Thursday, 30 March 2017


6 years ago I started volunteering at a local project that provided breakfast to vulnerable adults, whether they were homeless, had substance abuse issues or just wanted somewhere safe to go.  I "worked" there for 4 years and love it, progressing to team leader.  I meet some lovely people (and some not so) on both sides of the counter.  On of the reasons I did this role was because I wanted to help and as we don't have much disposable income to give to charity but I had time.  It also lead me into my current job as a support worker, which in turn due to my hours meant I had to give up volunteering.  I do miss it. 

Anyway at the start of this year I decided to do something each month to give back.  For January I help collect clothes, toiletries and sleeping bags for women refugees in Paris.  A friend of mine had driven through there last year and her young son wanted to know why families were sleeping on the streets.  She explained the situation to him and he wanted to help.  With people's kind donations she ended up helping so many families.  I admire her as she actually put her money where her mouth is and got up and did something. 

February lead to me having a clear out and donating items we no longer need to a charity shop.

This month a family member did a walk for Blood Wise, a charity close to her heart as she had an aggressive form of leukaemia a few years ago.  I couldn't join her on her walk but donated money.  I again have some items for the charity shop along with 3 bags of clothes to go to the place where I volunteered.  These have been collected from friends having a clear out and a few of my husbands things.

I haven't any plans for next month at the moment but if the de-cluttering continues I guess more to charity shops.

As Oprah Winfrey says "pay it forward".

Sunday, 19 March 2017

On a (permanent!) Economy Drive

We try to save money and to be fair I think we are pretty good at it compared to people I know.  Yes we like going on holidays, both have a car each but each car and holiday was saved for, as well as having an emergency fund put aside. Both of us earn less than the living wage so are on reasonably low paid jobs and I'm proud that we have managed our money as we have.  However there is always room for improvement and at the end of last year we did take our eye slightly off the ball and didn't manage to put any money in our savings which taught us to be mindful of our spending. So how are we doing it? Nothing too drastic but simple things like not putting the heating on as much.  Also we have organised a smart meter to be fitted next month which I think will spur us on when we see how much a day we use.  No food waste.  I don't do a weekly shop anymore as I don't work set days so I tend to do what I class as a big shop when I can for things such as dog (more about our new addition another time) and cat food, tinned and frozen items.  We don't throw food away.  There was left over veg in the fridge this morning which wasn't going to be used in any meals so I've whizzed up some soup for lunches.  We also need a new fridge freezer as the fridge bit of the one we have is very dodgy so trying to eat as much from the freezer to make it easier when we order the new one.  I am still sorting all the years of hoarding out and have a pile of things to put on ebay/facebook selling pages.  I doubt I'll earn my fortune but every bit helps and I have put aside the money I have got so far.  I've also been looking at the best isa's to make the money we have work for us. So as you can see nothing ground breaking but all these small things add up and hopefully over the coming months we will see our savings go up, although we do have a lot of home improvements to do but at least we are going to continue saving as we have to enable these improvements.     

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Holiday Jobs

There are so many things I want to and need to do it's hard to know where to start.  As I've said before I am a great procrastinator or as my mum called me a "gonna" gonna do this and gonna do that but actually end up not doing anything.  As a child my school reports use to say I'm easily distracted, even the nurses in hospital when I was born told my mum that if they were feeding me and someone came in the room I moved my head round to see what was going on. (I was ill when I was born and my parents had to leave me in hospital and visit me daily but the nurses obviously fed me when my mum wasn't there).

I have all next week off work and hope that I can achieve some of the things I need to. We have a few maintenance issues with our home that need sorting and I want to give the place a good clean and sort out.  I hope to make a start on our spare room as it needs new floor boards.  It has been used as a dumping ground and I want to be able to use it more as an office/snug.  I want to decorate it with an Indian theme in mind with orange and purple walls but my husband isn't so keen so we shall see... ;)

When we bought our house the furniture was given to us to go with the few bits we had as we couldn't afford new or even second hand.  Now we have been able to put some money aside to replace items of furniture, some of which are well past it and as we haven't had to think of what we would like in terms of style we are struggling, there is so much choice out there.  We are starting with upstairs first, hence doing the spare room.  Our room has blue walls which we are sticking with just going to re-decorate to brighten it up and are going to buy white wardrobes.  We have ordered a new bed as after 20 plus years the old one has finally given up and so has our backs!


Sunday, 15 May 2016

My Birthday

It was my birthday at the end of February and I was very spoilt.  Flowers and quality time with my husband.

I went out for lunch with a friend who gave me my favourite chocolates.

Had sushi with another friend.

It's my best friends birthday a few days before mine and there has been a restuarnt we have both wanted to try so treated ourselves and we not disappointed. The whole experience was great, from the moment we walked in to the end.  The staff friendly and professional and the owner took time out to talk to us about cooking the perfect Scotch egg, even checking with the chef the correct temperature.

Roses on the table for our arrival
Melt in your mouth steak

The meat platter
Runny Scotch egg
Refreshers instead of mints

Then a light supper at my friends.

Plus a little gift from another friend...


Friday, 13 May 2016


I have wanted to go to Barcelona for a few years now and we haven't been able to justify the cost until this year we got the best deal we have found.

Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce
The city lived up to my expectations in all but one area - the food.

One of the entrances to Sagrada Familia
I loved the buildings which was my main reason for wanting to visit.  The mind of Antoni Gaudi who designed a lot of buildings there amazes me. We pre-booked online to avoid the queues to go to the Sagrada Familia, a large cathedral still in the process of being built. I wouldn't class myself as religious but as soon as I walked in I felt emotional for some reason. I thought it was such a beautiful building and reading about his reasoning behind the design, taking inspiration from nature and transferring his ideas into bricks and mortar was incredible. The story of Jesus's birth is told at once of the entrances with the three wise men and King Herod. It made me realise I had taken more in at primary school than I thought about the story of Christ as I was able to explain it to my husband.

View of the city from Sagrada Familia

We walked round the city on a evening and enjoyed seeing families out having food and drinks without the need to get completely plastered something that in the city were we live happens every weekend.

On our last day we were fortunate with the weather so walked down the main street and explored the little streets and shops off it, ending up at the harbour and sat to soak up some sun.

The Harbour
We used the metro and got a pass for 10 euros.  It cost 1 euro a journey and you can both use the same ticket. It is also transferrable to the buses so we found it cheap and easy to get around.

Our hotel was good too. The room was clean and comfortable and the breakfast very good plus the staff friendly and helpful.

With regards to the food I think we were just in the wrong areas (very touristy) to find the types of restaurant I had visualised eating in. My Spanish friend was horrified when I said the best meal I had there was pizza.  I will defiantly research the food side of things more. I also think my taste and standards have changed as I've been cooking a lot more and hope I have improved as a cook.

We are hoping to go back as it is one of our favourite cities we have visited, the overall vibe of the place was great, very chilled back and relaxed. Ideal for a short break.


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy

It's been ages since I've blogged. I really admire and appreciate bloggers who manage it every day.

Things have been busy with the new house, work and a few days away.  Also my mother in law who has a stroke just before Christmas has been diagnosed with cancer and we have been caring for her.

Things that are in the pipe line are more work on the new house (it needs more specialist work than expected), a self reliant weekend away and training for to do the Race for Life.