Friday, 29 June 2012

Getting back to normal

Thank you all for the lovely comments, mails etc. i did give myself a bit of a fright. The doctor prescribed me some ventolin and signed me off work for a week. I had this horrid pain in my chest when i tried to breath in properly. Also totally exhausted all the time, which I guess is connected with not getting enough breath. This morning I woke up and the pain had gone. I suddenly feel so much better. The doctor says that the meds I took were 'fairly inert'so it was probably just a reaction to flavouring or sweetener. I find the whole thing quite amazing. However today I feel a little better so I am not such a scaredy cat about it today! I am signed off until Tuesday so hopefully all back to normal by then.

Fahed is off to Jordan on Thursday for his nieces wedding. Really glad it didnt happen when he was away. Also really glad that it tasted awful so I only had a mouthful. Funny how these things work out.

I have watched a lot of daytime TV this week as I have been too tired to do anything. ore episodes of Homes under the Hammer & A Place in the Sun, than you can imagine. Seeing the makeovers just makes me want to leave my lovely comfy sofa and do some more work around here. I might try to actually do that tomorrow. My black tiles in the kitchen need a good 'wire wool' type scrub since the men have been working on the room. There is paint, glue and all sorts stuck on them. I can maybe have a go at that tomorrow. otherwise i might just have a bit more of a sort out in my office and make it into a more sensible working space instead of a dumping ground. It is way too easy to just stick things in there to be finished later.

I feel better now knowing I have a couple of reasonable easy things I can have a go at. Nice to be feeling a bit normal.

Friday, 22 June 2012


I had a bit of a scare this week. I took some over the counter medication for an un-happy tummy that I was apparently allergic to. I took it in a drink, switched out the light and lay down in my bed. My inside of ears and mouth started itching. Then came the closing of the throat and tightening of the chest. Light back on, my face is red and blotchy, and arm have purple blobs. Not good, especially the throat closing. I rang the NHS helpline who went through my symptoms. Take anti histamines and if it gets any worse then dial 999. Nothing to worry about there then!

I tried to sleep despite the frightful 'death rattle' noise from my chest. It felt like an adult was sitting right there on top of me. Fahed sat on the edge of the bed all night to watch me, worrying that I wouldn't make it but I think that says more about how he thinks than how dangerous it actually was. Bless him.

The main blotching went rally quickly and now I can just feel my throat is still swollen but otherwise back to normal.

I will certainly do my best to avoid that another time!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

6 month budget

So much has changed since I set out the budget for the year in January. Ahdel was working and now is on SSP,so he has been decorating the place etc as can't pay housekeeping. Fahed lost his main job. I changed my car, so insurance for the kids became too expensive so now I have got do my own driving. Price of property insurance has doubled (I am searching for a new provider). Tumble dryer has broken so electricity bill should come down eventually. All these things impact on the budget.

Today I re-did the July to December budget.

I have to look around for a new provider for the property/contents insurance. But otherwise it doesn't look too bad. Fahed is still trying to make up for his missing hours but he has an extra session starting in September. He needs two more sessions of around three hours each to get us back on track. If he can get some daytime sessions as well it would be perfect. These are highly prized so not that easy to get but he has let it be known he is available.

Now i fell ready to take on the world for another six months at least.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Still my birthday!

Last night we had the meal & drinks organised by a couple of other ladies at my work. Three of us turn fifty within two weeks, so they booked some tables at the local Frankie & Benny. The sent an invite to all of my team at the local office and nearly everyone came. It was great. Fifty is the new forty (so the other oldies kept telling me)so with this in mind we went off to the pub afterwards & were immersed in the testosterone of the England game. It was amazing atmosphere. I have never been in a large group (of football mad blokes who had drunk quite a bit of beer) during an international match before. Another first for to 'five oh' club.

Sixty is still sounding pretty old but I guess it will get younger as I get closer. Oh and just to prove I was still at the top of my game despite the wine, I printed off a voucher which saved us £68! I think the non finance people will want to dine with my team again now they know how canny we are with pricing.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Yummy Recycling

Yesterday I decided to eek out meat supplies a little longer this month by turning a packet of sausages into a pasta and meat ball dish. Enough to fill everyone up and maybe last two days.

I boiled up the pasta then drained it and set aside. I chopped up the sausages and fried them off until browned in the wok with a little salt, plenty of pepper and some margarine. I tipped in the pasta tot he wok, added a quarter tub of cream which was frozen on the edge of going off and voila. Sadly it managed to be both bland and too rich. Sigh. Everyone ate a bowl for their tea but I wasn't knocked off my feet with enthusiasm. I didn't even take a bowl of it into work today for lunch. There was loads left. It went through my mind to fish out the sausage bits and cook up with potatoes and eggs as the pasta was overcooked and yuck.

Today I came home from work and could smell garlic from outside of the front door, seriously. The house smelled amazing inside too. I could catch coriander seeds in the air too. i was assuming Fahed made some lovely meaty, tomatoey stew for lunch for everyone. Wrong. He cooked up a tin of tomatoes with cracked dried coriander and garlic. Then he added it to the pasta and made it near perfect. It was so yummy and I was eating it I was thinking 'i'll never get to eat this again as we are not going to remember the stages or ingredients'. So glad the old fella can cook, and recycle, and must remember to get him cooking more often

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How is it going?

Jamal is still studying, so no housekeeping contribution from him. Ahdel has a bad back, ripped muscles & awaiting physio, no sick pay so no housekeeping contribution from him. Plus I am paying for his IT course. Fahed lost his best paying job. I can't say it isn't a bit tight but so far we are managing.

We are being very sensible and creative with meals. I have re-introduced puddings. We are eating less and eating more healthily. The thing which is making it all possible is that we re all in it together. The kids are really making an effort and no-one is hassling me for stuff we can't afford (and probably don't need anyway).

Tumble dryer died and I have left it dead. I haven't been quite brave enough to get rid of it yet but if we can cope through the winter then it will go. I have plans for under cover drying. That was one of my worse power wastes.

Jamal and I made a deal that we wont have so many baths. We both love them but it uses too much gas.

We are even driving at optimum speeds in the cars to save fuel. Plus using the car which runs on LPG whenever we go out all together.

To me it is proving that it gets harder and harder but we can adapt. I could cringe to think of how wasteful I have been in the past. Shopping for overpriced unwanted junk, wasting food, easing too much, TV left on, computers left on. Oh goodness me.

whilst I am having a bit of a pat myself on the back for coping session though, I should keep it in perspective. We have a big mortgage but we have a good salary from me and a good top up part time wage from Fahed. Our property portfolio isn't worth much any more but it might be again one day. I suspect the trick might be not 'up-spending' again if things ever get better.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Circus without animals

We haven't been to the circus for years. Last time was in Cyprus in about 1990. So many sad looking animals, it was a complete nightmare. I booked these tickets after I noticed a flash on the ad which said 'no animals'.

We got there nice and early as it was a distance away. We opted for ringside seats straight ahead, which is why I assume we felt so much part of the show. It was awesome. The clowns were funny, not scary - and I don;t actually like clowns! The ring mistress sang throughout. The show was fast paced and exiting. Modern and traditional. And so so scary. I was not the only one who screamed or covered their eyes at times. I saw no safety net or ropes. By the end of two hours I was an adrenaline soaked wreck. If Gerry Cottles circus is anywhere near you then go along. Best £10 you will ever spend.

By the time we were walking back to the car everyone wanted to stay for another performance, or help out around the place, or just learn to be a trapeze artist. I had to point out to Fahed that I thought 48 was probably too old to run away with the circus. I hope he gets over it!

I am not so good at links but this might be one!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Made it!

My fiftieth birthday was yesterday. We had, for us, a really active and varied week planned. The Queen kindly decided to have her diamond jubilee holiday at the same time so we had a couple of bank holidays as well. And I did it all on a strict budget (just as well, as Fahed lost his job right in the middle of it).

The wedding - cost was just my outfit - Handmade for me by a lady who sells on eBay. It will be good for years to come and can be worn in many ways. Plus money for the bride & groom. They didn't want presents so included a humorous rhyme in the invitation suggesting they were happy to receive cash.

Warner brothers studio tour - We bought the basic tickets and i didn't manage to get a deal anywhere but we saved on the extras (digital guide, food at events & green screen broomstick ride) after a co-worker said he wasted money on those same things.

Trip to Regents park zoo. We had early bird tickets for the Zoo Lates events. £8 each. I drove us up and stuck to 60 mph so total fuel cost £20. Took a picnic as that's what the boys wanted. Didn't bother with birthday cake as no-one likes it anyway! Parked for free as street parking was not charged after 6pm. We thoroughly enjoyed the event. We all love animal anyway but there was also music, stalls, comedy and stuff going on. Next year we will try to go again but with a bigger group. Great fun.

Today we have a groupon deal for the circus. Bonnie has never been to the circus so hopefully she will love it.

I told the family not to waste money on a present but they did anyway, and it is lovely. The bought me a new camera. My old one died about six months back after eight years of good service. It costs too much to repair sadly but my new one is actually even better! At the zoo they also bought me a little gorilla, now known as El 'orilla (Arabic for the gorilla, you can guess)who looks just like Fahed, our very own Silverback.

Back to work on Monday :(

Thursday, 7 June 2012

oh well, you know.

Have you ever seen Dylan Moran doing stand up? He starts with a little quizzical ponder, about, well, you know, stuff. That's how I am feeling.

My lovely nieces wedding was great. The actual day went really well. The wedding itself was in a barn, reminded me a bit of the church at he end of Mama Mia, the film. It needed music, possibly rousing church style hymns that everyone knows the words and tune to, I suspect. Otherwise all good.

Photos by the manor house and the lake, with champagne and silver trays of yummy munchies being handed around.

Then a full sit down reception for around 80 people. Afterwards we broke for maybe an hour to relax. The oldies went home to collapse and a younger crowd arrived to join in.
For the first hour we had a lounge singer. And one who can really singer Then we had a guy who came on and sang Wonderwall (the happy couple met at an oasis gig). Then they handed over to a disco. Also there was a casino area where you could play roulette or cards with fake money & maybe win a bottle of not exactly champagne. There was also a photo booth where you had photos taken and for each photo there was a copy for the happy couple. You could take in boards giving you message such as 'about time too'. Was all great.

At a less fun end of the scale I gave Fahed an autism test. 32 is autistic. 15 is average person. Fahed got 29, which is apparently low level asbergers syndrome. Not a complete surprise if I am honest,more of a confirmation. I men how many people do you know that can speak three languages but has trouble spelling 'THE'. I started reading an article about a woman who was teaching kids with autism and it dawn on her that her husband was also autistic. I sort of feel better than he is not just weird (and anyway, some of his weird is good). Also already sussed about triggers and their avoidance and have my own management techniques. I think I have actually done pretty well all things considered. Imagine if we were all sufficiently self aware, and aware of others to identify these things in the early days.

Anyway,, tomorrow I am 50 years old! A half century. I think I can pretty much handle anything at that point!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Wedding went well. We are so tired,12 hours of celebration and party!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Pre Wedding Prep

Tomorrow is my nieces wedding. First wedding in my family since my own in 1989.
She has chosen a lovely venue near Winchester. My men are all wearing dark suits and coloured shirts. As they have dark complexions it does suit them more than white but I can't decide if they are going to look cute or like a boy band.Ahdel has dyed over his weird half blond hair colour and Jamal has shaved off his pink mohawk! I guess they really love their cousin to lose their edgier hair styles for a while. They took it very seriously and actually went around to get Jackie to say if it was okay or not. She was the boss when they were smaller. She is eight years older than Ahdel, and so ten years older than Jamal. These days she is the smallest but obviously she is still in charge. Anyway today I need to iron the shirts and press the suits, then we are ready. My brother in law is really sociable and fun so I am sure the wedding will be great.

Before all that Fahed & I are going to have a go at getting the sitting room almost back to normal. The plastering, filling, papering and painting of the walls is complete. Today Fahed is painting the picture rail. We will then sort out the surround sound. That only leaves a little sanding and varnishing or the wood work and a patch of the wood floor. They have made a brilliant job of it. I am really pleased. Kitchen is almost finished too. Just awaiting the arrival of some black mastik to finish off the sink. There will be another phase which include the door and window frames, & actual doors, to the adjoining room, but that can wait until after the summer. I need every penny at the moment for work on the other house.

Time for coffee and to make a list for the day.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Testing times

I started my blog to sort off help myself keep an eye on my finances. I need to do this more than ever now as my eldest son is still of sick,torn muscles in back, ouch, so now housekeeping. Then there is youngest son still at college, hoping to join merchant navy in the autumn - oh no, don't want my baby to go away. And now the old fella has lost one of his jobs.

He was called into office this week and told that he doesn't get contract in September as he had too much time off this year. Wow, big shock for us. He had time off in January when he went to his brother in laws funeral. In April his arm was in plaster. He went in to work anyway but they sent him home, so another four weeks without work or pay. He was really sad to start with as he has worked there for 8 years, driven all over the South Coast to help them out with lesson cover. Volunteered at their triathlon days and even taken the kids and their mates along to help out for free. He feels a bit betrayed and disappointed. Speaking to my sons girlfriend, who works for them also, he gets paid more than the other teachers as he has been there since they were better paid. of course that can't be why he had to go.

So, of course, we made a plan and, of course, we used a spread sheet.The old job, which from now on will be known as 'bad swim school', only opened term time so you didn't get paid for holidays. The other job, now to be known as 'nice swim school' runs 50 weeks a year, stopping only at Christmas and Easter. Bad swim school works mostly at the weekend. Bad swim school paid £5 per hour more than nice swim school.

First thing on the list was to take a visit to Nice Swim School to ask about more lessons. He picked up a day time lesson for a school, he picked up Wednesday evenings straight away and Monday evenings starting in four weeks time. They also run parent and child lessons during the day which he is hoping to pick up. Because they work every week and pay you for your holidays we only need to pick up for more hours of lessons to break even. There are at least ten more lessons which he could potentially pick up so we might end up better off. Summer will be a bit tight but overall it's okay.

The good thing about it all is that bad swim schools lessons took up most of the weekend, finishing at four on a Saturday and 2 on a Sunday, so we had no weekend time together. So although Fahed would never have jacked the job in because he is a responsible person we are suddenly feeling like we have weekends again. It feels darn good actually and by October/November time we might hopefully be back to a similar financial position. In the meanwhile, we can cope.

Fahed isn't really good with change but I am pleased with how he coped. The teachers at Nice Swim School meet up in the cafe for a coffee and natter for a half hour before lessons, which doesn't happen at Bad Swim School. Those little social moments are really good for Fahed. We will be okay.

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