Monday, 17 January 2022

It got me!


It's a faint line but it's there.  I've got Covid.  There's a big outbreak at school with 4 teachers plus our Family Support Worker and dozens of younger kids all testing positive over the last few days. So far it feels like a stinky cold with a blocked nose, scratchy throat, bit of a cough and my face feels like it's burning.  I've heard if it's Omicron that day 5 is the worst day. *SIGHS* 

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Halfway point


Well I'm halfway through January and my fridge looks like this!! 😂  I have a quarter of the red cabbage left (might use it in a stir fry this coming week), a bowl of home made coleslaw, half a pack of dairy free spread, small pack of hard sheep's cheese, 500g soya yoghurt and a range of condiments.

I cleaned out all the sorry looking veggies this morning and made enough soup for lunches for a whole week.  Grated it all and chucked it in a big pot with rice, red lentils and a bit of stock powder.  I didn't have any leafy green veg so added a pack of frozen parsley (home grown 2 years ago.)  It's actually very tasty!

This is my second batch of coleslaw, simply made with some shredded red cabbage and grated carrots/apples/onion mixed with a splash of apple cider vinegar and mayo.  I tossed in a few walnuts too.  Really tasty!!

I opened my last litre carton of soya milk which usually lasts me a week. I mainly use it for breakfast (GF rice crispies from my Approved Foods order last year or porridge) but I sometimes make a white sauce. I'll use it sparingly this week!  

I took the last of my homegrown tomato sauce out the freezer this morning as well as some vegan bacon.  I'm planning to make some pizza bases tonight, hopefully there will be some leftovers to freeze for the end of the month.  The freezer is full pretty full of fruit, veg and GF bread so sould last easily until the end of the month.

So far this month I'm pleased to report at the halfway point  I've only spent £91 on a new kettle, pest repeller plug ins (we have mice in the walls of the extension!), a baby gift for a colleague and meds for Emma.  

We went back to the vet last night to get her stitches removed.  The wound has healed and no further action is needed on the fatty lump.  However, her ears are still not fully healed and she needs more steroids. The painkillers she was on have had the benefit of helping with her arthritic shoulder and she's had a new lease of life this week.  Much more playful and alert so we're keeping her on those for a further 2 weeks then she'll be reassessed. Another £30 spent.  

All in all a decent frugal start to the year.  I'm not including the vet op costs as I'm using my savings from last year.  But I'll add the on going costs as it will give me idea of how much it costs to keep an older dog.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022



One week back at school and I'm tired.  Not just a lack of sleep type tired, deep down body and soul tired.  Pretty sure it's the same for a lot of professions right now.  I daydream A LOT about retiring and how I could afford it 😂  But it's that dream that's keeping me motivated and stopping me from going to Lidl on my way home from work to buy tortilla chips and guacamole!! 😂😂  Funny how you (ok me!) obsess about something when you're trying to be 'good.'  It's a WANT not a NEED!!! 

I'm sticking to the eating from the pantry challenge.  Some meals are a bit basic if I'm tired (GF pasta with a bit of grated goat's cheese) but I did enjoy some Punjabi spiced cauliflower last week with the lentil curry.

I got 4 meals worth from those 2 cauliflowers I scored in M&S for 40p each.  It's a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, very tasty and reheats nicely too.  Find it HERE.

Emma is doing well.  You can see her wee shaved patch on her tummy.  The lump is just fatty tissue so thank goodness for that.  We're due back at the vet on Friday after school for a post op check up and to chat about my 'options.'  I really don't want to put her though another op as she's 10 and older dogs don't recover as well from repeated general anaesthetic.  Plus there's the cost too.  My friend has a 12yo cat that keeps getting warts that turn cancerous.  So far she keeps getting them removed but we've been chatting about when is it ok to stop doing that?  Never an easy decision for pet owners though.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022



You know that saying that goes along the lines of when you makes plans God/the universe laughs?  

I dropped Emma at the vet this morning for some tests and a biopsy this morning.  She has a very large lump on her tummy that needs looked at plus she needs her ears cleared out again.  Both procedures will done under general anaesthetic.  This was a planned event so I knew it would be costly.  However when the vet casually said this morning it would be around the £1200 mark I actually gasped and said yikes!!  She had her ears cleared out 2 years ago and it was just over £350 so I was expecting the extra tests to add a bit more.  But not more than triple the cost!!!  Oh and did I mention she's not insured??  There goes that £1500 I have in my savings!  She's totally worth it though 💖

Since I was in town any way I popped into M&S as I had £11 in vouchers.  Lots of veg was reduced.  I got potatoes, 2 cauliflowers, red cabbage, 3 peppers, bag of apples, bag of pears, onions, cashew nuts and a tub of soya yoghurt.  Total cost £11.38, so only actually spent 38p.  I'll do some cooking today to keep me busy and make enough meals to see me through the week as I'm back at school tomorrow.

I'll collect Emma after 4pm.  Poor wee soul 🐶

Edit:  She's fine but groggy.  Results in 2 weeks.  Cost £1038 in the end 

Sunday, 2 January 2022

January Challenges


My first January challenge to save money is to eat well from the storecupboard and freezer.  I'm going to avoid spending money in the supermarket although I do have some vouchers and Nectar points to spend if I need them.  I don't have any fresh fruit or veg left but my freezer is full of them so I won't go without.

I made a curry in my Crockpot.  I tried to recreate my local curry house favourite Daal Makhani which is black lentils in a creamy sauce.  Oh my goodness it tastes amazing!!!  I'm glad I remembered to cook the black lentils separately first as they made the water go very black!!  I'm also chuffed that I used my own home grown onions (stored in my wee plastic greenhouse) and frozen roasted tomatoes.

I had some satsumas that were a bit iffy so I juiced them and froze the juice.  I'll probably add it to a carrot based soup later in the month.  I found some tubs of soup in the freezer so that's lunches for back to work sorted.

My other January challenge is to finish the 2 pairs of socks I started knitting.  This turquoise one was started in April last year, can't remember why I stopped.  If I get these finished I'll try to finish the grey men's ones that have been kicking around for ages.  I sense this may be the year to get lots of unfinished projects finished!  

Saturday, 1 January 2022

And so it begins

Happy New Year!  I hope this year is a better one for us all. I'm trying to be upbeat about the you-know-what despite several friends testing positive this week *sighs*

I came downstairs this morning to find that my kettle had leaked water all over the worktop.  It's the second time that's happened.  So first day of the new year and I've had to buy a new kettle.  I spent some time researching good deals and have ordered a lovely new one.  It was half the price it should have been (or so it said on the website!) so have saved some money I guess.  Not the start I would have wanted but a good reminder to think about every purchase.

Let the 4 year money saving challenge begin! 

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

2022 Goals: Survive and Thrive


When I first started this blog back in 2012, it was to document my efforts to save enough money to stay in the marital home once my youngest son turned 18.  The plan was to convert the house into 2 apartments, live in one of them and sell the other. There was also an annexe that could have been rented out.  I had 4 years to save/earn £40k to make that happen.  Unfortunately my ex husband changed his mind and that plan fell through.

Fast forward to the present and I find myself endlessly thinking about and working out how much money I need to be able to afford to retire.  And I think I've finally come up with a solid plan!

I've poured over this year's income and out goings.  I've identified the areas of over spending 😳, areas I can cut back on and things that simply won't apply if I'm not working.  I know exactly how much money I have/need to live on now and if I'm retired.  If I can save enough money over the next 4 years I should have enough to retire at 60.  I can live on those savings plus my teaching pension (available to me from age 55) until I collect my state pension at 67.  If I work and save for the next 4 years I'm also adding to my pension pots at the same time.

I'm setting myself a target of saving £10k a year for the next 4 years (see what I did there? 😉 )  It means being really frugal and going back to basics.  I'm planning a no spend year, only buying the barest of essentials.  I still have a little inheritance money left which will be my Emergency Fund (as you never know what might happen) but I won't use any of that.  I currently have just over £1500 in my savings account so that gives me a start.

2020 and 2021 were years we all survived and I suspect 2022 will be the same.  But I want to also thrive.  So I've decided my goals for next year will be Survive and Thrive!  I've added them to the side bar and changed the blurb in the 'Why 40kin4years?' at the top.

It'll be a huge challenge (I'm under no illusions!) but I'm feeling inspired already.  It feels good to have a solid plan in place and goals to work towards again 😊