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. :-)

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Happy New Year! (Better Late Than Never...)

Well hello there.  So 2012 is here...and already nearly halfway through the first month!  Pretty scary how time flies.

So how was the New Year for you then?  I hope it was good fun for you if you're into it and if you're not, well, I hope you just made the best of it somehow.

We stayed up late and watched the fireworks from London which I personally loved and thought were fantastic.  I wished I was there for them but I know what the long trek home afterwards is like (I was there on the side of the Thames as 1999 slipped into 2000) and my feet still ache when I think about it!

So a new year and new challenges and all that.  The first challenge is to keep warm here without going bankrupt!  We live in a modern house with no fireplace at all or any place for any type of woodburner so we're 100% reliant on central heating and/or portable heaters, along with:  blankets, hot water bottles, cardigans and jumpers! 

I submitted meter readings today for gas & electricity.  Unfortunately there was a fault on the website which prevented the electricity £ usage total so far (since my last reading) but I think it's probably about £50.  The gas however nearly gave me a seizure.  £99!!  In a month!   Hubby said "Do you think that is right?" and after doing some manual calculations, unfortunately I think it is.  We were here a lot over Christmas with annual leave and also with Mum being with us I didn't want her to be cold so I kept heating on longer than I might have done normally and obviously it all adds up, especially when the unit prices are so expensive.

So hubby & I were shell-shocked at that and we're now sitting here with the heating off and it's about 1 degree centigrade outside!  It'll come on a bit later again but we know we have to have it on staggered for the rest of the weekend.  For the next two months, which will be the hardest before Spring, we'll just have to suffer.  Central heating on for a short amount of time in the morning and then staggered from about 4.30pm to 10.00pm which wouldn't be a problem if hubby was working full time but he isn't.  He's working part time and studying at home during the other times so bless him, he'll have to sit in a cold house.  However he can bring the little halogen heater into the lounge and heat that up a bit when needed. 

I do worry for people who are worse off than we are, I mean we're not on the breadline but certainly not well off by any stretch of the imagination, so people worse than us must be frantic with worry about their energy bills.

Well we'll just have to keep trying to make savings where we can.  Today wasn't a good day for making savings though.....freezing cold with no wind at all and a heap of essential washing to do.  I had to use the tumble dryer 3 times and I'll have to use it again tomorrow.  Gutted.  No choice at all though. 

I haven't been biking to work since Christmas, the cold dark mornings are about as appealing as a week old salad with a mouldy cheese slice on the side.  I can cope with the cold I guess but it is the dark mornings that get me down.  When you're still stumbling around in the dark at nearly 8.00am (which is about what time I leave on the bike) it's depressing.  So I have either been getting lifts or, horror upon horrors, I took the car twice last week and paid £2 per day for parking!  Not much I know but that definitely adds up over the course of time and I can't be doing that much.  Oh roll on the lighter mornings and evenings! 

Noisy neighbour has received a letter from the council and *touch wood* we haven't heard anything more but I am not holding my breath too much.  I get the feeling he might kick off again at some point, perhaps after the month long monitoring period but I suppose if he does we just start over again don't we? 

Onto more positive things now though.

I have started taking some supplements recently which I hope will improve my moods (I can get quite dark and self loathing at times and I think it's also related to PMT - sorry if that's 'Too Much Information' for some!) and also have an effect on hair & skin too which is always useful!  I have started taking Vitamin B6, Oil of Evening Primrose and Flaxseed Oil for Omega 3 because I don't eat fish so can't get it from that source.  I am really hoping it will all help come Spring time (I guess I need to give it a while to get into my system) for a new energised me who is a bit more my old "up & at 'em" self and will get out there and start loving life again.  Fingers crossed! 

I am also going to really really REALLY try this year to get some savings plans back on track.  I totally have the will to do it as a long period of enforced frugalness has broken the urge to:

shop shop shop!
possess possess possess!
spend spend spend!

Now I only enjoy going shopping if I have specific things I need to buy.   So that's good.  So I am excited about the possibility of better saving but I have to hope nothing stupid happens, before I have a pot of savings, that would set me back before I even start!  Again....fingers crossed.

And a silly little thing that made me happy this week is I discovered in Aldi, their own brand "Dove" shower cream for about 69p compared to about £2!  I was delighted as I have always loved the Dove original fragrance but won't buy it at those prices any more.  Little things can make you happy eh??

Well that's about it for now I think, not much else to report from here.

Again happy new year to you and thanks for stopping by today.



  1. Happy New Year to you too!

    I know, the cost of heating is so worrying it makes you wonder how people like the elderly on a fixed income manage. I try to just have my heating on for one hour each day in the evening. As I use around 25 to 30 tea lights in my living room, it's like having a lovely fire in there. The tea lights aren't as expensive as heating, I get them from Ikea and they're £1.69 for 100. I usually go to Ikea before the cold weather starts and buy a car boot full, which lasts me through the winter!!

  2. I hope this is not an offensive question. Could your husband go somewhere like the local library to study? My daughter takes her laptop with her everywhere. Our local library even lets her connect to their internet so it is viable when she is not at university. For us the internet is a bundle and there is plenty of it for her to use at home but we do not have access to certain databases.

    My problem is the reverse. We spend a fortune trying to stay comfortable in the heat. Dad has Alzheimer's and we spend our days closing things. A few months ago we had some solar panels installed and we await billing. But I think we have generated more than we have used. It will be a while until things equalise though as it cost around $6000 to install etc.

    1. Hi Suze

      Thanks for the suggestion! Not an offensive question at all. I'll put it to him.

      Thanks again and good luck with the keeping cooler.


    2. We finally have our bill for the quarter. To say it is pleasing is an understatement. The summer has been cooler so we have not used as much power. In fact we used one third less and generated about a quarter of the amount we used. It gets complicated but in the end our power bill was one third of the amount we expected.

      It may take a while to pay for the system but we are looking at it as our little bit to help the planet. It also more than pays for the air-conditioning we use to cool and to heat the house.

  3. Happy New Year! I completely agree with you about the horric way bills have gone up. Until recently we used to leave a few lamps on round the house 'for atmosphere'. Now I always going round switching things off and turning things down. I think I'm morphing into my Dad - he did this all the time when I was a kid!

  4. And Happy New Year to you too. Let's hope the mornings get lighter faster and temperatures improve to a reasonable level.
    Love from Mum