being thrifty, decorating, drEAming, financial focusing, general chit chat, homestEAding, trEAsury

‘dolly’ mixtures…

It has been a busy week again since we arrived home from a long weekend at the cottage/caravan.  Work was particularly pressured this week but I now have 5 days off to look forward to with having the extra Bank holiday day on Monday.

Today I would normally have been cleaning but decided instead to tackle the pile of paperwork that has been breeding accumulated on the desk and get back on top of the finances.  I have a number of tasks…

  • Find a new mobile provider – (once again, as sadly Sainsbury’s gave up last year as a provider) and now Talk Mobile are pulling out of their pay as you go which cost me all of £20 a year!   I am not a phone user so not really worth me being on a contract and the best coverage at our cottage / caravan is Vodaphone.  Their pay as you go is expensive so I am looking for a cheap, cheap, and even cheaper contract.  OH has one that is only £7.50 a month with bundles or whatever but I am not sure I can get that deal now.
  • Decide how to switch my new pension investment  – finally our firm has enrolled onto the people’s pension scheme and I had the first deduction taken this month from my salary.  As with OH pension I want to invest in an Ethical fund but the first pay in is into the default ordinary one so I need to read up on the instructions of how to change this online.  Looking at the figures on the handout we were given at the recent seminar the Ethical choice is doing relatively well.
  • Check our bank accounts and savings and update them.
  • Check over the renewed insurance policy for the cottage – a job I hate doing but must be done.
  • Switch energy provider – Npower are now for the chop.
  • Filing – plenty of it!

Once the paperwork is done my next task is to decide what is going back into the newly decorated bedroom.  We have assembled the Ikea wardrobes which have been fitted out with shelving rather than hanging and will be my linen cupboard and also house fabrics and sewing projects –  this will take the strain off the wardrobe in our main bedroom.  We have also bought a set of drawers so I have to decide where and how to store the items I am keeping and what is to be displayed.  My granddaughter will eventually stay in this room so I want it to look appealing to her and have a place for a few toys.

I removed a bag full of soft toys when we cleared out the room – this little rag doll is the same age as my elder daughter – 37 years old.  I made her as a sample for a sewing kit manufacturer interested in selling toy kits when I worked for New Look Patterns in the seventies and eighties in Bradford – some bloggers may remember them as Maudella.  We were updating the toy section of the catalogue at the time and I had great fun designing and developing a selection of toys.

She has always been called ‘Dolly” and here she is having a leisurely soak whilst her clothes are in the washer.

 

 

Meanwhile bunny and Ted have been spruced up in the washing machine together with a few other ‘friends’.

I had to make the awful decision to send one or two to the charity shop to be loved in a new home – what is it about soft toys that makes this such a hard job?

When my mum comes to stay she has little room to pack lots of toiletries in her case and they make it heavy so she keeps a spare set of basic things at our house.  I have put them all into a little guest basket for her and added in a couple of towels, face cloths and scented soaps – looks much prettier on the shelf now.

 

We needed a new blind for the Velux roof light as the old one had rotted in the sun.  When we checked the price we found they are nearly £100 now for a ‘proper’ Velux blind.  We came across an ordinary blind reduced to £6 in John Lewis and it just happened to be the same width so OH managed to carefully remove the fabric from the new blind and fix it onto the winding mechanism of the old blind.  Brilliant  – what a bargain.

I shall reveal all soon – just not been able to take any pictures yet.

 

Have a great weekend – back soon.

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being thrifty, fEAsible, financial focusing, getting things done, managEAble, my goals, trEAsury

Financial Focusing update #1

After a shaky start last week I am just about getting back into a routine both at work and home.  At work it is the lull before the storm as there are some big changes ahead starting February – I am not even sure what I will be doing when it happens but I am not going to worry about that now.  No I am going to get my house in order – starting with the finances.

Each evening after work I have been ‘Focusing’ on one financial task from my list.

So far I have…

  • taken the loose change to the bank – £14 in 5p, 2p and 1p’s over the year.
  • taken any returns to the shops for a refund (all but John Lewis this has to be a weekend job),
  • reimbursed our account with the cost of some clothes bought for my mum in law,
  • applied for a cash back card,
  • checked out our current energy deals and
  • begun making a pile of sellable items that we no longer want.

Like a lot of other bloggers I have been totting up the Grocery spend for last year

Total Grocery spend for 2013

£3,082.59 for the year or £59.20 week which is a disappointing £10 a week over the budget I set.  My best month was June £175.14 and my worst August £370.79.

Most of this was spent in Sainsbury’s and I have now got over £80 in reward points to spend – this will help get us through January.

Did I mention I accidentally pulled the plug out of the freezer in the garage when I thought I had just unplugged the outside Christmas lights.  It happened last Tuesday night and not discovered until Saturday!  I need saving from myself.

Not sure what we can save and eat or will have to abandon – any suggestions anyone?  At least it was in the process of being run down to help get through a frugal January  – so not a huge amount in there.  Oh well tomorrow ‘s another day…

trEAsure

Resetting the bodyclock…

I am sitting here watching an all time favourite of the Good Life with Tom and Barbara – the one about the pigs.  I often fancied myself as Barbara living in her suburban home spending all day in the garden growing veg and tending her animals and doing it all whilst under the influence of that famous Peapod wine.  I especially liked their fun minimalist Christmas with newspaper hats and the knitted jumpers.

I spent most of the day being swept along by a hoard of Christmas shoppers in the Cheadle branch of John Lewis.  You can always tell the Cheadle branch by the number of Rolls Royces in the carpark!

I wasn’t Xmas shopping myself – just browsing –  and my reason for going was to check out the Lumie Bodyclock light as I am finding it extremely difficult to rouse myself on these dark wintry mornings.  I am not sure about you but each year as I get older it gets harder to wake up and get going.  The early morning traffic on the roads in the last week or two has been so bad I have found myself late for work so drastic action is called for – hence the light.

So to go back to the clock – we did buy one and having unwrapped it and read the instructions we are told that we can have sunset and sunrise which gently puts you to sleep and wakes you up, 5 different alarm sounds to choose from –  Big Ben or drums (I don’t think so) to birdsong or wind chimes (sounds better) or plain old beep (perhaps not).  So we will try out the birdsong although I suspect I might just sleep through it – I have never been aware of the birds chirping outside before.

Lumie Bodyclock

The Lumie Bodyclock Go 75

It also boasts a snooze feature – definitely a must in my case –  I am no lark and will put off that moment when my body has to be forced out of bed and into the shower. I always set my alarm 15 mins early so I can fit in 3 five-minute snoozes, a bit like the traffic light system wait, get ready…go.

Lumie Bodyclock

I will keep you posted on how well we do getting up in the mornings from now on…or not!

 

And continuing the cushion saga – in and amongst I bought two feather cushion pads as they did have the right size and decided I will, for now, reuse the knitted cushion covers from the cottage as I wasn’t inspired enough by the cushions on display in John Lewis either.

I did see the most beautiful soft woollen throw in muted colours just right for our bedroom but at £180 I had to leave it behind!

How did your Saturday go?  Have you started the Xmas shopping yet?