Catch of the Day: Lovely reduced food.

Went to the train station to get Husband’s train tickets. Once done I decided to walk by the Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local in town while on my way to my bus stop.

Found these lovely babies:

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My lovely bargains! Husband was delighted at the potato salads and the sausages have gone right in the freezer.
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An Organized October.

So October is over, how did we fare?

Good things about October were:

  • Having Husband’s friends stay over for a night and playing games with them and eating junk. Friends, and especially friends who understand, are balm for the soul. Husband is visiting them this weekend as I am at work. No surprises there.
  • My sister coming to visit me, and us spending two and a half days in London together for my birthday. My sister and her family and my family and Husband’s family have all been go generous. They all gave me spending money and while I initially put things back in the shops, my sister told me to stop doing that, and explained that the people who had gifted me the money would be sad if I didn’t treat myself. So I bought – are you sitting comfortably? Two pairs of shoes, two packs of new tights, three pyjama bottoms and two pyjama tops and! three new bras (let’s face it, when two of your bras are pulled from the washing machine having been ripped apart at the FRONT while being washed, they need to go). We spent two full days shopping, eating good food and talking. My sister also gifted me three pairs of jeans and she also brought….
  • All the food. Seriously, she brought us all the food from home from her and her family! She brought: Two lamb roasts, a whole ham, three big packs of wiener dogs and three packs of bratwursts, a side of smoked salmon, a pack of lean pork and a pack of lamb steak, and a pack of diced beef from the farm. It’s so nice to see the freezer full again and it will help us so much with the food budget.
  • Speaking of which, we were under budget for the food this month – Lidl down the street from us opened after having been closed for a month for refurbishment. They gave everyone a card which got them a free item if they spent £20 a week shopping there so we’ve been going each week.

Things that could have been improved about October were:

  • Husband’s PIP claim being refused completely. We are asking for a mandatory reconsideration.
  • Situation at Husband’s work place still carrying on. He has not had any hours there since the beginning of July and the union solicitors are not sure if they will be able to challenge their behaviour in court. The union are helping us appeal the outcome of the grievance hearing as we were not pleased with the response they gave us. It still seems they have very little insight into how to support someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, and they seem unwilling to take this onboard or get some awareness training. They are saying they will not use casual workers now due to operational costs which is why they say he has not been given any hours. Husband is looking for other work now.
  • Having to deal with some quite challenging behaviour at work from students. Some, who can help it, and some, who can’t.
  • Back at work now full time as uni is back in session as well, and the whole department has had some rather unsettling news about a proposed contract change. I have let the union know a change to my contract is detrimental to me and to us as a family. I will write more about this in a separate post but it has definitely made me and many of my colleagues unsettled and concerned.

All of this stuff, feeling like we are perpetually in limbo, is taking its toll on Husband’s mood and self confidence. It is being slowly eroded, particularly due to the lack of hours and care from his workplace.

Only this week he said he felt blue as he wishes someone had use for him and felt he was of significance. That he can’t ever help out or be useful to anyone.

However there has been one change – when Husband has felt like this in the past (and it has happened not infrequently), he has flat out refused to seek help for it. Now however he has said he will have a few sessions of therapy. Not going to be cheap but if it helps Husband feel better in himself and restore some faith in himself, then it’s worth all the money in the world.

I will end the post on a cute note with a picture of the Cat snuggling up under my scarf.

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‘Oh so this is yours? Cry me a river, human.’

Our back garden after having lived here a year and plans for next year.

Even though we are having a mild October thus far, it cannot be escaped that winter is coming.

We bought the house in February 2016 and our first summer here was spent just getting the house together and coming to terms with that my mother is terminally ill, after we received the news in May 2016 that her cancer is now too far advanced to treat.

So I didn’t do a lot in the garden. I hung washing in it on the line, and that was it.

So this summer I wanted to at least try to grow some things. I decided to try growing some herbs, and I wanted to try some nasturtiums as well. I was also gifted some plants before term ended at the college.

Safe to say, the nasturtiums did very well! But interestingly the ones that did the best were the ones we planted right into the flower bed rather than in the pot. I bought two packs of seeds for £2 and didn’t even use the other pack. I have been eating the leaves in salads and in sandwiches all summer so a very worthwhile investment.

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Nasturtiums just taking over the garden now.
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Look at it! Even the savage sage plant is a dwarf in comparison to the nasturtiums.
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Our bounty; a lone tomato. Gave it to Husband so he could have it in his salad, he said it was lovely and sweet.

Although tomato plants are not perennial, I have decided to try and winter them. I’ll take them to the top floor of our house and cover a section of the floor with newspapers – because they did grow tomatoes eventually and I want to give them a chance.

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Looking a bit forlorn now, I wonder if I can winter them?

For next year I think I will do the following:

  • I have managed to grow nasturtiums (probably through sheer dumb luck); I will try lettuce next year, and sow them as soon as it’s warm enough outside to do it. If my niece can inadvertently grow some by sprinkling some seeds in an unused sink in the garden, then I can do it too!
  • If wintering the tomato plants and pepper plant doesn’t work out I will buy some plants from the garden centre as soon as it’s warm enough. I may also try some cucumber plants next year.
  • Maybe get a fire pit or brazier? We have two deck chairs we have been gifted and it would be nice to sit outside with it in the back yard in the evening.
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The acer in the back yard is starting to turn, looking lovely ^_^

 

Catch of the Day: Delicious reduced food.

Went by the Co-Op yesterday as I had a parcel to collect and found these little babies.

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Got all of this for £1.46! I love the reduced section! Some we had with our soup for dinner and some has gone in the freezer. Bottom Left: The Cat inspects the Catch of the day.
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The Cat enjoyed the Sun yesterday ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Sherwood – meeting new people in our community and avoiding food waste.

Sharing Sherwood hosted their meal again and Husband and I went along – this will be the last one I will be able to attend for some time as I work on a Sunday while the event is on, term time. It’s a shame as I have really enjoyed the previous two times we have been. We are meeting people in the community where we live, and some people who we’ve seen previously came and said hello to us which was lovely as well.

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The menu – All delicious. The French onion soup was lovely!

The food served at Sharing Sherwood is given to them by FareShare; this is food they have collected from Supermarkets that would otherwise have been thrown out. Diners pay a donation when attending and they can also for a donation have some of the surplus food there. The money made from donations and the entry fee is then given to foodbanks in our local area.

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My dinner! Clockwise from noon we have rice, mushroom pasta, onion bhaji, vegetarian curry with quorn.

The next dinner will be held on the 8th of October – maybe Husband and Neighbor will go along.

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Got some lovely food for our donation; think the leftover bhajis will be part of our dinner tomorrow.

 

Silver Squirrels Away – how it started.

We have lived in a precarious situation financially (in my opinion) since we both graduated from higher education in 2010.

I understand that everything is relative and that there are people even in our hometown whose financial situation is far more dire than ours. Nevertheless.

For three years I jobsearched for something permanent. I worked temp jobs, did agency work and summer jobs at home until I got my part time (But PERMANENT!!!!) university gig in the beginning of 2013 and later my other part-time, permanent job at the college in the start of 2014. I also did and still do self-employed work which is as and when it’s required.

Husband could either not find anything at all or worked casual jobs/Christmas temp jobs/summer temp jobs until he got his small part time job in 2013 and his volunteering which became a casual job in 2015.

Not going to go into the amount of crap he had to deal with during his time here, and what we went through as a couple, but may save it for another post. It deserves speaking about in detail.

Like walking around doing my work one night and spotting someone’s plate being put back on the rack in the work cafeteria. It had leftover rice and a naan bread on it. I was so hungry, I was almost at the end of my shift, but didn’t have any more food with me and no money to buy any. The food practically spoke to me. So I looked around. The place was empty. I sat down and ate the leftover food, putting the plate back in the rack before leaving.

During that time I was constantly on the prowl to up our income and to safeguard ourselves in case things went belly up. It involved saying ‘no’ a lot and working out what we could do instead to not do the thing/buy the thing, but to still have a good time.

I still very much do that today, just in case. Still looking over what we spend and looking out for us. Because you never know. Maybe I’ve become jaded but from what we’ve experienced, I don’t trust anything not unless it is in writing. Preferably in someone’s blood.

With my wages, Husband’s wages and the self-employed work I do now, we are keeping it together. But after having lived like this for so long, it’s now become a lifestyle choice, as well as a necessity.

Throughout that time and now, I have continued to ‘squirrel things away’ – doing little things, almost every day, to get us money or gift cards. This includes surveys, doing product trials and focus groups, selling things on eBay, writing reviews. I keep a spreadsheet of what I get and when and I do feel it adds up overall!

So I thought I’d do a few posts about the sites etc. I use and what my experience is with them.

 

Catch of the day: Dining out again at the Sharing Sherwood project.

It’s the second Sunday of the month again, so this evening Husband and I took our neighbour with us and we went to have dinner at the Sharing Sherwood project again.

At the Sharing Sherwood project volunteers cook food given to them by the organization FareShare (they collect food from supermarkets that they would have binned and distributes it to soup kitchens and food banks) and people can come and eat for a donation. The money collected goes to foodbanks in Nottingham.

We had such a lovely time when we went last time and were determined to go back again as it’s such a lovely idea. Last time the donations made plus the entry money totalled £155 – this is a great help for the project as they are hoping to donate at least £100 to each foodbank in December this year from what they’ve made from the dinners.

Hard to imagine that if the food served there had not been snapped up by FareShare it would have been binned by the supermarkets! I have already pencilled in that we’re going next time it’s on in September.

There were fewer people there than last time. We guessed it was because it’s school holidays now and so many of the families who brought their children last time are away on vacation.

 

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Tonight’s menu. All delicious.
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The donations table. You make a donation and then you can help yourself to the food. Someone had also brought in a basket of rhubarb and several giant marrows from their garden to share.
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My lovely dinner! Going clockwise we have a vegetable bake, asparagus, red cabbage, afghan pilau rice and vegetable curry. Topped with fresh chopped coriander. I may have gone back for seconds…
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Our haul from the donations table today, plus one of the marrows. So glad we could go along this time. Need to look up what to do with a giant marrow now!