Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Further Thoughts & High Cholesterol

 Firstly a big thank you to all who left comments on my last post along with tips and some great ideas for staying warm this Winter.  A warm welcome too to Suzanne 😊

Since then I have been mulling over how not to spend actual money on food shopping as well as spending a little as possible when I do.  I have postponed our online food shop this week until Thursday 4th September and am stretching what we have in already.  And I will be looking for more YS bargains.  I have redoubled my efforts at snapping up online survey opportunities with trusted companies and have earned a £10 voucher with M & S once again which will buy food for this weekend.  G has this weekend off so he won't need sandwiches with cooked ham to take to work ( his favourite choice of filling).  I have longlife milk stored in the garage and the bread maker is kneading away right now for a fresh loaf this afternoon.

If you remember, I bought this YS lettuce on 28th and next day I refreshed it by running cold water over it in a colander,  patted it dry.....

                                               

....and served it with eggs for lunch.  The eggs were 79p for 6 (with the Sainsburys App), the tomatoes, cucumber and onion were all home grown at the allotment.  I picked out bits of sliced red cabbage & carrot from the remainder of the bag of stir fry veg and added them so lunch cost 58p for 2 ie 29p per portion plus a slice of  bread each..........

I think this sort of meal will be the norm for the foreseeable future with soups added during the colder months.  The slow cooker will definitely come into it's own too.  After all tomorrow, September 1st, is officially the first day of meteorological Autumn 👀  I think I need to find some more soup recipes.  My repertoire is very limited, mainly potato & leek or country veg! I'm always a bit scared of adding garlic granules or curry powder to soup even though I have a little jar of each.  

Do you have a favourite easy recipe with minimal ingredients that you would be happy to share please?

This afternoon I have an appointment with the nurse at the GP surgery to discuss my blood test results.  It seems I have a high cholesterol count despite cutting down drastically on my cheese consumption 😕

I honestly don't know what I can cut out.  I don't smoke, drink a minimal amount of wine (maybe 2 small glasses a week, rarely drink coffee & have just one mug of tea in a morning. I eat fish, Quorn and eggs for protein, drink skimmed milk, eat lots of fruit and veg from the allotment etc, etc  I honestly don't understand the figures quoted to me so hope she can explain it all!

That's all for now,

Stay safe x

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Energy Woes and Another Foodie Post

As everyone in the UK already knows, the energy price cap is being lifted on October 1st.  On Friday came the shocking announcement that it will increase by a massive 80%  As they always quote the 'average' annual figure, in this case £3549 or something similar, it's hard to know exactly how much it will affect us as a household.  Are we 'average'?  I searched the MSE website and found this chart showing the changes in actual unit rates which is much more useful to me. ....

 
taken from MSE.com

 The rates vary slightly from region to region but ours is this one ....


The bills will pretty much feel like double what we are paying now as the Autumn approaches and cool weather sets in.  It's horrifying for us but must be devastating news for struggling families.  We will need to find at least another £100 per month just for gas & electricity which pretty much wipes out my monthly pocket money, leaving just G's earnings from his part time job (12hrs on minimum wage) for any extras and treats.  I'm so grateful for the help the government had already announced for during the coming months but I know it's simply a drop in the ocean for many families including our DD.  I have no idea what will happen when the new Prime Minister takes over.  At this rate people's savings will be wiped out before the end of next year.  

G & I had a big discussion on Friday evening after the announcement was made.  We intend to:

  1. Shop even more carefully using YS bargains and eating simple food like when we were kids as there is still a bit of 'wriggle room' in the food budget.  If we can reduce it still further to save maybe £10 per week that will give us £40 per month for heating.
  2. Use the main car less to reduce spending on fuel although G does need it to get to work (12 miles away and no bus link)
  3. Request a hot water bottle each for Christmas (if DD asks what we would like that is!) to 'heat the human not the house' 
  4. Intensify our efforts to be frugal in all areas as much as we can.
We have also agreed a contingency plan to sell the main car if our savings become depleted.  We will still have my 12 year old Fox to take us to our daughter's house (no buses in that direction either) and it costs very little in the way of insurance and running costs so is the obvious one to keep.  It's value is also very low at around £1000 so a bit pointless to sell it....yet.....

I took my trusty Fox to the shopping centre this morning because I needed a few birthday cards, wrapping paper and stuff, only to find CHRISTMAS cards and gifts already on the shelves.  Crikey, talk about being prepared 👀

On the way home I popped into Morrisons for some YS bargains for dinner tonight.  I found this bag of veg for a stir fry reduced to 33p.  It's meant to serve 4 people but we will just have the veg with some black bean stir fry sauce I already have in.  Think of all that lovely fibre!
EDIT: there was a LOT of veg so we had 1/4 of the bag each and I added a few prawns to G's portion. This leaves 1/2 bag for either another stir fry or some soup 👍


We have run out of lettuce at the allotment and it's so expensive at the moment so I snapped up this little bag of shredded iceberg for just 18p We can have an egg salad tomorrow with the lettuce, homegrown tomatoes and cucumber......


How will the increase in energy costs affect you?  Are you making contingency plans too?  Are you already cutting down in readiness for Oct 1st?

Stay safe everyone x

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Delicious Food Box and Rain at Last!

 Wow, this week has been so much cooler and more comfortable.  There has been a little rain too, mainly overnight, which has refilled the water butt in the garden, thankfully.  The house has kept in the heat so we have been throwing open doors and windows as soon as we wake to let the fresh, cooling air in.  Delicious after the oppressive heat.

Even though we don't have a hosepipe ban in our area, we are still using grey water on the garden and using rain water for lime hating plants and shrubs like the Acer.  At the allotment we are, at last, picking a few ripe tomatoes and more French climbing beans.  Those little plants have been super-productive and I'm freezing lots in small stackable boxes (re-used from DD's take away meals) to get us through the Autumn and Winter months.  Our lovely neighbours, whom we share our produce with, gave us a bag of foraged plums the other day so I'm hoping to freeze some of those..  I've never frozen plums before.  Should I cook them first or freeze whole/minus stones do you think??  Any tips very welcome!

On Tuesday I was extremely lucky to snag a Morrisons Too Good To Go Box once more.  I often reserve one only for it to be cancelled by the store the next morning.  This time I got.....



Sorry about my finger in the shot, I was so excited 😂 lots of the produce wasn't even out of date. 

I have steamed and frozen the sliced cabbage (I would never buy a pack of sliced cabbage but won't waste it), The plums in the second photo were not out of date and, as I already had the foraged plums, I gave them to another neighbour with two small children.  I froze the sliced bread and we ate the bloomer bread over the next 2 days in sandwiches and with soup. We ate a doughnut each and I froze the other three (now defrosted and eaten 👍)  The grapes and little pot of fruit were delicious too.  And there is lots of veg left for the weekend meals and all for £3.09

As the TGTG bag was so good we didn't have a food delivery this week saving up to £50.  This morning I will need to go to Sainsburys to buy: Greek-style yogurt, sugar, either chicken or sausages for G, and teabags.  I'm hoping £10 will cover it and the remaining £40 can go into the savings towards the energy bills.  I really can't believe our luck.

Before I sign off I would like to offer a warm welcome to my three newest followers:  David, Jeanette and Deborah.  It would be very rude of me not to say hello!

Today I am thankful for:

Delicious food costing so little

Delightful neighbours

Cool weather and a drop of rain


Stay safe everyone and have a great weekend x 

Friday, 12 August 2022

Energy Campaign Good Idea ? or Plain Daft?



 I really don't understand the current urge for people to cancel their Direct Debits for energy bills in protest at the rising cost of Gas and Electricity.  I can see 3 major flaws in this:

1)  As soon as you cancel your DD you will be placed on an even  higher cost tariff,

2) Imagine the worry as the unpaid bill grows and grows (not just the extra amount you can't afford but the full amount)

3) Steps will be taken to recover the money eventually and this will surely affect your credit rating?  What if your circumstances change for the better at some time in the future and it has affected your chances of getting a mortgage?

A certain Ms Hopkins has taken to tiktok to add fuel to the fire (pardon the pun)  I suggest you Google her net worth before taking any notice of her opinions 😏

What do you think about this campaign?  I must admit that it's made me very uneasy for the welfare of vulnerable people.  Is it a good idea? ❌Or plain daft? ✅

I didn't really want to comment on the hot weather again but I can't help it.

 It's Too Bloomin' Hot 😝

Hopefully, if we can survive the next 48 hours it will begin to cool off and we might get some much needed rain next week.  Our garden and allotment are suffering badly and we have lost a lot of vegetables in the heat.  The only thing we have been harvesting is climbing French beans.  The runner beans, tomatoes and raspberries have stopped growing.  How is your garden doing?

Stay safe everyone x


Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Surviving The Heatwave

Oh boy it's been hot again today and we're only at the beginning of our second heatwave of the Summer.  The temperature is forecast to be in the mid 30's from tomorrow and over the next 4 days, and we are getting close to a hosepipe ban, not that we use one for watering anyway, we use a watering can.  But, in order to save water anyway, we bought a bucket from B & Q for just £1 so that we can save water from handwashing, running the water before the hot comes through for washing up, washing faces etc  This gets cooled and poured onto plants in the garden because we have spent a fair bit of money on them and need to keep them alive. 

Even as I type this though I can hear our next door neighbour filling her hot tub in the garden 😏




The bungalow seems to hold the heat.  This shows the temperature at 11am this morning (yes, I know the time has been set to 11pm instead of 11am but I can't be bothered to change it right now 😂 )


It will be good to retain heat in the Winter but Summer.... not so good.

Well, the boiler man turned up on time, bless him, and serviced the boiler without hassle.  The guttering man was a 'no show' and we've heard nothing whatsoever from him 😡  But the eBay buyer also turned up on time and paid me £100 cash for the 2 Duvalay sleeping bags.  We were both pleased with the transaction.  I guess 2 out of 3 is not bad 😁 and we now have money for our Granddaughter's birthday gift and a bit over which will go towards heating bills this Winter 👍

Thanks for popping in and stay safe x


Monday, 8 August 2022

On Oat Milk & Potato Bargain

When I did the online food shop last week I was offered a voucher for a free carton of Alpro oat milk and, as I am cutting back on dairy produce, I took up the offer.  It tastes beautifully creamy and doesn't curdle in a cup of coffee but I'm not sure I can justify the cost on a regular basis.  FREE I can cope with 😅  It was a good chance to try it though......

                                                

On Sunday G was at work and I had a craving for a baked potato.  We had no homegrown ones suitable so I popped to Sainsburys to buy one and to buy a few other things which were on offer on the Nectar app.   My spud cost just 16p but when I got home I realised that I had been given 40 points worth 20p for buying it!  A bargain!


This afternoon we are awaiting an engineer to service the boiler, a man to check the guttering and another man this evening to collect (and pay for) the sleeping bags he bought from me on eBay.  I hope they all turn up as we have had to stay in all day 😕 I'll keep you posted.....

Stay safe x



Saturday, 6 August 2022

A Busy Week

 We have had quite a busy week.  It began with our Grandson's 15th birthday when we all met up for a lovely pub lunch, after which they all came back to ours.  Around teatime we fired up a disposable barbecue and let our GS be in charge of cooking the sausages for hot dogs.  Luckily I had a couple of packs of rolls in the freezer which I had the foresight to defrost in the morning 😇  The family shared the dozen sausages (I had a vegetarian one) and lots of salad followed by ice creams. Fab! GS said he had had a fab birthday.

I haven't been feeling well so tried to get a GP appointment on Monday.  After dialling 132 times from 8am onwards, I finally got to speak to a receptionist who offered me an appointment at 11.30am the same day. Wow!  It turned out to be with a Nurse Practitioner but she was lovely.  She gave me some tablets to reduce stomach acid and booked me in for blood tests on......16th August...more than 2 weeks away.  It will be at least a week after that before the results come in.  The NHS is seriously broken.

On Thursday, after weeks of being woken at the crack of dawn (or so it felt) by workmen using pneumatic drills right outside my bedroom window, we had a note pushed through the door informing us that they were, at last, finishing the tarmac surfacing on the roads in the development over 3 days Thursday to Saturday inclusive, and therefore we would not be able to get the cars on or off the driveway during the hours of 8am to 4.30pm.  We also had massive road closures for the Commonwealth games cycling trials so I prepared sandwiches and cold drinks and we drove the short distance to the local plant nursery via the back roads.  We made sure we spent a good few hours there until the allotted time of 4.30pm when we could return home, driving gingerly over the new tarmac!  On the way back we topped the car up with diesel, a staggering £70 just to top up to 3/4 tank 😓

On Friday we took a walk  to the village just to get some exercise.  I must admit it was a big pull getting back up the hill.  I am so unfit I am ashamed to admit it.

Today, Saturday, G has managed to take the car to the allotment which is badly in need of watering whilst I do some ironing and potter with jobs here and there.  Cushion covers are washed and on the line outside and there will be a load of towels to follow.  Post has just arrived with my car tax renewal form so I might as well pay it now before I forget.  That will be another £165 making almost £1,000 in total which has been taken from the joint account by Direct Debit within the last 6 days.  That doesn't include food or the diesel either 👀

My driving licence needs to be renewed by the end of October so I need to investigate how to do that.  I can't do it online as I don't have a passport so I will need a form to complete, I expect.

The annual service on the boiler is booked for Monday but it's under contract so won't cost us anything, thankfully.  I can't believe we have been in our new bungalow for almost 11 months 👀

Anyway, off to pay my road tax now.

Stay safe 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...