Wednesday, 27 April 2022

On New Specs & Failed Target Spend

On Monday I received a phone call from the optician to say that my glasses were ready to pick up.  I was amazed as I didn't expect to collect them until the coming Saturday but I tootled off to town yesterday to fetch them.  I'm always a bit trepidatious about collecting them in case they are not quite right when I've already paid upfront in full, but I needn't have worried, they seem fine.  My day specs have bronze frames and Transitions lenses and my prescription sunglasses (for driving when the sun is really bright) are tortoiseshell...

They cost £279 for both pairs which isn't too bad in the scheme of things.  ( I do hate being photographed 😱  Who is that old lady? 😱 )  I did, however, have a shock when I went for the eye examination as I was told that cataracts are forming.  They knew 2 years ago but didn't tell me at the time.  I simply dread getting to the stage when something needs to be done about them.  I have a phobia of people messing with my eyes.

We are having a delivery of shopping this evening which will be the final spend for April in the sum of  £41.41  Unfortunately, this means that we have gone slightly over budget but I felt far too dizzy today to do a physical shop myself anyway, so I'm pretty glad I booked a slot. The total has been amended and I class this as  Failed 😏  Mind you, the way prices are increasing on a daily basis it would have been a struggle to stay within the £200 target. 

How is your food shopping going?

Stay safe x

April Food Budget: £215.34 /£200.00  

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Frugal Goings-On

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post with sympathy and good wishes.  I really appreciate it.

To be honest the medication is making no discernable difference to how I feel but I am learning to stop and rest when the dizziness hits me.  This morning has been good and I've caught up with some jobs which I've been putting off over the last week.

DD and the family were on a visit yesterday when G rushed in, in a total panic because the energy monitor was flashing.  It had changed from showing just over £2 to £14.75 😱 It was flashing a warning that we had gone over budget for the week. I had no idea that we had actually set one.  G thought it was one day's useage and nearly gave us all heart failure.  Luckily DD played around with the buttons and she re-set the budget to a more realistic figure.  Today this is the total for the week.....

......and this is today's useage including 2 loads of washing.....

I sometimes feel like throwing the monitor through the window as G is becoming obsessed with the figures 👀

Frugal things I've done over the weekend:

  1. Fed the family yesterday on hot dogs and onions instead of Son-in-Law paying for a takeaway curry.  Sausages £1.50, rolls 75p, 2 onions 26p.  Total spent £2.51 as opposed to almost £30 for a curry.  I already had cake in the house.
  2. Listed a few things on eBay as it was offering reduced selling fees.  3 items sold within hours netting a total of £27.55 which will not only buy my brother's birthday gift, but a 10% donation has gone to British Red Cross for the Ukraine appeal.
  3. This morning I have done 2 loads of washing and it's drying beautifully in the sun.
  4. Lunch today has been a leftover crust of granary bread , toasted, and topped with the last bit of cheese which was melted under the microwave grilly thing (cheaper than the oven grill)
  5. Pulled some home grown radishes to have with it.  They are growing in a little trough which hangs on the bit of side fencing so that the creepy crawlies don't share them too.  Delicious !

This weekend I am grateful for:

A lovely phone call yesterday from my Son in Sydney letting me know that they are all ok,

Beautiful sunny weather to lift the spirits and dry the washing,

A day to myself  to relax and potter whilst G is at work.

Thanks for popping in.  I'll try to catch up with reading your blogs this afternoon.

Stay safe everyone x

April Food Budget: £173.93 /£200.00

Thursday, 21 April 2022

On Being AWOL & Garden Magic

You might have noticed that I've been AWOL for a while... or maybe you haven't missed me at all 😦 👀... anyway, the reason is that I've not been feeling 100% well.  I've been getting dizzy spells, which are unrelated to my usual low blood pressure and which have left me feeling 'spaced out' and totally weird and sometimes nauseous too.  Not nice at all.  I put up with it thinking it would go away by itself until Thursday last week when I tried to ring the GP for advice.  You have to ring at 8am on the dot to be in with any sort of a chance of speaking to someone so I set my alarm for 7.55am and began to ring the surgery at 7.59am.  Of course they were engaged (busy) so I set my phone on constant redial and lay back down in bed with the phone in my hand.  On the 74 th!! try I got a ring tone and, after pressing the required buttons, got a place in the queue.  Eventually, I heard a human voice...thank heavens...and explained the problem.  I got the promise of a telephone consultation with a GP sometime that morning. I did get a call later and, after a short discussion, was called into the!  The GP checked my blood pressure (ok), my ears (ok apart from Tinnitus), my eyes (no comment) and asked if I felt tired (no more than usual) then declared that I had probably picked up a virus (not Covid) which affects the inner ear.  She gave me a prescription to pick up at the pharmacy in the village next day.  Unfortunately, that was Good Friday so the pharmacy was CLOSED 😕  I could hardly get out of bed on Saturday so couldn't pick it up then either.  Monday they were CLOSED too 😵 I finally got them on Tuesday.  I don't know if they will work but I'm trying them.

I was due to go to DD for lunch on Easter Sunday as G was working but had to cry off as I felt so rough.  DD offered to bring lunch over, bless her, but I felt too rough to eat.  I had a slice of cheese on toast in the afternoon instead.

Nicer Stuff: 😁

Thank you to everyone for your happy Easter wishes and your comments and suggestions on eating out on a budget.  I've absorbed them all like a sponge, thank you.

The only thing I've felt up to doing over the last week and a bit is pottering in the garden.  I'm amazed how things are putting on a spurt of lush growth.  This is the shady corner containing the Amelanchier....

Beneath that the giant Snowdrops are doing well at last.....

The Tulip bulbs have come up and I'm astounded to find 3 flowers on each bulb.....

I've never seen that before.  Have you??

The Amelanchier produced a scattering of pretty white blossom but I missed the chance to photograph it last week and the cold wet weather soon stripped it off.....

The hanging basket of Pansies which we bought before the Winter has revived itself and is full of colour......

Our Rowan (Sorbus) has had a burst of energy and pushed out lots of fluffy growth so I'm hopeful for some berries for the birds at the end of Summer....

As I've felt so rough lately, we've been having home deliveries of shopping but I'm reasonably sure that we are still within our £200 budget for the month.  I'll add it all up when I can summon up the energy and show the total so far.

Thanks so much for popping in and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Happy Easter

 Just popping in to wish everyone a very Happy Easter. Blessings and much love to you all x

I'll be back very soon.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

How Much???

As we both felt a bit bleugh today 😟we opted to go out for lunch somewhere just for a change of scene.  There's a local pub where we have eaten on a couple of occasions  this year.  It's clean, airy and quiet in the bar area and the last time we visited we had 2 x 2 course meals for £10 each. 

When we read the lunchtime menu we debated leaving on the spot but didn't know where else to go so I chose the beer battered cod and chips.  (Sorry we had nibbled all the food before I remembered to take a photo! )........ 

 G chose a 6oz rump steak which came with chips, half a small grilled tomato and a few pea shoots 😬

He did decide to have dessert of apple and toffee tart with custard but I declined......

The bill was a shocking £29.35.   Two courses used to be £10 but have rocketed by 25% to £12.50.  A pint of lemon and lime cost £4.15 and a small lemonade was £2.95.   I know that energy bills are going up, delivery costs too but it's far too much for us to pay now.  We won't be going back.  A shame because it's a lovely pub with friendly staff.....

Are you finding that your favourite eating places are putting up their prices?  Are you having to cut down or cut out?

Thanks so much for popping in and please be safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

April Food Budget: £69.82 /£200.00

Monday, 11 April 2022

Verdict on Cheesy Hot Cross Buns

I have been asked by fellow bloggers to give my opinion on the M & S Cheesy Hot Cross buns. Well, the only thing that made them hot cross buns was the pastry cross on the top. There the resemblance ended... but... they were a delicious savoury bun 😋 When toasted and buttered they were hot, soft in the middle and extremely cheesy.  I ate one for lunch on Saturday served with peppery rocket and a juicy tomato...... 

I certainly wouldn't pay full price but they were OK for the 92p I paid for them 👍 They would be lovely with a poached egg on top too but would never be a substitute for the sweet version, obviously 😉  G didn't want to try them so 2 have been frozen for another day.

I haven't managed to get my free chocolate egg yet.  In Sainsburys they were priced at £1.25 (need to be £1.50) and the next price point was £4.  I didn't bother buying one because I wouldn't normally spend on an egg and to spend £4 to get £1.50 back seemed silly.  I'll try another supermarket.

Today I needed bread and some salad stuff so £4.83 spent and added to the total below.

Thanks so much for popping in and please be safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

April Food Budget: £69.82 /£200.00

Friday, 8 April 2022

Food Shop and Free Choc Egg

 We have done quite well with spending on food this week. Since the home delivery last Friday we haven't needed to buy anything else until yesterday. As luck would have it, our Humax box (for recording TV progs) finally gave up the ghost on Tuesday night so we drove to Curry's in town yesterday to buy a replacement at a cost of £179 😱 As we don't go out at night, it's our main source of entertainment so a bit of a necessity really. Anyway, the trip also took us close to an M & S food store and we couldn't resist the temptation 😉 We bought some salmon, 3 pasta chilled meals for £7, some pasties, some fruit and salad - y bits a cherry pie, cream (YS) and some cheese hot cross buns... Yes, Cheese! Never seen any before... 

We intend to toast one each for lunches with a good knob of butter or a poached egg. In total we bought the makings of 5 meals plus treats for the sum of £23.89. This has been added to the total below. 

Do you have a Topcashback account? If so did you know you can spend £1.50 or more on a chocolate Easter egg, upload the receipt and get £1.50 cashback? Potentially a free egg.. 

I'm going to take up the offer at some point soon. Its too good to pass up! 

Thanks so much for popping in and please be safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

April Food Budget: £64.99 /£200.00

Monday, 4 April 2022

No Fuel & a Treat

Today is so wet and cold again that we were undecided what to do with the day.  G has worked all over the weekend but I've not ventured far and felt a bit stir-crazy this morning. 

On Saturday I set to and defrosted the kitchen freezer, completed the chores after which back pain set in due to all the bending and stretching I had done 😟  I took some painkillers and lay on the bed for half an hour reading.  Once they had kicked in I sat at the kitchen table and made a few more cards for the Hospice shop.  On Sunday morning my back felt a bit better, although still painful, but I managed the ironing which I couldn't face tackling on Saturday.  Tick ✅👍

G realised this morning that he was very low on diesel so I went with him just for the ride to Morrisons to top up.  They were completely sold out 😨 Luckily, the Esso station just down the road had some fuel left (although there was a bit of a queue and it was 1.2p per litre more expensive) We now have half a tank of fuel which should last a couple of weeks as G is not at work next weekend.

G offered to treat us to lunch at Wetherspoons in the village and we were pleasantly surprised to find a portion of cod, chips and peas at just £3.99.  My small glass of wine (Pinot Grigio) cost £1.45 The food  was piping hot and the cod was beautifully white and tasty.  We will definitely do it again sometime....

We normally do the food shopping each Wednesday but we have plenty of food in stock at the moment so will buy fresh stuff as we need it over the coming week rather than do a big shop.  Tonight we will just have cheese on toast as we are both pretty stuffed.

Today I am grateful for:

Being able to buy diesel

Being lucky enough to have a hot meal not cooked by me

Spring is on it's way!

Thanks so much for popping in and please be safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

April Food Budget: £41.10/£200.00

Friday, 1 April 2022

No April Fool

Firstly, thank you so much to everyone who read and responded to my last post.  Your sympathy, empathy and practical suggestions went a long way to helping us feel a bit better.  We have not given up but will explore every avenue down the painkilling route for G.  Thank you!

Now... gosh... April 1st.... I can hardly believe that a quarter of the year has gone already.  This month we both need sight tests and probably new glasses as well so we are still on a mission to squeeze the food budget down and down.  We delayed the food delivery until today so that it would be a new month.  By careful planning, including ordering a big bag of frozen chunky cod instead of meat, I kept the order down to the minimum we could get away with. ....

The protein bars you can see at the bottom of the order were a substitute and at £2 for just 3 bars 😱 they were sent back.  My big tub of yogurt had split (all over some of the shopping!) so that was refused as well, which is where the refund comes from.  Total, therefore, £41.10 so far.  I intend keeping track again this month and have set a lower budget of £200 for April.  We seem to be saving a fair bit by G eating fish instead of his thrice- weekly meat, as well as eating veggie meals on a regular basis too.  Nothing is being wasted.  G used to take a bottle of energy drink to work on Saturday and Sunday now he takes squash in a re-useable bottle, thus saving £1.50 per week as well as reducing single use plastic. He always takes a packed lunch.

For tomorrow I have made a list of  'things to do' whilst I'm on my own including:

Defrost the freezer in the fridge/freezer in the kitchen (as there is a build up of ice after only 6 months)

Wash a load of towels (hoping for a dry day but I expect to have to use the tumble dryer)

Finish the basket of ironing ( a job I hate 👀)

Design some more cards for the Hospice CS

Look for more things to sell on fleabay.  We need new glasses!

Things I am grateful for:

  • Kind people who will always offer comfort if they can
  • Food delivery services so that we don't have to struggle
  • A garage freezer to make defrosting the kitchen one a doddle
  • Having a warm, safe place to live

Thanks so much for popping in and please be safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

April Food Budget: £41.10/£200.00

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...