Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Older and wiser??


I'm 57 today!! 🎂 Another year older and wiser??  Nope 😂  Still feel like I'm in my 30s although my body is telling me otherwise.  Number 1 priority now and when I retire is to get my health and fitness back up to where it was pre pandemic.  I remember fondly (!) the days where I could do a full day's work and then come home to go to the gym and workout for 2 hours.  Or go cycling/walking all day on a Saturday.

On reflection, I've spent the last year (since I got Covid) going to work then coming home to recover.  And by recover I mean doing NOTHING in the evenings or at weekends except to prepare for going back to work.  Holidays were spent recovering and catching up on dr and dentist appts, sorting out admin that could only be done in person.  

I'm really looking forward to getting even better!! 

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Teacher burnout

I took the decision and informed my Headteacher yesterday that I wouldn't be back in school any time soon.  I do still have the cough/chest infection but said when I see my GP for a Fit Note (sick line) next week, I will be citing work related stress.  I'm still incredulous that it's taken 2 teachers at the same time to replace me in my classroom and that will count in my favour when it comes to talking to HR!!

I've had so many lovely messages from my colleagues all wishing me well and saying I'm doing the right thing.  They've seen me struggling for months and aren't in the least bit surprised.  I've said I'm not hiding away and will be spending my time (once this fecking cough has gone!!) in my garden and at the allotment.  And I'll take as long as it takes to feel properly well again.

The above quote is from a book called "The Teachers" by Alexandra Robbins.  It's about the American school system but the findings apply to teachers worldwide. Teacher burnout post pandemic is very real and it's not their fault.

Thursday, 16 March 2023

Inevitable I guess


I guess it was inevitable that after going back to work last week while not 100% meant I crashed and burned.  Yep, I have a secondary chest infection (history repeating itself) and I'm off work.  And I have a feeling I'll not be back.  It seems that my work besties and my family have all been concerned about me for a while.  I'm burnt out and exhausted.  They're all advising me to get signed off long term and just retire at the Summer as planned.  It's tempting.  I laughed (hollowly) yesterday when I found out it took 2 experienced teachers to team teach my class.  And they had my SLA most of the day too.  3 adults for 15 kids.  That sums it up nicely I think.

Anyone been watching Jamie's £1 Wonders?  It seems people love him or hate him and he gets a lot of unnecessary (in my opinion) abuse.  From what I've read the criticism comes from folk who don't understand that it's under £1 per portion by clever buying and cooking in bulk.  Of course we frugallers already know how to make meals on a low budget but I'm always open to new ideas.  On Sunday I made his savoury pancake bake which is layers of crepe style pancakes with a cheesy sauce with frozen spinach through it.  His version had cooked ham as well but I made it veggie/dairy and gluten free and served it with chorizo on the side as that's what I had in the freezer. It was absolutely delicious and the leftovers reheated nicely for lunch next day.  I can't find a link to the recipe but you can sign up for all his recipes (free) HERE 😋

Saturday, 11 March 2023



Finally at 16.53 yesterday (7 minutes before my lawyer's office closed) the flat sale finally went through and the money was transferred into my account.  I got back more or less the same amount of money I paid as the deposit so I'm happy with that.  But I have paid a few thousand in legal and estate agent fees.  I'm just relieved that part 1 of my 'grand plan' to retire is complete.  Now on to planning the next stages.

In other news I've not been well this week and took 3 days off work.  I definitely had/have some sort of virus as I've had a pounding headache with a high temperature and been alternating being freezing cold and boiling hot!!  I had a few days in bed and then stupidly went back to work on Thursday  When will I learn?? 🙄

Folk at work were happy that the teacher's pay claim in Scotland has been resolved.  It looks a good deal on paper, 13.5% but that's back dated to last April and spread out over 28 months.  It's not 13.5% all at once.  And in 2 years time teachers will be back to the same position of negotiating the next pay rise.  I'm glad I'll be out of it.

Thankfully this week I was able to just pull something quick and nutritious out the freezer as cooking when you're not well is off the agenda.  I took a photo of my tubs in the freezer as it was very satisfying to see them all 😊 Saved me time and money as no takeaways were required!

Thursday, 2 March 2023

Filling the freezer!


I popped into Waitrose after dropping my son off at work on Tuesday night.  I didn't have high hopes (weather was good all day and it was still light) and there really wasn't much in the usual reduced fridge,. However, I spent some time wandering round and had a good look at everything.  And I found reduced chicken drumsticks (16 for £2.35), 2 packs of stewing steak (2 x 400g for £2.59 each) and Kettle crisps!  

I cooked the beef in the crockpot with a ton of veg and added some of the M&S sausages to stretch it even further.  I also used the crockpot to cook the drumsticks and then stripped all the meat off.  I've saved and frozen the bones to make stock for soup at the weekend.

Then yesterday I got a big (ish) Sainsbury's delivery where I chose 1kg of 5% fat minced beef for £5.25 as my main meat of the month.  I cooked it in my big pan with grated carrots, onions and red lentils.  I deliberately seasoned it lightly so I can use it for cottage pie or spaghetti bolognaise etc by just adding flavourings.

I ended up with 20 individual servings of cooked minced beef, sausages in gravy, cooked chicken and beef stew to put in the freezer. Plus what I ate for tea last night and tonight.  This way of batch cooking seems to work better for me as I can pull out a tub when I come in from work and reheat it in the microwave.  Rice or pasta and frozen veg only take 10 mins to cook so I have a healthy meal ready quickly 😋  

I had to buy more of these tubs with the blue lids as I was running out of usable ones.  They have a wee steam vent perfect for microwave cooking!  They cost £15.99 for 10 on Amazon.  I've bought these ones before and they last for a few years before getting a bit cracked.  I just chuck them in the dishwasher but maybe if I carefully hand washed them they'd last even longer!!  Plus they can be recycled in my blue bin when I'm done with them 😊

The total meat cost was £12.78 for 22 servings (sausages were free with my vouchers.)  That means each tub has about 58p worth of meat!  The other ingredients (carrots/onion/lentils/seasoning) probably add another 15p.  Still well under £1 per tub! 😊

I'm going to whisper this news as I don't want to jinx it but I have a new entry date on the flat.  March 10th which is next week.  No reason given as to why they didn't complete on the 28th as agreed 🙄 Fingers crossed this date sticks! 🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

February Spending


Today was a strike day.  As a staff we decided not to man a picket line, mainly because we were tired/unwell and the thought of 2 long lies was irresistible!  But we attended a local rally outside the council HQ later in the morning.

Afterwards I walked into town as I had M&S vouchers worth £11.  I had thoughts of getting myself some treats but everything was so expensive.  So I went yellow sticker hunting instead and saw a few good deals.  As it was still before lunch time there weren't many.  But I got a great deal on some ewe's milk cheese, reduced from £4.25 to £1.32 and some jumbo sausages (gluten free) that had almost £1 off.  

But the main reason I went to M&S was because I wanted sushi for lunch.  That wee box cost £5.  It was a delicious but expensive treat.  I really should learn to make my own! 🍣 Total was £12.52 so really I got free meat and cheese then got the sushi for £1.52 😋

So here we are at the end of the month already!  My February spending was rather low 🎉

  • Supermarket/groceries: £107.07
  • Pets: £62.01
  • Amazon inc monthly fee: £70.71
  • Other misc: £56.85
I only bought 3 things on Amazon and none were school related!  I bought books for my new great niece, a finger splint for my injured pinky (tennis related incident on Staff Development day!!) and 4 table legs to turn an offcut worktop into a table for my craft room.

Total February spend (not already planned and budgeted for) was £296.64!  And some of that was on 2 separate pizza deliveries on HMI week!!! 😳

Again I'm not adding anything to my savings this month as I'm still paying the flat costs.  The proposed entry date of today has come and gone with the buyer and his lawyer not responding to calls.  I'm really really hoping the sale hasn't fallen through as the costs incurred to start over will most likely wipe out any profit and eat into my deposit.  Keep your fingers crossed for me! 🤞

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Another weekend of recovery

I've spent yet another weekend just recovering from my work week.  It's made me even more certain I've made the right choice to retire! 😊  I've been watching Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime while knitting.  I've now finished both sleeves.  I'm not sure if I've made them wide enough for the more jacket like cardigan image I have in my head.  I might add a wee extra strip down each one to make it wider if I need it.  I'll see how the rest of it knits up.  But I'm happy with the effect so far 😊

I didn't need to make soup this weekend for the week ahead (thanks to last week's mega soup batch cooking!) so I made a big veggie lasagne instead to use up the leftover veggies at the bottom of the fridge!  That will do me and my DIL tonight and I'll have several portions leftover to freeze. I made a wee lasagne with some minced beef from the freezer (cooked and frozen weeks ago) for my son.  And we're having a rhubarb crumble for dessert, using up rhubarb frozen last year.  I think it's the last batch.  There are a few bags of plums and just 1 tub of blackcurrants left.  The fruit I froze last Summer has kept me going throughout the Winter!

This week we're on strike for 2 days, Tuesday and Wednesday.  There's also a rally at the council HQ to protest the lack of action on resolving the issues.  I was asked if I wanted to address the rally but I don't think I will.  I might get carried away and be a bit too honest!!!  I don't want to put pressure on myself by agreeing but I'll see how I feel on the day.