Saturday, 30 November 2013

Savaged by a mad chihuahua

My DD Lizzie has a rescued chihuahua cross, she's a lovely little dog and very protective of the family, she often sits on my lap for a cuddle when I go over there, not today though.
When I walked in to the house the dog went bananas, she started barking, growling, snarling & showing her teeth. I sat down and held out my hand for her to sniff but she was still upset. She didn't bite me but was very threatening, if some 6 inches by 10 inches can be threatening! When I held out my hand towards her, she ran at me snarling & bumped her nose against me, she was obviously scared of me but knew not to bite, I wouldn't have been upset if she had nipped me as she was obviously scared. Eventually I took my coat off & she calmed down immediately, when I put it back on she started to get upset again, so I took it off & laid it on the floor. She ignored the coat & came over to me for a treat, a stroke & a cuddle. I'm very upset by this because as she ignored the coat when it was on the floor I believe that someone in a similar coat must have hurt her at some time and it makes me sad.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Buying something isn't the answer

I wander around a lot of blogs when I'm online, mainly ones by people who live frugally, some bloggers live this way by choice & some by necessity. It is a very different scenario for these 2 sorts of people, for the frugal by choice there are decisions to make, shall I buy a wood burner to save on my fuel bills, shall I buy some thick curtains to keep out the draughts, or maybe even double glazing, shall I buy a mini oven to save on using the big oven.
For the FBC's, frugal be choice, it's easier, they don't make such a big payment off their mortgage for a month or 2 and they can buy a wood burner or what ever else they deem necessary. They can then spent this money & smugly congratulate them selves on their 'frugal choice'.
For those on a low wage or pension the choices are different,here are a few examples from people I know.
Instead of thick curtains to keep out the draughts, rolled up freebie newspaper stuffed into the gaps round the windows & doors.
Instead of buying a trendy onsie to keep warm in bed put your coat on top of the bedding when you go to bed, the extra layer will help.
Instead of sitting up watching crap on TV go to bed straight after tea & read a library book. Mind you library books aren't an option for us, the mobile library calls when we are at work, a trip to the local library means driving & paying for parking or 2 bus journey's each way.
Finally the example that started this train of thought.
A colleague at work, she is a TA & earns even less than me, was saying that due to her ex not paying what he should, she'd run out money on her prepayment meter for her gas part way part way through cooking her evening meal & she & the kids ended up with cereal for tea. Some bright spark in the staff room suggested she bought a mini oven as it would be cheaper to run.
As my colleague said to me 'Where the fuck am I meant to get £30 to £40 for a mini oven & if I can't pay for the sodding gas, how am I meant to pay for sodding electric!'
So next time those of you who are FBC think that 'buying something' is the answer, it isn't!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gifts

I've bought some hand made soap from a MSE'er to give as gifts, my photo's do not do he soap justice, it smells gorgeous & is beautifully presented.

A bag of sea shell shapes

Goatsmilk & Bergamot

Goatsmilk & Lavender


Goatsmilk & Garden Mint


Goatsmilk & Honeysuckle

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mandolin

I have a mandolin, not the musical sort, but the 'cut the tips of your fingers off if you aren't careful' sort. It's a fantastic little gadget, it cuts spuds finely if I want to  make Dauphinoise potatoes. It also slices onions finely for when my L&M wants a cheese & onion toastie. When I make him a toastie I slice a whole onion, use what I need for him & then the rest goes in a plastic tub in the fridge to be used up later in the week. No more half onions drying out & forgotten in the back of the fridge.

Birthday gifts

A gift from my oldest son, an illuminated Christmas house.

I had a real problem getting a pic of these, knitted boobs, one pierced one not, they have a squeaker inside each and are sold in aid of a breast cancer charity. Helen said they are to replace the ones I lost when I lost weight!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Good weekend

Firstly, welcome to my new followers & welcome to Frugal Freesia, who kindly commented on so many posts.
The visit  yesterday afternoon from Molly, one of the DGD's went very well, she visits often with Helen, but this was her first solo visit, she made a Christmas decoration, we did some crochet, she helped hubby thin out the carrots, picked lettuce & leeks to take home and we also visited the local shop to buy her a magazine & some sweets. Little things, but as she's had no contact with her real Grandparents it's important that we try to fill the gap.
Next week it's her brothers turn & we will do the same things again, little things I know, but we want to build a relationship with these children. Every child deserves to be safe, clean, warm and well fed, these two were none of those & have come on incredibly well since they moved in with DD Helen. They are extremely excited about Helen's pregnancy, her older foster child (who has been in & out the care system for 10 years immediately said 'Does this mean I have to move out?' when he heard the news. Helen reassured him, but explained that whilst he might WANT to move out when both babies are screaming at once, he doesn't HAVE to move out.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A few more pennies are squeezed

The milkman left full fat milk this morning instead of semi skimmed, I poured half of it into an empty clean milk bottle & then topped both bottles up with water. I pay 89p for a bottle of milk so put that amount in my savings tin.
I put 15p in the tin every day when I've eaten free porridge provided at work.
There was no free porridge on Wednesday or Thursday this week as they were inset days, but there was a free lunch at work those days, I put £1.50 in the tin for each day.
I found a punnet of mushrooms reduced from 95p to 45p at the garage today when I went to put petrol in the car, so that's another 50p i the tin.
I also put 3p in the tin every day as I reuse my teabags and drink about 6 cups of tea a day.
I don't miss the few pennies a day, but it will all add up over a year.

Catch up post

It's been an interesting week!
What with DD Helen finding out she was expecting twins, she was in shock for the first day but is now over the moon as is her partner, he can't do enough for her, he is a lovely chap.

DD Lizzie is having her coil removed next week, so watch this space!

We got dragged out of bed one night at nearly midnight because the intruder alert was sounding at work & the security company couldn't come out. My L&M has been told he won't be paid for for attending site, he can take time in lieu, he's not happy as the person who should attend gave out L&M's phone number, it's happened 3 times in 5 weeks he won't be answering his phone after work anymore!

It was my birthday on Thursday & I received a beautiful bouquet from my L&M, amazon vouchers, a pamper set & some cream wool to knit baby clothes with.
The best present I received was a bag of liquorish allsorts, purchased by my DGS, who saved his lunch time drinks money so he could buy them for me. I thought this was lovely & told him so, he said 'But think how many days I'd have been cold if you hadn't bought me a new coat'. I bought him a new coat a few weeks ago after his had gone missing from the school cloakroom.

Last night I went to a rune reading, it was interesting and a good jump start for the Reader as there were 10 or 12 people there for readings.

Today I have one of the GDD's visiting this afternoon to make a Christmas decoration, which will be fun as she's not visited on her own before, she will be fine I'm sure as she was very keen to come over.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Stunned

I've known for a few weeks that I'm to be a grandma again, DD went for her 12 week scan today & it's twins!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

My Wardrobe


Two pairs of shoes, I also have a pair of snow boots for really bad weather.

One red silk blouse, one black evening jacket, both over 20 years old.
Two cardigans, one red, one pink, both bought from charity shops.
Four dresses, plus the one I'm wearing, 3 from Mr T's sale, two from charity shops.
 I also have 2 bras, 10 pairs of knickers, lots of pairs of tights & a couple of very old thick cardigans.
This then is my complete wardrobe, not a lot, but enough.
Another economy, my hair is now white, I shall no longer but hair dye.

Shopping and eating

I had a money off voucher so I've done an online shop, I didn't need much but I do have to make a load of cakes on Wednesday, so I stocked up on all the bits I need.
I shall make a coffee sponge, lemon drizzle loaf, chocolate brownies & a raspberry & almond traybake
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1868/raspberry-and-almond-traybake
That should be enough for everybody, I refuse to buy 30 fresh cream cakes so people will have to make do with home made.

We were supposed to be going out with BIL and his new GF for lunch today, but they've split up so we will stay in, I'll make spag bol for dinner as I didn't buy a joint for today, I shall make cottage pie too as I have 450gms of minced beef.
I also opened a pack of sausages & cooked 2 this morning, my L&M has one with his breakfast & 1 as a mid morning snack. I shall make a sausage casserole with 3 sausages and sausage mash and onion gravy with the other 3, these, with the cottage pie will mean I only have to think of a couple more meals for next week.

It's easy to be thifty

It's easy to be thrifty when you have money.
You can stock up on special offers when you see them & drive to the cheapest supermarket regardless of the distance. 
You can pay of your loans & credit cards faster.
It easy to increase your mortgage payment when they are 25% of your take home.
It's easy to be upbeat & cheerful when 'doing with out' to save money means only drinking wine & weekends instead of every day, when it means only having two holidays instead of four.
It's easy to save money on your heating bills when you have the money to pay for insulation, double glazing or even extra thick curtains.

It's not easy when you are already just scraping by, at one point, for about a year, when the building trade first took a tumble & my L&M was out of work we were paying £600 pcm mortgage from an £800 pcm wage, after all the bills were paid that left £20 a week for food, it was at this point that my stepson moved in having decided to leave Ireland & come to England to look for work, we weren't eligible for any benefits & it was a struggle. 
Things are easier now, my L&M has been in work for the last 5 or 6 years and we increased our mortgage payments. Ten years ago we took out a 25 year mortgage, we now have only 8 years left to pay. 
This means I have to work til I'm 70 & after my recent health scare I'm not sure this will be possible so I'm looking to increase the mortgage payments yet again.
It will be tough but fortunately I'm well used to managing on very little, I can't bear to be cold as all my joints seize up, but I might just have to knuckle down & put up with it. It won't be too bad as the house has cavity wall insulation & we had double glazing put in when we bought the place. I know that the perceived wisdom is to buy the shittiest house in the best area, but all we could afford was the shittiest house in a crappy area, so the house is only worth about £30k more than when we bought it which is about what we've spent on it.
We have enough equity in the house to sell up and buy a studio apartment on a retirement complex, but my L&M loves his garden so this way we may be able to stay here after retirement

No longer going the extra mile

I've always worked hard, often stayed at work a bit longer, helped out other people who are busy.
But no more, Friday was a case in point, I had a hour when I had no work to do, time was I'd have gone to my line manager to see if I could help anyone else. Instead I tidied my desk and shelves & then sat & read the local paper online.
There have been times when I've had more work then I can get through in the time allowed, I've spoken to my line manager & requested assistance & all I get is a shrug.
So from now on I shall husband my physical resources, do my job & bog off home at the end of the day!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

My sort of shopping

I stopped at the local Tesco y'day, I had no cash on me but I had 2 winning lottery tickets and a £6 money off voucher, I bought milk, cheese, English muffins reduced to 20p and a pack of tea cakes reduced to 39p.
I came out the shop with a £5 note, oh if only shopping was always like that!
I'm going to collect DGD who is 5, we are going to make a Christmas decoration, we will have lots of fun.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Is it time for bed yet?

Welcome to my new followers.
Well I'm knackered, 5 more weeks til I get a break also I never sleep well when my L&M is on the late shift, it mucks about with my sleep patterns.
I have a twitch in my eye & my stomach is uncomfortable.
We have a meal out on Sunday with BIL & his latest squeeze, we've never met her, so it could be an interesting meal.
I left work at 3:30, collected DGD at 4:30 took her to Gym club, dropped her home at 6 & I have to go to collect my L&M at 8.
We've ordered the gym uniform of leotard & shorts for DGD as her Christmas present £27.99, ouch I was going to get her a onesie as well but can't afford it, there are 5 other DGC to buy for.  

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thank you

To Sal, Mallowlark & Kethry, for you comments regarding my L&M & his hearing aids, I am, despite my comments being very patient and sympathetic with his problems. He has booked an interim appointment to have adjustments made & I'm hoping that he will persevere with them.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Snigger snigger

I know it's mean & unkind to snigger, but we all know one don't we? Someone who's smug and superior because her house/children/husband/pet is so much better than everyone elses, someone who casts us pitying glances whilst telling us patronisingly how we should live our lives. Someone who tells us how they could do our job better than we are doing it, someone who is first in the queue to point out any mistakes to the nearest line manager.
Well you gotta laugh when life throws them a curve ball and it all goes tits up. I'm not talking tragedy or illness, just the normal hiccough that would make most of us throw a plate or swear & shout. To the smug person this is a complete disaster, their perfect image of themselves ruined, cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth, probably made worse by everyone else completely failing to see this as a crisis & either smirking or shrugging. I'm trying to be kind honest I am.
But I'm failing, sorry.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Cause of Death

My L&M has finally been fitted with hearing aids, he's sensitive about them as he thinks people will laugh at him when they see him. Only people with exceptional eyesight will be able to see them as they are very small and discrete.
He is finding them difficult at the moment.
He's constantly complaining that I'm shouting, 10 years of speaking loudly to make sure he hears me is a hard habit to break, then he takes the damn aids out and complains that I'm whispering! 
He's complaining about the constant background noise, it's his bloody fish tank bubbling away!
He's complaining about the washing machine being too noisy!
He's complaining that all the food is to noisy when he chews!
He's complaining that his slippers are too noisy as he walks along the hall!
He's complaining that he can't hear when he's on the phone!
He's complaining if the TV volume is above 10 as it's too loud, unfortunately I can't hear the TV unless it's on 15, still he used to have the volume on 25!
I think there will be a new cause of death. Death by hearing aids, as I will shove them where the sun don't shine & no I don't mean his ears!



Saturday, 9 November 2013

Knackered & battered

It was so cold this morning at 6:30 when I got up that the heating had come on despite being set to minimum.
I didn't sleep well last night which has probably made me somewhat clumsy, that and shopping with a 9 year old boy who never stops talking!
I already have a huge bruise on my thigh from walking into a copier and another on my shin from DD2's dishwasher, I now also have a bruise on my knee and a very painful hip from dragging a wonky trolley around Mr T's.
I'm not spending much foodwise this month, I'm trying to empty the freezer in preparation for my Christmas meat delivery:
3lb boned rolled loin of pork
3lb gammon
3lb topside beef
12lb turkey
Sausagemeat
Chipolatas
Streaky bacon
£60, I'm sure I could buy it cheaper, but I like the quality from my local butcher.
Mark has lost his coat, well he hung it on his hook when he arrived at school and at hometime it was missing. It was clearly labelled with his name & form so maybe it will be returned eventually, but he cannot walk to and from school coatless in this weather, so I bought him a coat and gloves and gave him the Minion hat I'd knitted for him. He will be warm for the next few weeks, I'm now knitting hats for the rest of the DGC's, some want Minions some don't and will get stripey hats.
Mark had some pocket money with him on our shopping trip, he spent some of it buying each of his sisters a book before spending a little on some stickers.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Sleepless in Seattle

If only, it's not quite 4am, I've been awake for some time & can't see it changing for an hour or 2 yet, and anyway I need to be up at 6 ready to take my L&M to work.
And why am I awake? Because someone chose to share a child protection issue with me just before midnight last night.
It is nothing to do with the school where I work but I need to share my knowledge with the school concerned, I will also share my knowledge with social services as I'm not convinced the other school's child protection is as robust as the school where I work.
I foresee very little sleep between now & next week when I can voice my concerns, I can't phone social services until Monday as until then I can't ascertain which area needs the information.

Say what!!!

Three times this week I've been amazed at things people have said to me.

1) A parent a DGC's school said she was only now realising that calling her three daughters, aged 2, 5 & 7, Lila, Lola & Leila was going to cause confusion!

2) A neighbour telling me she was having problems with her car insurance costs and couldn't understand why as she'd only had 4 accidents in the last 6 years!

3) A colleague bewailing the cost of her Wonga loan that she'd had to take out to pay for food, she feels that interest free loans should be available for food. She seemed to forget the weekend away in Amsterdam on a hen night that cost £900!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Jiggle Juggle

I was given a voucher from Sainsbugs, £15 off a £60 shop. I didn't need much shopping so I bought some booze for Yule, a small amount of food and booked a delivery for £2.99. I spent the £15 I saved, on stuff for DD2, bread, milk, meat & a few treats for the DGC who have all had chest infections.
I've also received my T'sco vouchers, £43 yesterday, I shall take DD2 with me, double up the vouchers & by some winter clothes for the DGC.
At work we can get a free bowl of porridge every morning, I shall take advantage of this, work out how much I'm saving and pop the cash in my savings tin
I trying to empty my freezer so I'm using up as much as possible to feed us this month.
Monday I defrosted a few slices of sliced ham and made ham, egg, peas and chips.
Tuesday I defrosted a tub of steak & kidney and served it with mash and carrots.
Tomorrow I'm using up some cooking bacon in one of my favourite recipes.
Potato, onion and bacon hot pot, I think it's from a Jocasta Innes recipe book. I make it in my slow cooker.
Finely slice some onion and potato, layer these the dish with some bits of bacon. Make a thin white sauce, pour it over veg & bacon, cook on a low setting. I put it on in the morning and it's ready when we get home, I shall serve it with cabbage from the garden.
There is smoked haddock and liver in the freezer, so they will do two more meals this week.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A tale of lighting 1

My L&M wanted a light/heater for the greenhouse to lengthen the growing season, during the Christmas holiday he always wants to start planting things but it's still too cold. On my advice, he shopped around (before he met me he'd have bought the most expensive!). He chose the unit he wanted only to discover that the cheapest local supplier was out of stock, but he decided to wait til they had new stock in. He mentioned a few times how surprised he was that there were 7 suppliers of such units in a relatively small area, I looked over his shoulder and remarked that the reason was probably the amount a cannabis growers in the area. My L&M pooh poohed this suggestion.
Eventually we received a phone call to say the unit we ordered had arrived, we went to collect it, there were signs up in the suppliers 'Do not ask for cannabis seeds we do not stock them' There were also lots of cameras and when we offered to pay by debit card the sales staff looked amazed. The unit is so big it barely fitted in the car!
When we first got it home my L&M decided to fit the unit in the shed/greenhouse, he hung it from the rafters, once darkness fell the unit illuminated the entire area, I was convinced the planes would divert from Heathrow and try to land in our garden, on the up side I could tell when my L&M walked from one side of the shed to the other as he walked into the unit, it swayed and I could see the beams of light moving across the garden.
By the following morning my L&M had numerous bruises and bumps on his head and decided that the unit would be better sited in the spare bed room, we already have a greenhouse and two heated propagator in there so I wasn't that surprised by his suggestion. I now await a visit from either the local police, or the local dealers who may think we are going in to competition with them!. Who ever visits I'm sure they will be surprised to find a room full of carrots, peppers and tomatoes!