Wednesday, 31 January 2018

They call this AFFORDABLE!

A big welcome to my new follower, Marjorie, hello!

Well, my 'Stash to Cash' challenge is now underway.  I have made lots of cards and toppers and the first wave are going live on eBay this evening.  I'm hoping for a few bids to start off the 'cash' bit of my challenge :)   Stuff has been taken to the CS but there is hardly a dent in my stash yet.  February will be a bit awkward with little time to craft so I don't expect any major inroads into the stuff yet.  March should see it pick up a bit....I hope!

As some of you know we have been looking for our 'forever home' for the last couple of years.  We were shocked to get this letter in the post regarding 'Affordable Homes to Rent' in the area...

£242.71 for a one bedroom flat and £267.37 for a two bedroom one and that's PER WEEK! On top of that would be council tax as well as other things.  OMG I think we are being totally priced out of the market.  We don't want to claim any benefits as we have always been independent but our total monthly income won't cover the cost of even a one bed flat :/
Ideally we would like to buy a small bungalow but I can't see it happening.  Dream on....dream on...

The weather today is freezing cold but, at last, the sun has come out (2.30pm) and I can feel a bit of warmth coming through. 

Stay safe everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Challenge Begins

Oh my....I had a terrible night's sleep.  I was tired, lay down in bed at 10pm and... PING!... I was wide awake.  I must have dropped off around 2am but slept fitfully so that I felt really drained this morning.  My joints were aching so I got up to take paracetamol yet still couldn't drop off . What was that all about?

Anyway, it's a good excuse to relax and craft today.  I have made a start on using up my stash....

I have a batch of 22 cards ready for the CS, which I will drop in tomorrow, so a potential £22 minimum for the charity.  I can't count that in my 'Stash to Cash' challenge, obviously, so I am still on the starting blocks moneywise.  It's going to take some time to make and list items to sell and I don't have a craft fair until March but it's all systems go!!

Anyone else in craft mode?

Stay safe everyone xx

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Turn Stash Into Cash! Challenge

Firstly a warm welcome to Jill C, my new follower :) I think I have an anonymous new follower too...hello!

I fancied doing a challenge so have decided to Turn Stash Into Cash!  I have been crafting for well over 25 years and have accumulated loads of stuff which needs using up.  There is a tower full of 'useful stuff'' .....

Wool and yarn are tucked into a corner of the living room.....

And there is 'stuff'' in the darkest recesses......

I have plastic boxes of yarn in the spare wardrobe too so seriously need to have a clear out.

The plan is to:

a) Make things to sell either at craft fairs or on eBay
b) Sell surplus craft items on eBay
c) Give excess stock to my favourite charity shop

I will record on here any money that I make but equally any money that I spend because I know I will need card blanks, adhesive, gems and ribbon at some stage to complete certain projects.  I will, however, try to use up before spending (I want to spend as little as possible, obviously)  The challenge will run for at least 6 months.  Here goes.... :)

Thanks so much to all the people who commented on my last post. I am still in shock.  Good news, however, SiL is enjoying the challenge of his new job even though he has not yet received a penny from the company nor an official contract of employment :/  He now has 'Man Flu' but has gone into work anyway ;)

Thanks so much for popping in. Stay safe x

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Good News and A Shock

Firstly a very warm welcome to Jill, my new follower :)

Good news! Son in Law has a new job! After submitting over 80 job applications, and with less than a 10% response rate (not even an acknowledgement) he was approached by a company just a 35 minute commute away and began work last Monday, with huge relief all round :)  He seems to be settling in well.  He likes the work, the friendly workforce and the fact that he is trusted to do a good job.  DD is still budgeting like mad, producing tasty (simpler) meals and ekeing out the money to ensure direct debits are covered for this month at least. We have helped a little bit but DD is amazing.  Even the GC are eating food they would normally have rejected saying they 'don't like it'.  Needs

The shock came on the news yesterday evening.  The local GP in the area of our last house  has been sent to prison for inappropriate contact with at least one female patient.  We simply can't believe the allegations.  He was our GP for 25 years having set up surgery in a house on the new estate, eventually buying a purpose built surgery just down the road and taking on more GPs and staff.  The staff thought the world of him as did I and my family.  He treated all 4 of us over the 25 years and we had utmost trust in him and respect for him. I never felt he was anything other than competent and professional. I still have my doubts that the verdict was correct.  Can you trust anyone at all?

How much do you trust your GP? Is it just fashionable to accuse men of inappropriate behaviour?

Now more mundane matters... I have been lucky picking up a few more YS bargains over the last week so have been able to save £10 on the food budget (a satisfying 20%) which is going into the pot for emergencies.  We have had HM soup twice this week (a popular theme in blogland it seems) and we have been eating up bits and pieces from the freezer.  This leaves me with £6.12 for the rest of the week until the 'big shop' on Monday.  The family are coming to tea on Saturday so it will be crispy jacket potatoes with cheese and beans.  I need to buy potatoes, a bit of salad stuff and a dessert of some kind.  It is do-able.

Thanks so much for popping in. Stay safe x

Saturday, 6 January 2018

On Weather And A Break In

A warm welcome to my new follower, Jennifer :)

Well it's 9.20am and it's still so dark here that I need the light on to type this :/  Yesterday was bitterly cold and we have had torrential rain over the last couple of days too.  There was a light covering of frost when I woke up and more is forecast for tonight.  I feel so lucky though compared to parts of the US.  The news last night reported temperatures of up to minus 30 there and the footage showed so much flooding and damage.  My heart goes out to anyone affected.

What's the weather doing near you?

I am furious....on Tuesday night 2 men in hoodies broke into the local food bank.  It's held in a church and CCTV filmed them breaking in.  They broke down doors and ransacked the building.  They couldn't have broken in for the food because the only things taken were Christmas puddings, mince pies, chocolate, computer equipment and donated money.  The worst thing is that it forced the food bank to remain closed whilst they cleaned up the mess and got the doors replaced.  How could they do that to their own community?  The food bank currently helps around 200 people. I so hope they get caught....

Today will be another family day.  DD & family are coming this afternoon so I want to get some fresh bread rolls to make hot dogs for tea (I already have sausages and onions) and then I want to make Millionaire's Shortbread for afters.  It's one of their favourites.  An extra donation will be made to the food bank too...grrr...

I used the last of my Boots points to buy a couple of toiletries for DD; shampoo and anti-bac hand wash for their kitchen (handy for use after the kids feed the rabbit) so they were FREE, my favourite price :)

Anyway, I must get a wriggle on now that the rain has paused.

Thanks everso for popping in and do stay safe x

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A Relaxing Day

Thanks go to everyone who commented on my last post.  Your sympathy and good wishes went a long way to reassure me that things will, hopefully, resolve themselves sooner rather than later. I appreciate each and every comment.

DD and family came to lunch yesterday.  I had cooked a roast for the meat eaters and served it with roast potatoes, YS'd carrot and swede mash, steamed carrots, peas, HM Yorkshire puds (found in the freezer and heated in the oven for 5 minutes ) followed by the 25p toffee apple pie (warmed through in the oven whilst we ate) served with ice cream.  I opened a bottle of Cava Rosado left from Christmas too :) Not a scrap was left.

Another rummage in the freezer produced tea;  a bagged salad put into a big glass dish and piled high with prawns mixed with seafood sauce.  Our lovely GD (aged 13) and GS (aged 10) prepared the rest of the salad stuff without being asked.  Between them they sliced cucumber, pepper, cut up celery, radishes and tomatoes.  I popped some veg spring rolls in the oven along with some part-baked crusty bread rolls and two small focaccia. Nothing was wasted there either :)

They left around 7.45pm ( with a big bag of my frozen YS'd bargains)  as the kids were back to school today.  DD texted me to say they were home safely and thanking us for a lovely day.  She said the day had been just what they needed.  We had a laugh and a very long game of
The nicest part was that SiL took 3 phone calls whilst at our house asking him to interviews within the next few days. Fingers crossed...

My freezer is now half empty so I can actually see what is left and will be searching for more bargains.  The store cupboard is pretty full so I will spend as little as possible in the process.  I still have the makings of:

Cider vegetable hotpot (enough for 2 meals for 2)
Boxed cod in batter with HM chips and peas
Quorn lasagne (2 days)

Onward and upward!

Thanks so much for popping in, take care x

Monday, 1 January 2018

A Challenging Year

Firstly a warm welcome to two new followers; Lisa and Louise G :)

I hope you all enjoyed the new year celebrations (with no consequent hangover today!)  We went round to some friends around 8pm and left at 1.30am having consumed a modest 2 drinks each, but having had a couple of quizzes and a lot of laughter.  I wanted a clear head this morning to enable me to get my a*s into gear regarding the food budget.

2018 will be a challenging year ( as opposed to a year of challenge IYSWIM)  I didn't mention it in the run up to Christmas but DD's husband lost his job 10 days before the big day.  He went to work as usual and came home at 3pm totally out of a job.  He didn't see it coming and it's the 3rd redundancy in 3 years so their savings are very much depleted. DD and SiL were in total shock as he was the sole breadwinner.  It did put a bit of a dampener on Christmas celebrations, to be honest, but I was determined we should enjoy the festive season and worry later. 

DD is now stretching every penny as far as possible.  We want to help as much as we can so will dip into our savings a bit and budget even more carefully this year than last.  Our only real bit of wriggle room is in the food budget.  We allocate £2,600 per year which is £50 per week absolute max and I usually try to save a bit from that each week to save towards emergencies and the inevitable Christmas food splurge.

I drew the first £50 of the year today and ventured to Mr M's for a few bits and pieces.  I was astounded at the YS prices. The bits below will be used for soup or stew (one pack given to DD)......

An amazing toffee apple pie for 25p! This will be dessert tomorrow when the family come to lunch.  A GF xmas pud for 5p for OH. All the wraps, thins and teacakes are now in the freezer and will be given to DD to take home for the kids' school pack ups or after school snack attacks....

The Danone yogurts were 4 for 5p! (wish these could be frozen as there were plenty available)

We had resisted buying these walnuts at £3 a pack but at £1 each they will make tasty nibbles and are well within date....

I added up the value (excluding nuts) and the original prices were £11.78, we paid just £1.06
We were quite hungry when we got home (read ravenous) so shared the last of yesterday's salmon en croute (cold) with some bagged salad and leftover boiled potatoes cut up and fried in a little olive oil.  Delicious! Pudding was a YS'd yogurt each (2.5p for 2)

I have begun a sealed pot challenge too.  Any small change we can spare will be put into this lovely tin (pound shopped) and opened in time for Christmas shopping next November

Tea tonight will be the last 2 slices of bacon (for OH), poached eggs, baked beans, grilled leftover mushrooms and toast.  The best bit is that OH will cook it!  Yay! I can do a bit of crafting until it gets dark :)

I wish everyone a year of wonderful things.  Stay safe and thanks so much for popping in 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...