Saturday, 29 September 2012

Gift Time



Ha ha, good things come to those who wait. Fahed won at poker last night. He goes once a month to play with his poker buddies at someones house. Not exactly high stakes games but yesterday he won. So tradition dictates that I get a gift! He suggested he buy me a steak dinner but I suspect that benefits the guys more than me. I am quite impressed with myself that I cant actually think of anything which I need.

Due to my head start with vacuuming yesterday I have almost finished the 'normal housework' so now I am on to de-cluttering (does this ever end? no never)and furniture re-arrangement, which is all together more fun than actual cleaning. I hung my washing out to dry at my parents house as their line is high up and in the sun, whereas mine takes far more washing, being the whirlygig type, but is low down and catches neither sun nor wind. I miss my tumble dryer. I know this is better for the environment and my utility bills but not so certain about my sanity. My conservatory looks like a cartoon representation of a Chinese laundry, all of the time. Too many people live here, and they are too dirty or maybe too clean, and definitely too many swimming teachers with their chloriny clothes to be washed/rinsed and dried everyday Sigh. I cant complain though that anyone has a job.

Okay, time to do stuff

Friday, 28 September 2012

Friday Night Takeaway



No, I didnt fall by the wayside quite that quickly. The 'takeaway' was a Lidl Pizza (pack of three for £2.99 - and yum)with a dollop of bolognese sauce on top.


I also made an agreement with myself to get a head start on the housework tonight. I cleaned the stairs and vacuumed the sitting room and kitchen (before Jamal cooked, probably a mistake). I am feeling pretty good and a bit ahead of myself.

Tomorrow furniture re-arranging and improving of environment!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Joining Froogs


We are joining Froogs. Stoptober in this house refers to spending. We are sorting ourselves out and getting more on track then I can ever remember.

Fahed seems to have taken over cooking most of the time, which is creative and economical when he is in the right move, and he certainly is that now. The biggest problem us his love of garlic, pretty sure it is not popular at my work, Monday and Tuesday we had a soup of black eyes beans, lentils and chickpeas, The garlic, coriander and cumin made them wonderful.

Tomorrow Fahed will eat at college (lunch is £1.50)and the rest of us can manage with left overs or toast. Friday will be egg and potatoes. Sounds horrid but its lovely when Fahed cooks it and there is no garlic (thank goodness).

My first visitors to the Crete house are loving it. They tell me they are not coming back and are squatting there for the whole winter Pretty sure that is a good sign. I still wont let to strangers but if someone wants to borrow the house in exchange for some money towards the water or electricity bills they can have it. \a|Assuming, that is, that they promise to be kind and friendly with my neighbours.

Finally I am thinking about my sister in law. Actually the youngest one of my many sisters in law. She has an awful life with a horrid husband and thoroughly unpleasant children. I want so much to offer her a home her with us but the Home Office wont be happy with that idea. She is from outside of the EU so they of course believe she should stay there. And anyway where would we put her in our little house. Just one more thing to worry about.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Domestics



Last week my shopping came to £104 (eek). The week before it was £41. This week I am aiming for around £30 to average us out at £60 per week. I have spent more in the past but I am feeling the pinch, like everyone, and I find I am less wasteful if I at least vaguely meal plan.

This week I planned chicken curry with bulgar wheat to last two days, which was very successful and popular. I do make an amazing curry! Mid week should have been lamb pitas but Fahed wasn't feeling so well so the minced lamb or those is still in the freezer. Instead I made a lentil and lamb soup which made a little meat go a long way as it is mostly veggies, lentils and beans. I made recipe up and was surprised how well it went down (literally). Ahdel was going out to dinner with his girlfriend or their third 'anniversary' but they postponed as the soup smelled so good. I also added a plateful of leftover potato salad to this which smooshed up as a thickener. It was the olive oil and garlic kind of potato salad, I don't think a mayonnaise version would have been nice.

Last night we had sausage sandwiches. Not in the plan but they were good, and we redeemed ourselves a bit by using wholemeal bread and having them with a salad.

Today I am roasting a piece of pork which has been in the freezer for months. As it is not nice cold then maybe I try to make something like a cassoulet with the letovers.

I am lucky that in this house no-one thinks it is odd to have the same thing or more than a day or that leftovers are never wasted (or at least not until they smell sunky or grow their hair).

Last week the sitting room and kitchen got the full spring clean attention so this week they just get a quick swish around, then it is out to the back room to carry on with the sorting and re-arranging of furniture. I like the sense of achievement that comes with seeing a real difference.

Another cup of coffee and my toast and I am on it!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

First Visitors



A guy at my work asked if he could visit my house in Crete. I am always half afraid to offer the house out because maybe visitors don't love the area and my beloved house, as much as I do.

So this time I was a big brave bunny and went with it. So far, so good. I had a text from him which says 'Houses is beautiful, directions were spot on, front drive is really scary!'.

Maybe I can be brave and consider a rent out? I will wait until he comes back and discuss it with him.

This is my 'workers' (Ahdel & his mate Matt) tiling my steps, as photographed from my bedroom doorway.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday update



Definitely feeling better than I have for month, since I was poorly. The sitting room room and kitchen had a lovely wash ans scrub up. The conservatory was started but it got close to food time so we lit the bonfire and I did garden work for a couple of hours whilst we made a lovely wood fire and let it burn down ready for cooking. Although I haven't finished I am well ahead of my planned position (garden was not even on my horizon until next week).

Today I hope to finish off my end of the conservatory. Ahdel is doing the other end as it joins to his bedroom and he has bubbled over into it. He is not doing so well. Normally he is really focussed and well ahead of me but he has given up smoking. He is past the craze nut case stage but now in the lost my focus and all of my artistic abilities stage. I am hoping the wet weekend stage doesn't last too long as he is doing really well, bless his little cotton socks.

The evening should be filled with eBay selling.

Happy & productive. That's a good start to my rehab!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

De-spiderication day







They have to go. Somehow the place is being taken over by massive, fluffy spiders. So many that Ahdel is having trouble sleeping (not a big spider fan)as he is worried they will carry him away in the night. So today we are having a massive spring clean, downstairs only as we are somewhat pushed or time.

Ahdel is starting at his end of the house (his bedroom is downstairs) and I am starting at the other. Furniture is being pulled out and wildlife (and dirt) sent on its way. I am encouraging Ahdel to also de-clutter but the rest o down stairs has very little let in it.

Fahed is sort of joining in by continuing a sort out operation in his shed. We are also going to have a bonfire of garden rubbish, which we will use as a barbie when the fire eases down.

Hopefully it will be a fun day as well as productive. Amongst the junk I am on the look out for ebayable stuff for another part of my master plan.

Fahed has already go on to work or a few hours and Ahdel will be leaving shortly (Swimming teachers have odd timetables). Jamal and I will do the weekly shopping whilst they are out. And then it is on. Superspiders take note:time to look for a new home

Friday, 14 September 2012

Happy New Year



Despite a life in the finance business I seem to be attached the the educational calendar. The end of the summer holidays always mean a whole new start to me. Re-work the budgets, sort out the bills, revise all the phone contracts and so on.

Budgets
New idea: The fixed costs are all split out. Then there is an amount that goes to Fahed for his pocket money, petrol, any shopping and the rest he can save. This works well as he cuts right down on expenditure when he gets the benefit. This is the money he uses for his individual visits to his family member sin various countries. It stop sme having to worry about that expenditure. The balance stays with me. I spent the unavoidable and squirrel the rest away.

UK Plan:
Modified version of the old 'to do' list. In Excel so that I can sort and filter. There is a category column (college/sitting room etc), a column that specifies what needs doing A column for any cost factor & a final column that says how we will finance it i.e cash, already own it, freecycle, eBay sales. Which brings me on to the next thing, which is that anything which I buy from eBay needs to be financed by previous eBay sales. So Sunday might just be turning into eBay advertising day.

Crete Plan:
Which is also a holiday plan. A spreadsheet of possible dates & costs for Crete trip (or hopefully 2) plus analysis for any family trips which Fahed has to take. The planner includes how I make my holiday allowance go as far as possible by including bank holidays and flexi days. In fact I just worked out I could go to Crete for 10 days at Easter and only use 2 days annual leave! Result!

Meal plan:
Total re-think. Portion control Less meat, more veg. Last weeks shopping was £41. I cant sustain at quite that level but I can do better than I was.

And on top of all that, my favourite thing Cleaning. Tomorrow is a proper great big old spring cleaning day. Old Style. No avoiding.

Let battle commence

Friday, 7 September 2012

Hellooo (waves !!)







Hello. We are finally back from hols. Not quite my longest ever break but certainly close. And apparently, at the ripe old age of 50. I have discovered the perfect holiday for my (borderline asperbergers) husband. One where he works every day and we have to drag him kicking and screaming to the beach. He did thank us for making him take a single day off in the 23 days away but he was happy with working so I am happy.

We employed two adorable illegal immigrants to help at the house too. The going rate is 25 euro per day and you provide lunch. Apparently lunch can be a packet of biscuits. My (lower) middle class guilt meant lunch was bordering on a banquet as I tried to conjure up my idea of Pakistani cuisine. I made them so much meat that by the end of the time they were asking for just some rice. Oops. I was worse that I am with the kids giving them coke & fizzy drinks, mid afternoon ice creams and chocolate on the car ride back. Actually i have probably ruined their fitness in those few short weeks. Oh dear, more guilt. Anyway they were amazing. I would have brought them home with me if I knew how. They called me Mama always a way to my heart, and even picked up some English in that short time.

We all had a great time and the kids, who I am thinking take after their dad, fitted a load of outdoor lights for me, plus built some steps, did some tiling, painting and all sorts of other stuff. I can't believe that what makes my family enjoy their holidays most is to do the same as they do at home but somewhere else! We did manage plenty of swimming though & plenty of meals out. Best of all for me was plenty of sleep.

Before hols I was totally exhausted. Really coudn't be bothered to move type of exhausted. I felt the same ever since my allergic reaction, was it back in June? Anyway I finally start to feel a little more like me. And the house is a proper mess and i am up to my elbows in dirty washing so lucky for me I do have some energy!

More, just more of the same

I am sure anyone who reads will be sick and tired of my bad news stories but this week, or actually last week, is the worst. I saw an emai...