Some news and a gardening update.

It’s been an interesting week and a half.

We are having a heatwave here; husband has been melting and his joints have been giving him a great deal of bother – this happens every summer. Remedies consist of eating Ibuprofen as though they are sweets, having cool cloths and taking cool showers, and for tonight, setting up the sofa-bed in the much cooler downstairs sitting room.

The heat has done wonders for the garden though, everything is just growing away there. I have discovered that we now have aphids on the sweet peas I planted – I need to use something on them that is safe to use on edibles as well as the sodding rosemary is growing next to it. Many people have suggested washing up liquid in water so will make that up tonight in a spray bottle and try to get rid of them.

Husband’s parents did an amazing thing for us yesterday; they came and helped us tidy up the front garden and cut things back. We have so much space there now, I’ll get us a rake on Tuesday so we can tidy it up and then we can perhaps put our tables and chairs outside there. Not quite sure when I’ll have time to sit in them but never mind.

Have had a text from the DWP to say they have received the PIP form.

We stayed with friends from Saturday to Sunday and had a lovely time eating good food and playing games. A much needed break and a lovely treat for us, husband really enjoyed it.

Last week we went to see the union solicitors at their surgery. It proved to be a very interesting day. They took a look at husband’s contract and recognized the name of the employer; they are quite confident they have had to represent someone from the same place before. We have decided to go ahead with a formal grievance due to disability discrimination and bullying and harassment, as we cannot sit and wait for the employer to get it together, not to mention, employers are obligated to respond to it.

Not oh, I don’t know, push husband’s performance review back for the 6th time as they needed to have a different meeting that afternoon.

That meeting also proved very interesting as the manager announced suddenly and unexpectedly that they have handed in their notice and their last working day will be in the end of July. Everyone present including husband was very taken aback by this. Not even the deputy manager knew and asked if it was a joke. The manager would not say why they had handed their notice in and was and has been very tearful since. Some of the staff are wondering if the manager has been given a choice by the board: To either hand in their notice or be asked to leave.

The union rep has written a blistering letter to the employer – I showed it to my manager and she said she was feeling faint at reading it and it is not even addressed to her! Just need to put the finishing touches on it. Husband pities his manager now and wonders if we should send the letter at all. I feel that even though things are hard for the manager now, they are still at the end of the day the manager and is responsible for what they have said and done (and not said, and not done!) up until this point.

The manager is still an adult who has to face the consequences of their behavior.

Such as sending husband a text at MIDNIGHT on Monday this week to ask if he could come in to work Tuesday morning.

The delight of zero-hour contracts.

 

 

 

 

 

My Not-New Years Resolutions – halfway point.

It is the middle of June now. How am I doing with the not-New Years Resolutions?

Well, let’s review what I decided to do:

 

  • So one of my not-New-Years-resolutions was to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices in a bid to lose weight and then maintain it. Well when my sister left after having spent a week with her eating things in October, I weighed in at 85 kilos. This morning I weighed myself and I weigh in at 75.1 kilos, so have lost almost 10 kilos or 1.5 stone. I have done this through eating more healthily and making healthy lifestyle choices. This is an ongoing resolution I think; my problem is that I eat things because they taste nice, not necessarily because I am hungry. Need to get myself out of this habit!

 

  • Using beauty and toiletries stuff up before buying more. I have done really well with this I think! I have not bought any body lotions or creams at all this year as I’ve just got so much to use up, so this is still ongoing. I had to buy conditioner and shower gel in May as we used everything up, as well as toothpaste. After having read Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, it does make you think about how much plastic and packaging we surround ourselves with – one of the things that have been suggested is to use bar soap as it lasts much longer and creates less waste than liquid soap, so we’ve done that.  This resolution is still ongoing as well.

 

  • I wanted to be even better at planning meals and using food up to avoid waste. I feel that we’ve done well with this, there have been a few slip ups but these have been few and far between. Some nights I would come home bone tired and the temptation was there, all seductive and whispering to me: ‘But you could, y’know, just go out for dinner tonight, right?’, but then my mind would be prevail and be all like ‘But dude, you’ve got perfectly good food in the fridge that needs eating anyway!’ And you know what? Once I got in, had a cup of tea and got over the hurdle of preparing stuff, food was ready as quickly as it would have been if we’d gone to the ‘Spoons across the street and ordered food. True, there have been some odd combinations (sausages in korma sauce and brown rice, anyone?) but we have not food poisoned ourselves and I feel good for using up what we have. In addition to this I’ve made quite a bit of soup with stock I’ve made from chicken carcasses and herbs from the garden.
    We have worked so hard to pay for this food after all, so why throw it out? But we have to remain ever vigilant so I am going to be boring and say; this one is also ongoing.

So all in all, I think my not-New Years-resolutions are going alright but are still ongoing.

Reduced Catch of the Day:

We are visiting friends this weekend and after I’d been to the train station to collect our tickets, thought I’d go by the Tesco Express as we needed milk anyway. Found these babies waiting for me:

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My sweet, delicious bargains!

 

I had to restrain myself so only bought three of the crumpets and one bag of pancakes. They promptly went in the freezer when I got in!

I love checking the reduced section; you never know what you might find!

 

A much needed calm week.

This week has been quite calm, which is what we have both needed.

Aside from the Parliament seemingly imploding. Found this on the bus on Monday afternoon on one of the seats.

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Tuesday I spent going over the PIP form for husband – I’ve sent it and just need to wait for the outcome now. Based on advice for friends and family we are preparing ourselves for that it may not be straightforward. I photocopied everything as I like having paper copies of everything, ’cause you never know.

Had an unexpected and delightful surprise as the lovely receptionist I used to have lunch with who they moved, was covering at the site where I work on Wednesday. I shared my lunch with her and we had a good chinwag which was much needed.

Term has finished for this year at the uni where I work weekends, so I have Sundays off now until October. Today has been spent soaking and scrubbing the detergent drawer, eating things and doing some gardening.

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Things are still growing, that sage is just savage now. Need to work out how I can dry some. But at least the nasturtiums are coming along!
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Bought two hanging baskets from eBay and have planted the chive and lemon balm, plus the two nasturtiums I have managed to save from the cat in it.
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We have sweetpeas! Just a new, mind, but there are loads of buds on there and they already smell HEAVENLY!

The cat came in and seemed quite agitated. Initially I could not understand why but then looked out the kitchen window.

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The present the cat left me<3

She is quite pleased with herself.

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Next week we are due to get some advice from husband’s union about what to do next and how they can help us.

Unsurprisingly we have been told by the management that his review has to be rearranged due to another meeting being held at his workplace. This is the 6th time this meeting has been rescheduled.

 

Being offer/coupon blind.

Confession time: I am the Coupon Queen. With every flyer we get through the door, I look through them for coupons and cut them out, and I also look out for them online – MoneySavingExpert and the 10 ways to save money as a student group on Facebook also post freebies and coupons from time to time. My wallet and purse are so full of them I periodically sit down and empty both to tidy them out – though I do look at them carefully and would not buy something with them just for the sake of getting the discount. I also may-or-may-not have a loyalty card for every shop/restaurant/coffee shop we use.

After all what is the point of buying something you don’t need now or in future for a ruddy discount? That’s wasteful, wastes out money and perpetuates a consumer culture I don’t want to be a part of. I’m certainly not that person, right?

…Right?

Something occurred to me the other day.

I had been shopping at Tesco in the beginning of May and received a £3 off a £12 spend when buying certain types of prepacked meat. ‘Oh this is great’ thought I, ‘because husband’s birthday is this month and we can use that coupon to buy some nice meat for the dinners I will be making.’ As I was sitting on the bus home, I was thinking about all the nice things I would buy with this coupon, I could buy some nice sausages for a breakfast, some steak for the dinner I was going to make…

The more I thought about it, the more pleased I was that I’d gotten the coupon.

But it then occurred to me that this was not normally the way to do things. I save up our Nectar points to use at Christmas and for birthdays for husband and me and I knew I had a decent amount of points saved so I’d be able to get a load of stuff in for husband’s birthday. That had been the plan originally.

I then realized this was the first step to becoming so coupon crazy, you are not saving money. Buying something for the discount, knowing you can get it better elsewhere because COUPONS! So why would I then choose to go spend money at Tesco, when I could use my Nectar balance to pay for a large majority of our shop at Sainsburys?

The coupon I gave to a colleague and we used our Nectar points on the food shop, saving us £32. Not to mention I got us three sweet packs of bagels at 29p while we were there each which went straight in the freezer.

I have thus coined a new phrase: Being offer/coupon blind. It’s an adjective and it means when someone is so fixated on offers and coupons they buy stuff they don’t need or can get cheaper elsewhere, because they can use a coupon with the false sense of economy that brings.

 

Supporting local businesses AND getting bargains!

Just a quick one; I wanted to share with you what lovely bargains I got today. I had to go to the post office after work to send something we sold on eBay so I decided to go by the fruit and veg stall that is in the square there.

I only work at this site on a Monday but have gotten good bargains there in the past when going by as they are often winding down for the day so sell stuff cheap. In the spring I got two large bags of russet apples from there for £1 each.

Today they were selling three boxes of strawberries for £1 and three packs of donut peaches for £1!

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My lovely bargains! All of this for £2!

I may or may not have felt each peach until I found two that were ripe and eaten them when I got in…

I will certainly go by again next Monday; supporting local businesses, getting stuff cheap AND getting some walking in, what’s not to like?

A manic May.

Today is the first of June – how did May hold up?

 

Good points about May were:

  • We were able to stay under budget again for food, toiletries and stuff for the cat, even with husband’s birthday celebrations. I was able to use all my Nectar points which took off £32 off the shopping for this month. We’ve continued to eat out of the freezer as well which saves on the grocery bill.
  • People’s generosity is like balm for the soul. My sister inlaw has gifted us the rest of her leftover underlay for when we have the floors laid tomorrow and my mother inlaw has gifted us a lemon balm and a chive plant. Husband’s friend gifting him her jigsaw boards and a bunch of jigsaws.
  • Husband had a lovely birthday seeing friends and family over several days. He had lots of presents and feels he is much calmer and relaxed now as he’s had a break.
  • We have both had a week off due to half term, which we both really needed.
  • Getting lovely reduced bargains. Small pleasures but it feels like a treasure hunt for me.
  • The weather has gotten steadily warmer and lighter.

 

Things that could be improved about May were:

  • The absolutely, absolutely rubbish situation at husband’s work, at both workplaces. It has left both of us feeling raw and brought out feelings in me I did now know I even possessed. After discussing our options we will get some legal advice from the union this month.
  • PIP. That is all. It is due in June so have been working steadily on it.

I wonder what June will bring?

(I do know one of the things June brings: The builder and his workmen are coming to lay the floor tomorrow. Need to empty both rooms of stuff tonight.)