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 ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

Our visit to Green’s Windmill and Science Centre in Nottingham.

Despite having lived in Nottingham since 2009, I hadn’t visited the Windmill here until last Sunday when husband and I went.

It’s free to visit (donations encouraged) and there is also a community garden next door you can go and look around. There is free car parking, or you can take the red 43 bus there.

Green’s Windmill is a working windmill; it grinds grain and you can buy flour made at the mill on the souvenir shop. The Science Centre has some cool activities which deal with magnets, power and illusions.

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The Windmill
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One of the sails. We were lucky enough to see the windmill in action; they can slow down the speed the sails are turning at, by opening the shutters on them.
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The view from the top of the windmill.
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This is the chute where the grain sacks come up. The sacks have to be hauled to the top floor so the power of the wind is used to pull the sacks up to the top floor. How clever is that?
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Millstone, grinding grain.
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The finished product.
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The community garden next door. Hard to believe this is in the centre of Nottingham.
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The community garden next door.

6 ways to save money some people may find odd.

  • Take husband with you when you go food shopping. No, really! Husband is a stickler for lists and if I try to put something in that is not on the list, he will promptly put it back, stating ‘it’s not on the list.’
  • Keep bread bags, bagel bags, cereal bags when they are empty. Wash them and hang them to dry, to then reuse to wrap food in, or to take lunch to work, or to scoop out the litter tray. I wash mine and hang them on the line outside. Why no, I have no shame, why do you ask?
  • Save aluminum foil. I support the students at work by buying food from them when they do cafes or have a breakfast club and it comes lovingly wrapped in lots of foil. I carefully fold this up and take it home to reuse, for example to put on the cat’s tin of food in the fridge.
  • Cut everything that’s in a plastic bottle up to get the last bits out. Toothpaste tubes? Sure. Conditioner bottles? Yessir! Squeeze mayo? Certainly! Toothpaste tubes I cut off the ends and put my toothbrush in to get the last of it out. Conditioner bottle and condiments bottles I cut into halfway through halfway down the bottle. That way you can fold the bottle over and stop it drying out while you use the rest of the product up. AND it makes it easier to rinse out before you put it in the recycling.
  • Eyeing up piles of stuff that has been dumped or flytipped in your neighbourhood to see if anything is of use. Hey, one man’s junk and all that!
  • Not actually taking any money with you when you are out and about. It’s stopped me spending on more than one occasion as I didn’t have cash and the vendor didn’t take cards.

A Jam-packed June.

Where did June go? It seems to just have whizzed by.

Despite this, June has been a very calm month, which we needed. Calm before the storm methinks, as we have asked the union to send husband’s employer the grievance letter now. Not a moment to soon as his employers continue to be infuriating.

Good things about June has been:

  • The weather has been lovely, meaning we’ve got some gardening on. I was gifted some plants for the garden so will see if I can get those going.
  • We’ve been under budget for the groceries again, which I’m very pleased about. We’ve still got some left of the food my sister’s family gifted us in April and it’s been such a boon to us. I managed to get some lovely reduced food and bargains from the fruit stall near my work. I also managed to snag some freebies with our last shop with Sainsbury’s.
  • Having Sundays free now as term has finished at the uni for the summer. No Sundays at work until October now! Yass!
  • Visiting our friends for a weekend, which was lovely and just what we needed.
  • We managed to list 47 new items on eBay we cleared out from when we did the flooring downstairs, when we had to empty the bookshelves.

Things that could have been improved about June were:

  • Husband’s workplace are still being ridiculous. The second part of his review which was due to happen mid-June was postponed due to a staff meeting and they have not arranged another date. This is the 6th time it has been pushed back. Manager texting husband at midnight to ask if he can work the next day. Husband was pulled to one side this week and was told to get in touch with the union rep as they have been trying to ring them but not getting a reply. They want a meeting arranged so that they can ‘hear what he has been saying to the union about them.’

We’ve had a letter regarding husband’s PIP application to say that Capita will be handling his PIP assessment.

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Hmmmmmm.

Not quite sure how to feel about this.

To finish off, here is a picture of some street art we’ve got at the end of the path by the house:

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I think these are so cool. I especially like the ‘Practice Kindness’ one.

 

 

 

 

Catch of the day: Free plants for the garden!

Just wanted to share with you what I got today:

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Some of the students at the college where I work do gardening as a vocational option, and they grow plants to plant in their garden and some to sell at the summer fayre. These must have been left over as they were giving them away for free today. I got three tomato plants and one pepper plant – score! So pleased I managed to snag a few of these for our back yard.

Just have to work out how to make them grow and not inadvertently kill them now.

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