Saturday, 20 September 2014

A bit more work life balance

I was thinking to myself that I lost my frugal mojo today. I'll tell you why! 

On Saturday Fahed starts his swimming teaching work at 8am, in the water the whole time He breaks for an hour a 2. And the. Goes back for up to four more lessons.

I took him down a picnic lunch and ate with him in his break. He looked so tired I wasn't sure he was safe to teach in the water for another four lessons. And then it didn't matter as not one of the students turned up.

So I thought I might suggest to him that he stops at 2pm. I know six hours is a really short day but I suspect 6 hours teaching in cold water is quite tiring. I am guessing this based on the fact that he came home and went to bed, missing his voluntary work, and I expect him to sleep until I wake him in the morning.

So not very frugal? But surely this is why I am careful with my money in the first place? So that I can say to him that's enough, we can stop now. I very much like it when he has the energy to stay awake when I am home sometimes. He has a heart condition and whole bunch of others stuff and I like to keep him as long as I can.

I think this is a reasonable addition to my work life balance plan.  I can't actually tell him though as he is sound asleep still. Bless!

Work life balance

I keep my money hand fairly well closed most of the time but I am thinking of doing something a little crazy.

I work quite long hours and I never get on top of my housework properly without extra days off. I am seriously considering a  cleaner.

I love the idea of not having to worry about what I have forgotten to clean properly. I am less keen on parting with money for something that I can do myself.

When we get back from our time away I maybe spring clean a room at a time and then see if someone else can keep it up for me.

Oh dear, I am already worrying about it.

What would you do?

Friday, 19 September 2014

Getting ready travel

I have the weekend still, I planned my flights this way as I am now old enough to appreciate the extra time.

We are flying with easy jet so can't get a much better deal than that

Visitors are bringing some of our extra stuff so as to avoid excess baggage charges

I also got 10% discount on my car hire? And my lovely dad contributed quite bit too.

Tomorrow I am shopping for more food for Ahdel for the month. He doesn't eat much and he is ahoy with repeats, plus his grandma spoils him, so I am sure he won't have to spend too much.

Also on my shopping list is a picnic to take to the airport for our ore flight breakfast.

Parking is somewhere obscure but at a good price. My dad will collect us at the end of a month so we only leave his car there whilst they are with us. Saves several hundred pounds.

My 'special' kitten is chasing her tail as I type, and I occasionally get the claws as she whizz es around in a circle. Crazy baby cat. I didn't know cats did this, is tail chasing not for dogs?

Tomorrow. Y baby is back and we have a breakfast date. He he.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

One more work day

The men ate something for lunch which appeared to be almost entirely composed of tin tomatoes
(Very economical)

I had today's meals bought for me by the company as I was travelling and a bowl of Rice Krispies was a perfect 'dinner' this evening

I typed up instructions for eldest to use the washing machine etc when we are away. Pretty sure the electric bill will go down as he looked somewhat nervous of shrinking all his clothes so I suspect a few visits to grandma might be in order

The cats and I are in our beds nice and early (well in their baskets but I am in bed) as the weather is frightful and I saw the closest lightning ever tonight, so we are hibernating

This weeks shopping will be food for Ahdel for the month. Plus some cat litter and food

Before we leave all the leftover veg can become freezer containers if soil for the coming winter

Nothing especially exciting to report but I am keeping under control and eradicating waste

All good again

I don't know why I am being so grumpy. Everything is going well and I can't believe it will continue?

Fahed and I spent evening looking at you tube video of people making cider and wine with fruit presses. I think I am almost to the stage if getting one made for me. We love doing weird stuff like this so Fahed was equally smitten.

Jamal is home for the weekend before we go on holidays, as he has a hospital appointment. Lovely for us.

Jamal next lot of flights was £15 cheaper than when I checked last week

Cats are cute and adorable!

Ahdel and girlfriend are spending a few days apart. And he looks quite happy with this so might not be all glorious there. We shall see. Better to find it now then after marriage and children.

I may have said this already but we needed a new tyre and Fahed asked garage for a cheaply to keep us going until we do all tyres after holiday. They gave us one and. Aka fed tyres etc for nil charge. Bless their little cotton socks!

Cat people have higher IQ's the dog people. Must be true as I read it on the internet! Lol. Not you  the, you are honorary cat person!

My mate got 10% off car hire just for being my mate. Result.

Did I mention the amount of happiness I am getting from the cats? And I think they are what is keeping eldest son happy during relationship problems. Such a good investment. Lol

After looking at fruit press videos, and also planning a smaller press to make cheese, we discussed what we will do to the garden in Crete and what trees we will plant. Very pleasurable.

Monday, 15 September 2014


Yesterday Fahed spent £7.99 on binoculars. Yes, I know its a 'bargain' but I had the whole conversation with him how its not actually a bargain when you already own better binoculars, when you can only use one set at once and where they are not basically designed to fulfill different functions, just the same function but doing it more or less well.

I understand that when he was a kid he had no toys, not even a bike, and he carries that with him but we would drown in 'stuff' if he ran the household.

Did i get the message across or was i just a nagging pain in the arse. I don't know. Only time will tell.

In fact this would be our house if Fahed was in charge (mutter, mutter, moan, moan)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

And another one!

Had another good day yesterday with a visit form my best mate and a visit to a local music festival where my sons band was playing

  • Lunch at the street market in Southampton. We had a souvalaki pitta and a bottle of water each for my friends birthday lunch. We sat in the sun and it was simple and blissfully lovely.
  • We couldn't find our 'free coffee from John Lewis' vouchers so straight back to collect Fahed form the leisure center. He kindly bought us extremely discounted coffees and colas  and we sat in the cafe for an hour or two and abandoned our plans to hit the charity shops.
  • We went to the festival (tickets discounted by £5 for using the voucher code) and took our picnic in our backpacks so not additional spending.
  • Our only failure was not picking the blackberries that we saw but they bordered the busy A3 and that didnt seem healthy

Friday, 12 September 2014

Lovely day

My lovely husband made me a lunch of steak and salad today, based on the idea that a big lump of protein and a load of raw veggies was just what I needed to perk me up. And I wasnt allowed to stop eating until all of the veg was gone. It has worked, I am certainly feeling better.

And as he cooked I sat, and we talked. We talked about how much money we have stashed away for our holiday (no, not for cocktails for renovation works). I had to admit to having an extra £1200 stashed away which I hadn't previously mentioned. Then he said he has an extra £600 which he has been saving from his pocket money. So our ultra cautious financial natures have actually left us with slightly more than £2000 more than we think we need. Any that is leftover will be going in the car fund when we get back but I suspect we will just get a head start on work and maybe get next years plans started.

He is a sweatheart.

Working from home

I am feeling better but not 100% so I thought a work from home day was a good idea.

So far I got much more done and its not even 10am yet. I love having the cats jumping around too. Its a distraction but not as much as people in my office.

And when I need a screen break then I can set the washing machine going, stack the dishwasher or indeed write a blog post instead of making yet another coffee.

So todays frugal things:

  • Saved petrol by working from home
  • On the negative side I have to pay for my own coffee
  • I can get a head start on weekend chores in my screen breaks
  • Dad gave me two corn on the cob
  • Booking my sons Christmas flight home from uni this week. 1/4 the price of catching the train!
  • Cats have stolen bath plug so its hard work to have a bath and is saving me loads of water and gas.
  • New and expensive fancy shower seems to be more efficient in use of electric and water, so that kind of makes up for its cost!
  • Got repaid £20 from someone who I had previously purchased gig tickets for (the old fella has swiped the £20 but we have it nonetheless)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bleat, bleat!

I had to come home from work as I feel awful.
Aching, head, neck and everything else
And I wanted to waste some gas and hot water with a nice bath but the kittens have stolen the plug! 
Who has kittens with light paws? Well apparently me. 
Still, it saved me from wasting money (cheers kitties) so I am hoping into my bed instead

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Ebay update

Well this wont take long!

I had load of watchers but sold a single item. A set of CDs for learning Spanish which came free in the pape and netted my £1.40. Or more accurately didn't as I haven't been paid for it!

I have been paid the money for the gear box (from our car and in need of mending) but no sign of anyone collecting it

The pool table sale has gone very quiet as well. I have sent a reminding email.

Apparently I wasnt meant for the world of commerce!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

2015 too soon for plans?

We haven't had our summer holiday yet. Two more weeks to go in fact. Also we know by know its not really a holiday, we just like to work in a different culture sometimes. So already the nights are getting darker and their is a bite of cold in the air. Its all making me think of Christmas and then of New Year.

I am not (yet) on a full scale 'in 2015 I will....' just having a few thoughts.

Ensure we get the fruit crop in our garden from the cherry tree. This means cutting back so that we can net it properly. Nothing worse than a net that lets the birds in but not out again. Poor little things. We are in a contest but I am not playing unfairly.

Pick the apples ( I always do - the birds dont like them)

Keep an eye on the huge yellow plum tree which is outside of our garden but no-one picks the fruit. We had some this year but not enough.

Gather blackberries and sloes for cooking and/or drinks making

Plums from dad's tree

Home made wines and ciders, jams and marmalade. And cheese!

Still avoiding the gathering of wild mushrooms as I am a scaredy cat.

What else??

One hundred ways with chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

I lie! But it did feel a bit overly chickpeaish around
here this week. We think we have just about perfect falafel though.

Soak a pack of chick peas over night, with a change or two of water
Put through the mincer with cumin, coriander (spice not herb), parsley, garlic, salt, dried chilli and black pepper. Oh, and soe fresh parsley.
Mix in 1.5 tablespoons of flour
Form into balls smaller than a golfball but not so much
Fry in a non stick pan in olive oil

On the side we had hummous (yes, another form of chickpeas), some reduced venison burgers and some greek yogurt spiced up with a little salty garlic.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Shopping list

I have tried all sorts of high tech shopping list options but lately have gone back to idea I copied from my best buddy a few years ago. Pre printed list to be ticked. Boxes down the right hand side for informal meal planning.
A pile of these is attached to the fridge by magnet and any shortages indentured during the week can be added

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Food disaster

My lovely husband is from Syria. brought up mostly in Lebanon, lived in Cyrus for a while and a few years in Greece before we came here. He is also an amazing cook. All agreed he should be able to make the best falafel ever. Sadly it became apapernt tonight that this is not the case.

In his defense apparently you don't make these at home, its strictly street food.

So because he is too adorable to waste the mixture he just ate a bowl of friend chickpea bits and salad for his dinner. Bless him.

We are checking recipes for a better second attempt/ And no waste just no pleasure in dinner

It should have been more like this:

Edited to add then when we do get this right I will post recipe as the old fella has a good hand with spices so I am expecting magical falafel

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Free food!

Wednesday involved a trip to our Windsor office and

  • My mate bought me lunch ( I will have to return the honor at some point but it was a nice salad)
  • Sara gets given leftover salads, filled baguettes and sausage rolls in her new job, we found out today. Sadly we are the house of the gluten intolerant but salad boxes will be yum.
  • Today is dry enough for the laundry to go on the line instead of in the dryer.
  • I am putting a 'clothes horse' in the downstairs bathroom so that towels don't make their way so quickly to my drying.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


I am keeping at it even though I am not a massive fan of ebaying and selling generally

  • Gear box is being picked up by a courier Thursday after 2pm
  • Pool table - no progress today as I was working in a different office but hopefully tomorrow
  • I have six things listed on eBay - two have watchers
  • Free lunch at work today as we had off site training. Cold meat, cheese, salad. Yum!
  • Another no spend day. I am home alone in a while but I suspect dinner today will be another of my homemade, bulk frozen lasagnes and salad.
  • I have arranged for Fahed to go to a free Karate session tomorrow

Monday, 1 September 2014

Plan B

So again we have the threat of redundancies at work. I am not worrying though. There is no point as what will be, will be. Also I worked out how much redundancy money I would get and its really good. So I am happy.

List for the day

  • Did a redundancy payment calculation (just in case)
  • And another one for my friend, just in case. Cheered him up though as he is right on the firing line and now he knows he would get about a years salary then he is a lot more chilled.
  • Forgot to report that we made lots of chicken and lamb stock at the weekend. Stock compartment if freezer is now full
  • Emailed a dozen gear box suppliers to see if anyone wanted to buy our old gearbox. One man wanted photos. Keep fingers crossed for me
  • Email from some one about the pool table. Again, wish some luck please.
  • One of my ebay items has a watcher.
  • Leftover for dinner, which were themselves made from leftovers.
  • Managed to swing my trips out etc around so much this week that I don't think I will incur any parking charges which are not reclaimable. Go me!
  • Submitted my working hours preferences to my boss. Am I asking for luck too much today

My sister in law wanted us to visit her in Jordan next spring. Because of the increasing troubles I told Fahed that I prefer we dont go. I am not scared of the danger but I dont want to have a problem getting my husband or sons back home with me. I like it better to go another time. So we dont get to see Petra just yer, again.

Blogger problems

So now it would appear I cant comment on my own blog. Sigh.  Normally i would uninstall and re-install everything but this is just live in t...