Tuesday, 31 July 2012

How do you .. with blogger

As a techno biff and IT buffoon how do I do the following on the new Blogger?

Follow new blogs.

I would like them to appear in my news feed.

What have I got to do?


The Gods of Freecycle doth shine on Moi

Feeling smug as have snaffled a stick hoover! Brilliant as my old cheapie naff I pick up nothing hoover has gone to hoover heaven aka the tip. Not salvageable am afraid. Was held together with Duct tape!

So a gas barbecue, patio sized full length cream lined curtains and a hoover! Its small but perfect for my purposes as I only have carpet on the stairs and in one bedroom. Will get some carpet down in my bedroom at some point lol.

Food for the week
Monday - yesterday we had lamb and gammon. I don't like lamb but the Biggles does so as part of his meat haul he had four lamb chops. I made a red currant and rosemary and red wine sauce to go over his chops and mash. We had Gammon rounds. All with carrots, calui and broc that needed using up.  I have the rest of the wine to drink. It  was from Biggles stash of red wine that he has been given over the years but never drinks as its red and gives him headaches. Nom Nom Nom for this evening.

Tuesday - Pizza - not home made but cheap ones, 60p per pizza that Weeny can decorate with her own toppings. Chorizo, ham, sweetcorn, extra cheese, onion and pepper.  I may put spinach on mine.

Wednesday-   Chorizo pasta - using up left over peppers and chorizo and onion stuff ,30p Garlic bread as a side.

Thursday - off to mother Biggles till Sunday. Lovely food - We have a late breakfast/beans on toast etc then nothing till the evening. Weeny has a snack typically too.

Sunday  Home again  - Sausages and burgers probably using my gas barbecue.

Our plans are to  get our hair cut, purchase a cheap toy for a birthday pressie and chill out. We will make it to the pub on Friday night then have the house to ourselves on Saturday when Mother Biggles and her partner go out. There are plenty of parks and if the weathers good some petting zoos and such.

Weeny has a party on Sunday at 1:30 and Biggles has promised that she can go. Not my arrangements. She discussed this in some depth with him and he capitulated..... as ever ......snigger.

They trotted off to day care today. No mummy just the two of them walking together.

Ahhhh bless

Monday, 30 July 2012

Ahhh the day of pay!

Well tis the day of pay and also the day of paying off a last bill! two down one to go!!!

Only 5 more months of a credito card! One one of the 0% interest ones of course. Well worth the juggling. The other final £40 payment is also a 0% interest for 12 months style thing I got from Argos when I purchased the gas cooker christmas rush. I am still looking for a mini oven with hob. if they ever appear in Lidl again I will snap one up.

Weekend was grand. I snaffled a Gas barbecue from Free cycle. I have tried it out once with much charcoaling! IE burnt sausages. I have yellow flame which means I either need a new regulator ( ok cheap enough) or need to clean out the grill - likley need both knowing my luck. Came with a full large gas bottle as well as! Ita a bit tatty but for my purposes all fine. Failing that the scap metal neigbour man can have it!

Hoping to snaffle some wall mirrors as well as a karaoke machine for Weeny and a mountain bike that needs a new chain! Will see how fortuitous I am.  Bike and a mirror would  be good.

Biggles purchased 15 of meat for the barbecue and beyond. He is on leave for the duration of the Limpics. Nom Nom nom! On both counts.

Off to see Mother Biggles in Yorkshire at weekend.
Weeny girls last few days at daycare as she is off to big day care after our hols.

Very relaxed weekend. A few jobs done. Chip away at the mountain and it becomes a hill in time lol

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Bloody Hell its only Wensda!

It is warm. Very warm but not sunny which is pish!

It is only Wednesday.  I still have to wait six days till pay day. This is not good given that it is only Wednesday, and I am penniless. Ok apart form saves bu t I shall not use them!

I am getting fat. I caught a glimpse of the derriere in the bethroom mirror and it is gettig very comfortable with wobbly bits.

My mission should I choose to accept it is to get down to ten stone. Preferably 9:12. Though ten will do!

The Fridays return to me next month and I shall endeavour to do active things. I also need to curb the foodage- quantities and qualities.

Curtains still ace. And Approved food delivering today!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Good old Free Cycle!

Now I am hardly ever lucky when is comes to FC. It is pretty quiet where I live so not necessarily much in the locality and actually the locality given its Northumberland is rather large lol.

Anyhoo I was lucky enough to bag a set of lined heavy cream patio floor length curtains. They are washed and have come up well and the bits that haven't like the hens are on the floor so no one will see them anyway.

Weeny could do with some heavy curtains in her room to block out the sun.  A project for the weekend me thinks. She has two windows in her room. Both the same size. However the curtains should be long enough and wide enough to  fit one on each window.

It feels like it should be Thursday or Friday!!!  Only Tuesday Ahhhhhh! This is one long week!

Monday, 23 July 2012

And the dream is.............

On chatting  re when we win the lottery, the Biggles and I would do the following

Purchase a business - cafe on a good biker road with adjoining campsite and bunkbarn and also sell a few biking essentials ideally somewhere pretty. Promote said business in biker mags and website.

Have a garden turned over to produce and keep chickens.  If feasible a hut much like that of the Deer hut for the winter with a few more essentials in it. Doesn't matter where it is as logn as its a feasible bikers road this.

Live frugally.   We do quite a bit as it is. We are not going out people.  We do not value new sofas, clothes, flash holidays where one lazes by the pool. The bike is Biggles big extravagance - his passion.And mine??? I have yet to find it! I would love to quilt and dress make but no sewing machine.  And a bike of my own would be fantastic. Walking is also grand but weeny can't quite manage any really good hikes yet. One day however....

Ah well nice to dream ......

We have decided to leave going to the Deer hut till the autumn. Will still be lovely shame it is booked at the moment.

off to Sheffield in a fortnight for a few days as well.  Some free parks and stuff to take in for weeny girl with animals and sand pits.

Next time we are in London we have our eyes on Greenwich and other free stuff to do which won't be til the Olympic malarky is over.


And after a lovely ordinary weekend Monda! is ere again.

Sunday was lovely we managed to get to Brizlee Tower, the magic garden and the hermit cave on a wee walk through Hulne park - aka the Duke of Northumberlands personal playground for country pursuits that he graciously permits the serfdom to walk through.

We took a picnic- Weeny girl satisfied.  then home for major Sunday feed! Cheap Sundays dinner with only bacon as the meat course.

Biggles has a thing for white sauce all over Sunday dinner with a splash of gravy as well.  So was happy with the cauliflower, brocoli cheese thang with smoked bacon. Loads of veg as well as roast spuds and cheepie yorkshire puds. At 39p for 12 - and then divided into two meals I can't make them any cheaper really and my efforts are rather hit and miss.

Am feeling smug about the work attire after the Big shopping splurge on Saturday. Ha ha my work clobber costs me less than a Fiver ! Ok not including shoes but they are the same age as weeny girl so £10 per year is not a bad investment . Trousers - £1 Top 1.95, bag 1.95, bangle - FREE present.

Why on earth spend a small fortune on clothes for work???? Beats me.

We have leftovers for lunch with approved food naan bread and a smattering of fruit.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The £1 rail got me and other stories!

Well after our swimming ventures I had to get some plastic strimmer stuff ( £7.99), pop to the bank and had promised Weeny a treat. Biggles had a date with a meter reader. As he has mothballed his house they are suspicious  of the low meter readings.

After our £5 breakfast treat for two ( Weeny and I - It was extravagant but she loves it so!) I got sucked in by the  reduced rail and the £1rail in the RSPCA shop and Cancer Research respectively.

Well for a £1!! I snaffled work trousers - black, long sleeved under shirt thing - the sort that turns spring and summer clothes into winter/autumn to wear under stuff , pair of jeans - lighter shades but good for summer, flowery shirt- not so much me but hey ho ( £4) and a t shirt and dress 5-6 for weeny Both pink funnily enough! (£2)!!!  I also nabbed a brand new work jumper top thing for £1.95.

In addition I also needed a lint roller thing (£2) and indulged in lollipop freezer shape things(£1) and five packs of sweeties for a pound. (£1) and Biggles  Valentines pressie ( The bad taste one) £1.50!

So an expensive morning!  £27.50 gone before 1pm!!! Some investments though esp the clothes.

As summer hols are looming and new holiday care requires a packed lunch I put in an approved foods order  for flavoured water, biscuits/sweet things as well as other useful and super cheap bits.

So its been spend spend spend here! But was nice!!!

Biggles and I attacked the Jungle that was the back garden. After the rain and a few weekends away to say it was overgrown was an understatement. Only took us two hours to hack at the foliage and grass. Looking  much neater but I have an infestation of some sort of horrible weed that  sends out creepers then implants a bit of inself further from the main plant.... and it is starting to invade the  grass. Comes up easily enough but its very annoying.

For those with green fingers what can I do about this nasty???? Other than a good dose of chemicals??? Or whats the kindest chemical stuff to buy???

We had bolognese for tea - a small portion of mince with added veg does us fine and with garlic bread there is always enough left over to fill one of my lunch time pots.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese with bacon tomorrow.

Biggles has two more man jobs tomorrow - fixing a bike and putting on my wheel trim. Ahh bless and he comes home for a rest!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Sometimes I am so thankful for what I have

Sad news on a blog I occasionally pop by - lurk. Some of you may pop by too. I had popped in looking for some happy news - but only sadness and my heartfelt sympathies go out to the blogger and her family.

I am glad I  can only try to imagine.

So very sad.


And so tis nearly time...

For me to drop to four days a week.  I requested this as it makes butkiss difference financially if you consider child care, petrol etc etc and is part of my decision to stick around for another year.  Oo maybe Ill be able to spend some of Weeny's child tax credit on her for a change rather than daycare or rather afternoon care and collections and pick ups and I can drop her off at school once a week and collect her to do fun stuff with Mummy.

I can also :

Get fit, be active, study, clean ( BORING) do all the mundane things that I usually leave till its vital they need to be done, work a bit for cash ( paying tax) doings sessional work with yoof.

August 3rd I am off!!!1 Woo hoo!!!

As ever we were in bed early last night with lights off and watching TV in the dark. Tis still cold in the northern reaches given the pish weather.

I have not been near a charity shop in ages!!! I am proud but suffering withdrawal..... The ones near me are so overpriced anyway.

A summer fete or jumble or even non soggy carboot may appeal but nothing in my area. I refuse to go to the local Car boot in Amble due to the prices being silly and also the traders being professional sellers.

The sodding Dear hut is fully booked the week I am off. Typical. Though Mid week camping is a possibility if the weather gets any better.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Durham Reccy! and other bits.

I finally got the opp to do a reccy of where I may consider living in the future. Scratched a few areas just didn't go for them. Just not me! Others look ok though a tad more expensive  to the tune of £50 a month but for being content for three years and happy to leave my house without being concerned or spooked then tis worth it!

I have no news on whether a deferral is possible yet. I may just have to explain and reapply next year.

Sacriston, Witton Gilbert all look ok. Ushaw Moor at a push. Also Bearpark and Langley Park. All fine.  Will need to consider child care and do some investigating but that's for later I have Duke of Edinburgh to  keep me busy first.  I also get my four days per week starting August which is nice.

I have booked a week off at the same time Biggles has a fortnight off. I only have 7 days leave left so am only able to take a week. I may take the other two days during his week depending on plans.

We may go to the Deer Hut if it is free mid week.  ( Barrowburn posher camping barn!)

Iceland - the shop not the country!

Yesterday we picked up one of those tex mex enchilada things for ... 45p from the Co op. But this is about Iceland you say! Yes it will be! Anyhoo I decided I needed onions to go with the tex mex. Apparently you could just use chook but I decided I would use up left over bacon and a pepper and needed to add Union of course! I was out of onion and not wanting to park up and go to Morrisons etc or use the super expensive butchers come mini green grocer I trotted over to the land of ice. Now all those terrible adverts for frozen processed food normally keeps me well clear of the place however I was pleasantly surprised by some of the bargains and savings to be had.

Now I live in a titchy market town. We have a Sainsburys, Morrison and Lidl,  a Co-op and Iceland.  No big bargain shops like Tesco or Asda. Sainsburys is often out of my price range, though if you are picky with what you purchase its not bad sometimes ( stock cubes for 10p for eg ). Normally I find Morrison's the cheapest and most reliable for their prices in comparison to both Lidl and Sainsbury.

Anyway while in Iceland I snaffled half price Yorkshire tea bags, pizza, chicken breast bits and onions all for a rather nice price. The cucumber was 10p more expensive as was the Iceberg lettuce.

However Iceland was worth a gander just for the Free Range Eggs 6 for a pound. There are only caged hen eggs for cheaper in Morrisons and Sainsburys which I refuse to consciously buy.  Lots of other deals as well like 10 diet cokes for 2.50. Now I am partial to a diet fizzy drink from a can its got to be a can on the odd occasion - needs to be branded. Normally its a treat form the tiney winey pound shop where three for a pound rule!

A few other bits like a five pack of frutella for £1. Weeny girls likes three for a pound so this was better value. And the loo roll is softer and cheaper by 21p.  Only a pound for four rolls of petal soft. The rolls look about the same price and I refuse to purchase expense tissue for wiping ones fudge tunnel! What a waste!

Reduced fat cheese £2 foe 300grams - this is the normal price not the special price.

After all that getting past the party food aisle, ignoring the prawn ring and processed crap its occasionally worth a butchers.

Smart Mums go to Iceland to reccy the bargains not to purchase the processed ready meals!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Residential in the Cheviots

Just back from Coquetdale - five miles west of Alwinton. Spent the night in a bun barn with  teenagers 16-18. Not the sort of thing they would normally do. They debated what they wanted to do, planned it and applied for a young peoples grant successfully and we supported them to do the activity.  Weeny came as well. They were ace. We managed a 5mile walk as well over a small hill. and along a valley. Weeny had some help but walked 4 miles at least. She was rather brilliant. The teenagers were good with her too but I dodn't let her cramp their style. We looked for different coloured wild flowers, slugs, tramped over bridges, jumped over muddy puddles, and ahhhh! at views and baa'd at sheep. Northumberland being splattered with history we walked through Murder Cleugh and  Thieves Wedder.  Murder Cleugh is a spot where Robert Lumsden a landowner murdered his pregnant lower born mistress. There is a cross and a headstone to mark the spot. Lots of Border Reiver tales. Oh the Thieves Wedder is a spot where a sheep rustler pinched a sheep then fell into the deepest part of the River Coquet as it flows through the valley and drowned. Ain't Northumberland lovely.

We stayed at a place called Barrowburn - a bunk barn - stone wall camping. Ace spot. Nothing about at all.. Very basic. Real fire. Cooked together etc etc. They evaluated their experience and worked out how they could improve it, better kit due to the weather ( these are not camping outdoor young people types). We played board games, jenga, parlour games etc and everyone had some jollies. I do believe there may have been well hidden alcohol. However it was drunk sensibly - some are over 18 but college policy is no drinking full stop. No one drunk, annoying, upset, stupid, being sick etc etc. We can't go around demanding that all canteens are sampled, bottles full of pop sniffed. If we saw it then we would have had to confiscate it lol - save it for later ;-) we threatened!

I would go back - excellent spot. The Cheviots are empty unlike The Lakes. Desolate which is how I like hills most.

www.barrowburn.com There is also a deer hut which is better equipped. Maybe we may return but in style.....

Most of all the Yoof had a ball for a mid week overnighter. They want to do it again but bigger and better but may repeat the trip on their own time independently without pesky work supervision.

Times like this I like my job.  They will also be doing D of E - well some of them . They liked the navigating  bit. We gave them turns with the map and leading the group. It was a dead easy route.  Some of it along a well marked path along the valley past farms.

Weeny and I may return for a night all on our own for bonding and fun. Biggles thinks its expensive and prefers tents given the costs involved. He is a yorkshire man after all.

Monday, 9 July 2012

A deferral....

A deferral. Yes am considering deferring for a year. I have to go to Durham on the 16th not only to hand in CRB stuff but have to do a work experience check for a student so the petrol is paid for.

Am thinking cash.

Saving is good. I need to have a back up saving pot. Not having a good rainy day pot is probably not a good idea. It will cost to move and there are always extras to pay which will leave me with zilch as a backup.

Also I am unsure and much of this stems from not having a safety net. I am a glass half empty not half full when it comes to cash.

I have happily discounted the PGCE in Health and Social Care. For 15k debt I don't feel the return is there. Also I have been away from compulsory ed for too long. I am unsure I could work in that environment again. It can be very stuffy. Apologies to teachers out there.

I figure a year and a bit of being super frugal and saving is not a bad thing. Fewer weekends away as of September due to school.

Downside is weeny and moving schools. Its a good time to do the move. On the flip side some staying in the same place after moving house last christmas is not a bad thing. Also in a year when she is nearly 6 she will be more independent, understand more and may have better skills for moving, understand why we need to move etc.

The bank balance is looking better and we are managing. The car needs its timing belt changed which is another big expense if I factor in what I need to move.

I also don't think I have the energy to move again in a rush. Packing. sorting, organising...

The final decision will be made re whether or not I can defer. This is out of my hands.

Duke of Edinburgh brings alot of fun too. Working four days with the option of earning toil as extra for hols with Weeny is not a bad thing. Some time to focus on  her for a wee bit.

Long term financial plans - house buying etc I think I need to get real. Not going to happen here and not going to happen full stop unless you can get a 97% tiny mortage - fat chance. I think the pension plan is probably my best bet with some increased savings for the weeny one.

16th July is decision day.

Weekend in the capital, south bank moochings, a pukey oblivion and an sprinting four year old....

It was free ticket time again .. Biggles gets a number of free train tickets being a frequent rail traveller.
Weeny and I trotted off to the big smoke.

We spend Friday just mooching around Clapham  and munching happy meals. They are a treat for £2.49.  Yes more expensive in the capital! She scored for a really funky 2nd hand black sun dress with colourful embroidery which she refused to take off once she tried it on and a bracelet.

Saturday we took a stroll form Waterloo down the river along the South bank to the Tate Gallery.  There is a kiddies interactive bit and some drawing stuff to do as well as piles of bricks to look at.  I am a philistine when it comes to mondern art. Lots of the exhibitions looked like poo. Her words not mine lol.  The Kandinsky, Dali and Picasso's were cool. We didn't pay for the Munch or Hirst exhibitions. At £15 each I thought not!!! All free other than the obligatory ice cream and the carousel ride. Fantastic old fashioned horse carousel and she is big enough to ride her own horse now which she loved!

There is a rainbow sand play space and skateboarders to watch as well as other arty things going on and a big wooden climbing play frame near the London Eye.  We saw the Shard. You can't miss it.

Sunday we ate late again ( Eggy bread) then mooched around Wandsworth common and fed ducks. There are two play parks which keep Madam busy. Oh and I mad the mistake of sitting on the mini roundabout to be spun into a pukey oblivion while shouting ''Biggles you arse!'' A few looks from the nappy valley brigade.. Whoops. I had to lay down after that.  Sometimes he is just not funny!

On the way to the train we said goodbye to Biggles ...which she doesn't like. Its not too bad when we say farewell at home as we often go to the park immediately afterwards or have things to look forward to straightaway. She was upset. I carried her away giving cuddles then had to put my heaving  four year old down. She is heavy, She promptly done an about turn and shot off back to where Biggles was waving. Crying lots. Proper tears.  Ouch. Am sure Mr Officer had glassy eyes as well.  You can't come to the train to say farewell at Kings Cross as its all ticketed access now.

We managed to get on the  train and sat in the carriage where we had had reserved seats which turned out to have a problem with its heating. It would not turn off. A sweat box on tracks and was intolerable. We are the last stop before Edinburgh. It was a long journey till we moved to first class at the train guards suggestion.  Free Wi fi-  Yeah!!

Back to the grind and no further forward with decisions.

Biggles not keen on his name anymore. He occasionally drops by apparently.  ( Obligatory Rimmer salute given ala Red Dwarf!)  Hence will now take suggestions for an alternative! Answers in the comments box below!


Thursday, 5 July 2012

Duke of Bloody Edinburgh!

The award that it not the old chap!

This it the bit that is pulling me in.

We are startng as a directly licenced cetre offereing D of E and I am manager for my sins. IE at the heart of setting this up.

I want to as its fun and I like D of E ... if it wasn't for D of E then I woudl be off like a bat out of hell.

Its good for the college and good for the yoof I work with and I like da yoof!

Hmmm ahhh bugger maybe I need to defer!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Should I stay or should I go...... this indecisions bugging me...

Reasons to go!

Opportuity for a new career!
Moving to a cheaper area  for rent, house prices - though am not in a position to purchase at all!
Good time for Weeny to change schools
Takes three years to train  needs to be done sooner rather than later
Better prospects
To be employed is to be at risk to be employable is to be secure

Reasons to stay!

Money - I can save money here and pay my bills
No risks - roof over my head - life is ok
Job is ok -
Paying a pension
Will be working part time
Some suppport locally from friends in the area and further afield though no one particularly close or family

To buy a house in this area I will need to save 10k at least.

I could save this money for weeny for the future. Chuck it in an ISA or something

In three years assuming that I get a job straight away I will be on the same salary as I am now.

Its a risk and hard work.............. indecision indecision......

Monday, 2 July 2012

Of Monies.....

I am saving the change. The bank suggested it. You save pennies. Basically you set up a save the change account and they round up to the nearest £1 when you spend on your card and then transfer it to a savings account. Since starting the account I am on the grand total of £24! Every little helps like I said.

I am also  saving my survey vouchers for Weeny's christmas. Thats what save the change is for as well.  Easily have over £50 by September if not more and thats a start.

I need to Ebay some clothes and maybe fit in a car boot.  Some toys can be removed now - Albeit surreptitiously..... ;-)

I am down one credit card. Yeah!!!
Two to go - they are both non interest types and have not a great deal on them. > 350. 

Biggles is very understanding. He is happy with his miniscule amount. Which will increase when others are gone. I have a finite amount of time to pay before interest kicks in. Not from Biggles but the CC companies.

I am saving as well for potential moving fees. Doing ok on this point.

I have started buying weeny's school uniform for next year and new underwear.  5-6!!!!! Eeek!!
I try to spread the cost of her clothes. I also purchased wellies £5 one size too big as wellies need socks.

She also got a treat of pink baseball boots. Asda types. She is chuffed. Her trainers are getting tight.

School shoes I shall purchase from Ebay after having her feet measured by Clarks.

I have barely been in a chazza shop and do not do the rounds anymore due to the saving thang so no bargains so far on the kiddy clothes front.

I need to get the timing belt changed on the car, a new wheel trim ( grrrr bugger) and pay for tax. ( !!!!)

The big shop is done. I have withdrawn money to last till the end of the month.

We need haircuts. My hair gets lank and greasy and having fine hair but lots of it I end up getting elf ear! Weeny too. They can wait however.

Hmm I am still debating whether or not I take a chance/risk of retraining for three years or start saving.... I can save more while working and paying a pension however it is not much and I have no hope in hell of buyng a house in these ere parts ever again.  I would need 10k minimum and then paying the mortgage repayments would be impossible. Decisions decisions.....

Other stuffs!

I hope to arrange some school viewing soon. I will be in Durham on 16th July with Weeny.

We were stranded at the weekend due to some skanky bastard in London knocking over Biggles bike and doing shit loads of damage to it.  It was stationary at the time and parked. They shot off.  It will cost buckets to fix. At least a couple of grand. Also meant Biggles spend all day Friday trying to sort it out and then have it transported back to Northumberland. He left London at 3pm and arrived home 4am Saturday morning. Armed forces day he spent sleeping on the sofa then in bed. Woke up for food then back to bed again.

A pox on the person in a silver mini ( there was a witness but no reg taken) who knocked the bike over.

Thi swas his Afghanistan money - he earn't it and also for turning 40. its his prode and joy and the first new bike he has ever owned. A real treat to himself. I think working for 24hours straight at times doing a more stressful job that we can ever imagine.

Arseholes. They must have whacked it - brakes knwackerd lots of cosmetic and some other tec damage. Sorry to be a gender traitor but a twee silver mini..... hmmmm stinks of female pants driver to me who can't reverse or judge distances.