Saturday, 30 July 2022

Frugal Things W/E 30th July 2022

I didn't post a Frugal Things post last week, as most of the frugal things I did were already covered in my weekly post and it would have just been too repetitive. This week, however, I've not actually posted a weekly blog post, so instead, here's what I've done to keep life simple and keep costs down:

I placed a large order with Big Green Smile for eco toiletry/household products that we needed. It was expensive at nearly £60, but included 2 x 5l bottles (of toilet cleaner and washing up liquid), 2 x facial serums, citric acid, bicarb of soda, dental floss, degradable bin liners and an XL 100 pack of dishwasher tabs.  Two of these larger items were 20% off, so I saved £6 on these alone and I also qualified for free delivery and two free skincare samples, which are not to be sniffed at. These items should keep us going for a while. I make a large order such as this maybe twice per year, but I think it does save us money and definitely saves on plastic waste in relation to the 5l bottles at least.

I cut up a couple of t-shirts into dish cloths. I was going to give them to the Charity shop, but decided that they would probably only recycle them, so I decided to do so myself and benefit from them.

As mentioned in another post, I tried to concentrate on using up what we had in the cupboards and the freezer this week. This helped to keep the shopping list shorter than usual, and the cost of the weekly shop to a minimum.

I had another £10 voucher to spend at Lidl this week, via LidlPlus, on account of shopping there every week and having spent £200 so far this month.  I find this scheme does truly reward loyalty as you don't have to spend a certain amount to use the voucher. This helped me to stretch the budget this week, which was useful, as it was the last week of the month and there was very little money left.  In the end, the shop cost me just £31, which is the least it has cost me in I really don't know how long. 

I went to two over 50's sessions at the local Leisure Centre this week, both costing just £2, one was a gym session and one an aerobics class, which meant I did two sessions for half the cost of my previous one weekly class. The Free classes have finished now until September, so I'll continue to go and pay £2 each time, which is great value, until they resume. I'm really enjoying doing different types of exercise too, with more emphasis on core and strength work.

I mended one of a pair of Ralph Lauren earrings that I'd bought LB for her birthday, as the stone had fallen out. They should be perfectly fine again now. 

I picked another bag of brambles or blackberries on a dog walk this week. I didn't make jam out of these, they were frozen and will be used for smoothies or puddings as and when. I also froze lots of surplus tomatoes and courgettes this week. The freezer is fast filling up.

I didn't visit any shops where I'd be tempted to spend money. I'm getting much better at this as time goes on. I can't say I miss buying things, as we seem to have everything we need already. 













Friday, 22 July 2022

The Hottest Week

This week, I got off to an early start on Monday, when I headed off to do the weekly shop at about 8.15am. I figured I would get it done and get home before it started getting hot, on what was predicted to be one of the hottest days of the year here in the UK.

Before I'd even got a few hundred yards up the road I was being verbally abused by a young male driver telling me I was a _____ bitch and needed to learn how to ______ drive. Nice. I didn't let it get to me. It was his anger problem, not mine. Hot weather brings the crazy out in people I've noticed here in London.

Anyway, the Lidl store I went to was super quiet at this time in the morning, so was really easy to get around and I was in and out. I spent less than I have done in a long time too, mainly out of necessity, but partly because I only bought what was truly essential this week.

By 10.30am  I was home and putting the shopping away.

We closed all the blinds and windows in an attempt to keep the house cool whilst the sun was shining outside. It did work to keep the inside temperatures bearable. OH had to drag the dog inside. She wasn't happy and made a fuss, but we didn't want her getting overheated outside, although she had dug herself down into the soil to keep cool in the shade.

I didn't really plan on doing anything for the day. I unpacked from the weekend, did a bit of laundry, did the washing up and looked for some holiday accommodation in the UK, but I didn't attempt to do much else. The priority was keeping cool. I took the time to take it easy, read a little and spend some time online. I did take LB to work in the car, as she didn't want to catch the bus in the heat, but that was all I ventured out for.

Tuesday, was also supposed to be a very hot day, but I was due to go into Central London for something I'd arranged six weeks ago. I dressed as weather appropriately as possible and headed out for the bus. I took a frozen bottle of water and a fan with me and managed to keep reasonably comfortable on the journey. I was heading to a course that caught my eye a while back. The building was super well air conditioned so we were all beautifully cool on the hottest day ever in the UK.  I took sandwiches with me so that I didn't need to buy any whilst there. The bus journey home wasn't so pleasant, neither was the evening, as it took forever to cool down, but I slept okay, which was good.

Wednesday, was  a cooler day, but I still headed out with the dog early. I did some blackberry picking whilst on the dog walk and managed to get a bagful. The hot weather must have caused a lot of the fruit to ripen, which was fortuitous.

When I got back I pottered around the garden, pruning back here and there for 10 minutes and then later headed out on my bike to the last Soca Aerobics class until September. When it resumes in September, it will take place in a Leisure Centre closer to my home, so it will be a much shorter journey to get there.

The class was really good and at the end, because it was the last class of the term, the Manager of the Leisure Centre provided cakes, drinks and crisps for all the participants.  It was a really nice gesture, so I stayed, had something to eat and chatted to one of the other ladies there. It was a very thoughtful thing for them to do and who can say no to that.

On Thursday, I did a bit more blackberry picking on the dog walk again. The dog then insisted that I visit the allotment plot (she likes to go there to look out for the fox). I needed to go anyway to pick the remainder of the blackcurrants, which I did. I harvested some tomatoes, cucumbers, a courgette, beetroot and lettuce and then I watered as much as I could before heading home.

Unfortunately, I think some of the tomatoes were showing early signs of blight, so I removed all of the leaves, to help stop the spread and removed any fruit that were turning red, just in case, as these could be ripened up at home. Fingers crossed that we won't lose the whole of the rest of the crop.

In the afternoon, I pickled the beetroot, along with some more that I'd picked last week, making another couple of jars. I'm now a bit short on jam jars and may have to recycle a few more as we use their contents.

I also took all the vegetables out of the vegetable drawer in the fridge that were going a little soft and cut them up and made them into stew packs or just packs for freezing. I hate to waste anything we grow, but the hot weather isn't really conducive to making and eating stews, so some of them just aren't getting used at the moment. At least we'll have them to look forward to in the winter.

Later, I needed to go to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and also drop into the library to take back, renew and take out some new books. Both are very near to each other, so I could combine these errands. I decided to walk and get the extra exercise. 

OH booked us a holiday in the UK today, which was exciting. I think we could all do with a break, so I'm looking forward to it.  We're heading to Devon for a week in a few weeks time.

On Friday, I woke up to a much cooler day and I was glad of it. After walking the dog, I decided to sew up the side of the single duvet cover I'd made for LB for University. It didn't take long. I zig zag stitched the edge, to secure it, as I no longer have an overlocker. Hopefully it should be okay. Whilst I had the sewing machine out, I did a couple of other sewing jobs I'd put to one side.

As it was cool, I also took the opportunity to do some ironing on Friday.  I'd left it for nearly two weeks. The pile was building up again and my drawers were virtually empty of the clothes I usually wear. It's good in a way, as it has forced me to wear things that don't get worn too often. It's just been way too hot to even think about ironing lately. 

I also made more jam from the fruit I'd picked this week. It made another 4 jars. I think there's now 12 or 13 jars in the fridge.  I think that's enough jam making for me for this year.

Whilst ironing, I watched a couple of movies on Netflix and a documentary about tax havens. They were all good. It's been a pretty varied week this week, which is a good thing, with small bits of progress made.

I hope you've managed okay in the heatwave and have had a good week.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Frugal Things W/E 17/7/22

This week, I have participated in the following frugal activities to try to keep expenditure to a minimum:

I tried out another free exercise class in our borough, a fusion of Pilates and Yoga this time, and continued to attend some of the free and inexpensive ones I attended last week. 

I cleared a space in the cupboard in the downstairs vestibule, to create a storage pantry for any extra food I have bought in recent months. It's much nearer the kitchen and easier to access and I can properly rotate the items and see when we've run out of things. I've made a note of all expiry dates, so I don't waste anything and will be able to use up what's coming up to expiration.

It's something I've been meaning to do for a while, so I was glad to finally get around to it.  I can also now see how much room I have to store anything else I may buy over the coming weeks. I have to be careful what and how I store things in this cupboard, as we have had mice in here in the past, so anything that could easily be nibbled, has to be stored in a rigid lidded plastic box, with tins, jars and bottles only out on the shelf. 

Whilst sorting through the pantry items, I found some food items that I had put aside for LB for when she goes to University in September. There isn't too much, but it will help her with the cost of buying food for herself when she's there. I do intend to send her food parcels from time to time too. 

I preserved more free food from the allotment and from foraging this week.

I picked sweet pea flowers from the allotment to brighten up the house.

I picked up a free book from the Little Free Library on my way home from the gym.

I cut down a superking duvet cover to make a single duvet cover for LB, for when she goes to University, instead of buying her one new.  This cover was too big for all of the duvets we own, so it was languishing in the linen box unused.  At least it will get used now and the spare fabric I can always use for quilting. I still just need to sew up the cut side. It will be new to her anyway and it is in excellent condition.

I went to a local Lidl, instead of a 20 mile round trip to the one I usually go to, to save on petrol costs.  I have to admit though, that it wasn't an altogether enjoyable experience, as it was too busy and too small compared to the usual store. 

I sold two more underperforming shares to continue cutting any potential losses. There is now just one last share that I need to sell, when I have received the incoming dividend at the beginning of August.  The remainder seem to be performing well and I am happy to keep them, unless things change drastically with them in the near future. 

I did a very small top up shop that we needed at Lidl to use a £2 off voucher before it expired.

I packed up sandwiches and snacks and drinks for the journey up to Yorkshire, so I didn't need to buy anything to eat or drink en route or when there.

I visited a Car Boot Sale in Yorkshire and was very discerning, buying only a few small items at really good prices. I spent less then £10. 

I think that was everything. I hope you had a frugal week if you needed to. 











Monday, 18 July 2022

A Very Small Car Boot Sale Haul

As mentioned in my weekly post, on Sunday, I paid a visit to a local Car Boot sale up in Yorkshire. It wasn't a huge Car Boot, but there were thirty plus outdoor stalls and more inside. I didn't take a lot of money, as I don't have much money to spare at the moment, but I came away with a few very nice things.

The first things I bought were a couple of necklaces, which were 50p each. I wasn't sure if these were Hematite. I can't really tell, but if they are, they were a bargain. I decided to take a punt anyway.

From the same seller, I also bought a sterling silver hallmarked chain for £2.50. I'm always in need of an extra silver chain and LB needs one at the moment, so this was good value. It needed a clean and is hooked over a jar of silver dip as I write this post, so it should be like new within minutes. It's a good length at 20" long too, so I'm very happy with it.

The next item I bought was this lovely dinner plate for £1. I just loved the dark green and white ditsy floral print. It doesn't have an official makers mark on the back, but the seller told me it was Burleigh. I just like it and will enjoy eating off it.

I also bought these two lovely small glass bowls for 50p each. They were new and boxed. I need these for a specific purpose, for which they are perfect. I love them.  They just need a clean.

I bought a tube of loctite adhesive for £2, which I also need for a specific purpose.

I then saw this set of travel pouches, which were new and just £1. They are always useful for travelling, especially with all the cords and charging cables we have these days for various devices.

Finally, I bought this very pretty tiered summer skirt for £1. I bought this for LB, as it's not really my style. She's been complaining of being very hot lately, so I thought that it's floaty loose style might be good for her to wear during the hot weather.  I don't know if she'll like it. Fingers crossed, but it's not a big loss if not, I can always donate it or try to sell it on.

So, that was everything and I think I spent £9.50. My little treat/indulgence for the month, but I like everything I bought, so I have no regrets.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

A Better Week

This week has been a good week in many ways. I have been able to attain a balance between going out to gym classes and doing some work on my new business.

I returned to two of the classes that I attended last week and tried out one new class, which was a fusion of Pilates and Yoga. It was a free class and it was the last week that it was taking place until September, so I was glad that I made the effort to go. I felt very relaxed afterwards. 

I have been using my bike more to get around and using a big lock. I feel relatively confident to leave it unattended, after my previous bike was stolen a couple of years ago. The extra exercise I get from cycling is much needed at the moment and it is quite nice to cycle at my own speed, not time pressured too much to get from a to b.

The heat this week, has kept me inside most of the time, as I am not very tolerant of hot weather these days. This suits me fine. I have a small fan beside me that keeps me cool and comfortable and it tends to be nice and cool in the house during the day. Nights can be a bit warmer, but manageable.  It's been way too hot to even attempt any ironing or do much housework, so that is being left well alone. Even cooking heats up the house.

I have been working from the spare bedroom, creating stock to sell and creating listings. I do this for a few hours each day. It is very pleasurable to work in small bursts like this, doing something creative and with a view of the gardens behind our house.

I placed an order with Approved Foods last weekend, which arrived on Wednesday. It felt a bit like Christmas, even though it was mainly toiletries, food for the dog, etc. I love to unpack a box.  Here are a couple of photos of the things I bought:

The sugar is for jam making.  The beer and dog food/treats should keep us going for a while over the summer.

I feel like I'm settling into a new routine now and the classes give a bit of structure to my week, which is good.

On Friday, OH and I headed off to Yorkshire to visit his Mum and Dad and other members of his family. We were staying in a hotel a few hundred yards from his family home which was very convenient.

We dropped in to see his Mum and Dad on the way, before checking into the Hotel and then we retired to the hotel bar for an hour before heading to bed. It was nice to stay in a hotel for a change, and very reasonablly priced.

On Saturday morning, we started with the included breakfast out on the balcony. We had the dog with us, so we couldn't sit in the restaurant, but that was fine, as the weather was good and there was a lovely view across the River Humber and of the Humber Bridge.

OH wanted to start the day by doing a nearby Park Run 5k, so we headed off to a local beauty spot, where I walked the dog whilst he ran. After he'd showered and changed we then went back to his parents house where his sister and her husband had come to visit with one of their grandchildren, so we had a lovely family day in the garden catching up and doing useful jobs for their parents.

On Saturday evening, we visited another of OH's siblings and their family and it was lovely to catch up with them. When we got back, we had another drink in the bar and then went to bed.

Sunday, was the last day of our visit, so after breakfast, OH headed off to walk the dog and I decided to try out the gym at the hotel. I just used a couple of my favourite machines and did a few weights, but it was a lovely, cool, air conditioned gym, again with a lovely view and it felt very relaxing to work out  in there.  I think we'll probably stay here again sometime, as we really enjoyed our stay. It's been so relaxing and it's a great base from which to visit family and the local area.

We checked out of the hotel and I dropped OH off at his parents and then went on for a little saunter around a local Car Boot Sale. I like to just have a little mooch around when I get the chance and to stretch my legs before a long car journey back to London.

All told, it's been a better week and I feel like I'm ready to face the heat wave next week now. Wish me luck though, as I have to commute into Central London next week for an appointment on probably the hottest day of the year!

Finally, talking of heat, we passed this field on fire on the way back to London.  Not far from Cambridge, very near the M11. It was fully ablaze and sending plumes of smoke up into the air. I hope the emergency services managed to get control of it.

I hope you manage to keep cool in the coming heatwave. Stay safe.

Monday, 11 July 2022

Frugal Things W/E 9/7/22

Frugality has come back to the fore in our household in recent weeks since I left my job and we've returned to living on one income. I've reverted to my previous default mode of looking for ways to save money and spend less. This last week I've done the following to help the household finances:

I've made several jars of jam from home grown fruit and jars of pickled beetroot from homegrown beetroot.

I've shopped only for what we actually need when doing the weekly food shop. No unnecessary extras for the time being. We don't go without and I've got a small stockpile of quite a few things, which has helped. 

I visited the library and picked up several books to peruse, mostly ones about starting a business and one about natural housekeeping.

I've attended some free or super cheap classes at our local leisure centre, to save money.

We've harvested homegrown potatoes, peas and lettuce for a few weeks now, so I don't need to buy these for the immediate future.

I've cancelled any standing orders and direct debits that weren't strictly necessary. I don't honestly know why I didn't do this before.

I've potted up some baby plants from one of my houseplants, to create new plants. There's already another one growing from the mother plant too. 

I've finally sold off some shares that just weren't performing. With a recession supposedly on it's way, I doubt that they will perform any better in future months, so I have cut my losses on them. 

I've spent time catching up on lots of jobs at home, that had been really neglected when I was working. Making the best of and being grateful for what you already have is very satisfying and very frugal too.

I've foraged for blackberries.  There weren't a huge amount that were ripe enough to pick just yet, but I found a large cupful, that I can mix with other berries to make more jam.

I have pulled out unused things that were sitting in cupboards and started to use them, instead of buying new things.

I've got back out on my bike instead of taking the car. 

I have cut my personal spending (not including things I have bought for starting a new business), by not visiting the shops and buying things I don't need.

I've picked up useful things, that have been discarded by other people, to use at home where needed. 

I've placed an order with Approved Foods for the first time since Lockdown, to stock up on some things we use regularly at good prices and managed to qualify for free delivery. 

I've continued to work on a quilted cushion cover, using fabric I already have, to keep me occupied on an evening. 

I think that's about all, but I'm honing my frugal skills again and putting them to good use. It's been a while, but they are coming back to me slowly.







Saturday, 9 July 2022

Creating a New Routine

This week has been all about creating a new routine for my daily life, now that I am not going out to work. I don't want to spend all my time at home, I need to go out and mix with other people and get some exercise and potentially do other activities.

As a consequence, I've been trying out new classes this week, some costing £2, some free.  The first one on Monday, was at our local leisure centre and was a Pilates class. After getting booked in, I had 20 minutes to kill before it started, so I went into the gym, which was allowed on my £2.05 ticket, and spent the time on the rowing machine.  It's the machine I enjoy most in the gym. 

The Pilates class was good. The teacher was lovely, so upbeat and quirky. The exercises were hard though. I did my best for my first attempt. I don't have a strong core, so I found a lot of it difficult, but I felt super relaxed when I left the class. 

On my way out of the centre, I saw on the noticeboard some information about the local New Age Games Scheme, which is another local scheme that provides free exercise activities to residents aged over 50. I noted down the classes and activities I was interested in on my phone and then when I got home I registered for the scheme and now I can attend these too, subject to there being space in the classes. 

The timetable includes: yoga, aerobics, a fusion of pilates and yoga, soca aerobics, indoor tennis on the Olympic park and gym sessions, all in various parts of the borough, so they should get me out and about.  There were also sessions such as water aerobics and archery, but I wasn't so interested in those activities. The scheme is term time only, so only runs until 23rd July, but I should be able to catch a few free activities between then and now, which is all good.

On Tuesday morning I sprang awake really early at 4.15am, as a consequence, I was up and out a bit earlier with the dog.  This was just as well, as I wanted to head to the gym again at 11, to try out an Aerobics class this time. Once again I needed to pay £2.00, but it was worth it.  Once I've tried all the available low cost and free classes, I can decide which ones I like and want to attend regularly and build my new weekly routine around them. 

Exercise has always been one of my priorities, not that you'd think so to look at me, but it keeps me healthy and strong, both mentally and physically, so it's always been important to me. It was harder to find the time and energy to go when I was working and I slipped back into just attending one class per week, but now I have more time and I am less exhausted by work, I can expand my horizons and attend at least 2 or 3 classes each week, providing they don't cost too much.

The aerobics class was good. Nice people, which makes all the difference. Lots of body conditioning and using weights, which was fine. I enjoyed it and the music was great. I will probably go again. 

On Wednesday, I decided to try another class, Soca Aerobics this time. I was quite excited for this class, as I love the Calypso type music that they dance to. It was a bit further away from where I live, but was free. For a first visit, I decided to take the bus and scout out the cycle parking. It was a short bus ride and a 10 minute walk away. The class started at 11.30am. It was in one half of the sports hall and it filled up with participants.  It was a great class, with a beautiful teacher and good music. I will be going back, preferably on my bike next time. There's just two weeks of the class left until it closes for the summer, but I'm definitely going to try to go to these if I can. 

On Wednesday afternoon, I felt really tired and decided to go upstairs for a nap. I woke up 4 hours later, having slept all afternoon. It was a bit unexpected really, but I must have needed it. I even slept well that evening too, which led me to feeling more refreshed for the remainder of the week.

On Thursday and Friday, I decided not to go to any classes and I got distracted doing other things. I did, however, go to a free gym session on Saturday morning. OH came with me and we cycled there, as he's signed up for the scheme too. At the moment, every pound matters for me and if I can avoid spending any money at all, I can stretch out what I do have for the month. The gym session was good. I worked on some of the weight machines to tone different parts of my body and got back on the rowing machine too. A bit of a change for me, but a good one.

Overall, it's been a good week for trying out activities. There's some more classes to try out next week, so I'm looking forward to that and I'll keep you posted with how they go.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Disappointment and Amazement

It's been a disappointing week this week in some ways, not all. The main reason for this was that we had to cancel all of our holiday plans. After booking accommodation and having the ferry booked for over a year, after OH got Covid, we got delayed getting all the paperwork for the dog done in time and it threw everything into chaos. After a couple of days trying to juggle through it, we just decided to give up on the idea. It was going to be very expensive and there were still risks attached to being able to go at all, that we just didn't want to take.

OH managed to cancel two of the bookings for free, which was amazing. We're now just looking at losing a few hundred pounds on the ferry booking, unless we get our act together and book a ferry somewhere else. A week by a pool would have been so lovely, but sometimes these things happen for a reason, so I'm trying to be philosophical.

Looking for a holiday closer to home, I'm horrified at the prices of accommodation in the UK these days, which is in the thousands for a week, with very little availability. It's left me feeling a little cynical and down hearted, but as I don't work now, I don't feel as in need of a holiday as I might otherwise have done. When all is said and done, it maybe isn't the best time to be splashing out thousands of pounds for a couple of weeks away. I'm sure the dog doesn't care one way or the other. We might see if we can try to book something in the UK, but I'm not holding out too much hope. I'll keep you posted.

In other news, we had our inspection at the allotment and things seemed to go okay. I did get a message to ask me to cut down a young Ash tree that was growing on my plot, as it was getting too big. I didn't realise that it was an Ash tree, but it was already 10 feet high, so I went along with my loppers and cut it right back until OH can help me dig it out. I felt a little bad doing it, especially when there is so much Ash dieback, but it could end up costing the site a lot of money keeping it under control in the future, so I did as I was asked.

Some more positive gardening news, on Thursday I was amazed to see this cactus in a pot on the patio blooming. I've never seen it grow a flower like this on a long stem. It's amazing. Here's a couple of pictures:


Monday, 4 July 2022

This Weekend

Weekends these days tend to get off to a leisurely start, which is nice. After several years of working most Saturdays, it's nice not to have to go anywhere, unless I want to that is.

OH tends to take the dog out on a Saturday morning and I get to wake up in a leisurely manner and and ease myself into the weekend. Today, I decided to do some paperwork for the new small business I am hoping to start very shortly. I'm not going to say too much about it here, but I'm hoping it will be profitable eventually. I'm taking my time and getting organised, ordering and preparing stock and packaging, etc. It's not a huge outlay in the scheme of things, but I may as well give it a good go if I'm going to bother at all.

Going forward, I'm intending to have several forms of income. I'm done with just earning a wage from a job and being reliant on one source of income, because as I found out to my cost, when that goes kaput, you are left with no income at all, which is where I find myself now.

Working in a charity shop, I wasn't allowed to sell online in my spare time, as this was considered a conflict of interest, but now I have no such restrictions on my life, so I can do what I like. It's kind of liberating in some ways.

I'm still looking for a job, part-time only, but I'm being careful and I am not jumping into anything that I might later regret. I won't be going back to Charity Shop work though. Been there, done that. Too restrictive; can't sell online, can't express opinions that don't reflect the charity's values, can't behave in ways that may reflect badly upon the charity, even in your personal life. Can't really be yourself, just a bot bound by organisational dogma. I'm happy to be free of that, not that I want to do or say anything outrageous, might I add.

Back in the free world, I can do and think and say what I like, when I like, where I like (within reason, of course) and it feels good. I'd almost forgotten what it was like.

Now that my time is my own, I can use it to seek out less expensive places to shop, go to the gym, enjoy culture and my community, not that I'm doing much of that at the moment. Still finding my feet. I've not really unfurled my wings yet and explored life outside the home, but I do intend to in my own good time.

I've discovered that there are classes for over 50's at my local gym (I'm 55) and they cost just £2 per day Apparently, you can do aerobics, pilates, go swimming, go in the sauna or use the gym, all for this sum, so I'm hoping to start doing that soon. I just need to go in and find out how it works and how I get access. 

This should dramatically cut down the expense of gym classes and I can walk or cycle there and store my bike in a locked room. I might have to re-organise my week a little, but a change is as good as a rest, as they say and I could probably do with shaking things up around here to be honest.

Anyway, stepping off my soapbox, on Saturday, I spent some of the day making a new batch of jam from the gooseberries and blackcurrants from the garden and the allotment. There are still a few gooseberries to pick on the plot, they seem endless this year, and more blackcurrants to come from there too. I currently have multiple scratches all over my arms from picking the gooseberries, I guess that is the price you pay. The fridge is slowly filling up with jars of jam and pickled beetroot. I also made some more jars of this on Saturday too. 

We've been having trouble with the fridge being too cold this week and freezing the lettuce. It transpires that we had it on too cold a setting, but it took us a week to work out what we were doing wrong, as it seemed very counterintuitive. It's back to normal again now though, but it was frustrating to have to throw good food away because it had been frosted.

Our paths at the allotment have now been weeded, so we are all set for the inspection this week. One less job to worry about. I'm up to date on washing and the ironing basket isn't too onerous for once, which leaves me with time to focus on other things, which is good.

On Sunday, I finally got around to vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor. It was long overdue, but I just haven't been motivated to do it for a while. Later, OH and I went up the road to our local Sunday Market. We very rarely visit it, but today we went there to eat. There are lots of lovely food stalls and there are tables to sit out and eat at. We listened to a busker playing guitar in the sunshine. It was so relaxing. It felt like we could have been somewhere on the Med.

Talking of which, OH booked some accommodation for the second half of our holiday on Sunday. There was very little choice left, but we managed to find a very nice place in Portugal, with a pool, that is dog friendly. We now just need accommodation on the last two nights before we catch the ferry home from Bilbao, but we'll probably just book into a hotel or two en route to the ferry. It's very exciting. We haven't had a proper family holiday outside the UK for nearly 3 years now and without wanting to jinx it, we're really looking forward to it.

The remainder of Sunday, I divided my time between walking the dog and doing a little bit of work in my new office (i.e. the spare bedroom), on planning and research for the new business. Not sure when I'm going to officially start it, still thinking about what online platform is best to use.

On the dog walk, I had a bit of luck and found some metal drawers that had been thrown out and put near some bins. Unfortunately, it was at the beginning of the walk, so I ended up carrying them around the park with us. People must have thought I was mad taking a set of drawers for a walk, but they were just what I needed to organise some of the stock I've bought. When I got back, I cleaned it and put everything tidily away in it. Very serendipitous.

Friday, 1 July 2022

Goodbye June and Good Riddance

I have to say, that I'm glad to see the back of June. It's been a difficult month. I've got through it okay, but at time's it's been a struggle mentally and I'm ready for a new month and a new start. It may be another challenging month, but hopefully the challenges will be different.

This week got off to a good start financially on Monday, as I was able to utilise £30 worth of vouchers at Lidl to get free food. Of this, £20 was the scratchcard win from the week before and £10 the Lidl plus voucher for spending over £200 during the month. Definitely worth having. I used them to stock up on a bit of extra food, before they expired.

On Tuesday, I was feeling motivated to do some cleaning. I had a good clean of the two reception rooms and the hallway. It felt good to clear away the dust and dirt of the past few months and get the rooms back in order and then I cleared the energy with a white sage smudge stick. 

I'm big into sage at the moment. Clary sage essential oil I combine with water to use as an air freshener, I regularly use White Sage incense sticks and then there's the White Sage smudge stick too. It's supposed to be good for clearing negative energy, which is useful at the moment. Who needs any of that.

On Wednesday, the weather was a bit grey and rainy. OH unfortunately tested positive for Covid, so wasn't feeling too good. I'm okay so far, but we had to cancel a visit to Yorkshire, that we were planning for the weekend. We'll just have to go another time. Not sure if I'll get Covid too. We'll just have to wait and see. Better now than just before we are due to go on holiday.

After cleaning the living room this week, I was reminded that I need to make a cushion cover for the armchair that I made loose covers for a while back. I've decided to use up what was left of the fabric from the patchwork throw I've been making.  The throw just needs the backing to be attached and it will be finished. I think I'll use it as a lap throw for that particular armchair, for when I want to sit and read. 

I'm going to make the cushion to match the throw. I think there's just about enough of the grey fabric left and I'll use one other fabric to make just one diamond on the cushion.  Keeping it simple. That will give me something to occupy myself with over the next few weeks. It shouldn't take long and I have one cushion insert in the sewing room that I can use, so it won't cost anything. It's good to have a project, especially when you're on a super tight budget.

Talking of which, I went into my bank account on Wednesday and cancelled any direct debits and standing orders that I no longer want to continue with. This included a gym membership that was due to start next month, which I have changed my mind about, a small insurance policy that I no longer need, and a standing order into my Premium Bond account, which I can no longer afford to maintain. As such, I have reduced my outgoings to the minimum that I possibly can, in preparation for no longer receiving a monthly wage. On the plus side, my final wage from my previous employer, which was due to be paid into my account on Thursday, was slightly more than I anticipated, so that was a small bonus. 

If I'm honest, I feel a bit like I've leapt off a cliff financially, but I'm hoping the landing won't be too hard. From Friday, I'll be trying to earn my own living and be my own boss, with the kind and patient assistance of OH, of course, (at least in the first few months) and any savings that I have. Wish me luck.