Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Guilt Free Shopping

The Chap is very industrious. He springs out of bed on a weekend morning, grabs a hammer and starts building / laying / demolishing something in the kitchen.

Good for him.

I on the other hand needs two cups of tea and a good 45 mins before facing a Saturday. I also like to have some "me" time when I am not doing chores but just relaxing. Last weekend I just sat in the garden for an hour and a half had a rum and coke and called a friend.

This weekend I went out armed with my birthday money and vouchers.

The inlaws gave me a £70 M&S voucher, I spent £41 on an outfit for work.
Double Diamond Print Mini Skirt
Photo credit - Marks and Spencers
The skirt was £29.50 and the top was in the sale at £12.
Peter Pan Crochet Collar Lace Top
Photo Credit - Marks and Spencers

I still have £28.50 left on the voucher and am planning on buying their classic blouse when it is back in stock.

I then added £4 to my £10 Boots voucher which was a present from my Aunt and Uncle, and had a real treat, proper posh skin care. A Clinique soap for facial cleansing.
Clinique 3-Step Skincare System Step 1 (Cleanse) - Facial Soap Oily Skin 150g (With Soap Dish)
Photo Credit - Debenhams

These last for between 9-12 months really leave my skin feeling clean and soft and blemish free.

Some lovely treats.

Then off to the Post Office to buy some Premium Bonds.

I had such a lovely morning, pottering around by myself and I also had a wander around NEXT and Dorothy Perkins and Hombase.

I returned home and then quite happily settled down to dig over the front boarders, planting our two new Poundland Rose Bushes (not hopeful, but lets see what hapens) then 50 bulbs. Come the summer if our front garden is not a riot of colour and planting then I will be most unhappy!

Frugally yours

Friday, 26 April 2013

An Extra One.

It's night time, just past midnight and I am sitting on the sofa watching old episodes of The West Wing on Lovefilm Instant.

Earlier I put some Aldi ribs into the slow cooker for three hours and served it with salad. My handsome, kind and lovely boyfriend is currently lying next to me fast asleep after a week when he gave everything to his job.

Belle and Twinkle are on a knee a piece also fast sleep. One of them keeps making the most awful smells...

It is nearly a week until Pay Day and I have just enough money to pay for petrol so I am skint.

Yet surrounded by these three, all hopefully dreaming good and kind dreams I cannot help but think I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Goodnight. X


Thank you to everyone who sent me Birthday Wishes yesterday.
I had a lovely day. So many people sent me cards. One was hand painted by my friend. Isn’t it great?

I was a very lucky girl and got money, plants and gardening equipment, alcohol and makeup. All my very favourite things!

So tomorrow is a busy day. TC’s parents gave me a Marks and Spencer gift voucher for £70. So I can go and buy clothes without guilt. I am so looking forward to it.

My Aunt and Uncle also gave me a Boots Voucher and by my local M&S is a big Boots The Chemist, so I can have a mooch there too. Guilt free.

Then off to the Bank to pay in some cheques and the Post Office to invest my birthday money in Premium Bonds. Savings accounts are giving such lousy interest rates, I am going to see if this works better for the time being.

If you are not a UK resident, then the abridged version is that Premium Bonds are bonds bought from the government via the Post Office in multiples of £100 to a maximum of £30,000 per person. They are then entered into a lottery every month until you decide to  cash them in to win between £25 and £1m pounds. You can read more about it here. Some are never cashed in and if you were given some as a child as a Christening present, look them up then write to Ernie with your bond numbers and proof (i.e. photocopy of the bond) as I bet you will have won something. When I did this with my £25 of bonds I had owned from a baby, I found out I had won £200 over the years.

Then tomorrow afternoon I am going to plant everything up and tidy the front garden.

I know I am 37 now as I love gardening!

And finally, do you remember my awful journey from Durham back home to Staffordshire a few weeks ago? We were shoved in like cattle and shouted at, at each station by BR Staff

Well I complained. Yesterday I received at £25 rail voucher, which should pay for my next train journey. Just over 25% of my total ticket price, but at least it was something.

Frugally yours

Thursday, 25 April 2013


"Happy Birthday to ME!
Happy Birthday to ME!
Happy Birthday, Dear MEeeeeeeeee!
Happy birthday to ME!"

I turned 37 today. Oh Crap....

I always thought by the time I was 37, I would be:-
  • Totally grown up (um, nope. I still laugh at "wind" jokes)
  • Married with a family (errrr, nada!)
  • Living the life of luxury (ha ha I wish.)
  • Financially secure. (not even close)
  • Thin (nope today I am morbidly obese)
Guess that hasn't worked out huh? :o)

I have not yet opened family and friends presents as it would have been rushed this morning. So I get to open them all this evening! Yeah!

But here is my loot from my office friends!
And we had Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Yum.

On the negative side, I am 3 years away from 40. OhshitohshitohshitOhshitohshitohshitOhshitohshitohshitOhshitohshitohshitOhshitohshitohshitOhshitohshitohshit.

Apart from my family and The Chap. Can anyone think of a reason to cheer me up about being 37? Otherwise I may have to look into taking out a loan and buying a motorbike....

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

What I Have Been Up To..

Morning Folks!

For the first time ever I have a garden. We also have a "lean to" which is coming down this summer to make way for a paved seating area. In the meantime, it is doing sterling work as a greenhouse.

I have always wanted to grow some food, and now I have the chance.

I planted my tomatoes a few weeks ago and they are coming along nicely.

I bought some lettuce plugs from Aldi reduced to 99p, they looked rather worse for wear when I got them, but seem to have perked up for being transferred to a bigger pot and a good water.

I was given to lots of seed potatoes and have planted them in 4 bags. I was not hopeful about these, but low and behold 3 weeks after planting, the shoots arrived.

At the weekend I also planted  the following:-
  • Spring onions
  • Red onions
  • Peppers
  • French beans
I thought I had managed to kill the hot chillis I also planted, but was so excited to see a shoot this morning. I forgot to photo it... doh!

To add a bit of colour, I also planted some geranium seeds and so far 4 have come through (though 1 does not show up on this photo), I am nurturing them like they are premature babies.

The Chap and I are not going to be self sufficient in vegetables this year and I still have a long way to go before I can actually eat anything I have grown. But Oh My Gosh, this is so exciting!

And finally, I baked a steak and ale pie this week. I slow cooked the beef in a bottle of Pedigree from Aldi for 4 hours and it was just beautiful. I dumped the filling in a pie dish and used some Aldi puff pastry for the lid. As I had already whisked an egg to gaze the pie with it seemed a waste to chuck it so I cut the left over pastry into circles and lined a tart dish, added a teaspoon of Adi Apricot jam glazed them and baked in the residual heat from the oven whilst we ate our pie.

So yummy and so easy!

A great way to use up the left overs straight away rather than it getting lost at the back of the freezer.

And finally, we had our water meter fitted, which hopefully will bring down our bill significantly. Watch this space!

So I may have been quiet for a few days, but I certainly have not been lazy!

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

False Economy, Dieting Tips and The Cats

Lunchtime today I popped out to grab some lunch as I forgot to pick up the ham from home this morning.

Around the corner from work is a Pound Stretcher and I can quite happily buy some lunch from there if I am not a snob about what I eat!

Sweet and Sour Supernoondles – 49p. Bottle of Pepsi – 55P, and a multipack of Skips 8 packs for 95p. The cunning plan: to have a pack a day for a week and a half.

By 4.30pm 4 bags had disappeared down this thrifty girl’s throat.

So it appears, I have a lesson to learn. Buy one pack and eat one pack. Buy 8 packs and devour the lot as soon and as furtively as possible.

Oh dear!

As so many celebrities get on the dieting band wagon with summer approaching, I am happy to share my tips on achieving a beach ready body.

·        Food consumed in secret, contains no calories
·        Food consumed in a different postcode / county to home also contains no calories
·        Food consumed around one’s birthday is “free” food
·        Chips, bread, desert “shared” from another’s also will not contribute to weight gain.
·        If one must attend a diet club, then ALWAYS ensure that the first weigh in is done in coat and shoes. Therefore you always have an emergency exit for meetings post emptying the biscuit barrel.
·        Adding a side salad to any food classes it as diet and will allow you to loose weight. E.g. Lasagne and salad, fried chicken and salad etc
·        Celery is not a snack, raw carrot is not a snack. A snack consists of carbs, oil and fat.

However, I have just discovered that we will be crossing over our holiday with another couple as we are staying in TC's parent's holiday home in Spain. A casual conversation yesterday evening went as follows.

ME “Are we crossing over with this couple at the beginning or end of our holiday?
TC “The beginning of ours, the end of theirs”
ME “Lovely, it will be nice to see them! Um so what does the girl look like?”
TC “Oh she is a pretty wee thing, and friendly”
ME ”Oh, good. When you say wee, what sort of size is she?”
TC “I don’t know… about an 8?”

Bugger! I am a solid 12 / 14.

Just to clarify, I am not concerned about the holiday cross over. I am concerned about the fact I will turn up with my slightly yellow British skin to be greeted by slender bronzed lovely. I may have to give up the kit kat chunkys guys…:o(

Had the pussy cats spayed yesterday and they came home feeling very sorry for themselves. Poor little mites.

Ever one to bring comfort and succour to our pets. I sat on the rug yesterday evening hand feeding them, rubbing upturned chins, scratching heads and stroking backs. Also whispering into an accusing ear that I had not taken them and if it was up to me they would never have gone. Everything was The Chap’s fault. Well, I don’t want them to hate me!!

Going forward we have to take them back in a week to check the scar, we also have to clean Belle’s teeth twice a day for a week as she has some gingivitus (sp?), and clean Twinkle’s ears once a day as she has ear mites again. This could be fun, as we all know how much Belle likes to be pinned down. *Sigh*, fingers are over rated anyway!

Frugally yours

Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Little Canny

The Chap got an odeon cinema voucher yesterday for his birthday from my sister. We both fancied the new Tom Cruise movie- Oblivion.

So today we took the day off and went into Tamworth. We went into Matalan, a shop we never normally use, but as we had tried M&S, and Next we were running out of options to buy him some work trousers. Luckily we found 2 pairs, plus a lady outside was giving out 20% off vouchers so 2 pairs came in at £32. A bargain!

Then off to the cinema. I had a 2 for 1 voucher from my trip the other week. So £8.50 for the 2 of us. Then O2 allowed me to have another large bucket of popcorn free. So our whole trip was free. Plus we have £11.50 left on the card, so our next trip will also be significantly cheaper!

A day out for free and lovely to spend some time together.

Frugally yours

Friday, 12 April 2013

The Chap's birthday.

Today TC turned 41.

I bought him some pressies, but he was most delighted with the West Coast Customs T-shirt I bought him. Typical, it was a cheapie after thought! Lol

I decided to treat him to a slap up seafood dinner.... at a discounted price.

1) red lobster £10
2) 4 ma-hoo-sive prawns £4
3) 1 box of big prawns £2
4) Own brand smoked salmon £2
5) 1 bag of mussels 3.49

I then added potato salad and coleslaw at 10p ( yellow ticket) and some salad I had in. And finally a tiger baguette 20p also short dated.

Final cost - £21.79 for 2 people. A very expensive way to feed 2 people for a night. But I think a similar meal at a restaurant would have cost £100. I could not have afforded that, but I still wanted to spoil him as I have hardly seen him this week as he has been working late every evening and been away with work. The poor guy is shattered.

I just wish I had remembered to photograph it!

You can still enjoy a champagne lifestyle but on a lemonade budget. We just had to wash up after!

Happy Birthday TC. I love you handsome!

Frugally yours

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A Frugal Tip or What do You Think?


We get a lot of junk mail here at “Southfork”, pizza menus, double glazing leaflets, furniture sales adverts etc. Most of it gets dumped straight into recycling.

I hate it when over 50% of the items put through your letter box are not relevant or even personal. I refuse to open anything marked “For the Occupier”.

Between 2 - 4 times per week we get charity bags put through our door asking for clothes and bric-a-brac to sell.

Here is a selection we currently have.
Our Charity Bag Collection is Getting Ridiculous!
I always take my unwanted clothes, shoes etc to my local hospice shop, and I certainly do not have enough “stuff” to fill up 3 bin liners each week.

In all honesty I find it all a bit irritating.

But, the bags are quite useful, so now we have stopped buying black bin liners and use these instead. They are thick and good quality, perfect for the kitchen bin and wide enough to fit the litter tray deposit into too.

We have been doing this for ages, but I have held off talking about it. Charity is an emotive subject. I support charities whenever I can, but find now that this business of asking for clothes / shoes etc too much and we are inundated with bags. I put up a sign saying "No Charity Bags", it was ignored and then I looked for how to give them back with not much luck, if I did leave the unused bags out on the required day then they went uncollected.

So now I take them and use them, but I would be interested in your thoughts.

If I have upset you with this post, here is a picture of Belle I took last night to make amends. She was curled on the sofa next to me and looked so comfy and sweet.
Away with the fairies.

Frugally yours

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I Think We Might Be Working

I bought my flat “The Towers” 10 years ago. When I first moved in, a friend moved in with me and took up the spare room.

Things really did not work out. She could not fathom my innate obsession with cleanliness and I found her ability to make mess 30 seconds after arriving home irritating. She met someone pretty quickly and moved out after only 3 months. I gladly helped her pack her bags and waved her off pleased that she had met someone and happy that we still remained friends (as we do to this day).

Then for 10 years I lived there all alone and perfectly content. I never felt lonely and I liked having my place perfectly organised to suit my needs. Boyfriends came and went. One actually moved in for 6 weeks whilst he bought a house, but I never seriously contemplated giving up my place.

Long time readers will know I moved in with The Chap over Christmas. If I am honest I packed my bags and rented my flat with a lot of trepidation. I knew TC was one for me, but I was concerned. I have left an immaculate flat, and moved into a bombsite with a kitchen that has been a "Work In Progress" since December and a bathroom in which you cannot use the bath (it leaks). All the internal doors need changing as they do not close and the carpet needs replacing everywhere (think tangerine / poop brown dreadlocked shagpile).

I expected to be stressed by the move, and I have been. I am getting used to having to cook everyday proper food for TC (no more evenings for me on the sofa with a bowl of cereal or a couple of pieces of toast and some sandwich spread).

After 3 months of moving in, we have found a rhythm and everything is going well. We are both happy.

I have been away on average one weekend per month since I moved in. To visit my sister and friends.

This week, roles have been reversed TC has flown out to Sweden with work for a few days. He left late on Monday evening and is due back late on Thursday evening, then Friday is his birthday.

I got home yesterday and sat down. The Cats came and said hello. I had dinner, the sort of food he would hate and then did a pile of washing, and cleaned the kitchen. I watched tv in command of the remote control.

I lay in the middle of the bed and wrapped myself in the duvet. I left the door open to the bathroom whilst I used it, and just dumped the rubbish outside the back door until this evening when it will be lighter to properly dispose of it.

And the whole time, every minute of my evening I missed My Chap, a lot.

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Bit Of A Scrubber

First of all allow me to apologise for the radio silence for a week. I am still alive and everything is ok. Time just got away with me.

I only worked a 3 day week last week and had Friday off again. I went to Durham very early Saturday morning for an overnight at my friends for her 40th and we all went for a very posh meal at Durham Castle with a murder mystery thrown in. It was such good fun and lovely to catch up with “the girls” and get all frocked out for a night out, without having to worry about shoes hurting as we would be sitting down all evening.

I got back Sunday after the journey from hell thanks to British Rail. They cancelled the earlier train and everyone piled onto our train, so I had to stand up from Durham to Tamworth a total of 3 and a half hours squashed like sardines and BR staff shouting at us at every station to move in further. If I had been Spiderman then I would have hung off the rafters, but that was not possible. Around Sheffield I am ashamed to say I lost it and shouted back at them and got a round of applause back from the carriage. I then missed my connecting train home and so had to wait for an hour at Tamworth and ended up getting home an hour and a half later than planned. I did pick up a complaint form at Tamworth and filled it in whilst I waited and then posted it as I walked home. I do not expect much but I was furious and my ankles were so swollen from the standing it took until yesterday to get them down again. £87 for a return ticket to be squashed in like sardines, is not on at all.

Friday I spent the morning with my Mummy as it The Chap’s birthday on Friday, we went shopping she picked up some items for him. We then popped to Tesco together and picked up some bits and pieces. I like going shopping with my Mum. We wander around look at everything and generally catch up. She, with my sister are my best friends. I am so lucky to have such a lovely family and they all like The Chap.

Friday afternoon I spent trying to clean upstairs before I went away. The bathroom is my nemesis. I clean the sink everyday and swish the loo a couple of times a week I hoover and wash the floor every weekend, but the Shower is just awful and whatever I do rarely looks clean. The mastick needs replacing, but with TC so focussed on completing the kitchen I just cannot ask him to do it yet. We plan to replace the bathroom next anyway.

So Friday afternoon I got out the big guns.

Chemicals are all well and good, but sometimes brute force and elbow grease is required. A scrubbing brush costs less than a pound and is so useful is these situations. I filled up the sink with hotwater and a cap full of my go to cleaner Tesco Every Day Value All Purpose Cleaner. 25p for 750 ml. You can use it neat on work tops and diluted on floors and tiles.
Just brilliant!
20 minutes of scrubbing the floor, the tiles and grouting got it all sparkly clean. I then used neat viakal on the glass doors rubbed it around left it for 5 minutes and then rinsed it off with a lot of hot water. I am not sure hot much the Viakal cost as the bottle is years old. You do not need much. Some glass cleaner to polish everything up at the end and it looked so much better. Shower spray helps keep everything down, but do not listen to the hype you do still need to clean a shower. I finished up by pouring a kettle full of boiling water down the drain after a good splurge of cheap vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Please please do not get caught up buying fancy cleaners that costs pounds. My shower looks so much better, and it cost pennies. Infact it looks better than when I have cleaned it with expensive branded products.

Until I can afford a cleaner or maid 3 hours a day Monday – Friday then I guess I have a future that involves scrubbing for the foreseeable future.

Frugally yours

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Firstly, Hello & Welcome to my new follower – Judy. Thanks so much for visiting – x.


It may well be interesting for those of you in a relationship out there to note the following:-

If walking out of the house in a huff.
Remember your car keys.

Marching over the threshold head held high in moral indignation, looses its punch if you then have to then sneak back in to pick up the car keys.

Also best not to pick an early hour on a bank holiday morning which then leaves you walking around your local supermarket waiting for the café to open.

I can highly recommend watching “Oz the Great and Powerful” 10.30am. No-one else around, and O2 were giving away a free large popcorn at my local Odeon. Of course it may also be worth noting the following equation

1 large sweet popcorn (think bucket sized) + a medium coke + moral outrage = being heartily sick at the end of the movie in the ladies.

Everything would have been worth it if only The Chap had noticed.

I drove home at 2pm-ish and he just smiled and said
“You were out early. Have a nice morning?”

I gave up at that point on being in a mood. I am obviously no good at it, and really it was such a minor thing I was pissed at. Does this happen to anyone else, complete obliviousness? And is obliviousness a word?

Anyhoo, the long weekend was lovely. I caught up on loads of jobs. Cleaned the car inside and out. Cleaned everywhere in the house and then emptied the washing basket. Who knew it had a bottom? I thought it was a never ending heap of soiled laundry stuck in a time loop.  I did the 4 hours of ironing whilst watching Labyrinth by Kate Mosse which I had recorded.

I then started on the planting. I have no green thumb and have never successfully grown anything. But, still worth having a go I think.
I planted up the potatoes and tomatoes. Then planted the seeds for my hanging basket and geranium borders later this year.

I have some seeds for lettuce and beans but I think it is too early. I enjoyed it so much, lunchtime today I popped out and picked up some red onions, spring onions and peppers plus a 75p kit for growing chillies. Time will tell if I make a success of it. Watch this space..

And finally Twinkle is definitely in season. The poor thing is crying and miaowing, and constantly offering herself to anything that moves. It reminds me of some girls I knew in my University days it really is such a shame to see.

If I am honest, I think TC would have liked some kittens, but he realises that it just is not going to happen on my watch and he does agree with the ethics of not bringing more kittens into this world. TC paid for our cats, but I feed and water them, pick up poo, and disinfect the litter tray. So, I am guessing who would end up looking after them too.. Muggins..

I am too young to be a Grandma!

Result? They are both booked in for the operation to be spayed in about a weeks time.

TC booked the appointment after finding Belle trying to mount her sister on the spare bed….

An eventful weekend I would say.
Frugally yours