Skintember, week 4.

You can read about week 11, 2 and 3. If you wish.

Monday, 24th of September.
Husband had to leave the house at 5.30am for work today, so I made breakfast and lunches while trying to open my eyes. After I’d seen him off I made the decision to try and get more sleep before having to get up for work- managed to get some, which was good as I felt more rested. Weather was nice and sunny today so pegged washing out before going to work.
Walked to and from work today, was lovely!
Was largely left to my own devices at work today which was frustrating, as I had to deal with many different queries while trying to complete a to-do list- not very professional looking when you have to keep referring to the manual while someone is waiting at the desk!
I know I will do better as I become more familiar with their systems and procedures, but it’s no fun being the new hire.
Rescued two lovely apples my colleagues were about to throw out as they were ‘tidying the fridge’.
Posted two eBay parcels, and bought some milk after work. Came home to find a letter from HMRC stating they can’t take my underpaid tax out of my tax code after all, so have to find £279 for them. Smells like a job for a Wednesday.
Checked both our bank accounts today, PIP has still not gone in. 😦

Tuesday, 25th of September.
Walked to and from work again today as the weather was nice, felt really good to walk in the nice weather, plus, it was free!
Took some cawl and melon with me to work for lunch. Think tomorrow will be the last portion of it I will eat as there is so little left.
We were supposed to go out after work but other party had to work, so got moved to Wednesday. Thank goodness I had the foresight to prep some stuff on Sunday night as I got in and Husband was hungry, so got the dinner ready quickly.
Looking through my cupboards I noticed we still have a pack of tea rusks I haven’t used yet. If there are still apples that can be foraged nearby, I may have an idea…

Wednesday, 26th of September.
Day off today.

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The Cat, being snug.

While Husband was out this morning, I went for a walk to the nearby park and foraged some apples. It was so peaceful being out in the morning and just watching the world wake up.

Note to self – do not being Husband along to buy food if he is hungry as it means buying stuff not on the list! Two pesto foccacias and four tins of mushrooms later, we managed to get out of the shop. A bit cheesed off as we have plenty of food at home to eat, but Husband couldn’t wait.
That was my last day on my bus pass. It is now officially empty. Need to work out if cheaper to buy all-day tickets as I won’t be using it as much now, or to get it topped up again.

That evening we went out with Husband’s parents, Keeping Up Appearances meant going along and buying a meal for us each.

Got some freebies through the Shopmium app which will be really interesting to try:

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Got all of this, for free through Shopmium! May do a review of the app sometime.

Thursday, 27th of September.
Large grocery shop arrived from Sainsbury’s this evening, which should keep us going for quite a while for protein and carbs. Also bought cleaning stuff and a great big box of washing powder. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but I feel that our money can buy us less and less in the shops. Thinking back I felt our money stretched much further in terms of buying groceries in the past.
EDIT: Having just added up our grocery spend for September, we are now £20 OVER budget. How? Why?

Friday, 28th of September.
Well they must clearly trust me at new weekday job, as I was left completely on my own there, all day! Had a good read of the intranet and found out we may both be eligible for a reduced price bus pass as we both work in the health service now. Will investigate this once I receive all my details so I can apply.
Neighbour asked if I wanted to go out and have tea before showing me the cat feeding routine for when they go away. Keeping Up Appearances meant accepting, but paid in cash from our stash in the piggy bank.

Saturday, 29th of September.
First day back at weekend job today. A colleague very kindly brought in homemade food and goodies, and there were leftovers from a weekday event. Also rescued two yogurts my colleagues were going to bin and had them as part of my lunch together with the food already there so that saved some of our food at home.
Returned my library books and found a new one to borrow.
img_20180929_122843.jpgHad a notification from Shopmium I could get some toffee popcorn for free, so went by and bought it after work.
Came home to find an email from our energy provider to say prices are going up in November>:(

Sunday, 30th of September.
Last Sunday off for quite some time, next week I’ll be back working six days a week. Did some jobs around the house, tried to do laundry but it started to drizzle to brought it inside. Emptied my inbox of surveys, paid the credit card bill, did self-employed work and updated our grocery spreadsheet, and relisted the items that didn’t sell on eBay.
Husband still hasn’t been paid, which is odd.

I managed to use the apples for the idea I had: To try and make Veiled Country Lasses. It’s a Scandinavian dessert, a dish with apple sauce in the bottom, then a layer of bread crumbs/cake/crumbs/crushed cookies or gingerbread biscuits, and a layer of whipped cream on top. I even managed to make three jars in addition to the dish of it, which I can send with Husband to work.


A great way to end the week. So chuffed with myself I have learnt to make this. It used up apples I had foraged, plus some Indian toast we were given I had no idea what to do with. Score!

Onwards, to Austerity October.

 

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Skintember, week 3.

(If you haven’t, you can read about the first and second week as well.)

Monday, 17th of September.
First day at new job. Small team, I make up the 5th person on there. Seems very calm and professional, a very big change to the ridiculous and horrid behaviour I encountered in previous weekday job. I think I will like it there once I have become familiar with all their procedures and ways of doing things.
They had a fuddle the previous week and had loads of leftover food which they encouraged to help myself to, so I shall. That will really help with conserving food for lunches.
Had an email to say a video I did for a panel I am part of has been received, will receive a £50 Amazon voucher for that. Once it arrives I will add it to the Christmas stash.
Husband was at work until late so I did some errands after work.

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Fromage frais, courtesy of Olio, and the snack mix and bakes I got for free through the Shopmium app.

Going to the kitchen to make dinner, I discovered that I had forgotten to refrigerate the last of the shepherd’s pie I made on Sunday. It had been left in room temperature all day! So cross with myself for forgetting! Debating to throw it out, but decided to chance it and have it myself for dinner the following day.
When Husband came home from work, he was in such a distressed state. I have never seen him so upset.
By the time he had calmed down enough to eat something and we had unravelled what was wrong so we could talk it through and go to bed, it was 1.45am. Work starts at 9am.

Tuesday, 18th of September.
Struggling to keep my eyes open most of the day. Had to be switched on, as second day at new job and having to absorb ALL the information.
Even though new workplace isn’t far away and I have made a decision to walk there to move around more, made the decision that to get as much sleep as possible was a priority so set alarm for as late as I could. Got up, got ready while throwing food into my mouth and making our lunches before dashing to the bus.
Ate leftovers at work as a big part of my lunch to save on stuff at home.
I am part of a Recycle and Free Facebook group for our local area – someone put out they had lots of empty pots and seedling trays, which they kindly gifted me for free. Went by and collected them after work.

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All set for trying to grow things next year! And all for free – my favourite price.

Decided to eat the shepherd’s pie as it looked, smelled and tasted fine after nuking it in the microwave on high for 10 minutes.
Came home to find an email explaining that a hotel we stayed at earlier this year had been the subject of a phishing attack which may have exposed our credit card details. Logged in and couldn’t see any unusual activity, all the same, promptly rang the credit card company to cancel the card. A shame, as I would have used it this week to pay the Council Tax (want them delicious ClubCard points!).

Husband had a much better day at work today.

Wednesday, 19th of September.
Still here, despite eating the shepherd’s pie.
Day off today. This will be my day off in the week now, rather than Tuesday.
Today is our anniversary. We have been an item for 12 years now!
Spent the morning resting, doing stuff around the house and emptying my inbox of surveys.
Really pleased with myself – had a tiny blob of honey in a jar that had crystallised. Did not want to throw it out so boiled water and poured it in, getting it all to dissolve, then made tea with it for myself. Using it up and using it for something worthwhile.
As it was our anniversary, I made us some marinated chicken I’d gotten reduced the other week, couscous and salad.

Thursday, 20th of September.
Rain chucking it down today, so took the bus to and from work. Again. Must try and walk tomorrow as only have 2 days left on bus pass.
Still lots of leftovers so that meant lunch was mostly sorted for me. Dinner was cawl and bread – gosh that pot of soup I made has made a lot of lunches and dinner for me (Husband was offered it and wasn’t interested, which is fair enough).
Had an email from the flooring company letting me know the floor has arrived in store for tomorrow. Thank goodness I read the small print as it says they will remove the floor for a fee! They didn’t tell me that when I asked them to fit it, that it would cost us for them to pull it up for us! Guess I’d better get the scissors and get that lino out then! 😡 Also got the hoover out and dusted and hoovered the office.
I had an email from Sainsbury’s saying I could have £8 off a £50 online grocery shop, so decided to take advantage of that with another coupon I had, for delivery next Thursday. Spent £60 but with coupons it was £43. I ensured I bought worthwhile, bulky stuff, so we will be set for meat for the next month and also got four bags of cat litter. Saves me carrying it home as delivery was only £1!

Friday, 21st of September.
Last day at work before the weekend. Leftovers at work still tiding me over.
Walked to work and back! Walking there took about 20 minutes and the sun was shining and got some music on my ear, so it was really enjoyable…naturally the heavens opened as I was leaving work. Resisted the urge to take the bus, and walked anyway, so feeling quite proud of myself for persevering and walking even though the weather was pants. Next week the weather should be better so will walk more to work.
Bathroom is finally, finally done as the floor was laid today.
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Saturday, 22nd of September.
Rest day today. This is the last full weekend I have off before I return to work at the university so will spent the weekend relaxing and doing stuff around the house. Got paycheck from weekend job so that tops up the bank account. Paid the council tax for this month. Continued clearing my inbox of surveys.
Went grocery shopping (remembering to check my Tesco gift cards this time before spending!), collected Husband’s prescription from the pharmacy, posted two eBay sales  and managed to get to Foodprint.

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So grateful Foodprint exists. This cost us £2.90. Lots of bread for Husband’s lunches and treats for work, plus got a nice bunch of flowers to gift.

We were invited to our former neighbor’s house for dinner, so Keeping Up Appearances meant bringing a gift. Got a lovely bunch of flowers from Foodprint and some chocolates using my gift cards. Also packed some of our games for us to play after dinner. We had a lovely time and it gave Husband a change of scene which I think he enjoyed.

Sunday, 23rd of September.
Another very chill day at home. Did some tasks I’d put off for a while like taking the laundry down from upstairs and folding it and putting it away, and organizing and cleaning the shelf next to the bathroom with all our towels and toiletries on. Dinner tonight was lots of different bits of leftovers we had, which Husband thought was delicious ❤

Early night today as Husband has to be at work for 6am tomorrow.

Onwards, to week four of Skintember.

 

 

 

 

Skintember, week 2.

(The first week of Skintember can be found here.)

Monday, 10th of September.
No letter about PIP in the post today.
Made a crumble with ingredients we had at home to take with us, bought some custard, and then we went to see Husband’s younger sister for the afternoon. As she lives in the next town over it costs to travel by bus to see her but Keeping up Appearances meant I felt we should go visit. She gave us some coleslaw to take home as neither of them eat it. Husband was peckish despite me packing snacks and drinks, so bought two tubs of Pringles.

Tuesday, 11th of September.
Finally had the decision letter through in the post – Husband has been awarded PIP<3. Had a friend visit that we hadn’t seen in ten years. We were gifted a tin of corned beef which had served as a deterrent after being left in a house share where the tenants were vegetarian.
Keeping up Appearances meant we went out for lunch, to Kitty Cafe. I paid for the entrance fee for us and our friend paid for our lunch which was very generous.
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Wednesday, 12th of September.
Most of today was spent supporting Husband as his mood was very low. Wednesday was spent doing things around the house and working on eBay listings, as I won’t have the time or patience to do many of these once I am back in work. Doing tasks that meant I could be close to him.
Had a letter through letting us know the annual gas safety check for the boiler is due, will cost £75, and when can we book an appointment? Had a giggle and then filed it away in ‘To do when we are not skint’.
Husband’s friend is really going through a bad time with change of medication for pain management, so we ordered a takeaway for her so she wouldn’t have to cook.

Thursday, 13th of September.
Spent today working on eBay listings. Have sold two things so will post those this weekend.

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Lovely cawl for lunch, with sourdough bread cheese toastie.

Neighbour has come home from vacation and asked if I wanted to come by and sit in the garden. Had a nice afternoon sitting with her and her cats and just decompressing, while being fed lovely treats and given tea.

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Decided to roast the small butternut squash I got from Foodprint, it turned out delicious. I love these rich fall colours fruit and veg have.

Went to Co-Op to see if they had any reduced bargains, but think I went too early as there were reductions but nothing that caught my eye. This was at 8.30pm so maybe go at 9pm next time?
Got Husband a nice pasty for 25p which will form part of his dinner tomorrow.
Paid student loan instalment and invoiced for the media analysis work I have done this month.

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Wanted to try and grow stuff in water and then pot it out, so pleased with these spring onions! This is after a week and a half in a small container in water I changed daily.

Friday, 14th of September.
Husband had appointment with employment advisor today, all-day ticket is £5. Fortunately for us, they reimburse your travel expenses. They also reimburse expenses associated with with and have let us know they can reimburse Husband for the DBS check he needed to start.
Keeping Up Appearances meant I encouraged Husband to remember to get his ticket reimbursed so he could treat himself for lunch if he wanted. Bless him, be brought us fried chicken home he insisted on sharing with me for lunch.

Checked bank account balance, Paypal has gone in and Arriva Trains Wales have reimbursed us for the delay when we travelled to see Husband’s sister in Wales. That will tide us over for a bit.
Did washing, changed the sheets and gave a laundry basket Husband’s sister has given us a really good scrub.
Went food shopping using the all-day ticket Husband had bought saving me using my bus pass, sadly Foodprint had to close early so was shut. Spent some of my Boots Advantage Card points on deodorants for Husband as he’d run out. Went to Tesco to buy some groceries- had a nasty surprise at the checkout as one of the gift cards I wanted to pay with was empty, so had to pay in cash much to my annoyance. Will ensure I check at the kiosk before I go shopping next time, so I know I have the balance I need to cover what I buy.

Finished putting up all my eBay listings, over 100 of them! YES!

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The Cat came and had a snuggle ❤

Saturday, 15th of September.
We were meeting up with our neighbors from the terrace in the Wetherspoon across the main road. Keeping Up Appearances meant we went along and had breakfast. I chose a standard breakfast rather than a large, which came with unlimited tea refills. Naturally I had 3!
Got Finance questionnaire through the post to fill in, once done and sent back I’ll get a £15 Amazon voucher which will be added to the Christmas stash.
Went to the post office to send 2 eBay sales off, and walked by the shops coming back. Got some reduced bananas and in Wilkos they had their end of season sale.

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So pleased with these, good dates and everything. Can’t go wrong with 10p for a seed packet! I am determined to grow more things next year so these should be good to try.

Sunday, 16th of September.

Today has been spent doing stuff around the house – laundry, folding stuff, emptying my in-tray, things I won’t have the will to do when I’m in work. Made lunches for us both and a shepherd’s pie style dish for dinner. Ensuring the kitchen is clean and dishes done for when I get back Monday night.

I start my new job tomorrow!

You can read all about week three of Skintember here.

 

 

Skintember, week 1.

We are officially skint.

Self-inflicted, but all the same.

Paying the credit card bill off and the workmen to have our bathroom renovated, combined with me needing new glasses and starting a new job and probably not getting paid for that until the end of October equals a very skint September and possibly a very lean October.

Need to use as little money as possible as we need what’s in my account to pay for the mortgage, council tax, utility bill, internet, phone.

As I am writing this I also have remembered and strongly suspect the water bill will come in October as well. Drat.

Nevermind. We have plenty of food in the house and vouchers to use up so will treat it as a challenge.
Part of the challenge involves Husband not becoming aware of how tight things are, as he will be upset and worried.

Saturday, 1st of September.
Went to Foodprint and got some lovely food, plus instant noodles from the ethnic food store.

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Lots of lovely food. This cost us £3.75.

Sunday, 2nd of September.
Keeping up appearances means going to restaurant with Husband’s family and having dinner out.

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Really nice and unique chandelier hanging above our table.

Monday, 3rd of September.
Paid the credit card bill in full and the first half of the bill from the workmen.

 

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Made some stock from the leftover chicken carcass, with herbs from the garden.
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Returned these to the library on time to avoid accruing fines.

Tuesday, 4th of September.
Husband had to have a 24 EEG with the recorder put on him for him to wear a full day and night, to monitor his epilepsy. Husband’s parents very kindly met him at the hospital and drove him home. Made spaghetti bolognese as per his request as he was feeling miserable having to wear it, but thought I was stuck as we did not seem to have any tinned tomatoes at home. Found a tin of cream of tomato soup and added that instead which was a great success and very tasty!

Wednesday, 5th of September.
Husband had the EEG taken off – had to send him in a taxi to hospital and a. I was busy and b. he naturally did not want to go on public transport and be stared at. Paid the second half of the bill for the renovations. Spent some of our vouchers at Sainsbury’s (getting a pack of stew vegetables for 40p!)  and collected some free food from Olio. Posted stuff we have sold on eBay.

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Lovely food from Olio. Free and not wasted. My favourite kind.

Thursday, 6th of September.
The day before our PIP tribunal hearing. Spent the day distracting myself with YouTube videos and starting the cleaning of and taking stock of our kitchen cupboards, before tidying and cleaning the rest of the house to get it back in order after having the workmen here. Went by Tesco and used our vouchers for some food, including a bunch of mini donuts for 26p.

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All neat and back in now. Plus it has given me a lot of meal ideas.

Friday, 7th of September.
PIP tribunal hearing today.
Husband’s mother very kindly offered to buy us a hot drink and cakes afterwards, and we sat and just decompressed for a while after the hearing. Husband wanted to go to the cinema to see the Happytime Murders to unwind and take his mind off things, so used Tesco Clubcard vouchers to get cinema tickets. Used voucher to get us drinks from Tesco and had remembered mini donuts so brought those to the cinema.
Was feeling wiped out so we had a takeaway afterwards – got cashback for the order so while not very saintly, it did help with the cost.

Saturday, 8th of September.
Bought food from Foodprint (Three of the items I had to bin when I came home as had gone mouldy! 😡 Must remember to check things thoroughly before buying baked goods!). Posted stuff we have sold on eBay.
As weather was pants and will be pants for most of next week, I made a huge casserole of cawl. I grew fond of this after trying it in Wales. It’s mutton or beef soup with leeks, potatoes and root vegetables in it.

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Cawl in progress. Made with super cheap stew pack of vegetables, homemade stock and salted mutton gifted to us by my sister and her husband. Mr. Stabby is supervising.

Was going to bed when suddenly sat upright remembered that the overpayment is still applied to the mortgage and that it’s due to go out next week. Tried to call bank but was closed.

Sunday, 9th of September.
Called the bank, changes to overpayments has to be done within a certain number of working days for it to be applied. So will be taken in full this month but will be reduced from the next month onwards. Made a request for a withdrawal from Topcashback and then from PayPal to ensure we have enough in the account for when that goes out.

Finished cleaning and tidying the kitchen cupboard and hung out the laundry.
Sharing Sherwood was on today so to keep up appearances and in a bid to distract myself from waiting for that dreaded brown envelope to arrive we decided to go.

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Tonight’s menu, all lovely and delicious.
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Got lovely surplus food and leftovers from Sharing Sherwood.

We are ok for next week, foodwise.
I will continue to write the listings for eBay, as the end is in sight to get all the listings I lost back onto the website.

Tomorrow we are travelling down to visit Husband’s sister; in a bid to be frugal and to be able to bring something with us to share I will get up early and make a crumble.

Here’s to hoping we get a brown envelope with some good news tomorrow, and that next week will be plain sailing.

You can read about our next week here.

 

 

An ambivalent August.

Here we are, already in September – where did August go?

What was good about August was:

  • We had a chance to travel and visit new places. We visited Husband’s sister and husband in Wales, and had a chance to visit Stonebridge City Farm and Newstead Abbey, two places I have never been before. I think the idea of being a tourist in your own town or local area is underestimated!
  • We were under on the grocery budget again and have done quite well this month. Foodprint, Olio and reductions have all played their part. The garden is also coming along well.
  • As we are out of term now, I have spent a lot of time doing stuff around the house which I normally don’t have time for. I am almost done dusting all the blinds and using the brush behind the radiators in the house. Ebay is also going well as I have set myself the goal of relisting everything that was deleted off the site in spring.
  • I got reblogged, plus a blog nomination from the lovely LittleSeaBear! In the process of doing a fuller post about this as we speak.

Things that could have been improved about August were:

  • The effect of Husband’s medicine change for his epilepsy medicines is still being felt by us both, leaving him feeling very tired and flat all the time. A visit to do a blood test he needed to see how his values were to check if his dose needed adjusting went horribly wrong. This has left him feeling frustrated with himself and me feeling trapped, at times. Caring for someone can be a very lonely place.
  • Not really something that can be improved but all the same: We had a letter to say that Husband’s second round at court for the PIP tribunal hearing will be held in the first week of September.

And somewhere in the middle is that the work has started on renovating our bathroom.

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No way back now!

Suddenly realised yesterday that with paying for the bathroom and paying the credit card bill in full, combined with that new job won’t pay me until the end of October, equals a very tight September and October for us.

In fact, it may well be a Skint September.

One of the things on my summer projects list is to clean and go through the kitchen from top to bottom, sorting our shelves out.

This will give me a good idea of what we’ve got in the house so we spend as little as possible. This might be the time to whip out the gift vouchers I have been saving from my surveying as well. I will also endeavour to go to Foodprint once a week to help us out. I went on Saturday and got lots of lovely food for very little money.

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Foodprint coming through for us again. This cost us £3.75.

Update from the garden, and some thrifty scores from this week.

I wanted to show you how the garden is coming along.

Remember how I showed you these little babies earlier in the year?

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Well this is what the back yard looks like now:
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Really pleased with how things have turned out this year, things are actually growing, no small feat! New purchases this year are the marjoram (pale green pot) and the mint next to it.
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I got these lovely tomato plants for free through Olio, a food sharing app.
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So proud of myself. Can’t believe I have grown this lovely plant from a seed all by myself.
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Aaaah! We have tomatoes! And more than one!

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Sage, still being savage. The Cat for comparison.

I think I have learnt a lot this year about gardening and what to do.

One thing I will need to do for next year is plant early. Start with planting seeds indoors to give them a better chance once they are outside. I have even saved some seeds from melons and bellpeppers to try out. And I’ll do tomatoes and nasturtiums again for sure as these seeds I bought have really done well.

Apart from that, just making sure you water them every day. I have also done some water conservancy in this regard by saving up the water we have used to rinse fruit and vegetables in, and water used to cook vegetables/potatoes/pasta has also been used. And water from the Cat’s bowl.

Thursday I traveled to Loughborough as they have a market on, Thursdays and Saturdays, where they sell bits and pieces, but mostly food.

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Support your local businesses! This cost me £7.50 and there’s nothing quite like going round a market, with the different stalls and people hawking their wares.

Yesterday after receiving my unconditional job offer and therefore handing in my notice at the college (Yes!) I swung by the Tesco Express to see if there were any bargains going, and managed to get these lovely beauties:

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Lovely food, all gone in the freezer. This cost me 80p!

This week we are visiting Husband’s sister in Wales. Husband needs some time away, and to have some peace and quiet, so this will be just the ticket.

EDIT: Forgot to show you the card I bought Husband for our anniversary. I got this one from Thortful:

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A jumbled July.

July has come and gone and we are now in August. How did we do?

Good things about July were:

  • I had a chance to go home and see my family at the beginning of the month, which was lovely. I visited my mother and siblings, and met up with several people from school, and met my best friend twice. Sister and her husband also sent me home with a lot of lovely food which has helped us a lot.
  • Work has finished for the year which has meant Husband and I have been able to spend more time together as I’ve been home more. The weather has been hot and sunny which I love (and Husband hates). We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this month with a takeaway.
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  • We were once again under on our grocery budget, even with a £60 online food shop at the start of the month with Sainsbury’s (so naturally I ordered six bags of cat litter, the less I have to carry home the better!). Foodprint has helped a lot on the budget, and I started using Olio. I also went and foraged near our home and found lots of blackberries.
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    Still got some reduced bargains.
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    Foodprint has really helped us live healthily this month.

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    The bread and pastries came through the Olio app which is an app where people share surplus food for free. If I have time to carry on using it I might do a post about it.

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    Went foraging last week and found these lovely blackberries. There is more left, just needs to ripen first.
  • Another things that went on behind the scenes is that I have got a new job! I will work at the medical library at the local hospital in the week. This replaces the library job I have at the further education college (my weekday job). I predict that the work will be more academic (finding journal articles for consultants etc.) and the likelihood of being called names by our users is significantly reduced. I am waiting for HR to agree to a start date and then I will hand in my notice. Another perk is that this job is within walking distance to the house. This is important.

Things that could have been improved about July were:

  • We went to Husband’s tribunal hearing for PIP after over a year of waiting for it to be resolved. However due to Husband’s distress and the discrepancy between the DWP report about him and what we put on the form, the court decided to adjourn to access Husband’s medical records to get a more complete picture. They have 30 days from the day of the tribunal hearing to do this and then they will call us back in. So we are still waiting.
  • Husband has had to have a change in the dose and kind of epilepsy medicine he takes, as the one he was on made the ammonia levels in his blood unacceptably high. This change has left him feeling very tired and out of sorts, and so he has spent a lot of time resting and going to bed early as feeling tired brings on myoclonic jerks.
  • Having time off has meant eating a lot of good food and not moving around as much as I usually do, so have gained weight. Hopefully this will shift when I start my new job as I can walk to and from work, combined with bringing healthy lunches to work again. At my former job we have a standing desk and I will miss that sorely as, let’s face it, a lot of people, me included, sit far too much during our day.

I wonder what August will bring?

My week in Norway.

As I finished for the summer at one of my jobs early this year, I took the chance to travel home for a week to see my family.

I wanted to get the chance to see them now, as I am unsure I will be able to see them for some time with Husband needing me to support him through the changes in his medication.

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Sister’s farm. They are dairy farmers. Home, sweet home.

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Three of the heifers on the farm. Southern Norway has much like a lot of Europe not had any rain for weeks now and farmers are pulling their hair out as they desperately need rain for their animal feed to grow. Sister and brother in-law are currently at a third of the food they need for the winter and have had to cut all the grain they planted to use for animal food. If they don’t have a significant amount of rain this or next week, they will have to start sending animals to the abattoir as they can’t have livestock and not be able to feed them.

One tip I would like to share: If you’re on summer vacation in Vestfold County, the bus company there sells the Vestfold Card. You can buy it onboard or at their bus offices and gives you limitless travel for one week within Vestfold County for 110 NOK. Travelling one way to see my mother cost 60 NOK alone so it’s a great way to get around and save money.

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My Vestfold Card – great value for money ^_^

Spending time with family and friends was lovely – I got to see two ladies I hadn’t seen since leaving high school and spent two mornings with my best friend.
I also ate and drunk far too much, so it’s back in the saddle with sensible eating now that I am home.
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A very Norwegian thing to do in the summer and something I miss over here: Eating prawns. You defrost them (if frozen),and sit and peel enough to put on a slice of bread you have buttered. Add some mayo and dill (and lemon juice if you like), just heavenly.

There has been a lot of talk in the UK about reintroducing the bottle deposit for plastic bottles to ensure they get recycled. I think this a great idea – it’s something we do in Norway and it means 97 per cent of plastic and metal drinks containers get recycled.

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The large majority of bottles and cans produced in Norway will have the Pant icon on it and the value which means it can be returned and you get the deposit back. For smaller bottles and cans it’s 1 NOK you get back, for larger ones it is 2.50 NOK for each.
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Return them at the deposit machine, found in the very large majority of grocery stores. Just put them in the hole and press the green button when done to get your voucher.
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Take your voucher to the checkout and they will pay out the amount on the receipt.
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Result! So 13 bottles got me 13 NOK, about £1.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have a chance to visit again.

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A jovial June.

Gosh where does the time go? We’re already in July!

Good things about June were:

  • The weather has been lovely and sunny – well, that is, for me. Husband doesn’t tolerate the heat well. It does help my mood, I can really tell, when it is bright and sunny outside. We had a lovely morning in Wollaton Park and I got a chance to see NTU’s Brackenhurst Campus. I have done so many loads of washing as I can just peg them out.

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    At least the Cat is enjoying the sunshine.
  • We’ve tidied up the front garden and had bespoke cupboards fitted in the bedroom, lots ot lovely storage for us now!
  • After waiting more than a year, we now have a date for Husband’s PIP tribunal date. It will take place on July 13th. They have asked us to send in anything else we would like to court to consider, so last week I sent in two letters from the hospital, one letter from Husband’s therapist and one from Husband’s employment support worker.
  • We have continued to stay under budget, food-wise. This has been due to Foodprint, buying reduced bargains and saving food from being thrown out. Twice at work this month I have come into the staffroom to find people throwing food away, simply because it was beyond the expiry date – as in they didn’t check to see if the food could still be eaten. They were being dictated to by the date on the pack. I immediately volunteered to take the food home where it was a welcome addition to our meals.
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    Lots of lovely bargains, helping our budget, and more food saved from the bin from Foodprint.

Things that could have improved about June was that Husband’s dose of Epilim was reduced to help some symptoms he was experiencing – this we had agreed to but it was to be done in a way so I could be at home and support him with it.

As it was, it was done suddenly and it meant he had to stay home from work for five days, and I for three, as he felt too unwell to go in and I didn’t want to leave him that way on his own. Husband is better now but I am quite cross that we were put in this situation as I was very worried about him and there wasn’t really anyone who I could ask about if this was normal and could be expected. In addition to this it meant I lost three day’s worth of wages as dependents leave is now unpaid at my weekday job.

My weekday job seems to be imploding now, with more and more people leaving or looking to leave as it’s becoming harder and harder to work there. I am in the same boat now.

July should be very interesting.

Art in the Community: Sherwood Art Week.

The area Husband and I live in is called Sherwood and once a year local artists together with local businesses do a week-long event called the Sherwood Art Week.

Local artists display their work in business windows here and there are free art events being done at the community centre, generating interest for their art and for local businesses, a win-win!

Stuff like this is why I am so pleased we live here and have managed to purchase our own home in this area.

Here are some of the displays I saw last week while running some errands.

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