Sunday 28 January 2018

Chocolates, flowers or...

... a stainless steel hood hood extractor thingy??  OH excelled himself yesterday with this gift!!  Normal people might get tasty chocolates or pretty flowers but my OH saw a bargain at B&Q and thought I'd like that better!  He knows me so well 😆 He just needs to adjust the chimney part and patch the plaster around the socket and we're good to go.

Thanks for the get well wishes.  I'm definitely on the mend and will be back at work tomorrow.  I know I'm not back to full health so will be taking it gently.  I'm still very tired and headachey so I hope the management team will cut me some slack over my unfinished paperwork.  I know how hard it is to get cover when teachers are off so hopefully my physical presence will be enough.

Monday 22 January 2018


I tried fighting it off but with OH getting it over a week ago it was inevitable.  I have the flu and am off work.  All I want to do is sleep and drink hot drinks so that's what I'm doing.  Ah well, looking at the positives.  I've no appetite so should hopefully lose some weight.

Friday 12 January 2018

One pots

These are the 2 one pot bargains from last night.  I cooked up the smoky bean one first.  It was nice and spicy but lacked 'something.'  I added a tin of baked beans and it was rather nice.  I had a small bowl for supper, a portion with leftover rice for my lunch today and there's another lunch sized portion for tomorrow. So this 10p pot gave me 3 meals!

Tonight I had the curry one.  I cooked it as per the instructions but added some coconut milk at the end.  I like to have mango chutney with a curry but I didn't have any.  However, I was given a jar of mango jam for Christmas.  Chutney is the same as jam (sort of) with added vinegar so I stirred some into a few spoons of jam.  Hey presto, mango 'chutney.'  A bit runny but yummy!

The curry was mild and quite nice although I prefer my own home made versions.  But again this bargain made 2 decent portions.  The other one is in the fridge for another night.

Both one pots had healthy ingredients, no rubbish but very overpriced at £2.60.  Perfectly acceptable for 10p though.

Thursday 11 January 2018

10p bargains

Thursdays are gym nights and sometimes OH needs to pop in to Sainsbury's on the way back. If we time it right the yellow stickers get their final markdown after 8pm.  Tonight I got lucky!  A 2kg bag of potatoes and 2 one pot vegetable meals for just 10p each!

There were lots of the one pot things, chopped up vegetables in different sauces.  Original cost £2.60!!! I suspect they haven't sold well because of the cost and the fact they're not microwavable.  You just add the contents to a pot with a tin of tomatoes and simmer for 25 min.

For 10p I thought I'd give them a try!

Sunday 7 January 2018


I really miss proper pizza.  It's about as gluten-y and dairy as you can get in one meal.  You can buy GF pizza in most supermarkets and it's nice (expensive too!) and some of the big pizza chains are doing GF and vegan cheese now (very expensive!!)  But I used to love making my own pizza especially as it's really cheap/frugal.

So I was browsing Pinterest for ideas to use up this GF puff pastry my lovely mum had given me (£1.85 from Asda).  As soon as I saw some pizza  I knew it was the winner 🍕

It even came already shaped into a pizza shape.  I didn't have any tomato puree so I used a thin smear of ketchup all over the base.  I grated some hard goat's cheese and sprinkled it all over.  I roasted a red and green pepper and scattered slices over the cheese.  I also had some soft goat's cheese so put some blobs over it too.  10 mins in a very hot oven and it was amazing!!  Crispy on the edge and soft in the middle.

Apart from a wee burnt bit at the back (my oven doesn't distribute heat evenly) it was spot on and fulfilled my pizza craving.  I'll definitely be doing this again!

Saturday 6 January 2018

Beef and bargains

One of the things I love most about my OH is that he will help anyone.  Many times he's stopped on the road to help people with punctures and move/carry stuff.  He sweeps his neighbours' driveways when it snows, clears out gutters and so on.  He's got a heart of gold 💑 

One of the young guys from his TKD club recently bought himself a motorbike (OH has had a bike for 40 years!) Unfortunately it had a few things wrong with it so OH has been helping him get them sorted out.  Then a few weeks ago the young guy had a wee accident (skidded on black ice) and the bike got damaged.  So OH helped him sort out the issues and gently encouraged him to put the bike away for the winter on his step dad's farm.

As a thank you, the step dad (who I think was secretly relieved) gave OH a huge frozen joint of beef and a pack of ribeye or rump steaks!!  We're having the beef joint tonight.  It's almost 2kg in weight and will give us loads of leftovers for meals.  And I love the fact that the animal was raised just 2 miles from me.

These are my bargain beetroots from the other day.  I wrapped each one in foil and roasted them for about an hour.  I rubbed off the skin (wearing rubber gloves!!), quartered them and doused them with balsamic vinegar.  I had them with a couple of my meals this week.  Delicious 😋

I had some really squishy leftover bananas so made some pancakes (recipe HERE ) and some ridiculously healthy tasty muffins.  They don't have any sugar/honey/sweetener but still taste sweet.  They're based on a Fit Couple Cooks recipe.  I use their recipes a lot!

Banana Muffins (my adapted version)

3 mashed bananas (really ripe)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cornflour
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 oats
1 tsp vanilla extract

Gently combine ingredients and bake in muffin tin for 15 - 20 mins at Gas 6 or 200C

I got 9 muffins with that mixture.  Seriously tasty for a healthy sugar free muffin!

I also made a version of Elaine's Golden Lentil and Coconut soup (recipe HERE ) without the ginger and coriander as I didn't have any.  I had half a tin of coconut milk leftover from last weekend's Turkey Curry and I used up some of my bargain 10p carrots.  It was really good.  I've frozen a few batches for next week's lunches at work and gave eldest DS some too.

I carefully cooked my bargain turkey crown in my slowcooker but it still ended up rather dry.  Maybe I should have used all that butter the recipes suggested!! Ah well. However, it's all sliced/diced and frozen in portions to make quick healthy lunches/dinners when I'm back at work.

I popped into Lidl this morning and spent a grand total of £3.63 on potatoes, peppers, celery and apples.  My freezer and storecupboard are well stocked so I'm hoping that for the rest of January all I'll need are a few more top ups of fresh fruit and veg like this morning.

Serious saving has begun 💰👍

Friday 5 January 2018

2018's Big Events

I mentioned in my last post that I have 2 big events this year.  I really need to save as much as I can!  My middle son is currently living and working (for Hilton) in Australia and the plan is to visit him this summer ✈ He's now in Cairns which is an area I actually visited 12 years ago.  It's beautiful.  He has his own apartment with a spare bedroom so we'll stay with him to save some money.  OH is actually an Australian citizen.  He emigrated there in the 90s but came back to Scotland.  His brother still lives in Perth (remember the wedding in Singapore?) and his wife is about to have their first baby very soon.  So we'll be visiting them too.  That will need to be a hotel stay so some expense there.  Eeeek!!

The second big expense is that I'm going to buy a flat for my eldest son to live in.  It will give him security no matter his benefit/job situation and will actually be less expensive than him paying rent to a property company.  Obviously he can't get a mortgage because he doesn't have a job or a deposit.  But I can take care of both these issues and have already started sorting all the legal bits.  Ironically he/we will end up saving £250 a MONTH!!  In his current circumstances paying a mortgage is cheaper than paying rent.  So we're now on the lookout for a ground floor flat in the city centre 😊

I know I am very lucky to be in a financial position to fund both these events.  I already live well on less than half my salary and with a bit of determination I can get that down to about a third.

So 2 really big reasons to live even more frugally and save as much as I can 💰

Wednesday 3 January 2018

My Realistic Goals for 2018



1.  having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected

2.  representing things in a way that are accurate and true to life

I've always been sensible and practical so it makes sense to apply this to my goals.  When I looked back at last year's goals I realised that they were on going and still apply (declutter my house/eat and exercise better/switch off from work) I just need to make them a bit more realistic.

So, here are my day to day Realistic Goals for 2018:

1.  Keep decluttering my house BUT do it one room at a time instead of everywhere at the same time.  Doh!! So far I've deep decluttered my living room.  I was ruthless! I just need to finish making my curtains then it's done.  Big reveal coming soon!

2.  Keep eating sensibly.  I do try very hard to eat healthily but I know my downfall is snacking at night.  So if I plan to eat more healthy snacks and not eat after 7pm I can keep my weight at a steady level.  I'm a UK size 14 which is sensible but I know I should lose a bit more for my age/height.

3.  Exercise.  Eurgh!! I hate it but I do it.  OH is very disciplined so he drags me along to the gym and 'encourages' me to go out a run 🏃  I enjoy yoga but prefer to do it myself rather than go to a class. I learned that about myself last year.  There are loads of good free videos on YouTube.  Long term I know I will benefit from keeping active now.  And talking to my friends and family of similar age (ahem) I seem to be getting an easy time with menopause symptoms compared to them.  All the research I've read shows exercise definitely helps so another good reason to keep at it!

4.  Switch off from work.  My work/life balance is much better this year.  This class is less demanding and I'm more settled in this school now.  I don't usually bring work home unless it's planning which is once a term. However, the prospect of HMI is constantly hanging over us.  We've not been inspected for 8 years so it's very overdue!  Having been through it twice in my previous school I know only too well the stress it causes.  I'll deal with it if and when it happens.

5.  Grow my own fruit and veg.  Oh dear, last year my garden didn't do as well as I'd hoped.  Truthfully everything got off to a late start as the weather was so cold here in May.  I only put tomatoes in the polytunnel and didn't get a single tomato from 18 plants!!  However, I did spend time putting in new fruit trees and bushes that should be more established this summer.  I grew a few vegetables but not nearly enough to make it anything other than an expensive way to eat. Must try harder this year!

6.  Decorate/modernise the house on a tighter budget.  As much as I'm loving my woodburner it was a long expensive saga and I wish I hadn't started the process. The installation costs were as much as the woodburner itself and it wiped out my savings. However, it does add 'value' and saleability when I come to sell.  But lesson learned.  This year's more realistic plan is to make better use of what I've already got (paint, furniture etc) and do as much as I can myself with OH's help. 

7.  Stick to my clothing budget.  I actually under spent last year so I'm going to keep the same generous £500 budget plus the leftover amount as I need to replace my running shoes (expensive!) OH can't believe that's all I spent on clothes 👗👕👢

8.  Save as much money as possible each for 2 huge events this year 😉

All sensible, practical and hopefully achievable goals.  I always feel better once I've written them down and made them public.  It keeps me accountable 😊

Tuesday 2 January 2018


Happy New Year everyone!! (I do love Patsy's outlook!)

I've been hibernating for a couple of weeks as I've been exhausted body and mind.  I struggled through the last weeks of term, luckily not succumbing to any of the nasty bugs.  But I was very very tired. I was ready for a complete break.  Christmas was low key but lovely.  And now suddenly it's 2018!  Huge apologies to the winners of my giveaway as I wasn't able to get to a PO during opening hours before Christmas.  But rest assured they will be on their way tomorrow when it re opens.

I don't make resolutions but I do make plans (more of them tomorrow).  This year I have decided I will be realistic.  As much as I would love to lose more weight/do more exercise/declutter my house/create world peace 🌍 I need to be realistic about what I can achieve by myself and with the constraints my job puts on my time and energy.  So my word for the year for 2018 is REALISTIC. I'll say more about that tomorrow.

Today I ventured out to the supermarket for the first time in 2 weeks.  My huge shop lasted all the way through Christmas and New Year but I was out of fresh fruit and veg.  I knew there would be some bargains to be had so I went prepared.  I scored a few yellow stickers of beetroot (half price), spring onions 20p, 1kg potatoes 10p, 1 kg carrots 10p (not in pic) and 2 packs of my favourite GF wraps reduced by from £3.80 to £2.54.  I only ever buy these wraps when they're on offer as they're ridiculously expensive!!

Most of the premium party food was half price so I got a few things like pigs in blankets, pigs in blankets in Yorkshire pudding and ham hock croquettes (not in pic) for DS and OH's Teenogre.  All well within date so they'll freeze perfectly.  I also got a frozen 2kg turkey crown, now defrosting in the fridge.  All the frozen turkey stuff was half price so worth looking at if you're stocking up the freezer.  I might go back and get another one for the freezer once I've taken DS's food back to him (He's defrosting his freezer!) as I've got tons of room now all the Christmas food has been eaten.

Usually things like vacuum packed chestnuts and fancy stuffing mixes are reduced but they were still full price.  I like to stock up on them as they're useful for padding out meals cheaply.  I'll keep an eye on them over the next few weeks.

All in all a good start to the year 😊