Frugal Friday #8 Blanket & Books

Sorry I’m a tad late this week… I have been hibernating! This cold weather has not been pleasant has it?

Rather than shelling out on putting the heating on for long in the evenings this week, I have been going to bed early with a pile of books and some extra blankets, plus my electric under-blanket; at only a penny a night to run it is one of my best ever birthday presents!

Normally my bed looks like this:

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Please excuse the mess under the bed – i’ts a small flat with minimal storage!

Or this…

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This week however…

blankets and books
The Michael Palin Diaries are signed by the wonderful man himself 🙂

It has been utter bliss!

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Monday Meals #8 – Brrrrrr…..

It’s a tad on the chilly side at the moment and as I had a coupe of chums for dinner over the weekend I rustled up a lovely warming low cooker beef stew with herby dumplings, followed by a homemade rice pudding made with soy milk as one has milk intolerance

It was a great success, they both had seconds! Unfortunately we were enjoying ourselves so much I forgot to take a photo of any of it, so you’ll just have to take my word about how yummy it was

There was sufficient for me to have leftovers again tonight; especially as I forgot to serve  the mash I’d made to go with it

This week I shall be eating more of my homemade soup as it really does warm me up on a cold day

In lieu of a foodie photo, have this instead… it is representative of how I looked most of yesterday (I’ve found recovering from a late night with wine takes a lot longer these days!)

bad day-week

 

 

Frugal Friday #7 Loo rolls & Lurpak

There are some things I am pernickety about; the top two are loo roll and Lurpak

When my son was small, I was on a really tight budget and couldn’t afford to buy ‘posh’ things like Lurpak or decent loo roll

One of my biggest annoyances and worries was that I’d run out of loo roll,  so in recent years I have a tendency to stockpile it; having at least one multi-pack in a cupboard makes me feel safe

So now, whenever Lurpak, or Sainsbury’s Supersoft (my favourite loo roll – I love the narrow tube in the centre) are on offer, if I can get them without using a credit card I tend go a tad overboard

Tonight I had 3 packs of 16 loo rolls in my Sainsbury’s delivery… it will be a challenge finding somewhere to put them all discreetly away in my tiny flat, but I don’t care; bulk buying saves me money and makes happy!

supersoft

 

Monday Meals#7 – Aldi Rocks!

I can’t help loving Aldi – super 6 veg, sachets of quinoa, rice, couscous… all at a fraction of the cost of other supermarkets

No matter how hard I try and how many people try to teach me, I just cannot cook rice! Luckily my lovely son introduced me to the miracle of sachets of microwavable rice. Light, fluffy well cooked rice in just 2 minutes… hurrah!

All I have to do is to avoid the central aisles of temptation when I nip in for my groceries

Tonight I’m trying a new to me quinoa with some random UFO (Unidentified Frozen Object) that could be chicken or it could be fish… life is an adventure chez moi!

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Frugal Friday #6 – Best Freebie ever?

I have always been a bit of  mad cat lady, having had one up until a few years ago. I miss having a cat, but they aren’t exactly cheap t run when you are on a frugal budget

I am also very fussy about hairdressers… iIn all my 50 odd years I have only found about 3 hairdressers I really trust, and my most recent one only went and had a baby. Whilst the baby is cute and I am really happy for her, I have been miffed that my hair doesn’t look as good as it did a year and half ago

Back in October, the hairdresser who had the baby posted on Facebook asking for cattery recommendations. Three years ago her cat went missing and against all the odds had been found! The only snag was in the intervening time my hairdresser had moved to a property where she can’t have any pets. As she is moving in to a new house in February where she can have pets she was going to have to put Ringo in to a cattery

I asked if Ringo was an indoor or outdoor cat, as although I adore cats I live in a first floor flat, so couldn’t be having an outdoor one. Luckily Ringo is an indoor cat, so for the last few months I have had  a lovely, fluffy, purry houseguest, with no outlay as Ringo’s mum pays for the food and litter

An added bonus is that Ringo’s mum pops over for an afternoon every few weeks for ‘access visits’ and whilst here, she cuts my hair

Ringo will be back to her mum tonight and whilst I will miss her, I really won’t miss the litter tray having only had outdoor cats previously! This experience has cured me of wanting an indoor cat permanently, but at least I shall see her again as I shall be her holiday home whenever her mum goes on vacation

I had only wanted to help a friend with the added bonus of having  cat for a while and I get free haircuts to boot! So, the moral of my story is bartering is great and a kindness  often repaid more than you might first think

As you can see Ringo has been pretty spoiled while living here…

 

And she adores my son and his beard…

ringo matt

Monday Meals #6 – More Fish

I don’t thik I’ll ever get the hang of proper meal planning for the week. I see other people’s blogs on meal planning and it all looks so delicious, enticing and varied

Me? I go through phases of eating the same thing over and over until get bored, same for films actually

So, my apologies for dull meal planning posts

As I’m still (yes, still) trying to eat everything in the freezer there are a couple of haddock fillets left so I chucked them in a wok with some chopped peppers, fry it up and wolf it all down with a sachet of microwave rice

fish n rice

The freezer eating will continue for another week: homemade soups, bol sauce with various sides. I have bought some fresh veg, including a big bag of fresh spinach, which although it look enormous I know will wilt down to almost nothing!

The good thing is it is all healthy and frugal. Bonus points for this year: I have lost over half a stone so far, which means my plan to be a size 12 next Christmas is on track. Half a stone loss a month, size 16 be the end of April, a 14 by end of August and a 12 just in time for the festivities!

Frugal Friday #5 – Sleep on it (or maybe not)

When packing up and dismantling everything in my previous flat, we found my son’s double bed wouldn’t dismantle and was on its last legs. It got broken down and the slats put in an IKEA bag for going to the dump or for firewood

The removal men brought them in the van to my new pad! They were shoved under my bed until I could dispose of them, but being a true Blue Peter gal, I couldn’t help think they had to be useful somehow

Then I had a lightbulb moment…they would make ideal shelves in my craft room! A bit of drilling and painting them the same colour as the walls and I now have very useful shelves…

bed slat shelves

Some more the other side of the craft room…

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In the kitchen…

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Finally, at last I have got somewhere to keep the little collection of pottery houses I’ve collected over the years…

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I still have plenty more slats, so the question is, more shelves? Or can I think up some other idea?

Any suggestions??

Monday Meals #5 – Life’s a batch

I survived all the travelling last week and indulged myself in the relaxation of some batch cooking again this weekend

Not soups for a change!

I grabbed a bag of mince and simmered it gently with onions, garlic, passata a squeeze of tomato puree and a shake of mixed herbs

My freezer is now definitely full…

batch cooking

This week evening meals will mostly consist of various veg, potatoes, pasta and rice with the ‘bol’ sauce

Lunches will be mostly soups (only one day on the road booked so far this week) which is good as the forecast is looking decidedly nippy

Breakfasts as usual will be porridge or toast, except for my Monday bacon roll in the canteen

Weekly Roundup #5

What a busy week! Out and about over Norfolk and Suffolk for work. A day off on Friday to get my MOT done, so not much of a day off, but it did get me back in to the city for the first time in months

Not quite stuck to my budget (again) this week due to being in the city, but I did pick up a few bits and bobs that I needed and can only get in the city. Even though I went over-budget, my spending is drastically reduced. I only had a coffee and didn’t indulge in any pastries whilst waiting for the call from the MOT centre

It’s a very chilly day here today, so I’ve had pancakes for brunch and enjoyed some batch cooking

The weather looks set to be cold for the next week at least, so the soups I made the other weekend will be very welcome lunches

Great news is my coldy-virus thing I had on and off for most of january seems to have finally left

runnynose

Frugal Friday #4 – Boxy solution

When I first moved in to my little flat last March, even though I had decluttered a LOT, I still didn’t have enough storage for my needs. My previous flat was a 1970’s ex-council with two double sized floor to ceiling wardrobes…

wardrobe
One of the two on a tidy day!

When I pitched up in a tiny flat with only 1 storage cupboard, I ended up shoving all kinds of junk on to the top of my new IKEA wardrobe. It looked dreadful, as you can imagine

In the summer I had been to a murder mystery set in a railway station, and in a creative whirl mixed up poster paint to an icy brown and painted one of a set of 3 storage suitcases from eBay to use as a handbag. I gummed on some random luggae and travel labels I sourced from the internet

During autumn, I was able to snaffle some boxes from deliveries at work and used up the leftover icky brown paint and some leftover labels to upcycle everything

Thus creating a neater storage solution… ta-dah…

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