramble today and I wish you a fantastic week.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

No *Really* I Truly Don't Know What I Am Doing!

I just ended up following my own blog!  Truly, what an idiot I am.

Anyway I have managed to untangle myself from that little escapade.  *Rolls eyes*.

WELCOME Aubrey Rose, my latest follower and, if I am not mistaken, my first overseas follower.  Lovely to have you on board.  I have had a little look at your blog and it's wonderful (more blog envy).  May I wish you good luck with all your goals and also mention, living without credit cards can definitely be done though it's sometimes not easy to start with.

So I don't know about you guys but I got rid of credit cards about a year and a bit ago.  I was going along just fine, then decided I wanted to use an Airmiles credit card so I could strive to get something out of it at the end of however long (i.e. a flight or a Eurotunnel trip at least) of using it for shopping, petrol or whatever else I needed to buy.  I am still a little way off a flight but not too far.

It does mean though that the old temptation of using a credit card is still there and I have to be so disciplined.  However having been debt free for a short while (I still have a mortgage and I constantly have to battle my overdraft even though it's approved:  I just don't want to owe anyone anything) I feel physically sick if I think about going back into debt for the sake of 'stuff' that I don't really need and can't really afford.  That part of my life, I hope, is over.

I read on the Martin Lewis's site that you should replace the word 'credit' with 'debt' - that stayed with me!  Very true!

Changing the subject somewhat, I did cycle to work today after feeling tempted to take the car "just this once" (yeah right) as it was so cold and windy this morning.  My God coming home at times was like cycling through treacle.  But I made it and that's saved me £2 on parking for the day.  AND I got the exercise.  I am however getting a lift from colleague tomorrow as it's forecast to be hissing it down all afternoon with 50mph gusts of wind.  Errrr no thanks.  I have offered her petrol money but she won't take it, she's so sweet.  Going to get her a little gift for Christmas whether she likes it or not!

Well that's it for tonight, I hope you're all wrapped up warm and cosy and not suffering too much with the cold.  We need to brace ourselves...this is just the start!  Yikes!

Take care & bye bye for now.
Edit:  I just learned how to do a link as per above!  This is exciting news people!  Whatever next??

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I Don't Know What I Am Doing!

Uh-oh.  Well I tried to do the Liebster Blog award thing and have to be honest, I got my knickers in a right twist!  I haven't a bloody clue what I am doing!  I tried...and failed.

HOWEVER I did end up having a good nose around (slightly overdue) on your blogs and I have to say, you all put me to shame with your interesting pictures and photos!  So, I would recommend anyone who is reading my blog, to nip on over to my followers list and take a look at them all.

I really have to gen up on this proper blogging malarkey.  I have blog envy.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

An Award Winning Blog!?

Well thank you Mum for the award!  I shall take a look at your blog soon for the details and work out what to do next!  Very kind of you.

Well the weekend begins to wrap itself up.  I popped out on Friday night for a drink with a friend I haven't seen for some time.  I drove and just had one glass of wine right at the beginning of the evening and then soft drinks all the way after that.   Tea back at her place later after we walked back from the pub.  So an enjoyable evening and didn't cost a lot and I was home by midnight so no turning into a pumpkin for me.  (If I had, I hope hubby would have made a tasty pumpkin soup and frozen some individual portions for future frugal days...!)

Yesterday until mid afternoon was all about housework & conquering the mountain of washing I had - luckily it was clear & very windy in this part of the world so I got loads dry.  I did have to use the tumble dryer a little bit but not much - about an hour in total and it's not been on at all during the week. 

I then popped out for my hair cut & colour (come around quick don't they?) and cup of tea/chat with my hairdresser.  Whilst my colour was 'taking' we sat with her husband and two boys and WWE wrestling was on.  Her eldest boy (only 7) thinks it is all real bless him and it was so entertaining watching it and seeing his reaction to it all.  So funny! 

This morning I got up at a half decent time and after I hung out the sheet & duvet cover onto the line which I'd washed overnight, we had delicious warming porridge whilst another load of laundry was being done!  That is it for the time being.  I am all washed out.  But I do really love the smell of clean sheets and laundry in general.  One of life's simple pleasures.  Well, my life anyway!  How about you?

I had got up quite early today so I could pop up the road to another little town where they have some bargain type shops...I wanted to try and get a few little presents for younger relatives whom I don't see a lot of by still wanted to get a little token present for.  Unfortunately the road was closed due to a terrible looking accident so I didn't make it there.  I hope that they are ok and it's just the metal that got damaged.

I can't face going out again now, it's so cold.  We're sitting with the heating off at the moment - it's not due to come on till about 4pm.  It's too expensive to have it on all day so I have a huge body-warmer on, on top of  a long sleeve t-shirt and hubby has many layers on!  Unfortunately we don't have a fireplace and as it's a new/modern house, a wood burner is not possible.  So it's central heating or portable heaters, fleece blankets or nothing!  

I read that poor Scotland has been hit by snow & sleet now.  Does anyone know if gas prices are the same up there as they are down here?  If so I feel deeply sorry for the Scots as it gets so much colder than here where I am...I'm sure having the heating off is not much of an option.

Well I think I am off now to put the kettle on for a hot drink and then I may settle down under a fleece blanket to watch an old dvd (All About Eve) which I have been meaning to watch for weeks now.

I hope you enjoy what is left of your weekend, or, if the weekend is now over for you, I hope it was a good one.

Bye for now!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Winter Begins to Bite....

Evening all.  Brrrrrr, chilly today!  It's not going to get any better for a while and today really asserted itself as approaching Winter!  Officially it's not Winter till 21st December is it?  Someone tell that icy wind!

So, bit of an update then. 

The new job is, touch wood, going well.  I am enjoying it soooooo much more than the last one.  I am so grateful to have got the job and be having this opportunity especially as things are so rough out there at the moment.  I love being able to cycle to work and get a shower there so I'm fresh for the day and have a locker to keep my bike things safe in.  It's a real treat.  I am biking *most* days but as the weather gets worse I am realistic enough to know I will probably have to get a lift from a colleague who passes my street or ask hubby to drop me off if his shift is starting similar time to when I start (they vary for him & I am on flexi time).  But in the meantime I am not spending any money on petrol or parking AND losing a bit of weight too. 

I got the exam result back from my course - I passed it with an 80%+ result so that was great news.  Did I blog that already?  Not sure...am tired....forgive me if I did!  But anyway it should help towards an increment in salary in 2012, if I am lucky!

Re: Public sector strike yesterday.  I am not in the union (and haven't joined the NHS pension scheme....yet...if I do at all...) so I was in work yesterday but I do sympathise with the cause.  I saw the clip of Jeremy Clarkson on The One Show yesterday saying people who struck should be taken outside and shot in front of their families.  What a utter turd that man is.  I can't bear him. I can't even bear to give him any more of my time slagging him off so, let's move on.

I am continuing to try and save on every day stuff and we got an unexpected bonus today when the shopping was delivered today.  I do one "big" shop online with one of three supermarkets:  ASDA, Tesco or Sainsburys depending on who comes out cheapest with MySupermarket.co.uk because Aldi don't do much vegetarian stuff unfortunately.  Then all my weekly top ups & fresh bits generally come from Aldi or the shop over the road.    Anyway, Sainsburys were late delivering so we got a £10 off voucher to use next time.  Result!  I can use it any time up to February 2012 so no massive rush. 

I haven't bought those mince pies yet which I mentioned recently...I'd best get a wriggle on soon.

I have been feeling very tired lately.  I am not sure if it is a touch of SAD as I don't get out during the day at all.  I only get about 20 minutes of daylight when I am biking to work.  But I do sit by a large window...does that count/help? 

I have been looking at my diet and hoping I am not lacking anything that vegetarians can lack.  I believe I have plenty of vitamin B12, enough iron, folate/general B vits & plenty of zinc.  I think these are the usual culprits.  But I have started taking a multivit just in case (with iron) to see how I go.  I know that if you get too much iron it can give you similar symptoms as not enough iron so I won't leave it too long before I maybe go for a blood test to make sure all is ok.  Knackered though by about 10.00pm most nights so I am in my energy overdraft right now!  I'll pay in the morning....

Anyway good night peeps and have a fabulous weekend whatever you are up to.  What plans do you have?  Please do share!