Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Someone New

Well, despite being a newish blogger, I've now reached the dizzying heights of having followers in double figures!
Hello to the newest one, Angela, who can be found at this excellent blog. I've been reading her stuff for a while.
Rather intriguingly, one of my other followers is a Brazilian dog - terrier, I think. Great stuff, but thank goodness for Google Translate.
I love the idea that you can meet like-minded people on this t'internet thing - share interests and ideas, but even more thrilling is the people you meet (virtually), whom you would just never cross paths with in real life.
The media is often keen to highlight the bad stuff online, but I believe that for most of us, it's a positive experience. A chance to learn new things, vent, if you have too and a source of support when things aren't going to well. I like having virtual friends (I've got some real ones, as well - I'm not weird, honest).
Many thanks for following my little bit of cyber ramblings - you are all very welcome.

A Charm Pack For Free

My very kind friend picked up this pile of  home-made cushion covers from a charity shop. She bought them entirely with me in mind (she's a knitter, not a quilter).

They're all what I would call old fashioned patterns - very sort of chintzy and definitely not my taste as cushion covers. However, made up into a quilt, well that's something else completely.

First job on list:-

remove cat from pile of fabric. They just can't resist, can they?

Next, with the aid of these, I unpicked seams, salvaged the zips for as yet unknown use, straightened up the edges and made .......
There's 40 squares there. Although they aren't stacked too neatly, I promise they are square.
Five different fabrics, similar theme, ready for use in the future.
Cost - er. nowt., nothing, free.  With thanks to my friend x

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Never Seconds

I came across this excellent blog, Neverseconds and thought I'd share. The writer is a 9 year girl and she is highlighting the poor quality school meals she gets. They cost £2 per day. As someone who shops carefully, a £2 meal would be an absolute feast for me and nothing like the meagre offerings Veg gets.
It seems the blog has gone viral, rightly so, and I'm happy to add to that.
Just hoping that now the issue has been made public, her parents decide to provide her with a nutritionally balance packed lunch.

As an aside to this, I'm currently in dispute with my brother regarding what to call our different meals. I'm sticking to my guns :- I have my dinner in the middle of the day, tea when I get home from work and supper is for greedy people to eat whilst watching the 10 o'clock news. Anyone think differently?

Value Muesli

I've been trying this muesli on the recommendation of a colleague. I had wondered if it might taste like cardboard, being the value range, but it does have nuts and raisins. It tastes OK.
As a 1KG bag, I reckon that's about 20 servings and with the addition of milk costs me around 14p per day for breakfast.
Although I've always thought breakfast was important, until recently, I rarely ate it. Now I have a long commute to work and and even longer day, I'm finding it's essential that I eat first thing.
I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I think I am now in the habit of starting the day with breakfast. It also helps with avoiding the need for biscuits mid-morning. D'oh, that should be obvious, but only just realised!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Not No-Spending!

Well the past three days has seen me spending money, when I said I wouldn't. Firstly, I was working in a different location and ended up paying for car parking. I wasn't familiar with the area. On the plus side, as it was for work, I can claim back my £2.90 on expenses as well as the mileage, so perhaps that doesn't count.

I hate paying for parking
My next massive extravagance was a bottle of wine - only a fiver, but not budgeted for. I was invited out for a meal and past tradition means that I always turn up with some wine. I'll have to come up with a more frugal offering when I'm invited next. Still I didn't have to cook on Sunday evening and a good time was had by all!

Monday, 7 May 2012

Fencing with Goats

On hearing that a family had been fencing with goats, I popped up to Scotland for visit. Now I didn't really expect Gareth and Gordan Goat to be brandishing an epee and shouting 'on guard', but you never know!

Gareth, Gordan and a random chicken that wandered into shot.

Although they are pets, they don't behave like the cute and cuddly pets I am more used to. They are incredibly strong and predictably, eat everything in sight. The chickens have to have a separate part of the garden or they'd never see any food - good job it's a very large garden.

Gordan contemplating mischief.
The 'fencing with goats' turned out to be Derek carrying out a repair job on their last piece of destruction whilst they looked on.
They are now once again safe and secure in their little part of south-west Scotland.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

So Much To Learn..........

I've long envied the designs other bloggers manage to create on their pages, but didn't know how to do it. Being a novice blogger, I'm just getting to grips with the basics. My IT knowledge is, at best, scarce - I'm self taught or an autodidact, if you like.
So, today I decided to have a go a creating a better looking blog - will have to tackle content at a later date!
                              This background was my second choice.

I picked Shabby Blogs, as their designs appealed to me the most.
Anyway, I've tidied up a bit and added some things - what do you think?
I like learning new things, but often feel I'm lagging well behind others when it comes to technology.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Put To Good Use

Just a quick post showing my nephew on his quilt. The first one I made - complete with loads of mistakes! Nice to see it being used.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

No Spending Update

Well just to report - today I didn't part with any of this

Looking forward to lots more no-spending days.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Preparing for lots of No-Spend days

Today was a day for filling up - the car, the fridge, the cupboards, the fruit bowl. You get the idea.
These days, all this takes some planning. In the past, when the fuel gauge looked a bit low, I'd pull into the nearest petrol station, put in some fuel and then, often pay with a credit card - eek!
Now, I check the petrol prices website, find the cheapest fuel in my area, decide when to go, plan the journey to coincide with another errand - no special trip made. Then I fill up a predetermined amount, pay either cash or on debit card and the money comes from the amount allotted to petrol in that months budget.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. In addition, I also drive more carefully and more slowly. I can usually work out how long my tank full will last. Petrol is so expensive, I can't believe people are so reckless and waste so much with bad driving habits, but, hey it's their money.

As the cupboards were pretty much bare, I also did the dreaded 'big shop' at T***o. Of course, this was planned as well. I made a shopping list using the Mysupermarket website. As I live quite close to a Mr T ( and I'm too mean to pay for delivery), I print off the list and take that with me to the store.
I plan the shopping around what vouchers and coupons I have - I don;t do brand loyalty, I buy what's on offer. However, I still only get what I will use and would have bought anyway. I find taking a list makes me much less tempted to buy anything extra. Today, I only made some substitutions rather than going 'off list'.

I spent £81.98, but a nice fat pile of coupons brought that down to £68.19, plus some extra Clubcard points. I was quite pleased with that.
It may sound a lot - I know some people manage a much lower food budget, but this included everything for the month - food, cleaning stuff, toiletries, pet food. All stocked up and in some cases slightly overstocked.
I like the idea of have a food store, but lack of space restricts what I can stock up on. My plan is not to go near any supermarket again until the end of the month. I've got long life milk, fresh and tinned fruit, bread making mix as well as lots of veg waiting for a session of batch cooking. I think I will eat well this month, even if I do have the same thing a couple of nights on the run.
Right, off to make some cereal bars, using this recipe.
Will report back on my no-spending progress.