Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Healthy living - somewhat less contentment

Well this is odd. I have been overweight since my children were born. They were 10lb each but nonetheless the excuse is wearing a bit thin 20 years later :)  It has never really worried me, I have a happy life.

Somehow I got swept up in starting a weekly exercise class at work (free, my favourite price), which we are now doing about 3 times a week. Then started weekly yoga class (£2 bargain!). Then I discovered a surprisingly lively 50+ class which runs three times a week at the local leisure center (aha, yes, again free to me because they are my lovely husbands employers). So, combined with my home cycling & (little tiny) weight lifting I am suddenly starting to get a lot fitter. Now suddenly I find my excess weight very annoying and inconvenient!

Oh, the irony!!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Days that should be productive

Its almost May but the rain wont stop long enough for me to do anything to the garden.  I am sure the garden is happy about this but its definitely putting the brakes on me spending any time out there. I am a fair weather gardener! Also so much to go to the dump, boxes that power tools come in and bits of broken tents and awnings. I cant face all that wet stuff in my car. I wish I had a pickup but only need it so infrequently.

So instead I am going to visit my friend for coffee in a minute. Whilst I am there I am going in the local discount DIY store to get some paint. After lunch at my mums house, everyone spoils me when Fahed is away,  then I will finish painting the hallway outside of my bedroom. My house work is mostly done, just a bit more laundry and put all of the clean clothes away.

Do I sounds really organised? I sort of feel it, which I rather an odd feeling for me!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Frugal Buddies

My best mate and I don't see each other especially often. We don't live especially far apart except for a stretch of water which is quite expensive and slow to cross. I was going there on Sunday for a visit until the hospital change the date of my dads eye operation. I am taxi driver for the weekend but no problem, I know my family would always take care of me too.

Today we were talking about what we are doing at the moment. She is knitting a Clanger. I feel sadly lacking!

Yes, trying to make one of these, and possibly a Soup Dragon!

Then we got onto what to do with two nearly new single duvet covers that I have but that neither of us needs. We got as far as deciding to make the insulated cooking bags that everyone is talking about. We could make two but do we know anyone else who would appreciate one? Sadly we thought probably not. So instead we decided to go for a slightly smaller version for yogurt making.

Yes, try to make some of these!
So we might not see each other very often but our future seems to include hers and hers matching cooking & yogurt bags. Yes, we have indeed got to that level of eccentricity. Which I am quite contented with.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Leaded petrol - an entirely different subject

I read this article this morning, all about how lead may have effected the brains of individuals in their formative years.  . Fascinating reading and I certainly think they might have a point. I googled to see which counties still have lead in their petrol.

Countries where leaded petrol is possibly still sold for road use
These are down to 6, according to a list compiled by Robert Taylor and Zac Gethin-Damon of The LEAD Group, and as at June 17, 2011:
Asia, including SE and NE Asia:
  • Afghanistan
  • Burma (official name ‘Myanmar’)
  • North Korea (official name ‘Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea’)
North Africa:
  • Algeria
Middle East:
  • Iraq
  • Yemen


Saturday, 19 April 2014

My little house

I don't think I have ever posted photos of my house. I have some which i took when it was briefly tidy. I guess the kids must have been out.

 Our bed room - note the low slanted ceiling. Very snuggly but a bit tight for space.
 Faheds side of the room.

 Sitting room. Dvd's are in the attic now and it looks slightly more spacious. That's the kids sofa.

 My sofa!

Doorway to the front door. Cage is not there anymore and Fahed has a different sofa but its fairly similar. Oh, and I just looked up to notice those shelves have gone too. Looking back at these photos I realise that my de-cluttering has got a lot further than I thought.

I am considering having a little tidy of the kitchen to take a few more photos.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Rewards Scheme

We have a rewards scheme at work. I haven;t really investigated how it works very well, although I did get some gift cards when we first joined.  This week I had to go to the site to sell some holiday days back tot he company and I stopped to have a proper read.

I get 5% of my weekly shop - Asda or Sainsbury
12% of B&Q, so useful as we are always doing something to hold this old house together for a bit longer.
10% of Matalan and other slightly more expensive clothing retailers.

All of the cards have to be loaded up front and take a couple of days to go through but I should really be able to plan that, surely??

So from this month I am going to load the asda card with my grocery money, the B&Q card with my DIY money etc.

I am expecting a two fold benefit. Firstly and most obviously I get the discount. then I get the control and living within budget.

Baby steps in the right direction

Thursday, 17 April 2014

4 days no work

Four days at home. No work for me. the others have normal work but I work the longest hours anyway so I am not feeling too guilty. Directly after that Fahed goes away for some time to visit his family.

I am going to try to make full use of that time for a bit more de-cluttering )will it never end?), some change around and sorting out, so more additions to my new healthier routines.

We plan to carry on with the shed tomorrow. In fact that is our main plan until it is done. I will help out and also take some more time in my garden.

After that we move back indoors. In an old house there is always something needs doing.

Once upon a time we would have gone away for Easter but now I think that to stay and make my home nicer is better for me. I cant face the traffic, the cost of petrol, so many people at the seaside or any attraction that we visit. My home is calling instead.

And anyway I miss Jamal more when there is something like this where we would normally have a big family dinner. We wait until he comes home and then do our celebrating all together.

Baby steps

I have added a little column over on the right (well, hopefully I have) when I do something which fits in with this years, most years, goals.

So anything which feels like an achievement, small or large.

Additional Income
Setting and sticking to budgets
Decreasing  mortgage debt
Improving health and fitness
Increasing activity
Random good news
Completing tasks

I like to be accountable for things

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mortgage repayments

Since we borrowed quite a bit of extra money to buy the land for our house in Crete, and then still more to actually build it, I have quite a bit of mortgage debt to get rid of before I can think of retiring.

I discovered this free and rather natty calculator last week and having been running endless scenarios.

I think I may have a plan!  I especially like this model as it allow for variable over payments and also for an offset. Plus you can split the debt if you have different bits of mortgage at different interest rates.

I have included a link in case anyone else is thinking of doing the same thing.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Productive garden

Not me! But it is a little more productive than previously

My cherry tree is blossoming beautifully (view from bedroom window)

There are a few herbs on the go now

Also my little nectarine tree which has been in a pot but not happy about it. Now he has joned the big boys in the garden

Going to be a while before we have to worry about too heavy a harvest from him.

There is a productive apple tree too but somehow he got missed in the photo session, as did some herbs.

Next on the list garlic and rhubarb (separately).

Almost a small holding :)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Tomorrow will be sunny

I have made up my mind!!

Fahed will be at home until around 2pm so we can spend some time together n the garden. And, shock horror, we are considering an end to Sunday working so we can have some fun days.

We need to plant herbs, some late garlic, fill up the green bins with garden waste, get rid of some rubbish from the shed. Maybe cut the lawn. Its more fun we do it together.

So today I get everything else done and dusted.

And here is a picture of my baby at work, even though it has nothing to do with gardening or weekends!
Jamal is on the left.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Friday - getting a head start on the weekend

I have got into a new routine with my shopping, along with all sorts of other things. Now I order my shopping during the week. ASDA allows you to order your food some days ahead and them amend your order as you remember the things you have missed. So I then book it for collection (free) on my way home from work on a Friday night.

I got home, with my boot full of food. Put it all away, did a load of washing, sorted out t he dishwasher and cooked yummy dinner for everyone.

I have a bunch of stuff to do over the weekend but I feel like I had a pretty good start. In fact I am just about to start on my list for tomorrow.

I got the App that Moyra talked about to keep on top of my new action based habits. So far I have missed anything and it does give you a little shove when you are forgetful. I have gone from no physical activity excepot the odd walk and housework to a weekly diet of:
2 x exercise class,
1 x yoga

Next week I am adding a different exercise class

Also a 50 reps with small dumbbells when i wake up and before bed.

I need to add a load more and up my game generally but it all seems to be helping my back and neck a lot more than the meds from the doctors or the various other quacks who have worked on me (chiropracter could buy a yacht with what I have handed over). I am feeling very positive.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

I need a new butt (insert joke here).

My water butt collapsed into the garden, a mangled wreck about two years ago. I wasn't too worried as there was plenty going on in the garden and not much of it was plant related. The plants in the borders seem to live without watering, so I guess they have deep roots. When the pots are planted out though they are far more water and effort intensive.

So I am watching a couple of these guys on eBay.

I can catch the water form the house and shed  I am also thinking of setting up a little irrigation system for my pots. I don't desperately need it but it is practice for a more complex system I will need in Crete if I am to have any plants at all.

Apparently I can also run the Karcher from a butt, should I ever have the urge to clean my hard landscaping (might happen, but unlikely)

So all good in the garden :)

Monday, 7 April 2014

Long weekend

I am counting down the days until the Easter Weekend. Once upon a time I would be considering a weekend away but what I actually fancy is 4 days at my home, pottering about and doing the garden, maybe some sewing,

However my lovely boss said it fine for me to come into work a bit late a couple of times each week if I want to attend some workout glasses at the leisure center. I believe they are free to me, as a member because Fahed works there, so I have no excuse not to attend now. So work isn't bad but I do like my time off too.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Food waste - Deary me!

I somehow ended up with loads of cauliflower recently. I thought that maybe making a big cauliflower cheese with smoked bacon and some red onion slices would be a yummy main meal for all of us, well all of us except the lactose intolerant one. I made it and froze it and today I put it in the oven to finish it off to serve with the leftovers from yesterday.

It was horrid :(  Quite vile in fact. Fahed ate quite a big slice very quickly as he had no lunch or breakfast. He had eaten it before he noticed how awful it was. Oh dear. Such a waste. I dont think I am very good at freezing food.  It was much too 'bacony' but also mushy, the actual cauliflower had lost all of its 'al dente' bite. Next time it stays as a side dish and no 'fancy extras'.  Bleugh!

I have to say though that everything else is eaten up, no waste, just a single chicken thigh remains for tomorrow. That definitely wont be wasted. I have no meal plans for the coming week but my larder, fridge and freezer are all ready for action.

Extra Income March

My savings got stymied again this month. My brother in law is in hospital, in Lebanon, and there is no-one else to pay the bills. We have set aside 1,500. He has invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) which is not good as he has a compromised immune system. Its not something we can take a chance with. But if I wasn't learning to look after my money then we wouldn't have this available for him so I will look at it as proof of progress.

My extra income in March:
Bread machine £13.00
Life jackets x 2 £26.36
Surround sounds speakers (only) £10
Sales of Audio Book LOTR on Amazon £30.41
Postal Survey £10

£89.77 and actually more than I thought

I had a zero budget in for income as i was starting out. I have now put in £95 for April with not the vaguest clue on how to get there!

And in other slightly brighter news, my son is on day 2 of a five week course to up his swimming teaching qualifications which will almost double his money, and therefore be slightly less of a drain on my resources. Happy Days!

Millionaire in Three

See what I did there?

Simple but brilliant post from Elaine today. Getting back to basics

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Raining again

I feel a certain responsibility for our dreadful weather today. I planned a day in my garden sorting out herb pots and other pleasant things. The guy in charge of weather disagreed.

I cooked and cleaned instead (yay!) at least I suppose that does at least mean I am okay for the garden tomorrow if the rain stops.

In the oven is potatoes dauphinoise, chicken & veggies with thyme, green beans cooking with tomatoes, onion and olive oil. Later on I will roast some parsnips and steam some cabbage. I think I don't need to cook again until Tuesday.

Fahed will be home from work mid afternoon and we maybe make plans for when we go to Crete this year, the work on the house, inside and outside.

I also started some new spreadsheets. One is to monitoring extra income, one to monitor utilities, one to monitor our credit rating. I will do a little post later about extra income in March. It wasn't huge but it was okay and it is a spring board to improve each month.

Also I looked at some wall paper for behind my bed in Crete. Cant decide if it is amazing or tacky :)

My life

My wonderful husband has died. He was in hospital for some weeks but this was very unexpected. I won’t be reading or writing for the foresee...