Monday 31 October 2022

October Spending (Woohoo!)


I did it!!  I now have £10,022.60 in my savings account πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ When I set myself the target of saving £10k a year for 4 years I thought in theory it was possible.  But I'm still a little shocked I've actually managed the first £10k.

It's not been an easy month (in many ways) but my spending has all been on food/supermarket stuff or DIY/decor materials.  Total spend was £507.06.  With a few bits and bobs still outstanding technically for October, I put £529.66 into my account tonight to take it over the £10k.

That's equal to at least one year's retirement money.  I'm rather chuffed with myself 😊

Sunday 30 October 2022

Tidy bathroom


I gave my 'new to me' bathroom a big tidy and deep clean this morning.  When I moved my 'stuff' from the upstairs bathroom I just scooped everything up and dumped it in a few boxes.  I made the time to sort through everything and find a place for it all as it's a rather small room.

I bought a wee wicker style drawer unit and a loo roll holder from B&M (£30 and £8) for storage and they look pretty enough.

Magnifying mirror (£10) also from B&M, reed diffuser from Aldi (No 3 from their Hotel Collection, £3.89 and a total Jo Malone knock off!!) and my perfume is No17 from the The Essence Vault (smells exactly like Marc Jacobs' Daisy.)

The sink and unit underneath are tiny!  You can't even open the door fully as it hits the toilet!!  But it can store a few things.

I reused my 2 wicket baskets that I think are at least 20 years old as I remember buying them for my bathroom in my Troon house.  I did buy a new soap bottle dispenser and toothbrush mug to sit neatly inside one of them.  The Lush candle was a gift from a child.

I'm just using the pink and mustard towels that I bought for my upstairs bathroom for now.  The bathroom was deliberately done in neutral colours (can't believe that was 2 years ago!!) so any contrast colours will stand out.  Post about it HERE.

It's such a small thing (ie room!!) but knowing that I have a sort of boutique bathroom/shower room makes me feel a lot better amidst the rest of the clutter.  And it didn't cost too much money to tart up!!

Saturday 29 October 2022

Tough Week


I'm not gonna lie, it's been a tough week thanks to the effects of school Halloween events on my 4 and 5 yos πŸ‘» and the total changes at home.  I love my son and DIL dearly but ooft, it's going to take a lot more work than I thought to get some kind of order and routines established.

Despite doing 2 tip runs myself and paying a small fortune to my 'man with a van' (who had a FULL stuffed to the doors vanload) I'm still overflowing with STUFF!!!  My craft room was pretty much cleared but this is how it looks again this morning πŸ™„  I know we'll get there eventually but it feels a bit never ending.  

They both have chronic health conditions so their sleep patterns are opposite to mine.  My alarm goes off at 6.30am for work so I'm in bed by 10pm.  They stay in bed until about lunch time so don't go to bed until after midnight.  And meal times are just not in sync at all.   Aaaaaargh!!!!

Ok, sorry for the wee rant.  It's only been a week so far.  I've learned that maybe I'm not as easy going as I thought I was!! πŸ˜‚  I've learned that I really like my solitude and own space at night after a crappy day at work.  So I'm prioritising getting the family room (first photo) cleared and set up as a sitting room space for them.  I've also gone ahead with turning my utility room into a mini kitchen.  Work starts on 9th January. 

I'm hoping that by documenting it here we can look back one day and 'fondly' remember the start of this way of living πŸ˜±πŸ˜‚

Sunday 23 October 2022

Getting ready for next week


It's back to school tomorrow 😭 so today was a food prepping day.  I was up very early this morning and was at the recycling centre/tip when it opened.  We've done a lot of charity shop runs and tip runs between us over this past week.  I went with my DIL to Tesco last night and scored some fab yellow sticker bargains.  This was a Tesco Finest honey glazed gammon joint, reduced to £6.24.

I got 3 packs of these healthy sausages.  They are 50% pork, 50% butter bean!!  I cooked 2 packs and put the other one in the freezer for next month.

They taste rather nice but are definitely healthy as there was no fat at all.  They're portioned up and in the freezer already.

I also baked 11 potatoes (that's how many were in the bag!)  They weren't reduced but at £1.85 for 11 is great value.  I baked everything in the big oven at the same time to save money.

I've also got some of my Lovely Mum's home grown pears poaching in the Crockpot with pear cider, cardamom and cloves.  It smells amazing!

I made soup last week and froze it so I'm all set for the week ahead.  We're just going to wing it this week meal wise, using up what we all have then sit down next weekend and do some planning.  The whole point of us all living together is to save money.  Me for my retirement and them for their own house one day.

Friday 21 October 2022

A new way of living


Here are some before and after pics of the bedroom.  That yucky mustard was finally covered with white and the carpet is down.  And I finally built the day bed I've had since March!

The lemon coloured end is looking good too!  I'm waiting for the electrician to confirm a date to replace the white sockets with some lovely brushed chrome ones.  The wee green chair is a child sized Lloyd Loom that's been in our family for years.  I'm planning on painting it white.  More on Lloyd Loom HERE

The bathroom window scrubbed up nicely with the new handle striker plates and the wood work was re stained.  We might add a grey or pink blind at some point.

And finally, the wallpaper is up!! This was the first (half) wall.  The whole bathroom took me a full day as there were lots of fiddly bits on the other side as it's a sloping eave.

I was rather chuffed with my cutting skills around the shaver socket! 😊

I still need to lay the floor tiles and put the new door handle on.  I ran out of time as my youngest son had a plumbing emergency that needed my help.  My eldest and his wife moved in this morning so I didn't get a chance to do a final photo of it all finished.  But you get the idea.

The whole house is in chaos but our target is to have it all de cluttered by the end of November.  Totally doable if we're ruthless and I follow my own de cluttering advice from Wednesday!!!

We're determined to make multi generational living a success!

Thursday 20 October 2022

Good advice!

With just 1 day left before my son and his wife move in and just 4 days left of  my October break, this is good advice!!

I'm off to do some wallpapering now 😊

Wednesday 19 October 2022

Nearly done!


The painting was finished yesterday and the carpet was fitted this morning!  As expected the carpet fitter has scuffed a few of the doors and some of the skirting boards.  I thought he might so I'm not too upset.  The removal guys may do some more scuffs on Friday so I'll wait until the weekend to touch everything up again.  It's a North facing room and my camera doesn't show up how lovely and bright the room is now.

So far we've used a whole 5 litre tin of Satinwood and the best part of a 10 litre tub of emulsion.  I already had the wood stain for the window.  It was thoroughly scrubbed with sugar soap and then sanded.  The double glazing is rather old but it cleaned up nicely.  The handles were replaced not long after I moved in.  But I needed to order some new thingies for windows.

The description on eBay calls them "window handle cockspur wedges striker plates"  πŸ˜‚  As you can see the old ones looked awful and just wouldn't clean.  I ordered 18 @ 55p each and replaced them on all the upstairs windows.  That wee white thingy makes a difference!!

Edited to add an example of a cockspur handle for Sue!!  πŸ˜‚

I've got some furniture to build then I need to get some wallpaper up on the bathroom walls.  Then I'm ready for my new house mates! 

Monday 17 October 2022

It's all white!

With just 2 days left until the carpets get fitted in the upstairs hall landing and back bedroom, I'm madly painting everything white.  Except the inside of this cupboard obviously!  It's the £5 bargain tin of Plum Toffee I bought ages ago πŸ’œ

At some point this bedroom has been mustard yellow, pink, lilac and lemon judging by the layers of wallpaper and paint that I've been removing from all crevices!  This wall took days to remove the thickly painted woodchip wallpaper.

This side wasn't too bad but you can see above the door they only painted up to a certain point and then bizarrely wallpapered the rest.  It's taking many layers of paint to cover up some DIY craziness!  My Lovely Mum is a demon with a paint roller thankfully πŸ’•

I've been so bogged down with DIY this past week (and still recovering from this bug/virus) I almost ran out of some essential supplies.  

I popped down to Lidl at 8.30am this morning and scored a decent £1.50 veg box.  Potatoes, beetroot, shallots, lemon, pepper, aubergine, turnip (swede), cucumber and baby cucumbers.  I currently have a whole chicken in the oven (free range Scottish one for £8.83) with some of the potatoes and the beetroot.  I'll also pop in the pepper and aubergine halfway through so I'm maximising my oven usage.

Better get cracking on another round of white paint! 

Wednesday 12 October 2022

Extra money

I recently started tutoring a 7yo boy, the grandson of a colleague of mine.  He needs help with reading and spelling which is totally my area of speciality.  I was asked completely out of the blue so this is truly extra money I haven't accounted or planned for.

As he's only 7, a whole hour is too much so I see him half an hour per week and leave him some fun tasks to practise each night.  I charge £25 per hour (the average rate here for a primary school age tutor) so that will be an extra £50 a month during term time.

So I'm debating what to do with this extra money.  I could just add it to my savings (it would be around £500 for the whole year) or use it to buy something specific.  There's no contract or defined end so his parents could stop it at any time.  It really is bonus money but I'd like to use it on 'something.'

What would you do with it?  Save it, spend it on something like stocking up on storecupboard items?  Spend it on a treat?  A wee holiday?  Craft materials to reopen my Etsy shop? Plants/seeds for the garden and allotment?  The possibilities are endless!

Tuesday 11 October 2022

I need the bones!

My car was booked in for a service yesterday.  So once I'd dropped it off at 9.30am, I walked into town to M&S before walking home.  About 2.5 miles in total.  I had my backpack on and I just took my time.  I coughed a wee bit and had to stop and blow my nose a few times πŸ˜‚ Luckily it was cool and dry and I really enjoyed the walk.  My youngest son took me back to the garage later so it was just one way.

I had a £4 voucher for M&S.  I wanted to get some chicken so was delighted to see chicken legs were £1.20 for 600g.  I got 6 good sized legs for my £2.40.  I also got some reduced eggs (£1.30) and garlic/ginger/chillies (60p/47p/£1) to start a batch of fire cider.  Chicken legs were flung in the Crockpot for 4 and a half hours on High.

Fire cider is so easy to make and is full of the good stuff to help ward off colds and flu.  My version is onion, garlic, chillies, lemon, ginger, rosemary, thyme and raw organic apple cider vinegar. I kinda use THIS recipe from my friend Mel.  You can add or leave out stuff.  The rosemary and thyme were from my garden 😊  Once it's been sitting for a few weeks I'll strain it and add the raw honey. Then it's ready to use!

When the chicken legs were cooked I stripped the meat off (just under 600g) and put the skin and bones back into the Crockpot with boiling water to make stock.  I did look longingly at the chicken breasts in the shop but my main thought was 'I'll not get any stock from them without bones!'  Everything needs to give me as much value as possible! 

Monday 10 October 2022

On the mend!

I'm definitely on the mend at last!!  After 4 days in bed I managed to stay up all day yesterday πŸ™Œ  Still got a bit of a cough and my ears are whooshing πŸ™„  Thank goodness the school October break has begun!

I still don't have an appetite but knew I had to eat something.  So on Saturday night I defrosted some mashed potatoes (the Cara ones from the plot) and made a beany volcano!  I used to make this for my youngest son when he was a wee boy!  He likes the potatoes to have cheese in them too πŸ˜‹

Yesterday I made a caramel sauce to have with some bananas since bananas are healthy! πŸ˜‰ No recipe, just chucked some brown sugar in a pan with a large knob of goat's butter.  Melted it a bit and added some Alpro cream when it was bubbling.  Took 5 mins.  It was absolutely delicious!! I'll be making that again πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Since I was feeling much better I got started on the Big Declutter.  I've filled a few black bags with un-recyclable stuff and several bags for life with 'stuff' for the reuse hub.  I'm getting carpets fitted on the 19th and my son and his wife move in on 21st.  I've also arranged to have some of the bigger pieces of furniture removed on the same day.  I've got 2 rooms and a hall landing to paint before then.  Just my usual silk white emulsion and satinwood.  Totally doable, right?? 😱

Friday 7 October 2022

Comfort food when you're ill


Today I'm feeling much better but I haven't done anything except rest in my bed for 3 days!  The last time I was ill my son and his fiancΓ© were still living with me so they kindly brought me food and endless hot drinks.  This time I've had to fend for myself.

I really haven't had an appetite so I've been making myself eat regularly,  Luckily I made a big pot of the chicken soup and that fed me for 2 days.  Today I felt the need for some fresh veggies so had a few salady type snacks with chopped up cucumbers and peppers.  But I really craved something comforting and sweet.  So I made a very quick rice pudding.

Just rice, coconut milk and soft brown sugar thrown into my wok (it's the only big non stick pan I have) and simmered for about 20 mins.  It's caramel taste really hit the spot and being dairy and gluten free it's easy on my tummy!

What's your go to comfort food when you're sick?

Thursday 6 October 2022

Chicken Soup


Thanks for all your lovely get well wishes!  I really hope I've headed this thing off by taking some time off now.  I spent yesterday in bed and I'm doing the same today.  I'm coughing a lot and my ears are 'full' which is making me dizzy.  I'm taking cold and flu tablets, Benylin and drinking loads of hot honey and lemon.

I also made a pot of the fastest chicken soup ever!  I'd made some chicken stock overnight in the Crockpot on Monday night.  So I chucked it in a pot with a handful of frozen sweetcorn, some cooked shredded chicken (from chicken legs I cooked at the weekend) and a crushed up rice noodle nest.  Rice noodles are cooked within minutes in hot water or stock.  Wee bit of seasoning and I had a pot of soup in minutes.

There's something really comforting about chicken soup when you're not well.  It's all I've eaten for 2 days but it feels nourishing.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Off sick


I called in sick today and will probably take the rest of the week off.  Feels exactly like when I had Covid but my test this morning was negative.  I'm back in bed propped up on pillows to help my breathing/coughing and frankly feeling very sorry for myself.  

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Of course!!


Of course it's October now so obviously I've caught a nasty bug/virus!!! πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„  I literally woke up yesterday morning with streaming sinuses, blocked ears, a sore throat and a raspy cough.  So far I'm managing work but frankly I don't know if I'll last the week.  I've tested negative for you-know-what but it's mutated so much I suspect the tests don't pick it up.

I'm getting by on paracetamol and drinking hot honey and lemon.  We've currently got 4 members of staff absent with it (and loads of kids) and I fear I may be the 5th!!

Sunday 2 October 2022

Big Changes


Yesterday I moved from my upstairs bedroom to the downstairs one in preparation for my son and daughter in law moving in with me. I intended to start by just moving my clothes into the downstairs wardrobe and it kinda snowballed from there!  I did it by myself as everyone was away/unavailable so it took me all day!!  It's amazing how you can move furniture by yourself by slowly bumping it down the stairs one at a time! Good old gravity!!πŸ˜‚  Although I did manage to smack myself on the cheekbone with the large chest of drawers so might have a lovely bruise for a few days!!

This room was decorated in blue tones almost 3 years ago (photos HERE) so all my purple/green themed bedding/curtains clash horribly.  Luckily the beautiful quilt my Lovely Mum made me (photo HERE) is a lovely cream pattern on the reverse.  The purple and green will be hidden for now but will definitely reappear in the future.

The room is roughly the same size so my cream chest of drawers and bedside cabinets all kinda fit in. I've kept the leather headboard mainly because it's fixed to the wall and I don't want to have to repair the damage it would make to remove it.  The wardrobe is smaller so I've had another big clearout of clothes plus I've gained the extra chest of drawers in the alcove. 

They match the headboard.  There's no room for the chair with the patchwork seat cover but it will go into my craft room.  There are still a few things to sort out so a final photo or maybe video of the room will follow at some point.  I've treated myself to a new laundry/linen basket (£18 from Argos) and I'll collect it later today.

Edited to add:  I've just realised that every piece of furniture in this room (except the mattress and the 3 fold mirror) is at least 16 years old and has been moved from 2 houses!!

At the same time, I'm also collecting a mini toaster oven. This one HERE.  Frugal Queen regularly mentions cooking in hers so I did the research and it definitely uses less electricity.  It will be cheaper to run than my big oven if I just have a few things to bake.   Last month I got my half share of an unexpected repayment from an old policy of £67 so it's a free mini oven really!! 

Saturday 1 October 2022

September Spending


My pear tree grew a single pear.  I haven't eaten it yet as it hasn't ripened.  Pears don't ripen on the tree so it's a waiting game to choose the right moment to eat it at it's best! πŸ˜‹

September flew by!  I can't believe we're into October already.  There's 1 week of school left (HOORAY!!) then we get a 2 week break.  But my 2 week break will be filled with decorating and moving furniture between my house and the flat. Ah well, it'll be good once it's all done.

September spending was very low.  I hadn't planned to have such a low spend month but it just worked out that way.  I mentioned previously that I've spent around £100 on stuff for school and I had to get petrol for my car.  Other than food, I haven't spent money on anything else.  Total spend for the month was £316.89!  That means I can put an incredible £1114.74 into my savings!!! 🀯

So after 9 months of saving I have £9492.52 in my savings account.  I'm almost at my £10k target for the year!!  I can't believe I've managed to get this far.  I used to think I was pretty frugal before I started this 4 year challenge but I've had to seriously up my game this year!