18 in 2018

De-Cluttering 2018

Tuesday 16 January 2018

What we're Eating this week

Linking in with being conscious of what we are spending I've gone back to making a menu plan for the week to use up what we have in the freezer as well as the £82 shop!
Tonight we had chicken curry.  I normally make my own but had bought a jar of dopiaza
from Aldi as I've not tried that curry before.  It was too sweet for me.  I added some spices and a bit of cream to get it more to my taste.  I wouldn't buy it again.


The rest of the week is looking like this:

Tuesday: Chicken casserole (already in the slow cooker)

Wednesday: Salmon Wellington, new potatoes and vegetables

Thursday: Pie, mash potatoes and vegetables/mushy peas

Friday: HM pizza, wedges and salad

The weekend will be something else from the cupboards/freezer but we haven't decided what yet.

I took our dog for a walk today.  We haven't been out in a while as both me and my hubby have had flu which has knocked us out and it is still lingering but it was a nice day so me and Layla wrapped up and headed out, although I'm not sure she likes her new coat!

Monday 15 January 2018

Money Mondays

Yet again we've taken our eye off the ball a bit and not checked accounts/bill regularly.  While watching This Morning, Martin Lewis was on and mentioned about swapping bank accounts to get a better deal.  This bit wasn't really relevant for us but he said how much interest our bank is offering for new customers.  I knew were weren't getting anywhere near that (I don't like that companies offer deals to new customers only not to their loyal customers).  I went online and have applied to opened the higher interest account.  I've set up a standing order to save each month and will be using the money we have already saved.  The money is fixed for 1 year which is fine as we are saving for moving (hopefully).  I am going to ask my husband to open one too so we can save double the amount as it is limited to a certain amount each month.

Our rental property fix rate mortgage is up at the end of February and we have already started to look into getting a better deal.  We are also fortunate that we are aiming to pay a bit off it as well and probably change it to a repayment one rather than interest only as this will work better for us.

The next job on the list is for me to see about getting a better mobile deal and considering changing to a sim only deal as that has worked for my husband, although I do use my phone a lot more.

I've also done an inventory on our food stores and a shop.  I was surprised at how much I spent in Aldi - £82! when there is just to 2 of us.  But know everything will be eaten and used. 

Next month we are having some decorating done.  We made the decision to get someone in to do it all as we've been trying to find the motivation and time to do it.  I know financially it would be better for us to do but we have saved up and also know they will do a better job than us and as we are looking at renting our home out in 1 to 2 years so if we take care (which we will) it won't need doing again.

Other than meeting some new friends for a coffee this week we shouldn't have to spend anything.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Caesar Salad.

A friend challenged me to a cook off to make Caesar salad.  Not much of a challenge I thought and especially as they used a pre-made dressing!

Here are the ingredients .  I know cos lettuce is normally used but Aldi didn't have any.
The dressing was something I've not made before and looked at lots of recipes.  Some had pre-made mayo in but I chose to use egg yokes and olive oil for the creaminess.
I adapted what I found online and used the following.
4 anchovies
2 egg yokes
1 clove garlic - crushed
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Black pepper
Hard Italian cheese - grated
I bashed the anchovies in a pestle and mortar and added the garlic along with the egg yokes and cheese.  I then whisked in the olive oil and added lemon juice to taste.  As I don't have a blender the anchovies and garlic were still bitty in it so I decided to sieve it and then added a bit of water to get the right consistency.  Adding the water also make the sauce lighter in colour.  I then added a bit of black pepper.


The chicken breast I seasoned and cooked in a George Foreman grill.  I made the croutons by tearing bits of bread into small cubes and fried them.  I then put the frying pan under the grill to crisp up a bit. Added the lettuce, chicken and croutons together and drizzled over the sauce. A few shavings of cheese went over the top.

Verdict - The sauce was way too garlicky and I love garlic.  Once I'd sieved it, it tasted less "hot" but I've tried it again today and it's is still over powering.  Would I make the sauce again? Probably not but glad I gave it a go and didn't resort to using a bottle! 

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...