Friday, 26 February 2010

Shopping Spend

Monthly budget is £280.

I spent £110 is the supermarket (after saving £12 on multibuys and a further £15 on reduced goods)
£19.95 on my veg box. - Supermarket value £42.00
£60.00 on meat (including 20 kilo of boneless chicken)- Supermarket value approx £110.

So although I only have another £90 to spend my house is full to the brim with food. I am hoping this is the way ahead with shopping.

I have some food in the house I have no idea what to cook for tomorrow lunch!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Ski cross & TVP - part 2

There is womens Ski Cross to come later in the week. Yaay!

Either there is something wrong with my TVP or the people that write and say that you cant tell it from meat have never actually eaten meat. It looks like dog meat floating in my bolognese sauce. I have attacked it with the potato masher to try to improve the look. It has the texture of mushroom past their prime & tastes of card board. Yummy. I can see the whole thing ending up in the rubbish. I have already thrown away the rest of the packet in case I ever had the urge to ruin good food with it again in future. The only thing i can think is that perhaps i could crush loads of garlic and add that as well. Anyway, we will see who noticed. I haven't mentioned it so everyone is expecting 'real' bolognese. I don't think my frugal ways turned out to be very frual this time.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

TVP and ski cross

Anyone watching the Winter Olympics. Currently showing is Ski Cross. I have never heard of it and actually switched on for some mens downhill but this is streets ahead. Really exciting stuff. The course looks like it was designed by a roller coaster engineer & they have to race four at a time. Amazing stuff. Go on, switch it on!

Tomorrow I am making spag bol for dinner. I have minced beef but am going to pad with soya chunks for the first time ever. Its much cheaper but also healthier so its worth a try I think. Wonder if they will catch me out.

We had sort of home made pizzas last week for the first time in 15 years. I set out dishes of different ingredients and everyone topped their own pizza base. Great success except the bases were like old cardboard. Jamal experimented with naan bread as pizza base during the week and it was yummy, and cheaper. Homemade naan pizzas back on the menu next I think.

Just watching the Hairy Bikers Mum Knows Best - Birthday Show. A Cypriot mama made a Lebanese ground rice pudding and I remembered we used always to make it when the children were small. They couldn't remember it so it must have been a few years back. Anyway they have asked for it to be brought back on the menu now. I am wondering how many other regular dishes I have forgotten. The more I think about it I am not actually that keen on getting old and lose my brain cells.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Friday Night Takeaway & Mystery Shopping

Inspired by Frugal Queen I thought I would mention our Friday night takeaway. On the way home from visiting friends we popped into Tesco Express, not my favourite shop but sometimes they have some deals. We bout the two packs of lamb mince for five pounds ( I know its a lot but it was very good quality). At home, Fahed spiced the meat and made it into a kofta, basically a meaty pancake shape pressed into the pan, cover and cook for 10 minutes. We had this stuffed into warm pitta with olives and chillies on the side. It fed three of us. The other two are out and there is enough for them when they get home. £1 per person. Not bad for a Friday night takeaway and enough of meat fix to last us for days!

I have booked into a mystery shopping session this week. My husband loves these as he gets to feel like Secret Squirrel,plus they pay us, so its all good. I have also been offered £50 for an hours conversation about my opinions. Great. I enjoy giving my opinions and am happy when someone listens, even better that they pay too. Lastly there is a Mystery Dine available in the same town as the hour long talking session. I will try to organise myself on Monday so that we can fit everything in. I don't usually do much Mystery work but I guess it could be worth it to make the effort. Not so keen on how much more complicated it makes my taxes though.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

I must be enjoying life

because it just whizzes past me so fast. I had an extra day to my weekend and already it is Sunday night, surely there must be some mistake, isn't there an extra day still to go.

We had a power cut this afternoon. No sure why,we haven't previously had one for years. I couldn't believe how useless I was without electricity.I just couldn't think of anything useful to do. I settled for sweeping the floor and making a cake which was something like rocky road. I started gathering candles ready to light our way through the long cold evening and fortunately it came back after a couple of hours.

So tonight there is a slice of sort of 'Rocky Road' for the kids to have (way to sweet and sickly for me and the old man).

When we were re-arranging everything on Friday for the work that we didn't do (but will do next week) I found my sewing box. I have sorted and tidied it but it is looking a bit old and sad. My favourite uncle gave it to me when i was about 12 and I am now 47 so it has a good excuse for looking tired. It is padded black plastic that looks a bit like leather. Its a good strong box though and only the plastic cover has aged. I am planing to recover it in a patchwork design. I found some fabric. I am measuring the sides and the lid and making up patch work panels which I will use brass tacks to actually cover it.

Pity I didn't get that idea when the power was out this pm!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Weekend

I am already on my weekend. I took the opportunity for a an extra day off & loved every bit of it.

We decided to build shelves into the alcove in the sitting room DVDs & games. This means we can get rid of the three set of shelving and a M&S armchair, but allow room for an extra sofa so that we can all fit in here in the evening. I have already bought the replacement sofa from a charitable society in the local town that helps the homeless. The furniture that we are getting rid off goes back to the same society. I can make changes then with a clear conscience.

We were priced out of the market at the local DIY stores & drove the extra miles to a discount shop, where we bought all the wood we needed for the whole project for £14.40. Unfortunately that meant that we had no time left to do the work (I was off but the old fella still had work).

When we were out he also bought me a present (I am pretty sure he doesn't even know it is Valentines day). I now have a lovely new Bosch sander.I have some work to do with the paneling in the upstairs bathroom but also I promised Ahdel I would refinish his favourite chest of drawers to match his room a bit better (it is paneled). He bought it for me with the money that he got as first prize at his monthly poker game last month. For some reason that seems really sweet. Bless him.

The day finished with a meal out with the family. We arrived early to take advantage of the early evening offer of roasties with unlimited veg followed by ice cream, for £5 per person. However we forgot to take our voucher with us & we didn't all get there on time. The waitress was adorable though and found us a voucher and. So we got the deal even though we were too late and didn't have the voucher. Lovely girl saved us about £30 for the six of us. Bless her. She was pleased with her tip though which meant she could take a taxi home, and as it is zero degrees tonight then I don't blame her.

And even better, I still have another two days of weekend to go.

Spread the word

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

2010 - actually listening to myself!

I worked out a monthly finance budget (nothing new there) and then I stuck to it (completely new concept).

I have actually ditched a few bad habits.

Jamal now gets a lift to college with his mate in the morning, so how detour to college which saves petrol but also no detour for a mc breakfast when he charms me.

Take bottled water (refilled) when I go anywhere. Free coffee at work (and milk for my cereal). I never buy Starbucks, Costa etc, just don't even consider it.

Leftovers for lunch everyday. If nothing was leftover then find something at home to make a sandwich.

Breakfast is box of cereal in my filing cabinet, eaten with milk from the kitchen at work. No temptation to make a purchase. I don't like to eat first thing in the morning so this is a good solution for me, and saves a mid morning run over to the shop.

Meal planning is working for me too. I just do a few days at a time, anymore than that and it all falls apart. Combined with my new style shopping (veg box etc)I am really saving some money. No waste but also nothing waste by excess.

I have changed my car insurance provider to save £80 per year & get £70 cashback (wonderful Quidco).

What can be next........

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Infinite possibilities

Saturday morning at 8am and I am the only one awake, very unusual. I am having a coffee and a quick read and write and then the day begins. The old chap is off to work today, weekends are the busiest time for a swimming teacher, eldest son and girlfriend are going to the Isle of Wight for the weekend as he has a rare break from work. Youngest son has a party tonight somewhere way out in the country (probably about a 20 minute drive but it seems a long way). So I can do whatever I want!

I have decided to go with chores. Cleaning and tidying. What fun. Also some cooking but not much as we will be home alone for most of the time.

Two of the drawers in my chest of drawers have been problematic in opening and closing. Yesterday the old chap got out his carpentry gear and fixed them. We couldn't replace the sliding bits as we bought the furniture in Germany and its a whole different system here, so he had to fashion the replacements himself. He is a handy person to know. As all of my clothes is in a big pile it seems a good idea to sort it, and maybe discard a few bits, as I put it away.

There is laundry but hopefully I can finish it in one day. The plan for dinner this evening is beef stir fry. I will marinade the meat all day so it should be nice and tender. Otherwise its all just out abcleaning and tidying.

I have a bag of videos for the charity shop. Does anyone watch videos anymore? We don't have a machine for it. We recently got Sky TV again. I am sure I said we never would but it is a good deal including broadband & land-line & calls plus £115 in cash back & another £50 in vouchers, as a bribe to have it. The good thing about Sky TV is that the hard disk recorder is so easy to use even I can record programmes. I am never successfully recorded anything on DVD, or if I did then I never found it again, so this is excellent for me.

Time to get moving.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Feels like a real rainy day

It has only just started raining but it felt like that kind of day long before the first drops. I woke up with a migraine. I have dosed up on my pain killers so that the head ache is under control but i feel so nauseous instead. Great day

Fahed has work on and off all day so at least I am seeing someone in between his lessons, trips to the DIY store etc. I am not grumpy really, which I can be when I don't feel well, but I am lethargic. I couldn't be bothered to get dressed after my bath (I did eventually, don't want to scare any visitors.)

I am not keen on days where nothing is achieved, they seem so wasteful, but I don't think I can fight it today. Just hope I feel well enough to get back to work by tomorrow.

Lets talk about something good!

I went to the other house and it was lovely! My dad came with us, with my youngest son, for the first 5 days.  Its his first time since ...