And I’m back….

So I went AWOL again, I feel like life has just been weird and constantly full of mild anxiety. We had a horrible time with hubby’s work, my work has continued and we have lost some lovely elderly people (at work, not home, not covid, just end of life stuff) and covid has had my moods swinging like a flag in the wind!

We have continued to over pay the mortgage, pay down the credit card, then added more onto it (more on that later), put on weight and moved less, then started to think about food again and move more…

We made a veg bed and are slowly filling it with gravel, then will come the soil and I can plant plants, I have been infusing vodkas, fun! Hubby now has a new job starting in a month which will see our incomes decrease, and hopefully stress levels decrease. We have booked to go back to Florida in January, have no idea when the wedding we were meant to be going to in New York is going to be so thats on pause.

Little dog developed a lump and has been lame on his front leg, apparently a fatty lump and probable arthritic changes, can do an x ray but he is such a stresshead and treatment won’t change so not doing it. He has tramadol in the mornings, metacam in the evenings, and we continue on yumove. Big dog just seems to be getting so much older, makes me sad, love them both so much! We lost our last three rescue chickens- all different symptoms and vets with no clue over two months, and adopted two more, Florence and Gertrude. They seem pretty happy and healthy, and they lay eggs! From reading, I think that unfortunately ex battery chucks don’t tend to have long lives as they have been egg laying machines. Hopefully they had a lovely two years.

Phew, that is life for the last few months! I am feeling more positive at the moment, so I am hoping to come back and start boring you all! I am also thinking of dedicating part of this blog to my issues with weight as this is a huge part of my life and difficulites and can feel complex and isolating.

We will have some actual money based updates soon too!

Hope everyone is well 🙂

March Money Madness

I just wanted to use some alliteration there 🙂 It hasn’t been too mad.

I haven’t been able to logon to Tesco since December, very annoying, I try randomly and with everything going on in the world, am not going to ring up to check, presuming it is all linked to being moved over to Halifax. Hubby and I have been discussing stopping the overpayment with the current climate, including the uncertainty and fear around his job. Though as we are both earning this month, we decided that April should have the £250 OP still and we will play it by ear from there. We are hoping we can carry on as ‘normal’ if nothing changes financially.

I have made a guess that our mortgage should be around: £150,675 if I have paid £600 capital off a month, which I had paid previously when overpaying £250. I am happy with this, wish I knew precisely, but whatever!

We had to take a chicken to the vets and paid £56 for antibiotics and the consultation, sadly, despite treatment beautiful Echo passed away. We syringed her water and the antibiotic but she didnt make it. Blue, who was the first poorly one, got better really quick and is doing great, now Charlie is poorly. The vet wasn’t concerned it was anything contagious to other animals which is a relief and we are treating them all with antibiotics now. Today I will be collecting the dogs prescription then getting them filled, this will be an expensive day! Completely worth it though. £56 for the anti inflamatories and Desmopressin prescription, a further £123 for the prescription to be filled. Need to explore if we can get this cheaper somewhere else, plus they never have 90tablets in so I will have to go back again to collect the rest. What a pain in lockdown, plus I am working 12 hour shifts. Hopefully hubby might be able to go.

Hubby got a chimney sweep in- £70, he (hubby) has capped the chimney pots as birds then tried to nest in the clean chimneys! Got the caps for free, and some stone for the hearth for free. Paid for the fireboard which he has now installed. Unsure of the cost for this! Our current flue is too short, hubby’s dad left his spare outside their house, so when hubby was out with work he could collect it and not break any lockdown laws! This might mean that we can get the fire up and running! We are having issues with the underfloor heating, we think the boiler needs an expansion tank or something, can’t do anything in this situation though, plus the house is still heating just not well.

The shower downstairs has loose tiles which have been letting water in, so hubby has taken them off, this is another job that will need doing. We have been discussing re-doing the upstairs bathroom, getting rid of the downstairs shower and making a small utility area there instead. Luckily, even though the upstairs shower is crappy compared to downstairs, it is water tight and usable. The concrete floor in the lounge is loose in parts, so need to investigate this at some point. Possibly ouchies to the wallet all round!

This month we also paid hubby back what was owed from Florida, and have only had to pay for gas once. I have moved money across which includes £250 holiday, £150 that Aran had been paying on the old credit card that we have paid off, and then paid himself back with and finally £82 that we have saved by cancelling items during uber frugal jan! So we are moving money, the key is to keep it! Or keep saving to pay for all these things we keep finding wrong!haha. After all the bills go out tomorrow I will do a tilly tidy and work out whats left and what we may need to spend for the month.

In April, we may need two lots of gas, its hard to plan in advance as we don’t know what the weather will do! Got away with only one order in March, so we are probably very close to a new order! We will need to buy more raw dog food and treats, about £40 which lasts over a month, Council Tax will be going out again, boo!

Hoping April will bring the peak and decline of covid19, and some semblance of normality will begin to come back. I hope you and yours all safe 🙂

DIY Washing Powder and Conditioner

So I have purchased the ingredients to make our own washing powder and conditioner, I have followed the recipe from FreshSkin. I already have quite a few bars of soap, so didn’t need to buy that, the rest I bought from Amazon- using Amazon smile so our chosen charity also gets a little something from my spending!

I have bought:

  • Natural White Vinegar- 10litres in two packs £9.75
  • Lavender Essential Oil 30ml £9.99
  • 6kg of Soda Crystals £8.85

Total cost: £28.59

Earlier in they year, I grated a bar of greek soap (from our holiday there a few years ago), added together the soda crystals and put them into an old container. It takes two scoops per load of laundry, we haven’t added any essential oils and haven’t made conditioner. May do that in the future! Clothes seem fresh and very clean, no smells. I am so happy!

DIY All Purpose Spray

We will be using an empty bottle from a previously bought spray, so one less thing to buy!

This compromises of:

  1. 1part water
  2. 1part white vinegar
  3. 12-15drops of an essential oil

Sounds great and will be mixing this up ASAP! Recipe from FreshHome. I have already ordered white vinegar and essential oils for the washing powder and conditioner, so multi use and hoping this will be great!

I bought Lavender essential oil and it does seem to mix well with the vinegar smell, this same mixture can be used for cleaning the shower daily too so once we run out of shower spray I will be mixing this concoction again! Better for the environment and hopefully as efficient.

Update: Have been using this a month now, and so far so good. We added a little more water to our mix, still works great!

DIY part 2

So, those whose saw my recent DIY post, saw that with mostly my mum’s help we managed to wallpaper the alcoves in the Dining room- though our dining table is actually in the lounge, so this is going to be more of a snug!

Trying to source shelves in the correct sizes was turning out to be impossible, both alcoves are different lengths and the depth was much deeper than regular shelves, but the deeper shelves would all be too big. Hubby and I discussed options, I really wanted the shelves to come into line with the chimney breast if possible. I went online and browsed around for bespoke shelving, honesly the cost made my eyes water. No way, even if we could afford those shelves, would I want to pay £1400, though the oak shelves were beautiful.

So we spent time looking at B&Q and the different ranges and options. We had almost decided to go for a smaller depth as we were concerned our cutting skills would be very poor along the length of the shelf, though cutting width may be ok! Thankfully once we thought we had the right shelf- costing £196.20- including batons, B&Q were unable to get any more of the shelving. So we wandered off to our local Huws Grey Building Merchants. The man was super helpful and with his expertise, we concluded that MDF cut into the exact sizes we needed would be our best option. Though maybe it’s not the perfect look, it is very strong, durable and affordable! He also sized up the length of 4×4 batons we would need and costed it all up for us.

I was so shocked at the cost for it all: £98.99

So with that pleasant surprise we paid for the goods, collected the precut wood and left over MDF three days later! This weekend we finally had some time to get those shelves up. I really wanted them up for Christmas, as our books were just in piles on the floor!

The dogs are never keen when we are doing things, they like it when we sit and cuddle them!

Hubby did most of the work, I helped to measure, held the wood whilst he sawed (we must have lent our workbench to someone!), held wood on the walls for him to screw them in, changed drill bits and general dogsbody things! He did all the proper sweaty work!

We have never done this kind of DIY before, so we went in with an awareness that we could cock up, but that would be ok, we would take our time, measure twice etc etc. One of the main issues was that there are electric sockets on both alcoves, so this could be an issue, we didn’t have one of those clever gadgets that detects wires and from everything we read- wires go up! So we did the alcove where we could easily avoid the double sockets at the bottom and the probable wires up the wall!

After trouble with the first shelf- drill bit not going through the wall, screws actually too small, spirit level not being level- Hubby ran off to Huws Grey before it closed, got the bits he needed and came back, I went to my Dad’s and borrowed a masonary drill bit! Take two saw the shelves going up much quicker!

Utilising the arm of the chair to drill holes, Hubby working hard to get those shelves up!

Troubles on Sunday were with the extra sockets on the wall in the second alcove, we turned all the electric off in case the theory of the wires going straight up was wrong! Our main issue was trying to avoid the possible cable path meant the drill went at a slightly odd angle, resulting in two broken drill bits, cussing and frustration! But with perserverance and ribena, he did it! We were going to build six shelves on the right side, but went with 5 with bigger gaps between them. On the left side we have built three shelves and left a large gap underneath so that we can utilise that space for other ideas I have! Hubby despairs when he sees me on Pinterest.

So pleased with the final product! Love it!

What we used:

  • Hand saw
  • Drill- we had two batteries so this helped
  • Brown raw plugs
  • Screws
  • Regular wooden drill bit- 3 to be precise!
  • Masonry drill bit- very necessary when drilling into masonry!
  • Length of 4×4 wood for batons- we have left overs which was good
  • Pre-cut MDF to the correct sizes via Huws Grey
  • Lots of Ribena

I am so pleased with it, we have a very large mirror that we are going to hang on the fireplace once we get the correct brackets, we have filled up the shelves with books, two new lamps- waiting to get correct bulbs as ones from the shop were way too bright and some Christmas things. I am now officially in love with this room, I never have been before! We have a fridge-freezer in here for the dogs raw food that we will get into the shed at some point when we can get electric in there. And a wall of photos which has been there since we moved in, which is so lovely to look at. We are also aiming to get our fire in there, it has been in the shed a long time so a bit rusty but should fix up well! Very exciting!

A bit of DIY

I am not a DIY person by nature, I am quite sedate in my hobbies, reading, watching films, researching on the internet…Though I love a good session on Pinterest, getting lots of amazing ideas and feeling inspired to do anything!

Pre paper!

Over a year ago, I bought some beautiful wallpaper which was on sale, 3 rolls for £40. I could visualise my dining room alcoves with this paper, with beautiful shelves built into them for all my books!

Pre paper!

Rock on to over a year later, my mum has come round and has papered them for me, I helped by passing things and generally looking confused! It looks amazing, and all it cost me, was lunch and cups of tea! I did offer payment, as to be honest I have no urge to try this myself, but this was declined. It is amazing how much one room can change with some wallpaper, it looks like a new room! All I needed to buy was wallpaper paste for £2.50, we have a wallpaper table and the other bits and bobs already from when other half and his mum wallpapered the lounge wall!

Both alcoves all papered! We will be painting the chimney breast, and replacing the lovely artwork!

In the picture, it looks quite dark, but I took the photo last night, the rest of the room is painted white and we have a very large window, so this looks lighter in the daylight!

Next steps, we have the sizes of the alcoves, cant afford bespoke shelves, so will be researching the best ways to make our own! And deciding on the colour to paint the chimney, I am thinking a dark green- there is some on the paper- or dark blue! We are also looking into the cost of getting the chimney reopened and the small fire we bought when we first moved, installed!

Exciting times!

Hobbies

I think it is really important to have hobbies, they can come in many different forms and at a variety of different costs. Some hobbies can be pretty much free. I say pretty much free, as, if you think of walking, you still need shoes and clothes that are appropriate. Most people already own these so, therefore, walking is pretty much free. You could also spend a lot of money on walking should you wish!

My hobbies are pretty sedentary overall, I love reading! Libraries are great for this- though our local one shut down a few years ago, so not as convenient for me- book shares in work places, with friends and family are cost effective and also looking out for bargains in charity shops and online. I have had some great deals on my kindle via amazon, I made use of the free month borrowing scheme and read a bucketful of books all in one series and it was great! Just remember to cancel again after!

I love watching TV and films as well, we got rid of Sky a few years ago and now use Amazon Prime- great for deliveries, Alexa and music, though hubby pays extra for even more music, not just watching stuff! We also use Netflix, this has been great recently and I have been very pleasantly surprised by some of their own creations! I like to read blogs, pretty much free, I already have a laptop, desktop and smartphone. I play the Sims, not free, but given the amount of hours I spend on it, well worth the cost!

Mr Money Mustache talks about cost versus use as a way to look at spending money. If you buy some fantastic walking shoes, for £100, you could work out the cost per mile. So therefore, the more miles you walk the more cost effective the purchase is. I definately get my moneys worth from Netflix and Amazon, not so sure about my TV license for BBC though!

Hobbies are great for our mental health, they keep our brains occupied and they can give us purpose. They come in many forms, hubby did archery for a while, got really into it and bought lots of equipment. He still has a play around every now and then, so I think it was worth the inital outlay. He has a new hobby at the moment, with my encouragement, he bought an imported Americal Ford F100 1974 truck, all the way from California! It is AMAZING!!!! This hobby cost £4900 to buy, but I believe that this is actually a steal for this vehicle. I choose to look at this as an investment as well as a hobby. If looked after and fixed up- as hubby is doing- then this vehicle will only increase in value. Smashing!

Betty, the truck, is currently at a local garage- how random in this semi rural area, that we have a classic car specialist garage fifteen mins away! Where she is being looked after, she actually broke down on the garage driveway, and the guy has said to hubby he is impressed she made it that far. We trust the garage, they are very clear and upfront about everything, telling us what is imperitive to be done, what hubby could have a go at and what can wait. They also have loads of cool cars up there, I got to have a nosy the other day.

I am in love with her colour!

Some of my family, and one of my best friends are horse people, now, horses are expensive hobby. Very fulfilling though I am told! I also love researching the crap out of things, holidays are my biggest obsession! Pinterest is a wonderful place to while away hours of your day, getting inspired and obsessed!

I would love to hear about any hobbies readers have, how do you balance costs etc?

Super King Size Bed!

Something that I find difficult, is the desire of wants versus needs. I wanted a King Size bed, mostly because we allow our dogs up on the bed and more space would be wonderful! This was not a need, and when looking at costs, it was starting to look like a big expensive when we had a perfectly usable double bed.

So i started looking on Facebook and Ebay. Sure enough, just 20 minutes down the road we found someone selling, not a King Size bed, but Super King Size for £50! It was a bargain that we couldnt turn down!

We went to collect it in a borrowed van- no cost. It was in great nick so we payed the £50 and came home.

We payed £12 to buy paint, then I started painting the bed and hubby finished it. We found two sheets for £11.99 each at the Range, already had a King Size duvet which fits great so no extra cost and the biggest expense was finding a mattress! We trawled around lots of stores, it got tedious and I couldnt believe the cost of mattresses! In the end, we found the perfect mattress in Carpet Right of all places, £350 including free delivery!

The bed is amazing, so much space! I love, love, love it! The paint was just to freshen it up a little and help it fit in our room, it wasnt necessary but looks great! Looking round for second hand items is so underrated, we could easily have spent double what we did buying everything new and not as good quality!

Costs:

  • Bed frame £50
  • Mattress £350
  • Paint £12
  • Sheets £23.98
  • Van borrowed so no cost

Overall cost: £435.98