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.

Thursday 23 February 2023

A hack that worked!


I kept seeing this hack on FB and people were raving about it.  Maybe you already know about it and I'm just late to the party!  I made a perfect poached egg in the microwave and it was so simple.

I put 1 cup of water in a wee bowl, added the egg and cooked it in the microwave at 800w for 1 minute.  It wasn't quite cooked so I did it another 30 seconds.  And got the most perfect poached egg I've ever made! 😋

EDIT:  If you need 2 or more poached eggs I'd suggest using a clean bowl and fresh cold water for each egg.  My DIL did 1 perfect egg then did the second egg in the same bowl with the already hot water.  The egg exploded all over the microwave 😱 It'll take a while for her to live that down!! 😂😂

Tuesday 21 February 2023

People said nice things


Well,  I told everyone at work yesterday that I was retiring.  It seems it was a bit of a surprise to most people but everyone (almost) said really nice things and wished me well.  Many people said I would be really missed which was lovely.  A few folk said they were jealous!!  I was honest with my headteacher and told her I was burnt out and had nothing left to give especially after the inspection.  I'll also be letting my union know that too!

I popped into Morrisons on the way back from dropping off my son at work tonight.  My DIL was with me and we looked for bargains!  They have random shelves of reduced stuff all over the store so it was like a treasure hunt!  I got some flowers reduced from £6.99 down to 70p.  Lilies are my favourite!

My DIL got some gorgeous red roses reduced from £5.99 to 60p!  She also got some yellow stickered cheese, cooked ham and a pizza.

I got a jar of lamb gravy granules reduced from £3 to 25p.  Gravy is gravy so any meat flavour works for me!  It's still months in date.

I didn't get my non contact time today as the teacher who covers me and my stage partner was off with flu.  It seems there's yet another bug/virus doing the rounds plus a wee vomiting outbreak in some classes 😷🤮 

Definitely will not miss the bugs, viruses and germs!!!!

Friday 17 February 2023

133 days


I counted.  It's 133 days until the 30th of June and my last day of teaching 🎉🎈🍾  The countdown has officially begun!! 

Meanwhile, yesterday and today I made 14 mugs of soup for the freezer for my work lunches.  Got to keep meal prepping to save money and eat healthily!  7 mugs of chicken and rice soup (using the last leek from my garden) and 7 mugs of carrot and lentil soup (using up the last of the veg lurking in the fridge!)

I also sliced up a £1.99 Lidl sourdough rye loaf and froze it too.  Soup and a chunky slice of crusty bread is an easy work lunch.  The bread isn't GF (or cheap) so I'll use it sparingly!

I've told my immediate family my plans but I haven't yet told my work besties.  I'll speak to them over the weekend before I go public next week.  They'll not say anything until I tell my Headteacher on Monday.

It's all a bit real now 😱

Thursday 16 February 2023

Huge big thank you!!!


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your lovely comments on yesterday's post!! 😘 I also posted in a frugal group on FB and got so many positive comments too.  It's a huge relief to have made the actual  decision.  I just have a huge permanent grin on my face! 😁 I know there's a bit of paperwork to do and I still have to inform the right people (ie my headteacher and my colleagues!) but it's all very real now.

I popped down to the plot this morning to check it had survived the Winter.  It's not too bad.

On the way home I went to Dobbies first to spend my Christmas voucher from my sister.  I got 60 seed potatoes and 50 onions sets for £14.97.  One of the bags says the varieties will continuously produce potatoes for 5 months!  Let's hope so!!

Then I went to the big Lidl in town and got a reduced extra large chicken for £3.35.  It's currently cooking in the Crockpot.  The label says it feeds 6 to 7 people.  I'm pretty sure I can get more meals than that from it!  Plus I'll make stock for soup with the bones.

My frugality mode has really kicked up a notch knowing that I only have a few months of full salary left.  Operation retirement has begun in earnest!! 

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Decision made - eeeeek!


After the 2 staff development days and listening to our management team tell us what HMIE thought about us, I decided I've had enough.  When teaching and learning is being judged on data and not by what they saw (albeit very briefly) in our classrooms then it's time to go.

You know I've been crunching the numbers forever but I finally actually registered with the government gateway thingy and discovered that my state pension (that I get when I'm 67) will only be £6 a week less than if I continue to work 2 more years.  It's not worth it!!  I'm not ruling out working at something else in the next 10 years so I could top that up between now and then.  Together with my teeny tiny teacher pension I will have enough to live on when I'm 67.

For the next 10 years I could draw down equity from my house or I could sell my house, move into a smaller place and live on the equity.  Or I could win the lottery.  Or write a best seller.  Or marry a millionaire!!! 😂😂  Who knows!

But the decision has finally been made.  I will not be returning to teaching in August.  I'm done and I couldn't be happier 😊

Saturday 11 February 2023



It was a tough week but we got through it.  Now we wait 9 weeks (yep NINE!) to find out how we got on.  All we know is that they don't need to come back which means we passed.  So, yeay!! But it could be a bare minimum pass or a decent one.  Genuinely have no idea as all they said to us was things like "We commend you for doing XYZ really well" and "You will need to work on ABC." 🤷 That's on the management team and the education dept to work out.  I'm just going to get on with teaching my wee cookies as best I can!

I have 2 staff development days on Monday and Tuesday (ie no kids!) then 3 days of half term break.  My house is a tip and I need to get some DIY plans in place ASAP!! 🔨🧰

Tuesday 7 February 2023

The perfect description of a single woman in her 50s!

I haven't watched the last series of Happy Valley yet.  I'm saving it to watch during half term next week so no spoilers!!  From what I read Sarah Lancaster has outdone herself and Sally Wainwright's excellent writing has made it another outstanding triumph for the BBC.  BTW if you've never seen Gentleman Jack do watch it if you can, also written by Sally and on the Beeb.

But it was this quote that caught my attention.  It captures perfectly my view on life as a 50 something single woman!!!

‘I’m just becoming the person I always wanted to be. Don’t take shit off anyone, any more. I say it like it is. I know who I am. Finally. And I know the be-all and end-all isn’t necessarily to get myself hitched to the first flaky twat of a man who happens along.’

YEP!!! 😂😂😂

Sunday 5 February 2023

January Spending (late!)


I'm a bit late with my January total, but better late than never!  Despite me saying I'm not buying anything for school(!) I did buy an age appropriate book to talk about religious head coverings.  I have a wee Sikh boy who wears a patka and we didn't have anything in school to help us talk about it.

I kept my supermarket spending to just under £160 for the whole month, so around £40 a week.  I wish I could spend less but food is expensive and I do have to eat.  I do have quite a few things in the freezer as a result of my bargains so here's hoping this month will be a lot less.

I had to pay an emergency electrician (£120) 🙄🙄🙄

I bought a dog gate to keep Emma out of the kitchen when we're cooking.  Because she's on steroids she is obsessed with food and keeps getting under our feet in the hope we've dropped a crumb!  I've tripped over her a few times, once with a boiling kettle in my hand!!  Safer for all of us but she's not happy about it! 😂

I filled up my car with petrol, £52.76 for a full tank.  Prices seem to have stabilised for a bit but could be lower.  That will probably see me through until Easter unless I go on a longer trip.

Total spend for the month excluding known bills was £482.10.  As I'm still paying for the flat with no rental income (mortgage/insurance/boiler care/energy) there isn't any spare money to put in my savings! Eeeeeek!!!  But the new owner takes over on the 28th of this month so once I get my capital back I'll put whatever is left after legal fees etc in my savings.

Saturday 4 February 2023

Impending doom!


There is a definite air of impending doom hanging over the school.  HMIE is due to arrive on Monday at 12 noon.  The Headteacher has kept the school open until 9pm each night for people to work.  And it will be open tomorrow (Sunday) too.  I genuinely have no idea what they're doing!!!  One of my closest work friends told me she'd worked 75 hours the previous week.  We only get paid for 35 hours!!! What on earth was she doing for those other 40 hours????  It's just crazy.

I popped into Waitrose on Tuesday night after dropping my son off at work.  It had been a very wet day and was still raining heavily at 6pm.  Always good conditions for yellow stickers!  I picked up salmon fillets, cooked sausages, GF rolls, chorizo, samosas, coleslaw and rice cakes.  Everything was at least half price or less!  I seriously considered buying a huge catering size haggis than was half price and well within date.  I would have portioned it up and frozen it. They had loads of them so I might pop back in to see if they have any left.  I also bought some daffodils on impulse.  They've opened out after a few days and are just a welcome splash of colour in these dreich days! 

I also popped in to Lidl on my way home on Thursday as I needed to buy popcorn for school (don't ask! 😂)  They had some fab reductions for just 70p!!  Think I timed it well 😊

I just have this week to 'survive' plus 2 staff development days then it's half term.  I suspect it will include a lot of sleeping!! 😴