Saturday, 6 January 2018

New year, new job, same old resolutions

Work on Monday. Full time.

We have had good times. Winter Wonderland, date night, parks, swimming (outdoors) and had a cheeky Nandos to celebrate 12th night/3 kings/Befana.

 - read more to the kids despite going back to work
-  continue to epilate
- take vitamins
- chill  out about the likely state of the house when I return to work
- less procrastination and more active study . I know this works.

I'm focused on just getting through the next 14mths and trying to juggle children, work and study. The husband is in there somewhere too.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Xmas is done!

We baked loads... biscuits, Rocky Road, Brownies, Banana bread... 
 We mull our own with star anise, cloves, Cinnamon, sugar and citrus. Lovely!
 Some snowy visitor came down our 'chimney'.
 Cheap bucks fizz type liquid breakfast
 Pandoro - like panatone but plain. A tradition picked up from Italy.  These are lovely!
 The napkins were a Tesco substitute. Not my choice but all good.
The Christmas Pavlova to finish.

Visitors were unavoidably delayed and due to ill health couldn't come. Long story with a reasonable non sad ending.

Kids had a great day.  Off walking tomorrow if the weather holds.

In money saving/frugal style I have collected up gift bags to be reused. I gsaved the ribbon from the xmas crackers and other parcels.  This will be used next year. Our huge chicken has been stripped for dog treats and for curry.
Some gifts have been put away for regifting.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Most of December not Inc Christmas in pics

 Homemade scavenged wreath. Cheap Oasis and hair pins.
 Photo op! Selfie Sleigh in a local shopping centre
 A view I love and am seeing more often. Siblings xxx
 Family tree - more baubles needed!
 Tweeny girl desired a tree. We waited and found one second hand and bought pre loved baubles
 Birthday practice pavlova
 Christmas lights in Carnaby Street Oxford Street were so tasteful they were dull!
 Happy birthday Dad. Love you. Xx

Still have a bit  to do..Baking with kids , general clean before the relatives arrive.   Hopefully fit in a few festive trips-  ice skating and maybe an open air swim!
Tweeny wants to make rocky road and xmas biscuits.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Five frugal things

New coat - Debenhams Classic collection on grey - £8 In great condition. There are often benefits to living in Surrey.  I only buy new underwear tbh. I have Joules wellies, nice new jeans that were unworn... The kids are not adverse to second hand either. Even Tweeny she understands why and doesn't mind from time to time as long as she likes the style.

Haircut in Yorkshire booked. Cheaper than Surrey and the same quality, may even be better. I just have to put up with unruly hair for a while and be patient. I like the hairdresser and have been to the hairdresser in question several times before.

Scavenged xmas wreath. I use cuttings from the garden. estate and local park. Have been doing this for years. Easy way is to use a wreath oasis but some bendy wire works just as well.

Home made recycled present labels. Last years cards have been cut up with pinking shears. I shall look to purchase xmas paper and cards in January.

Soup - time for another batch. I had collected the stems of broccoli, cauliflower and bendy carrots for a while. I throw them in a bag in the freezer. Hand full of lentils, onion, stock cube, old spuds - chop, sweat. boil and stew add in your spices. Biggles likes chilli powder and cumin and curry flavours. Best second day with bread and can be frozen.

I'll get round to pics


Back to work after new year so have tried to do as much as possible online and avoid shops. We have grandparents this year. I don't know if I will be able to do it next year. See how things go.

I am organised. Decs are up. I plan on wrapping etc and baking for the freezer this week if I can. I have a wreath to make and we need to fit in a Santa visit and have numerous pantomime rehearsals for Tweeny girl. We have a trip to Yorkshire arranged and hope to fit in seeing my bud visiting from abroad and also fit in Winter Wonderland.Phew....enough already! Wont be doing as much next year I fear.

As ever have purchased used where we could. Tweeny girl asks for books and knows she will get 2nd hand. She gets more books that way. She likes Jacqueline Wilson. Yes we could use the library however she takes a long time to finish a book. She has a school book to read, her own book, scripts and routines to learn for theatre group and homework and tutoring as well as guitar practise and swimming. She reads a few pages at night before lights out. Library would take forever.

Small boy has second hand plastic figurines. I wont buy new. Plastic is horrible and its way cheaper on  eBay.  He is also getting an easel plus paints and a bike from grandma. They kids do quite well at xmas. The only things Tweeny has asked for is a book on snakes, a mobile phone for when she walks to and home from theatre group ( Alcatel not a posh smart phone or Iphone - its £60 and likely to get broken) and some Jac wilson books. She has some other bits as well. like shoes, underwear, earrings. She has her ears pierced.

I have spread out the gifts between Xmas and her birthday and also have some eBay bargains to put away for the small boy who was born in April.

Sadly I indulged in Amazon. horrible tax and working practices, Tesco online delivery, local butchers, green grocers and Aldi, eBay and charity shops.  Next year it may all be Tesco and Amazon and Ebay.

I have become a fan of the xmas jumper. It solves so many problems on xmas day and eve.  We all have one. Tweeny has inherited mine and is happy. It was a bit small for me.  I have picked up second hand ones for small boy. No need for new clothes for xmas. Always wondered why people went for the new outfit.

We are baking Banana bread. brownies and shortbread biscuits and making pavlova as demanded by Biggles.


I wrote this and never posted it. Way out of date now  but it was a good trip. Camping was hard work with both kids. Tweeny wanted to play with her new found friends when at times I needed her to help supervise the small boy - tent erection and putting away and cooking. Other than that it was a blast. We took in parts of Derbyshire, Rivelin Valley country park, saw Grandma, went open air swimming in Hathersage, explored caves in Castleton, had afternoon tea and went to a family party and went to Magna, the science centre.

Glad we did it. Dog came too but stayed with Grandma who  has dogs. 
Chose a basic but nice campsite which kept costs down. Ate breakfast at the campsite and took sandwiches for lunch. Ate at Grandmas and ate out as well. Cheap eating out - Fish and chips were a treat and it wasn't too expensive for one large fish and chips which fed all of us. 

We could have eaten at the campsite more often and would have done if Biggles had been with us.  Was hard work with the 2 year old even with an electric hookup.  They played till late at night 8pm ish before bed. Fell in with the other kids who were camping. 

Rivelin Valley country park is free. Magna is a 12 month pass. The Peak district was lovely. Lots of views and moorland to explore. Outdoor swimming at Hathersage is expensive but for novelty value we stretched to it. Also paid for the Speedwell boat trip in the cave and the Devils Arse at Castleton.  We didn't get to the castle. Buggies and a steep single track don't mix and the small boy wouldn't have made it far. 

Lovely fish and chips in Castleton for being inland and no where near the sea and a reasonable price. 

 The electric hook up was great to have. We had downloaded films to some tablets which kept Small boy amused when necessary and also gave us something to watch other than reading books in bed and its something we can all do together. . Great addition for the car though especially in M1 traffic jams. 

Glad we did it. Camping is great fun.

We wont be going again until 2019. I have  work/study starting soon.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Summer and other stories.

So we got through the detachment to the ME. Biggles now home. I managed to take the kids away on holiday camping and see relatives.

I go back to work/study on the 8th Jan 2019. 14mth course of work and study and the government pay me a bursary - a decent oen of about 19k and pay for my post grad dip. Am I scared. Yes I am bricking it but one step at a time. It means we will be free to leave here when Tweenager finishes Y6. we wont be flush through the course but we won't have student debt to pay off.

Just busy busy busy. Got much to organise re child care for two. Biggles is starting work early at 7am and leaving early each day other than Thursday. Ideally I take them to day care/before school care and he collects and does extra curricula till I get home. Only two days of extras to see to-Swimming and guitar.

Small boy is still small and doesn't start ft school till 2019 but this is a great opportunity which fits with Biggles likely moving date of Summer 2019 and starting secondary school not to mention the financial aspects. I will miss him very much but we will have from March until September 2019  together and weekends and all of August next year though I will have lots of homework.

Life is lovely and quiet here. Not much military intervention which suits me.

Still frugaling. We have the same sofa we had 6 years ago. it was third hand to us. its still serviceable.

Five frugal things I have done recently

1.Purchased a new to me single spare duvet for small boy for 3.50 from The Princess Alice Shop and two blue pillow cases from another charity shop for 1.00.

2.Tweeny spied  the Honey Badger from the Lion Guard for 1.50. The Lion Guard is his thing this year. Snaffled and put away for xmas.

3.While on holiday we visited a Science Adventure centre call Magna. Visit once and you get 12mth free pass. It's worth going twice or thrice. So when we went back to Sheffield to see Grandma we used our pass. Good day had by both the kids. There is enough there that is accessible for toddlers and tweenies and a great play park. In the summer there is a water splash park. Not paddling pools just squirty stuff.

4.The freezer if full of left over meals. I make enough chilli, soup etc to freeze at least one or two meals. Biggles has a choice of grub to take to work.  We are making at attempt at slimming world. Rather he is. I am doing the cooking but have been rubbish at sticking to it. It's just learning a new way to cook your tried and tested favourites.

5.Slimming world cheaper options - frozen and tinned fruit, plain yogurt flavoured with a few drops of caramel, vanilla or lemon and sweetener.  Am not purchasing muller flavoured yogurts   or other pre flavoured ones when I can save money by doing it myself. Onken fat free flavoured or muller which is most common is not cheap.  Fat free natural or greek yogurt is as cheap as 45p for a 300ml tub from the right supermarket. This lasts two people two days if you have a generous portion for pudding.