Wednesday, 29 April 2015

New ideas

Its still kind of all about travel.

I had a lovely break. We spent far less than we budgeted, which is always good. I spent a lot of time with friends and met some new people too.

Came back with some ideas (like I don't have enough already)

A friend has a restaurant and is trying to raise funds to renovate some small houses which she owns to provide a bit of a pension for her and her husband. Also a lot of her customers come back again and again and ask for details of her recipes. I said I would help her pull together a recipe book for her to raise some money for her new idea.

Same friend is selling her olive oil in Germany. First year 150l, following year 250l and this year almost 500l. That is really good news for her and it pays far more than selling in the country.Now I vaguely had an idea to try to help my neighbours sell olive oil overseas so I am spurred on by this and will start to investigate.

A different friend bought some lovely leather sandals (using my awesome bargaining skills) and is going to look into importing them into the UK.

Greece needs all the help she can get at the moment so, go:us!!!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Travel. Its still all about travel

Around here it is.

Fahed leave to visit his family on Monday for four weeks. Packing on Sunday.

I am travelling to Crete with my best mate on Thursday for a few days. We have plans including hanging curtains, making some throws for the sofas, making cakes for various neighbours and friends, maybe some running (what????). You know, all the usual things that people do on hols.

Jamal is waiting to hear from the training agency when he will leave for 5 months. He is awaiting something with his inoculations so its held him up or else he should have gone before us. I checked out the fleet of the six ships he could join, one in Columbia, one in Mozambique, one in New Orleans (which I had previously pictured in my head to be inland), 2 in Brazil and one in Saudi Arabia. Not sure which I fancy but anyway he doesn't get a choice,.

I think he doesn't go until I get back (I hope) but the cats will go stay with his brother anyway as they like cuddles more than he does.

So the place has a little buzz of excitement. And quite  a lot of mess.

They did get a bit more landscaping done though. And one of the cats supervised.



Monday, 13 April 2015

Budget travel (Update)

Extras for the trip

Apparently Easyjet have a little known 'never knowingly undersold' clause. I need to phone them and in theory I will be refunded the amount of the that our flight prices have gone down since they were booked. I will try this tomorrow

I joined 'mygatwick' to print off vouchers for discount on pizza (not so handy for someone who cant eat bread) and free coffee and even better free wifi.

If I get any better at this I will be paid to travel.

I also went to Amazon to buy some kindle books to read on my hols. Each book was £3.99 but I search for a boxed set and paid £5.99 for the three. I could have lived without these but I was feeling somewhat indulgent.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Budget travel

I have booked flights to go out to the house in Crete with my best mate for a week. We are really operating on a budget, as I have already had a holiday this year but I think we can still have some fun.

So far

Flights with Easyjet x 2 - We chose our dates to fit the cheapest flights and we dont mind the antyisocial arrival times etc as we always have fun together - Total £210 (including an extra amount for front seats but its well worth it)

We will drive my car to the airport which is a 160 mile round trip - Diesel £20

Airport parking for the week, my mate found us a half price deal £25

Car hire on hols 140 euro - I know is really expensive compared with most parts of the world but for Greece this is a bargain. The exchange rate mean this is about £100

Accommodation - well its has cost me plenty but no extra cost for using the house now.

We are taking our normal housekeeping money for the week as our spending money.





Friday, 10 April 2015

Is it chaos or just clutter?

Four day week this week and so its Friday again which is always lovely.

Eldest son and his girlfriend have pretty much been here all the week and now youngest sons girlfriend has arrived. If I was wanting peace and quiet I should have stayed at work.

Luckily for me I can manage on small bursts of peace and quiet!

So now its all about socialising and eating and the work on the house is forgotten. There is 'Jamal clutter' from the empty bedroom in the downstairs bathroom, the downstairs bedroom and the conservatory. Also the dinner table is covered in clean folded clothes. The kitchen is full of washing up gathered from the decorating sites and also a nice huge pile of clean washing (somehow all of my laundry baskets have disappeared!). The sitting room is the most normal but still a fair bit of clutter, also top of the stairs, the small bedroom which i use for my office is completely inaccessible, my room has piles of clean clothes as i can't get to the wardrobe in the office. There are tools and paintbrushes in the main bathroom. It is utter chaos but also a little bit fun to have a house full. Now what I dont need is for the training co-ordinator to send Jamal to sea for five months before this lot is sorted out. Oh please no.

Tomorrow I will do what I can to get rid of a few things but basically he needs to got rhough every bag, box and pile.

As they say 'it will be lovely when it is finished'.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Decorating bug

My youngest son is home, well obviously as we brought him home with us, but home and nesting. Whilst he is studying and at sea its not worth looking for a place of his own so he is sorting out his room here. He is going for the total re-vamp but being one of us its all on a budget and with our own labour


  • Wall paper 5 rolls @ just under £6 (its the paintable stuff)
  • Ceiling paint (Black - eek!) £13
  • Wall paint (Aubergine) £39
  • Lighting fitting £40 -reduced
  • All new lighting switches, sockets etc £22 in the sale
  • Dye for curtains 4 x £5 = £20
  • Exisitng bedding - Nil
  • Carpet - very good quality but a pricy (by our standards) £200
The transformation is amazing. I cant say it is especially too my taste as very dark.  Wood work is not yet painted and the curtain pole is not yet up but i will show you when it is

Total cost £363. A lot of money but for the price its amazing and I think will do him for some years

And I am rather please that he is quite frugal with his purchasing but also managed to go for quality. His father fitted the carpet, His father, brother and brother's girlfriend did/helped with the painting. I was, luckily for me, at work for most of it but I did the running around purchasing.

Well done family, good group effort.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Back to normal

Well and truly home again.

I am washing and drying laundry, where does it all come from? Also cleaning kitchen etc.

My lovely youngest son is redecorating his room (bye bye hippo carpet, you served us well) so his stuff is everywhere so instead of running around with my hair standing on end from the chaos I am chilling. I figured I might as well. Once he has finished then everything else can be dumped or recycled accordingly. IN the meanwhile i walk with my eye half closed so I don't see the mess.






Thursday, 2 April 2015

Holiday on a budget

Jamal goes to college about 350 miles from home which might not be far in the US or Oz but in the UK we are talking ends of the earth!  He is just about to start a 13 month sea phase so he suggested we come collect him. Well what tightwad can drive that far with turning iut a holiday so we did this:

Day one - started driving at 3am to arrive in South Shields at 8am. Morning trip to the beach (damn but it gets cold on that North East coast) and went into trendy and rather cool Newcastle. Slept at the flat



Day two - drove up the Northumberland coast to Alnwick, beloved castle of Harry potter fame, back to the flat for dinner and sleeping



Day three - We are only 120 miles from Edinburgh so would be mad not to go. Drove up nice and early, did a whole bunch of touristy things, Grey Friars Bobby bar, Scotch Whisky Tour, Haggis for lunch and drove back to the flat to sleep.


Day four - Metro centre - massive shopping mall. Never gain

Day five - Drive back to York for Breakfast and wander then back to Alton Towers

Day 6 - another day in Alton Towers. We love roller coaster and our other son and his girlfriend joined us too. It was a great day out.


We slept in manky student accommodation, used 2.5 tanks of diesel and secured cut price tickets to the theme park. We ate out a couple of times as reasonably price treats but otherwise picnics and home cooking.

Happy to report that the whole trip was absorbed without touching savings. :)

A happy and affordable time was had by all


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