Monday, 20 January 2020

Walking Through Wet Cement

Inaccurate because not enough days.
That's a bit how January feels. Thirty days hath September, April, June and November. All the rest have thirty-one excepting January alone which has ninety-three. Also, people get paid early in December and then January is a five-week month this year meaning one paycheque has to last seventeen weeks. (Yes, this is accurate maths.)

The survey sites have been a bit sleepy, it seems as if all the researchers are still snoozing from New Year :D But I'm still not putting in the effort that I could be. My 2020 Challenge is still looking really challenging right now... I will have to see if I can dig out some motivation to get my backside into gear!

I did a bit of decluttering of stuff - because goodness knows I haven't the space to keep excess stuff - and it is also nice to know what you do and don't have. Side effect is that I have located quite a bit that I can give to my son since he has arrived in town travelling light, and whatever we can avoid buying is a plus.

I'm currently slow-cooking a stew, because I've done far too much "cooking avoidance" of late. I also plan to make a cake during the week and use up some loitering ingredients. My grocery spending has been reasonably disciplined in January (lingering guilt from that Christmas spend) but if I don't make some kind of meal-making effort I will end up living on bread, and the weight will creep back up.

Speaking of which, my local council offers a discount scheme for those on UC, which includes a bunch of fitness and health stuff - I have asked UC to send me a letter proving I'm on their books. Then son and I plan to join a gym together. He can play with all the weird weight and resistance contraptions, I'll leave him to it and just walk on a treadmill for an hour.

61 free competition entries so far this year - phew. I know the odds are that I'll need to enter a thousand before I win, or maybe even two thousand, but I still can't help feeling, where's my car already 😁

Also - I found the smileys!

Friday, 17 January 2020

Lunacy In Action

Cool thing: I got the second job :) Yay income!

Cool thing #2: My son is in town :) Yay son! I spent all day in the car fetching him, then he had to move into his temporary digs, so he's absolutely shattered and a bit shell-shocked by the change. Tomorrow we'll do a walk around town and an essential first shop - plus dinner at the pub.

In my travels this week I discovered a thing called Help To Save. Essentially it's a government savings account for low-income earners and it rewards you with a tidy bonus after two years. A 50% bonus, in fact. Colour me intrigued. So I go investigating... and the dealio is, you've got to be receiving Universal Credit and also earning more than £566 per month.

I'm not eligible (at least right now) because I always have either too much income to get UC or not enough income to get HtS. It never rains, it pours.

(Can I just take a moment to note what a silly system that is? They want to help low-income earners, but not the really-low-income earners. What the.)

Deflated much? Yes I am. Maybe if lightning strikes next month and I earn more than £566 AND I don't earn enough to quite cancel Universal Credit in February, maybe I can join. Once you're in, you're in. Fingers crossed.

Spent: £23.04 on stamps, £5.34 at the supermarket including two yellow sticker items. I also spent a pound on a cheap microwave soup cup after discovering the rather expensive one I've had for years developed a crack across the bottom. Ironically, I rarely heat soup in these things, but they are perfect for nuking enough frozen veg for one person's dinner :)

I'm well on track to meet my January £3 a day challenge, but it seems as if the bigger challenge will be whether I can make £2020 in 2020. It's certainly doable but I'm struggling to enthuse myself for 10-20 minute surveys. I did, however, just do five quick surveys on my phone after snapping my receipts for rewards. So that counts, right? (Incidentally, those apps look even better than I expected, so, yay.)

In: £3.00 from Opinion Outpost
£5.52  from Prolific
10p from TopCashBack

Thursday, 16 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Wrap Up

Scoring myself this high is generous.
So, seven days of spending only £10 in the supermarket - how did I do?

I didn't count the cheat lunch, as I extended the challenge. But there was a top-up of milk (£1.59 - convenience store) plus the hommous (£1.25) which means I blew the budget overall. If I simply didn't have money to overspend, I'd have been in trouble, because I become growly without milk in my coffee.

Even so, it has been an interesting experience and certainly valuable for me. I meal planned for 7 days out of 8 (that's more than ever before) and I did spend less than usual.

I didn't do great at using up what's in my cupboards. The bulk of what I have stashed is spices, sauces and so on. I think my best option here is just to stop buying them, especially if they'll only get used in one recipe.

What's left, protein-wise? I still have around 9-10 meals' worth:
most of the cheese
1 frozen pizza
8 eggs
2 portions of frozen stewing steak
3 portions of frozen mince & tomatoes
1 portion fish fingers

plus fruit and veg:
frozen veg
hash browns
plenty of potatoes, carrots and celery
2 pears

and what else:
2 frozen slices of bread
most of a pack of biscuits
a pack of muesli bars
more cereal than I know what to do with
pasta
tin of tomatoes
one quadrillion different spreads, spices and sauces
the forbidden pesto.

As hinted, my next shop involves things like a Christmas dinner and trifle - not the right time to do another challenge - but I am heading into next week with a much better idea of what I don't need to buy and hopefully I can keep the spend down a bit.

What should my next challenge be?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Home Stretch

Day 8

Technically I should have been finished by lunchtime yesterday, except for the fact that I cheated on my lunch earlier in the week. So this is penance day.

Breakfast: A bowl of unShreddies. At lunchtime.

Lunch: My dinner, being the leftover baked potato with beans, cheese and sour cream. I was reminded all over again that it was really, really good.

Dinner wasn't actually in today's plan - I'll probably have some toast. I've officially finished the challenge. It's almost Christmas here in the past (lol) so I'm contemplating whether I'm stupid enough to go and brave the supermarket. I'm not quite game to do another challenge over Christmas, because realism says I would cheat in order to buy the foods I want to eat on Christmas day.

Stay tuned for the wrap up.

Monday, 13 January 2020

So I'm Doing A Survey, Right

"Which of these supermarkets is a place you'd feel proud to shop at?"

I mean... think about it. Isn't this the entire problem with our world of over-consumption? People spending money not based on need but so that they can tell people about it? I mean, what?

Is this really a thing? Do people go around proudly telling people where they choose to put more money into a till? Is there elevated status involved if my milk and bread were more expensive than yours or had a different value brand label?

Don't get me wrong, my workmates and I do discuss our grocery shopping, mainly for practical tips like which one has the good specials and which one is a parking nightmare and which one's flowers always die within two days. And if certain products are genuinely better quality, fine. But as a status symbol, no. Perhaps I just don't mix with the right crowd buahaha!

In: 1000 Nectar points / £5.00 from e-Rewards

I have a job interview for a part-time job in a shop. I do hope I get it as it will fit around my existing job. I am not jinxing myself here because by the time this post goes live, I'll have already been to the interview.

Spent: on some chocolates and a card for a workmate's birthday. :)

I WAS REALLY PLEASED to see my name in the official tickets list for a car I was trying to win by sending in a postcard.

I was really displeased not to win it.

Never mind, I have another 40 entries yet! So far!

Task for the day: walking up to the place where my son will be staying, to check it out and book his stay. And of course it's blowing a gale and I'm going to get wet.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - Almost There

Day 6

Breakfast - I bet you can't guess?

Wrong! I was incredibly lazy and just didn't feel like eating before work. I ate two biscuits. And of course, this meant that by 12pm I was absolutely starving and really looking forward to the cheese and crackers lunch with workmates :)

Part of every balanced diet.
Obviously I ate far too many and also ate some hot chips. They even tried to make me eat cheesy bread and mince pies with it. I would have burst, not to mention the food coma that I dragged around with me for the rest of the afternoon as I tried to get my work done!

It was also my sun rotation day and also our Secret Santa, so I was given some lovely things, including Lindt chocolates, which I started demolishing as soon as I got home. Healthy diet today, not!!!

Afternoon snack: a carrot, as I felt guilty from eating so badly today.

I really felt like nothing more than toast for dinner - despite the lack of anything nutritious today - but I compromised, and made scrambled eggs for it. While eggs aren't that exciting to me, if I save some frozen beef, I will have some variety next week. (Next week is Christmas - yes, this was written in the past - meaning there will probably be quite a few meals featuring leftover ham.)

So how exactly does one do scrambled eggs without a frypan? Well, there are different ways, but I cheat. It's actually microwaved eggs with a dash of milk and stirred every 20s as they cook. It's not perfect, but on toast, it'll do.

Day 7

Look, it isn't mixed dregs anymore. Behold! Shreddies! (Or at least, value range supermarket-branded unShreddies.)

Work again today, so I packed my trusty sandwich with lemon curd. I had just finished shovelling it down when my workmates brought out the cheese and crackers again. And the shortbread, the mince pies, and chocolate cake! I ate far too much (it was delicious) and then contemplated the fact that I was going to have a grim time undoing all this overindulgence in January :D

Yes, there's a potato under that.
Dinner made for a tough decision: fish fingers, or pizza, or beans on a baked spud? Evidence:

Baked potato, beans, sour cream (which unexpectedly came home from work free) and cheese (because after eating cheese for two days straight, I needed more cheese). A simple dinner but the meal I've enjoyed most for the entire week. And to think I'd been putting it off, thinking I'd enjoy the stews more!

Friday, 10 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - Half Way Point

Day 4

Cereal... I am almost through the "mixed tub of leftovers", hallelujah.

I then had another stupid official appointment, but this time managed to behave until I got home, at which point I demolished three mini-packs of savoury nut snacks that I had gotten free as a promotion (they weren't fabulous and I won't be buying them in the supermarket). I ate them with a glass of coke, since the opened bottle has lingered since forever. I also drank coffee today (as always) and threw in some vanilla syrup, mainly because its main flavour is just "sugar" and so I might as well just use it up.

Snack #2: crackers with Vegemite. An actual lunch didn't really happen, on account of all the nuts and crackers.

I also cooked a stew in the oven, made up of 100g frozen beef cubes, a portion of frozen beef & bolognese sauce, a potato and some onions, celery and carrot, with half a stock cube thrown in. I really just thought it would make a flavour change from the previous stew. This leaves me 200g of beef, and plenty of veg, so I might make the next cooking project a curry.

As an aside, having to cook the beef for hours to keep it tender means the oven is going for half the day (ouch, power bills). Something to keep in mind!

My consumption of fruit and veg has been quite poor... I am currently eating a pear to remedy that a bit.

Day 5

I'm getting weary of cereal for breakfast, so today I ignored that idea and had toast instead. It was suitably drowned in butter (I really do love this bread, it is high in protein, and I think I should keep buying fancy bread!).

On account of the breakfasty toast, my lunch was a pot noodle from the cupboard. I buy these from the pound shop in multi-packs (without the "pot" since I've got a reusable soup cup at home). They are only 14p each this way and are nice for a change.

I'm trying to resist eating the last of the crackers. There are biscuits though, so I did shovel three of those with a cuppa. I also ate my last apple, so the only fruit from here will be pears.

Dinner tonight was leftover stew.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Wear The Tight Trousers

Today I was trawling through the archives of Mr Money Mustache (as I am wont to do) when I came across a concept that I think is incredibly valuable.

MMM says: You can't cure obesity with bigger trousers.

To explain what he means, the vast majority of people say they need a car to get to work. Instead of living nearer to work, or working nearer to home, we drive - and spend a lot of time in those cars, resenting the time taken up sitting in traffic.

As MMM says, if you didn't solve this with a car, the problem would solve itself. You'd either save enough money that you wouldn't mind, or you'd get so fed up that you'd move either house or workplace.

His prime example is the high-flying executive working too many hours to eat properly or take care of his health. He puts on weight. His trousers are too tight, so he buys bigger trousers. MMM says, stop! Wear the tight trousers. They'll pinch, and continually remind you to eat properly, to make time for the gym.

The takeaway: Don't take the easy road out when it's bad news for you, health-wise (or financial-wise).

Fruit, a better option.
I read today of a young man contemplating bankruptcy. He had a £20,000 job costing £6,000 in travel expenses each year. He spent so many hours commuting that he was forced to spend a fortune on ready meals. He paid for dry-cleaning to look smart for his job.

He was solving all his crises with bigger trousers. Nobody had told him there were other options.

Just for a start, the "choice" to travel for this better-paying job. He'd save £8,000 if he just gave up the car and walked to work in a supermarket for minimum wage. I realise it might not be everyone's dream career. But when you're contemplating bankruptcy... you make choices. And you're making those choices even if you don't realise you've made them.

Look your crises in the face. Don't spend them way, contemplate them. Question them. Solve them.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Continuation

Day 2

Milk was added.
Here, in all its glory, is my amazing cereal. Behold the glamour of mess. Delicious, no! But it does contain banana chips which made it edible, and it also used up some more cereal.

I believe that in your travels you may already have seen a sandwich, or two, so I will spare you the photo. Today, it contained lemon curd, from the fridge. It was accompanied by coffee (I made sure there was plenty of coffee before commencing this challenge... that's where I draw the line.)

I ate the banana for my snack, like a good girl.

With bonus shadows.
And now for the main event: dinner! The long-awaited exciting photograph that you've been waiting for. Oh wait. Yeah, stew isn't that amazing to look at it, is it? (Especially when I forget to turn on the flash.) But in any case, here it is, and it was lovely.

It took three hours and was worth the wait.

I felt very proud of myself!

Day 3

The text is in Italian.
Just for something different, today's breakfast was...cereal. But it actually was different, mainly so that I could present a different image to you. Look! This was even frugal, as it was left behind by a housemate moving house. Sealed and everything. Yes... despite the fact that my place is overflowing with cereal, I saw a freebie and couldn't help myself.

Today was otherwise a wash, and I failed. I had a very frustrating official-ly early morning appointment followed by failing in purchasing a (necessary) particular item at three different shops, and by this point it was mid-afternoon, I'd eaten my apple, I still wasn't home, and I ran out of patience and bought a takeaway lunch. With a takeaway coffee. And also a tub of reduced hummous. As penance, this challenge is going to have to last an extra day. Or two.

Due to the lunchtime shenanigans, I didn't make a main meal for dinner. I had some toast, and for a snack I had some hummous with crackers.

Monday, 6 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Start

I realised (as I was taking the first few photos) that if I post a daily update, you're going to see a lot of identical pictures... so to save you from sleep, I'll condense things a little.

Day 0.5

I had to start half a day early due to delicious tzatziki needing eatering, so here is day 0.5's snacktime food.

As you can see there were grand plans to write Christmas cards for my workmates, and did I do them that day? No I did not. #procrastination

Includes hash browns, so it follows the rule
For dinner on day 0.5, I again caved in to deliciousness which was in no way healthy. In an attempt to stop myself from eating two pizzas, I ate a small pear and also cooked two hash browns for the plate. It worked, as in, I wasn't hungry afterwards, I was completely stuffed full and in fact it made me so tired that I narrowly avoided a carb coma.

Day 1

I like cereal. I have a lot of cereal in my flat. Have I mentioned that I have a lot of cereal in my flat? The biggest problem with this is that I don't like eating at breakfast time. This does not result in the cereal being used up. So for breakfast I "enjoyed" a random mix (shreddies chucked into some oats, with sunflower seeds, dried fruit and nuts). It is not a taste sensation, but it's edible.

I had errands to do today so my portable lunch was strawberry jam (from the fridge) on seeded bread. The jam, being from the supermarket bottom shelf, tastes less like strawberries and more like sugary water. The bread is absolutely lovely.

This afternoon I ate the other half of the tzatziki with crackers. It expired yesterday so it needed eating. I also had another pear.

It's apple juice.
Really.
Dinner is currently in my oven - I am making a beef stew (200g stewing beef from the freezer, a potato, half a carrot, one celery stick, half an onion, and a squirt each of tomato ketchup and brown sauce). It smells amazing! I will try to remember to post a picture tomorrow, since the leftovers will be tomorrow's dinner.

My meals are most assuredly not meeting my five a day. Truth be told I would struggle to get it all in, I simply don't eat enough. But I can definitely do better and the crackers didn't help - I should have had an apple! I am, however, drinking the last glass of apple juice from the fridge.

And I'd better take my vitamins...


Sunday, 5 January 2020

Look Of Disgust

I'll return to my challenge posts, I promise. But in my quest to behave myself and not buy raffle tickets at new year, I studiously entered a metric crapton of them by postcard. Yes, I sat here and researched the ones worth entering, then checked their Ts & Cs, saved all the sites as bookmarks, typed them up in a spreadsheet and hand-wrote them all one by one, plus five more that I entered via email and two by envelope. 19 in total in one day, and that was several hours' work.

pats self on back, almost breaks own arm trying to grope own backside at the same time

Just as I was starting them, my favourite site announced a new competition. But the stupid thing is selling so quick that a postal entry would never arrive in time. Booooo. This means there is only one way to enter, and that's by buying a ticket. So what did I do? I reasoned that if I somehow found and completed enough surveys to cover the ticket price, I'd allow myself to buy one ticket for £11.00.

I then literally spent TWO WHOLE HOURS doing the mega survey of all mega surveys. A £14.00 survey. I'm still counting it in my challenge earnings, even though I've spent most of it already :D

Out: £19 at Tesco. This was sort of annoying because I had to amass £20 worth of stuff to get £2 off, and I'm overflowing with things like coffee, tins and ready meals. I also had to buy a few items to get another 75p worth of points. They are things I wouldn't normally buy >>sideways look<< which is decidedly not-frugal. However, they're nice foods and they'll be a change from the usual chicken, chicken, eggs and more chicken.

More Out: another £1.50 for 60 more Christmas cards and a tin of nougat. £15.72 on more stamps. Phew. And another six entries mailed out. Fingers crossed.

In: £14 of bank interest, £2.00 from a Tesco voucher, another £5.00 from e-Rewards (as Nectar points) and £3.00 from Opinion Outpost.

I am keeping track of my challenge earnings, but it's tricky to update the total too often - there are things that I've earned but can't access yet, for example (because I "cash out" somewhere but then it takes a few days to get to me). I will also wait until the 31st to check my Tesco Clubcard points. But so far, it looks very promising and I am earning more than expected.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Shop

So I have prepared for my challenge by taking a trip to Tesco. This challenge will include food from home. Here's what I bought:

Crackers, milk, pears, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, celery, carrots, bread (yellow sitckered), tzatziki (YS), pesto, onions, banana, pepperoni pizza and grated cheese

This challenge is in no way, shape or form, any kind of below-the-line or health food type of shop, as you can see. I mean... pizza? Pesto? Tzatziki? (In my defense they were all reduced, as was the fancy bread.)

Unfortunately this local Tesco has a limited range, forcing me into buying the branded crackers to go with my 30p tzatziki, and large bags of fruit and veg. In fact, quite a few of these items are cheaper at other supermarkets. But I also had points vouchers, and considering the discounted stuff, eh, it'll do.

The pizza will avoid me eating the same food for five days of the week, since I have a bag of stewing steak in my freezer to make stews. Also hopefully not be too resentful of always eating home-cooked food :D I'm also going to have beans on a jacket potato (hence the grated cheese).


Total spend: £9.34 (plus 93p worth of Tesco points). I'm counting this as an £8.41 shop. It leaves me £1.59 in case of, er, emergencies.

Also spent: £2.00 (not counted here) on some lovely Wensleydale and Cranberry for a cheese and crackers afternoon with the girls at work. This wasn't something I could, or would, have wanted to get out of - so I suppose you could say that I've gone over budget by 41p! As penance, I'm considering leaving the pesto untouched until next week. Considering.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

The £10 Grocery Challenge - The Rules

This week at work, a guest had left behind two bags of potatoes. I mean, of all the random things? But they're now in my possession.

I want to use them up, and considering the glut of stuff already in my cupboards and freezer, I've decided on a £10 challenge for a week.

The Rules

1. I may eat and use foods from home.

2. Every main meal must include something from the cupboards or freezer, and something from the new shop.

3. I may not eat takeaway or fast foods.

4. I can start this challenge in mid-December then realise in annoyance that the blog posts would clash with Christmas and therefore I am allowed to actually publish the challenge two weeks after I start it! Buahaha

Wish me luck...

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Resolutions

I don't have any this year. I can't remember what my last year's ones were, so clearly I didn't achieve them!

Here's a badge for showing up.
I just looked at my credit report accounts and my made up score has jumped dramatically and is back in the "fair" range. I think this is proof that they're ridiculous. I'm still the same person I was a month ago, so it's just plain malarkey! Just on a hunch, I ran a loan check. Not a single provider. Just goes to show you that a credit score is about as useful as a Participation Award.

I have eaten all the mini "Christmas Buns" (sic) which were actually cupcakes. Could I just take a moment here to note that they tasted faintly of Fabulon and I wondered briefly if someone were doing the ironing nearby? (Also note, I am ill with a cold and can barely taste things as it is, so perhaps it's a good thing I didn't buy them while I was well, they'd probably have tasted like Unleaded.) Overall score: worth their 50p price tag but only barely.

I'm excited to start my new challenges - The January £3 Challenge and the 2020 £2020 Challenge. I kicked it off by scooping 20 SwagBucks this morning from a single click. Hey, it's a start, right? 10p is 10p :D Even so, I'm only counting income when I've actually hit the "cash out" button.

My task for today is to go through all the raffles and enter them all by postcard. I cba doing it yesterday and my energy level today isn't making it much more likely... we shall see. My pretty postcards arrived, so you'd think I would be enthused! More coffee is required!

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Hack-y New Year

I am horrendously ill with a nasty cold, cough and sore throat, and am tired of the pain and the general annoyance of it all.

There, I've gotten all my complaining out of the way :)

I wandered down to the high street - I had managed not to shop for an entire week! It isn't that impressive considering what I spent last time I went shopping. But things such as milk do eventually need replenishing, plus, my home pharmacy has been seriously depleted by the flu.

Also, I mainly wanted some postcards for entering more competitions. Ahem. Alas, I left it a bit late for the tourist shops, and I lucked out in Poundland. I did, however, spend unplanned money in there. £6.50, in fact. That place has quicksand for a floor.

Christmas cards, cupcakes,
candy canes and glue.
Not pictured:
hair dye and five pairs of socks.
The cupcakes and candy canes were a necessity. The cards, being A5 size, are being cut up to make 40 postcards. At less than 2p each, they're also a quarter of the price of ordering bulk postcards online.

Also spent: £12.00 worth of sprays, drops and tablets to fight the lurgy. £8.40 in stamps to enter competitions. £5.09 at Tesco on survival topup food.

BLINK and more than thirty quid is gone!

Arrived: a mini, nay, a tiny hair straightener that I ordered off Amazon a while back. It works, it just takes forever due to its size. But it was £2.29 including postage and it's really only for my fringe at the front, so it's still good!

Plans for new year: eat cupcakes and stay home :)

Monday, 30 December 2019

Competitions Round Up December 2019

So here is the list of items I've won for December 2019. I have only really concentrated on comping for the latter half of the month, but I thought it would be interesting to keep track of what's come in.

£5 ?? Reindeer jumper
£7 Amazon voucher from an author
£50 voucher for recycled travel mugs (I got six mugs for this!)
£20 raffle ticket on Rev Comps for the R1M Motorbike & Cash Mega Draw (yeah, I can't ride, so winning one of the bikes would've been funny lol)

Total: £82 for two weeks.

I calculate this as "earning" £2,000 per year. Except for the fact that you can't pay bills with any of these things. And it's not quite enough to retire on just yet! :D If I had valued them according to what I would have paid for essentials, and ignored the things I would not have bought, then I would have earned... £300 per year. However, for the purposes of my 2020 £2020 Challenge and my January £3 Challenge, I will be counting competition earnings as full value income.

Let's see how January goes... lately I've had more energy for comping than doing surveys (me lazy).

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The January £3 Challenge: A Challenge-Within-A-Challenge

I have already briefly mentioned the 2020 £2020 Challenge (whereby the aim is to earn an extra £2020 in 2020, by means of extra earnings effort outside of your salary). But I've seen another one recently and I think it might give some added "oomph" and not take quite as long :)

It's the one-a-day challenge, and it operates month-to-month. (There are a lot of hyphens everywhere, evidently.)

The deal is that you set a goal to earn each day, and you see whether you're reaching the average each month, and you keep increasing it until you can make £10 per day. That'd be well over the 2020 £2020 if I could manage that - and looks very ambitious! - so I'm starting with £3 per day for January, which I should be able to manage.

If it proves too easy, I'll then set a higher amount for February.

Realistic plans beat a New Year's resolution any day, in my humble opinion... what's the point of a resolution if you haven't figured out how you'll keep it? So here's one for me. The January £3 Challenge. Watch this space.

Achievement for the day: blog facelift.

Freebies: two pints of milk, half a loaf of bread, four mini omelettes, butter, cherries, tonic water, orange juice.

Disgustingly ill with a cold (lost another week of work). Still working my way through holiday food leftovers!

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Post-Christmas Food Coma

So as I hinted earlier, I ventured into the supermarket on Christmas Eve. It's a good thing I didn't plan on a budget challenge because the total was horrific, and I didn't even go over-the-top (compared with lots of people).

It's been quite a long time since my shopping bill last started with a 4, put it that way.

Included in the shop were some yellow sticker bargains:

Bread, apples, chicken pie, cooked chicken, chocolate eclairs and sliced turkey
These are not even insane discounts either - I suspect Boxing Day will see a mad pile of yellow stickers at the shop but I don't think I'm mad enough to go! I'm kicking myself for not buying another four of the chicken, though.

Not included in the pic were a whole roast chicken (no halves left!), coleslaw, hummous, trifle, ham, fruit cake, sprouts, fruit, nuts, biscuits, crisps, and most importantly, a huge box of Guylian chocolate seashells. And more bits and pieces that I needed and which weren't really Christmas treats.

I really do have an insane amount of food here and I'm hoping I can delay my next shop by about seventeen years. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Merry Christmas

Sooo I slept late because I can, then relaxed and ate chocolate for breakfast, because I can. The plan was to take a picnic lunch down to the waterside.


And here's the picnic lunch:

BBQ chicken, ham, turkey, bean salad, coleslaw, tomatoes.
Chocolate seashells, chocolate orange, Pringles, cheeses & crackers, mince pie.
Trifle and apricot.
And it's not coffee in that travel mug.

And here's my face squinting, and me crying in the incredibly hot and bright glare.

Just kidding, I'm not publishing that photo. But in all seriousness it was actually too hot and bright to eat there. I packed up and went in search of a shady place, but then I couldn't find a dry bench, so I came home. I did take a bunch of selfies of course, but most of them show me with eyes shut haha.

The waterside was incredibly busy with people considering it's Christmas Day. I only saw one restaurant open and it was mostly empty. There was a huge number of people just ambling along in the sunshine and wishing each other a happy day.

The plan now is to relax, watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, drink my cider, win both a motorcyle and a Jaguar in the raffles this evening (there might be a flaw in that plan) and just generally do whatever I wanna.

I hope your day is filled with whatever you wanna. x

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Holiday Time

I've been in two minds about what to do with myself on "the day" and I've struggled to decide. Part of me thought I should go to the community centre to have lunch with everyone else who was alone. Part thought I should watch Christmas movies at home with a decadent lunch, and part of me wanted to pretend the day doesn't even exist. It's the third Christmas I've spent alone, but I think this year it got to me because I've been a bit down over the past few months and spent far too long thinking about my lack of friends.

My last blog entry went live early in the morning before I went to work on the 22nd... so I'd thought I had a nice enough birthday. People were kind, I got cards, they simply thought of me, it did wonders for my mood. But my dog, I really do work with the loveliest people. We had another group lunch the following day and they even brought out a sensational Baileys chocolate cake complete with a firework sparkler ♥

And I had some really nice conversations with thoroughly good people. Good people really are great, you know? One thing that stood out was that people are all doing different things... some are working, some will be with family, some with friends, some at tables for 20 and some by themselves. And it's ok. There's not a rule that you have to do Christmas at all, or even in a certain way.

So I've decided for Christmas that I won't be doing the cooked hot dinner shenanigans like last year. Instead, I'm thinking cold barbecue chicken and coleslaw. It's thoroughly Australian, so why not? Besides, I brought home a plate of mixed cheese, some crackers, mini mince pies, and other bits and bobs from our lunch... and I managed to resist the cheese for more than 24 hours! I also need to be watching the live raffle draw at 5pm to see if I win the motorbike (I got a free ticket from Rev Comps).

Entering a supermarket on Christmas Eve is shopping hell, but I'm now contemplating just such madness for my barbecue chicken and my coleslaw.