Saturday 29 July 2017

Thinking outside the box

It was always my intention to use the contents of the boxes of the enchilada kit in different ways.  I can't eat the wraps but they'll be useful for guests.  I opened one yesterday.

Interestingly the sell by date on the box is 28-10-17 but this is just the wraps' date, the tomato puree is 2nd May 2018 and the spice mix is 19th March 2020!! 

I used some wraps at lunchtime to make tuna crunch wraps for OH's daughter.  The rest of the opened pack is now in the freezer.  I used half of the pack of spice on some chicken and veggies for last night's meal.

Today was chilly so I made a huge pot of  Taco soup, based on a WeightWatchers recipe I found on Pinterest.  Lots of veggies, the other half of the spice pack, the tomato puree pack and I added a can of the red kidney beans from my AF order.  It was delicious!!

In between the heavy downpours today 🌂 I've been scraping away the moss between the monoblocks.  Boring but very satisfying to see the difference!  My back garden is a bit of mess so I'm trying to get it tidy by the time I go back to work. 

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! 😎