Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Approved Food Order

I haven't placed an Approved Food order for ages, over 2 years in fact.  Mainly as there's not much I would eat due to my dairy and gluten issues.  I do look every now and then but have never found enough to justify an order.  But since I'm on holiday I took the time needed to really search the site.  Plus they had a code for free delivery, SUMDEL50 usable until the end of the month I think

And here are the contents of those 2 boxes!  Most of it is for me and OH but there are a few things I got to suit The Teenogre.  Inside each large box were some smaller boxes. I've worked out all the prices as individual pack prices for comparison to supermarket prices although some were case or pack deals.

The first box had 10 packs of gluten free spaghetti (75p), 4 boxes sushi rice (50p), 5 packs of bread mix and a case of snack packs of Oreo Thins (12p)

Next box: 6 Enchilada Kits (99p), 4 packs soup mix (50p) and a case of snack packs of raisins (20p)

8 tins of Branston Baked beans (25p), 9 tins plum tomatoes (33p) 

2 boxes of buckwheat flour (99p), 5 boxes granola (99p) 

6 tins red kidney beans (50p), rice protein powder (£9.99), Tetley Immune tea (99p)

From the Approved Food site:

"Every year in the UK over 7 million tonnes of food and drink is thrown away, a lot of which has past its 'best before' date, but would still be perfectly good to eat.
We specialise in surplus and short-dated stock, food that is either near or just passed its 'best before' date – allowing us to pass on huge savings to our customers.

  • We have over 2000 products including - Big Brands, Cupboard Fillers, Ex Supermarket & Department store products across a wide range of Food, Drinks, Household & Toiletries, Gifts plus much more.. all at huge discounts.
  • Our regular customers typically save around £60 on their monthly shop compared to high street prices. That's over a whopping £700 per year you too could be saving.
  • Our stock is constantly updating so we'll always have something new for you - all at incredibly low prices.
  • We do not sell anything past its USE BY date.
  • Quick & Easy online ordering - delivered direct to your door"
Everything I bought is still in date.  A few tins of tomatoes had a dent but everything else was in perfect order.  Everything is a big brand name that works out cheaper even than supermarket own labels.  My invoice said I've 'saved' £95.22.

A few things are a bit experimental.  The bread mix was only 49p and turns out there are actually 2 packs in each box!  So I can make 2 loaves for 49p.  My usual bread mix is £2.50 to make one loaf so I can make 10 loaves for £2.45!! Worth trying.

I googled the sushi rice to see if you could use it for risotto.  You can!  Gallo risotto rice is £2.50 a pack so for 75p it was worth a go.  I'll report back on it.

And I've never tasted Branston beans!  Definitely an experiment!

I don't know how much time I've spent on searching the site, researching the equivalent supermarket prices and googling the products and their uses.  But I do know that when I'm on holiday I have that time so I should use it wisely to stock up and make life a bit easier for me when I do go back to work.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Cutting more costs

I finally got round to upgrading my phone.  I'd been putting it off as I knew it would take a chunk of time to actually go to the shop and get all the paperwork etc done.  But my old phone kept freezing and switching itself off so I knew it was time.  I'd done a bit of research and worked out what type of package I needed.  Basically unlimited texts and calls with a bit of data and I wanted to keep my number.  So after 55 minutes with a slip of a girl I had upgraded to a better phone (Sony Xperia L1), got the package I wanted AND saved myself £19 a month.  That's £228 a year!!!  Win win especially as she transferred all my stuff and set it up for me!

Next item to cost cut is pet insurance.  When I got Emma 5 years ago it cost £13 a month to insure her.  Last month (June) I paid £39.26.  This month I paid £48.92! WTF!!  I'm on the case.

ETA: Just spoken to Tesco Pet Insurance (I'm naming and shaming!!) and yes there was mistake.  My monthly premium should actually be £63 a month!!! Policy cancelled and now searching for a new one

Yesterday's breakfast from my garden 😋

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Work clothes

 Dress 1, original price £22

I was in Sainsbury's on Monday afternoon and noticed they had a huge sale on their clothes.  I'm guessing they're clearing their stock to make way for Autumn and Winter (other supermarkets may be doing the same??)  I had a quick look and realised there were a few things I rather liked that would be ideal for work.  I hate shopping for clothes and had planned a day either in town or going to Glasgow to do the dreaded deed.  So I did my food shopping first, put it in the car and went back to try on a few things.  

Dress 2, original price £20

I really dug around all the rails as lots of stuff was on the wrong size rack or hanger.  And I tried on a variety of sizes as I know from past experience that they're not all the same!

Dress 3, original price £28

And then I noticed a few rails that said 'Everything £1.' Yep, I got the above 3 dresses for £1 each!! Perfect for terms 1 and 4 when the school building is hot and they can be worn with a wee cardigan if it gets cooler.

Dark green tunic, black and white tunic and charcoal tunic each originally £22

I'll wear these with a long sleeved top underneath, leggings and boots

Sparkly black knit dress, original price £22

I got the dress and tunics for £6.60 each

So after a mammoth trying on session I got 3 cotton dresses, 3 tunics and a dress for the festive season for a grand total of £29.40 instead of £158.  You could say I 'saved' £128.60 but I wouldn't have bought any of them at full price.  And I definitely 'saved' time as I don't need to go on a clothes shopping trip.  For less than £30 I've got my work wardrobe sorted for the coming academic year.  I just need a new pair of boots (remember Emma ate my work boots!!!)  It's a bit too early for winter boots to be in the shops but I'll keep my eyes peeled as you never know when you'll spot a bargain!! 

Edited to add: Found a pair of black leggings in M&S sale for £14 (on the wrong size rack!)

Monday, 17 July 2017


We came home last night from a busy 2 weeks in Cornwall in the campervan.  We were blessed with decent weather (ie not wet!!) so I'm claiming that as a win after the last 2 summer holidays spent in Ireland.  I've even got a tan!! The only thing on my list was to see The Eden Project.  I wanted inspiration to take my garden forward and give me a few pointers on a greener lifestyle.

Recycled cutlery bird! 

Definitely want to try this in my garden!! 

Whilst I did enjoy my visit (OH and The Teenogre were less than impressed) I didn't come away with much inspiration.  I was impressed with how they've turned a disused ugly quarry into a tourist attraction but I really didn't like the artificial biomes.  It was expensive to get in and most of the staff we encountered were rather surly!

The boys got their adrenaline fix at Adrenalin quarry.  They did the zip wire, high swing and coaststeering off the cliffs.  I don't do anything with heights but over the 2 weeks I did go river and then sea kayaking, stand up paddleboarding (twice) and ecoasteering which was a bit less extreme.

We ate very well!! 

And visited some picturesque places

I loved these beach huts in Newquay

We marvelled at the ingenuity of house builders (you can stay here on this private island)

As always it was lovely to get away for a complete break but just as lovely to come back home.  The Teenager and his girlfriend were house sitting.  Dog, chicken and plants all survived! 😎

Thursday, 29 June 2017

One more day!

Yesterday I saw a physio about my ankle.  My headteacher referred me through Occupational Health services at work.  There aren't many perks working for a local authority and I know their priority is getting employees back to work quickly to save money.  But it's quicker than getting a referral through my GP and cheaper than going private.  Oh, did I mention it cost me nothing for a half hour consultation?  It's a FREE service! I have a follow up appt in 2 weeks.

Anyhoo, I have a grade 2 tear on the ligaments (a grade 3 is complete rupture!) and it'll take a bit of time to heal.  I have a series of exercises to do plus I now know how to tape it up with Kinesiology tape.  I love that tape!

On a happier note, just one more day until the summer holidays begin!!! 🙌

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Slooooow progress

It's getting better but progress is slow.  I'm VERY impatient when I'm ill or incapacitated.  I keep going until I'm forced to stop.  Today my Lovely Mum and I spent some time in the garden but my foot and back got too sore so I had to stop *sighs*

We topped up my winter raised bed with compost and planted 16 brussel sprout plants.  Fortunately I love sprouts!!

My blueberries are coming along nicely

Shallots and peas getting all tangled up together

Salad crops are starting to grow

Roma tomatoes and marigolds planted up in the polytunnel

And more tomatoes and marigolds!

My vegetables are also making slow progress but everything will work out in the end

Saturday, 24 June 2017

RIP Ginger Snap

Sadly this week I lost another chicken.  My wee feisty Ginger Snap 😢 She seemed to be doing ok but as I put her back into the coop one night she was moving very slowly.  The next morning when I got up I just had a sinking feeling.  As I was going outside I found myself saying 'Please don't be dead.' But sadly I found her curled up inside. 

Having to sort that out before going to work made me run late.  No idea how I managed this but I was rushing out the door and somehow completely missed the TWO steps down to the path and fell.  I sat for 5 mins before I could move.  It was my class trip to visit Stirling Castle so I couldn't be off work.  Yep, I went on the trip.  To be fair to management I was told I didn't have to go but I couldn't not go.  The first aider strapped it up and I took a couple of painkillers.

Walking on it all day was agony.  This is what it looked like at the end of the day.  You can see the bruise starting to work it's way up!! Pretty sure it's 'just' torn ligaments.  As I fell on my derriere I also have a bruised coccyx, making both sitting and standing painful.  I took the next day off work and completely rested it. 

It's still very sore but I'm mobile.  Luckily there's just one more week of school left then I'm on holiday for the summer.  We go away in the campervan straightaway.  Not ideal for an active holiday in Cornwall.  I'm a numpty!

A few weeks ago it was my Lovely Mum's 70th birthday.  We had a family BBQ in her gorgeous garden and the weather was kind.  Here's me and OH with The Teenager and his lovely GF 💖