Wednesday 31 August 2022

August spending


Another month has flown by and it's time for the end of the month totals!  I knew I'd failed miserably on sticking to the £120 food/supermarket budget before I got the calculator out πŸ™„

I spent £170.42 in supermarkets PLUS £53.26 in takeaways 🀯 No excuses, just a lack of planning and being too tired to batch cook.

I bought a pair of trousers for work.

I bought 3 more raised beds from B&Q (the £20 ones)  for the allotment.

I spent £49.17 on some stuff for my classroom.

And I got my hair cut ✀

Total spend for the month (excluding all the usual household bills already budgeted for) was £458.75!  I'm pleased with that and I'm not going to dwell on the fact that if I hadn't bought takeaways and stuff for school it would be around £100 less!!

So I can add £1042.39 to my savings this month.  WOOHOO!! πŸ™Œ

After eight months, my savings total now stands at £8377.78 which means I'm getting closer to my target 😊😊😊

Tuesday 30 August 2022



I had a check up with my GP.  I got a thorough prodding, poking and she listened to everything that could be heard through a stethoscope.  And everything is normal.

In the last 4 months I've had a scan, an x ray and loads of blood tests and they all came back normal.

So why am I soooo tired all the time and why am I still breathless on exertion??

She really doesn't know but maybe if I lose weight and get my fitness levels back up to where they were pre pandemic it will go away.  Easier said than done πŸ™„


Monday 29 August 2022



I was talking to my oldest son last night about how he and his new wife (both have health issues) were going to be able to afford to heat their flat this Winter.  In the course of the discussion he told me that our main library in town has officially been designated a 'Heat Bank' where people can go during the day to keep warm.  I'm beyond disgusted that food banks are a normal part of our lives now but now we need to have heat banks.

This article HERE popped up on my FB feed.  At first I thought 'good for you' then I thought how disgraceful that this is fast becoming a reality for many.  Choosing to disconnect from the grid thanks to poverty is disgraceful.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Hanging by a thread


I've been back at work for 2 weeks and frankly I'm hanging by a thread.  I'm exhausted at the end of each day and I use the weekend to rest and catch up.  No idea how I can get out of this cycle (other than not working!!) so suggestions welcome!

I did manage to pop down to the allotment and pick my tomatoes as the trusses were keeling over and the tomatoes dropping on the ground.  The pink box is last year's crop and the wee basket is this year.  I put all the green ones on the windowsill to ripen and I froze the rest.  Once I have them all ripened I'll make some pasta sauce.  I've been counting them as I add them to the freezer.  So far I have 16.  Worst crop ever!!

Sunday 14 August 2022

Back to school tomorrow! :-(


Today was the last day of my Summer holidays so it's back to school tomorrow 😭 Can't in all honesty say I'm looking forward to it.  2 days of Staff Development (annual mandatory online modules plus meetings) then the kids are back on Wednesday.

I popped down to the allotment first thing this morning to take a video of the progress.  I did pull out 2 bags of weeds after I filmed it so it looks even better.  Just that last bit of the raspberry patch to do and fill the new raised beds with the free compost from the recycling centre.

We're in the middle of a thunderstorm just now but so far no sign of the predicted rain yet! πŸ—²

Friday 12 August 2022

Sorting out my energy bills

Back in June I was having a huge hassle sorting out my energy bills as my energy company SSE had been taken over by OVO.  Read about it HERE.  I really was NOT happy!!  

But I'm happy to hold my hands up and say I'm rather impressed (so far) with OVO now that I seem to have a meter reading history and their website lets me play around with my account.  For example, the above screenshot shows me my June and July usage and costs (excluding VAT etc)  If I submit a meter reading I can see how much energy I've used since the previous bill and how much it's costing me.  I love this feature!!  In the absence of a Smart meter (still no appointments in my area) I could submit my meter readings at the end of every day or week and see how much I've used.  Not sure I'm motivated enough for that but with the coming increases you never know!

I also know my daily standing charges (53.04p for electricity and 30.5p for gas) and the cost per kWh I use (27.92p for electricity and 7.35p for gas.)  I didn't know any of this with SSE.  I guess I could have asked but it wasn't readily available.  If I can easily access all this information then you know this website is idiot proof!!! πŸ˜‚

I've now sussed that if I send a meter reading every month on the 6th I get an accurate bill on the 7th for the previous month's usage.  I've always paid my energy bills quarterly but I'm liking it monthly now I'm in the habit.  I check and pay my credit card bill every month so I'll do my energy bill in the same way.

I don't like change especially when it involves money or using technology so I'm pretty relieved to find it's all working out.  Like everyone else I still dread to think what my Winter bills will be but I feel I'm back in control of it now.  I think I might even become a bit of a nerd watching the numbers but if it saves money it's worth it πŸ€“ <--- nerd emoji apparently!! πŸ˜‚

Thursday 11 August 2022

Because jam is cheaper than honey


I normally have overnight oats for breakfast in the warmer months.  Typically I'll put in oats, soya milk or yoghurt if I have it, flaxseeds or chia seeds and a generous spoonful of honey.  Then add any fruits and nuts if I have them.  I prefer to use honey from small independent bee keepers rather than the blended factory produced stuff but it's expensive.  And rightly so!  Since I'd just finished a jar I put in a spoonful of my home made blackcurrant jam instead.  Oh my, it's delicious!! πŸ˜‹

Jam is cheaper than honey plus I know exactly what's in it since I made it!  And I have loads in my storecupboard!!  Now I can use my precious local honey to make some fire cider and elderberry syrup like I did last year HERE and get ahead with my Winter preps.

Wednesday 10 August 2022

Day 47: Potatoes


I finally started digging up my potatoes!  These are actually earlies (Cassablanca) despite being quite big!  They never flowered but they've died back a bit so I thought I'd see what they were like.  The ground is really dry so they were nice and easy to dig.

I've already boiled about half the above basinful (that's all I could fit in my huge pot!) to make mash.  I had some with just butter (goat's) and chives.  Oh my goodness, they were delicious!  πŸ˜‹

5 generous portions are already in the freezer!!  I still have the other half of the basin to process plus the rest still in the ground on the plot!  I don't think earlies/new potatoes keep well (I'll need to research that) so I'll cook them all in some way.  I still have my maincrop Caras to lift as well.  I know they store ok in my garage.

So the best producers grown on the plot so far are rhubarb, raspberries and potatoes.  Basically the 3 things that thrive on neglect!!  

I also removed a rotten fence panel from the old raspberry/strawberry patch. 

It really opens up the area where I want to add some more of the B&Q raised beds.

I also got my hair cut!  It hadn't been cut for 13 months so was rather long!!  Luckily I have a 'style'  that doesn't need regular maintenance and I can easily put it up for work (remember the nits situation?!)  It cost me £47.50 for a cut and blow dry.  That's a bit pricey for here but if it lasts me a whole year then it's worth it!!


Sunday 7 August 2022

Day 44 Catch up


I had a lovely break away with my 2 amazing friends.  We righted the world and drank prosecco and gin.  We went to see The Drifters (surprise gift from our host!) and boogied all night.  I even got a wee bit sunburnt on the beach!  This beautiful one HERE  But it was just what we all needed before thinking about going back to school *sighs* 

I popped down to the plot this morning intending to sort out the polytunnel and dig up my potatoes.  I didn't get round to the potatoes as the nasturtiums took aaaages to sort out!!

Before and after!

I kept some of the flowers for eating and the seeds for pickling.  Hopefully I'll get a few more before the end of the season.

The raspberry season is almost over just as the bramble/blackberry one is beginning πŸ˜‹

And I picked my first courgette/zucchini of the year!  It wasn't very big but it was enough to add to a veggie mix to make lasagne.

School is open this week for the cleaning staff to do a 'deep' clean so I'll be popping in to get some tidying/sorting done.  It will make my life easier if some stuff is done before I officially start back on the 15th.

And finally in other news, my son who has worked all through the pandemic in a very busy NHS hospital x-raying Covid patients has finally succumbed himself 😲  He tested positive this morning and while his fiancΓ© isn't feeling well, she's still negative.  I'm pretty sure we'll have an outbreak when school returns so I'll just have to keep being careful.

Tuesday 2 August 2022

Inside the polytunnel


This was my polytunnel this morning.  I'm really not happy with what's (not) growing this year despite my careful watering and feeding since I planted my tomatoes and peppers.  Definitely having a re think for next year.  

What do you or would you grow instead of tomatoes?  πŸ…

Monday 1 August 2022

Day 38: New month


It's a new month so I arranged for my big monthly shop to be delivered first thing this morning.  By 8.30am it was all packed away with a chicken roasting in the oven and a gammon joint in the Crockpot.  This cost me £105.03 plus £2 for the saver delivery slot!!  It really doesn't look much.

Last month I set myself the challenge of getting my food and supermarket shopping down to £120 a month (£30 a week) plus a £10 treat allowance.  I spent £122.74 plus £11.22 on 'treats' so I'm rather pleased I got close!  And I still have plenty of stuff in the storecupboard/fridge/freezer from that.

Fridge items to last the month.  I'll need to top up on the fresh salad stuff that my garden and plot can't produce.  I'll go to my big Lidl for that.

Storecupboard items

My vitamins and anti histamines will last the month but the cold and flu tablets are for my Winter first aid kit.  During lockdown, paracetamol etc was hard to get so I like to keep a decent stash just in case!! 

And these are my holiday treat items.  I'm going away for a few days with my Gin Queen friends so I'm packing some GF items that I can rely on if I need them.  I do have a holiday budget (accommodation is free as it's my friend's holiday lodge) but it will be interesting to see how much it costs me overall.  

I've not been on a holiday since Christmas 2019 when I went to see my son in Melbourne.  One of my friends has already been to Cyprus for a week and then London for a week.  My other friend has been to Shetland for a week and stayed in her lodge for 2 weeks.  I've always preferred staying home for the Summer holiday and going away at the October break or at Easter so this wee break is my only 'Summer holiday.'  But I'm ok with that 😊