Sunday, 30 April 2017

Monthly Total On a Sunny Day!

It's sunny!  Today is a beautiful day.  Rain was forecast but it hasn't arrived yet so the windows are open and the rays are giving my spirits a well needed lift :)

A big welcome to Lee, my new follower, it's lovely to have you join us.

On the toothy front, OH's extraction site has still not healed despite it being almost 3 weeks since the deed was done.  There's a gaping hole :/  I can't thank Scarlet enough for her suggestion that we could use a medicine syringe to wash out the socket.  It cost the princely sum of 60p from the pharmacy and a gentle swoosh with warm salty water after eating certainly helps OH to feel more comfortable.  Although I am still preparing fairly soft food I have been able to include fish in our diet this week as well as lots of veg and at least one portion of fruit per day.  The shopping this week came to:

Week 4 £51.10

Making a monthly total of  £178.70 Ta dah!!  So...I have £20 cash in the pot as well as 2 x £5 Morrisons vouchers (gained from points)  This will be 'emergency' fund or saved for Christmas.

Tomorrow is Bank Holiday so I hope you all have a lovely relaxing day wherever you are.  I'm off to do a bit of housework, then a shower and an undisturbed afternoon of crafting :)

Thanks everso for popping in, I really appreciate it x

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Charity Giving and Happy St George's Day!


Happy St George's Day!
Charity Giving

After my year of 'Do More Good' I would like to carry on with the theme and 2017 is running away from me already so when I did the top up shop on Saturday I took 4 new-ish paperback books to donate to the charity sale table in Sainsbugs.  By the time I had paid for my shopping 3 had been sold, so potentially £3 to charity. Yay!  The few eBay sales I have had have generated a few pounds to H4H via eBay Giving (around £5, I think) but I really need to readdress my Food Bank donations because there was an article in last week's free paper declaring that the shelves at the local FB are almost empty.  It was put down to a big increase in families with 5 to 9 children attending the FB.  I though those days of big families were almost gone.  Apparently not....
This year I am thinking of volunteering at a H4H fundraising collection day in a local supermarket.  I've never done it before, have you?  Did you find it worthwhile? Or should I be looking at other ways to raise funds?
Anyway, thanks everso for popping in, have a lovely St George's Day x

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Toothy Update and Week 3 Total

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for the kind responses to my last post.  Janice's diagnosis was correct, OH has a 'dry socket' where his back tooth was removed.  A clot didn't form so the gum hasn't healed :(   We made another visit to the dentist on Tuesday who cleaned out the socket and applied a paste of clove oil amongst other things to try to seal the bone and help with the pain.  He is not in as much pain now but food keeps getting trapped and he is finding it difficult to eat normally.  As he is not eating meat, it has been easy on the food budget this week.  It's been mainly HM soups, mashed potatoes, cheese pie, simple steamed veg etc so :

Week 3 Total £38.13       This included a bottle of  Aldi wine

I have felt so sorry for OH that I haven't felt like eating elaborate meals either but I really do need to increase fruit and veg consumption for both of us so I will concentrate on vitamin filled foods next week.  There is a veggie cider hotpot in the oven at the moment which I hope OH will be able to eat (albeit slowly!).  He won't be home from work until 8.30pm so I'm going to test it now.  I forgot to eat lunch so I'm ravenous :/

Yum, that was lovely....fridge bottom carrots, a leek, an onion, half a head of broccoli, a few sprigs of cauli all cooked in a pint of veg stock with a generous 1/4 pint of cider thrown in.  Sage and black pepper to taste, then sliced potato (par boiled for 10 minutes) placed on top and sprinkled with grated cheese.  Oven 180 for 45 minutes.....  It makes 4 portions so we will have the same again tomorrow.
I have bought 2 big pots of plain, thick, Greek style Bio yogurt and I intend that both of us will have a portion every day.  OH to help combat the effects of the antibiotics and me...well....just because I like it!  I have felt quite stressed by worrying so it will help settle my mild IBS symptoms too.
On a happier note, today has been a lovely, warm, sunny day.  Even now at 5pm it's warm and cheerful.  Frost and snow is forecast for next week so I will enjoy the warm feeling today.  I do hope you are all having a share of it in the UK.  If it's still cold in your own country dear friends, then stay warm and snuggle in.
Thanks so much for popping in and commenting x

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Toothy Troubles at Easter

Firstly a big thank you to all who commented on my last post regarding breadmaking.  You had me smiling, giggling and laughing out loud as many of you, it seems, have been in the same boat at some time.  From doorstops (Kim) to hockey pucks (Jackie) you all know how it feels to fail!  Thanks so much for the tips too.  I won't give up.......yet... ;)

I haven't posted for almost a week but we have had a bit of a trauma.  After having a certain tooth filled several times over the years along with emergency trips to the dentist when the filling broke or came out completely, OH was persuaded that it finally needed to come out.  His own dentist couldn't (or wouldn't?) do it so he was referred to another surgery ( a big dental chain) in a town further out of our area.  His appointment duly arrived (Tuesday last) and I drove him to the surgery.  He was due to have an intravenous sedative as well as cocaine injections so I had to stay and drive him home.  Golly, was he woozy afterwards!  I knew I couldn't support his weight as he is almost 6 feet tall to my 5' 3" so we had to sit it out in a waiting room afterwards for almost an hour.  Fast forward 24 hours and he was in pain and convinced that something was wrong.  A dash back to the surgery revealed that he had an infection in the extraction site.  Where on earth had that come from? and so quickly too?   He has now been given a course of strong antibiotics which seem to have done nothing to resolve the problem.  He finds it difficult eat anything so everything has to be either mashed or soup and the pain is waking him up during the night.  Paracetamol only seem to dull the pain for a couple of hours.  He's working over the whole of Easter and has gone in today but I keep expecting him to come home early.  I only hope that work can take his mind off the pain a bit.

To cap it all the extraction cost £56.40 so BOOM! that's our £50 rainy day money spent :/  And NO! it wasn't eating my bread that did it !!  LOL

As it has been difficult to meal plan and be cost effective this week, almost the whole budget has been spent therefore:

Week 2 £49.57

Bargains this week include 3 packs of veg from Morrisons for £1 and a pack of 3 good sized leeks for 20p from Asda which resulted in a big pan of leek and potato soup for the invalid (tasty even if I say so myself!)   I won't need to feed visitors this weekend as they are on holiday.  That can only be good thing for the budget at the moment..... :(

Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone and thanks so much for popping in and commenting.  I really appreciate it x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunny Sunday Savings

Happy Sunday!  The sun is shining and Spring is here!  As I've said before, we are not allowed to grow veg here but, once again, we have sneaked some seed potatoes into a big tub ( actually, two tubs this time!) and our strawberry plants are putting on a spurt now that they can feel some warmth at last. 

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and try bread making.  What an unmitigated disaster :/ 
It looked ok whilst proving .......

So I divided it up for the second proving after bashing it about a bit......

This is the might say.  Overcooked? yes, a tad (the oven must have been hotter that it should have been) Solid? yep.  Edible?  Well we ate the one on the left well buttered with some pasta bake, the one on the right is still languishing in the kitchen wrapped in foil.  The bread, when cut, looks and tastes a bit like Ciabatta not what I intended at all.  Go can laugh... my OH did and he texted a photo to DD who rolled about laughing too :)  B*ggers.

I did my top up shop yesterday and spent exactly £20.00 (how did that happen?) but that included a bottle of wine, some loo rolls and some cake and ice cream for the GC.  We sat in the garden and enjoyed a drink and a lovely sunny afternoon together.

Therefore the total for week 1 is £39.90

£10.00 has gone into the 'saved money' pot and the 10p has been left in the housekeeping purse for next week (oooh big spender!)

Thanks everso for popping in and enjoy your evening x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

April Challenge

Did anyone watch the new series last night on ITV Save Money: Good Food?  It was very similar to a previous series (on a different channel?) but concentrated on using fridge/freezer and store cupboard stocks more effectively to feed a family of 4.  They also explored the merits of supermarket 'Value' or 'Basics' items, this week being cornflakes, baked beans and smoked salmon  (really? I never buy the stuff)  anyway, the value items were deemed to be no less nutritious than the branded stuff.  I have long suspected that taste is what matters here.  There is often less sugar and salt in the value items (a good thing, yes?) so if the family will eat it without complaint why not buy the cheaper version, or even cheat a bit and decant it into a branded box so that they think it's their usual brand :)  I tried a basic brand of teabags costing 60p for 40 instead of the usual £1.20 for the same amount.  I popped them straight into the kitchen container so that no one knew they were different.  Not a soul has commented and the tea is drunk just as eagerly as before.  I can't tell the difference in taste so they will be bought again.  If you are a tea connoisseur you might beg to differ but we enjoy it so it stays. The baked beans we eat are always a supermarket brand too. 
I think that this will be the way to go to keep the food bills stable at the moment because prices are definitely creeping up but the food budget is fixed.....

I buy very little meat as I don't eat it and OH is coming around to more veg based meals on a regular basis.  He still has to have his weekly fix of bacon butties, ham sandwiches and the occasional meat and 2 veg but the non-meat purchases are keeping the spend down.  April is a 4 week month as far as the food shopping is concerned so I am going to log my spend as I go.  £200 has been earmarked in the account (ie £50 per week) and I tend to do a 'big' shop on a Monday and a 'top up' on Saturday.

Morrisons has an offer on of 3 packs of veg for £1 so I bought a swede, 1.5kg Maris Piper potatoes and a 1kg pack of onions, all of which are British.... BONUS! (there were also leeks or cabbage if you preferred ) Some of the spuds were roasted on Monday to go with a bit of chicken and some leftover sprouts from the fridge.  I need to use up some fridge bottom salad stuff before it's wasted so it will be cheese salad butties for lunches for the next couple of days.  Fish and HM chips tonight....yum :)

I will not be buying our usual weekly bottle of wine until Saturday or OH will open it and it will be gone! I might check out Aldi for that.  If he wants beer before then he can buy his own!

Two new followers seem to have appeared so 'hi' to Jules (I thought I had you before?)  and also to someone else new  I can't quite see who it is  :/  I do hope I won't bore you to tears straight away.....

Here we go.....

Week 1:  Monday £19.90

Thanks everso for popping in, have a brilliant evening ( or day, as appropriate) xx

Saturday, 1 April 2017

No April Fool !

Borrowed from Google
Good grief it's April 1st already!  Who stole March??  I was determined not to be a fool with my  our :/ money in March never mind April so I have spent some time (quite a lot of time actually) online, checking price comparison websites and haggling reductions as advocated by Martin Lewis and his team (SUPER chap!)
Successes as follows:
Main car Insurance:     renewal quote £329  Paid £260 (haggled it down)
Second car Insurance:                         £237          £167  (
Caravan Insurance :                            £260          £182   (rang around for quotes)
                                                            £826          £609
In addition, I checked the bi-annual electricity bill and we had been overcharged by £90  I very quickly queried it before I paid the bill.  This is why I try not to set up DD s for some things unless it gives us a big saving.  It's easier than trying to get our money back once the DD has been paid. 
The first 3 months of the year are heavy on bills as most things seem to be due at once;
ground rent, rates, water & sewage charges, caravan parking spot, home insurance, LPG top up etc 
Thankfully, the money has been put aside week on week so although our account is pretty much depleted there is still a small balance in there.  The amount saved by haggling and shopping around will be left in the account towards the next round of bills.  Council tax has been pretty much frozen again this year, an increase of just £23 which isn't bad considering how strapped for cash the council seems to be.  We DO have a DD for that as we know in advance how much we will be charged.
I am so relieved to get it all sorted at last and to know exactly where we stand.  We have had loads of  birthdays to buy for too so I have been eBaying like a maniac and on Thursday last I sold a couple of pieces of scrap gold jewellery to a lovely dealer chap we know for £50, which was a bit more than I was expecting.  That has been put aside for emergencies. 
I'm now debating whether or not to suggest to friends and family that we cut down on gifts a bit more this year.  Already I tend to send the adults a handmade card with a scratchcard in for luck and the children get money to spend as they (or their parents) wish but we have 2 extra small children to buy for now so thinking ahead to Christmas do I suggest we don't buy for the adults at all ??  DD and her family will be the exception of course.  I stick to a budget but I enjoy choosing something special for them :)
Do you intend cutting down this year? And have you haggled to reduce your bills in any way?
The food budget will remain at £50 a week and will have to cover non-food items like loo rolls, cleaning stuff, toiletries, washing powder etc as well as feeding visitors at the weekend.  I am hoping for a small weekly surplus which will be saved in a pot for Christmas 2017.  Can I do it, I wonder?
A warm welcome to my new follower Pauline Williams, it's lovely to have you aboard :)
Have a wonderful weekend everyone x

30 a Week Challenge Day 7

Saturday meals: Breakfast: Porridge oats with cinnamon (1/4 point) Lunch : Lunch was a bit of a cheat.  I saw this little pot of Red Thai st...