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 ^_^

 

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A Sundry September.

September has been an interesting month.

Good points about September were:

  • We finally had the PIP assessment and grievance meeting for Husband.
  • Husband has become more confident in cooking and is thinking about more and more recipes he wants to try.
  • We got some lovely bargains reduced at the shop.
  • We were under budget on the old grocery shop. No large part due to the meat and food my sister and her family send with us when we were home in August.
  • We sold some things on eBay, everything helps for the Japan/Good-to-Have Fund!

Things that could be improved about September were:

  • Husband still has not been given any hours at the job where the grievance is. And we’ve had two letters from them which are the most unprofessional ‘professional’ letters we have ever seen, so with support of the union we will appeal their decision. This impacts on Husband’s mental health a great deal.
  • PIP still drags on. We rang them on the 10th of May to get this started so it seems to take a long time. DWP sent us their decision letter on the 28th of September. Their decision is to not award Husband PIP, and in each category, they have scored Husband 0 out of 8 or 12 points, meaning they don’t feel he needs support in these areas. I am changing between feeling tearful and incandescent about this. We are having the mandatory reconsideration and then going to tribunal about this. It does make me wonder what happens to people who don’t have anyone to advocate for them.

 

 

 

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.

 

An Assorted August.

Well! Back to work with a bang now. Term starts at the college on the 4th of September and I’ve been back at work since the 30th.

It’s been a mixed-bag summer and an Assorted August.

Good points about August were:

  • Visited Husband’s friend and fiance for a weekend, something he really needed. Feeling wanted and like he matters is so important for him.
  • Still being on vacation. I had a chance to relax and bar a few things I was able to do most of what I wanted on my list.
  • Visiting family back home in Norway for a week. We were able to visit my sister, brother, my mother and my best friend and her family in the space of a week. We were able to attend my brother’s Summer Festival at his house where he served home made chili and garlic sausages and homebrewed beer and cider. I was able to go to a flea market with my sister, just her and me. Husband had a lovely time and felt very calm when returning home; he spent a lot of time with my nephews which he enjoyed.
  • My sister and her family are so generous. Going back to the UK she sent 11 kilos of food with us and several pieces of clothing that she no longer wanted. Great for our food budget and great for me, as I’ve lost weight and now only two pairs of trousers fit me. Husband was finally given his 30th birthday present from them (it was a surprise) – a new computer they’d upgraded with more fans, space and a very good graphics card. He has spent the time since we got back tinkering with it and installing games on it.
  • We were under budget for our grocery spend again ❤

 

Things that could have been improved about August were:

  • Husband’s mental health and how upset he is about how work are treating him. Since my July post about his work, he has not been given any hours, so as of today he has not been given any hours for over a month. Going in at the beginning of the month with his time sheet and finding new staff there did not help either. So August has been spent spending time with him and family, trying to distract him from how rubbish he is feeling. It is really eroding his self-confidence and his faith in himself now. Words fail me in describing how upset I am about this and how I can tell it’s affecting him.
  • While at my brother’s party in Norway, something bit me on the leg; probably mosquitoes. The inside of my right ankle turned purplish-red and the whole ankle swelled up. The day after we got back it was so swollen and painful I couldn’t stand on it at all and so Husband went to the pharmacy for some advice. He came back with some hydro-cortisone cream and antihistamines to get it to calm down but it was still just as angry the day after, so went back to the pharmacy after work and asked if they could give me anything else for it. They took a look and advised going to the doctors as they were concerned it could have gotten infected. I went and was prescribed Flucloxacillin.  Am on it now and feel better already but buying the medicines has set us back £13.80. I understand, needs must, but not really what we need right now with Husband not working very much at all. Unexpected expenses are frustrating.

We are due to have Husband assessed for PIP on Monday and the day after we are meeting with Husband’s workplace together with the union to discuss his grievance. I would be lying if I said I was not anxious about these things but have to hold it together. For Husband’s sake.

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!