Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tag - You're It!

As I'm fairly new to the blogging world I didn't fully understand how this tagging thing worked and I've been tagged. 
I've been tagged by Sue from over at Our New Life in the Country

Apologies to My Beautiful Life who also tagged me but I think I can only answer once.

Here are the rules:

* Once tagged you have to tell 11 things about yourself.

* Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.

* List 11 questions for the person you are going to tag, if possible they should have less than 200 followers .

* You are not allowed to back-tag.
11 Things About Me
1. I have worked as a Special Constable but had to give it up when the business started.

2. Down to my warped sense of humour, telesales calls are my guilty pleasure - Depending on what mood I am in I will try and keep them talking for as long as possible before they put the phone down on me. I like to ask them the ins and outs of everything and really question their policies to which most are stumped because they have no idea either. My record this week is 20 minutes. Other times I will ask them to hold on, then walk away while I carry on with my jobs. 
3. I am a very suspicious person - I am constantly taking down reg numbers and times of anything that looks remotely out of the ordinary.  Even better now that I have a decent camera on my phone.
4. I can be very abrupt to persistent people who I think are trying to blag me by wanting to sell me something i.e. mis-sold PPI etc or door to door sales.
5. I write short stories- a few of which have been published, though certainly not enough to give up my day job.
6. I was a teenage mum - having my eldest daughter at just 18.
7. I had a mortgage at 19, held down 2 jobs as I didn't want to be stereotyped as yet another teenage mum.
8. I am never bored.
9. I hate television (apart from Downton Abbey).
10. Have got no time for people who constantly whine and think the world owes them something yet won't take responsibility for the mess they are in. 
11. I studied English Literature with Creative Writing at university as a mature student.


Here are the 11 questions Sue asked me!

1. What is your favourite part of Blogging?
Knowing there are like-minded people interested in what you have to say.

2. Who would you most like to meet (famous person or not)?  Oscar Wilde - his wit is second to none.

3. What is your best childhood memory?  Laughing, lots of laughing.  Being one of 5 we'd play all sorts of tricks.  Too many  (and some too naughty) to mention.

4. What is your favourite vegetable? Mushrooms

5. How many siblings do you have?
    4 - 2 brothers and 2 sisters.

6. What one food could you live on forever, if you had to? Hotpot.

7. What would you make me for a quick simple lunch if I were to pop round?
A bowl of homemade Pea and Ham soup already made, from the freezer, with a couple of rounds of crusty bread.

8. What is your favourite colour? Green (obviously).

9. Do you prefer cats or dogs? Dogs definitely.

10. Who is your favourite singer?  Not got a singer but a group and it changes with my mood and time- but either  INXS or the up and coming group Fun.

11. and Which of theirs is your favourite song? Never tear us apart by Inxs or Some Nights by Fun.

My 11 questions

1. What is your favourite book?

2. What is the worst job you have ever had?

3. What is a good frugal tip you can pass on?

4. Who is your guilty crush? i.e. someone who would not normally be considered attractive but has that something about them.

5. What motto do you live by?

6. What is one of your faults?

7. What is your greatest achievement?  Children are not included in the answer as that stands to reason.

8. What 4 people, past and present, would make the ideal guests at a dinner party?

9.  Who is your favourite comedian?

10. If you could go back in time, what era would it be?

11. Finally, why do you write a blog?

 I've decided to tag Sarina at Sarina's Allsorts

Monday, 12 November 2012

Blogging Mums!


Apologies for the following post but felt the need to have a rant about the below mentioned article. I was directed to this over the weekend and I'm annoyed at myself for allowing to be provoked by it and in a way creating more publicity for this narrow minded judgemental piece.

I don't blame you for clicking off now, but if you want a bit of provocative reading have a gander...

Free? You blogging mums may as well wear burkas

If you did take the time to read it could somebody please explain as I didn't fully understand where her argument was coming from.  It is a ranting from, what sounds like, a ballbreaking egomaniac that has a bee in her bonnet about blogging mums.  Why?  I'm not quite sure as there are that many bitter witterings that it's hard to see the point she is getting at. 

Is she getting worked up about the Mumsnet site? Mums who blog about motherhood? or the fact they get paid to do it?  Is it because they choose to stay at home and raise their children?  Or, the subject matter they choose to write about would not be of interest to anyone? Or is it because these blogging mums are not hammering on that glass ceiling in the hope it should smash and place them on a higher rung of the career ladder?  I don't know!!  All I know is that it is very contradictory as she is insulting women who are doing exactly the same job she is doing for a living - writing about life!

A couple of quotes, enjoy:

'Questions raised on Mumsnet site - and by god it's bitchy and competitive - range from 'Do you enjoy breastfeeding?' to 'What choosing an unusual pet says about you'.  Hmmm that sounds really bitchy and competitive.  If you are going to make a comment like that then at least back it up with an example that proves it. The only thing bitchy I can see is this column.

So what if women  'get PAID to sit at home' and write.  Surely we are advanced enough now in our society, as long as we are contributing, to be able to choose what we want without being judged.  Albeit, some do not get that choice and certain sacrifices are made, which is a factor not taken into consideration in her writing.  On the other hand, life, (seeing as we're making huge generalisations here) is about what makes us happy, is it not?    Not every woman is driven by money, so being able to spend time at home with her child is something she might prefer. 

As for writing about being a mother, they do so because they have an audience.  They have an audience because they are writing about something that interests other like-minded people.  What is so wrong in that?  Some of these blogs offer help and advice to people who are looking for it.

'I felt the hand of patriarchy on my back', Yes love, it's patting you on the back as you are promoting the subordination of women in this article with your ramblings of how they shouldn't be heard.

I'm off to bake some cupcakes in my tiny, safe, fragrant home. I'll leave you with the final comment, make of it what you will.

'They might just as well don a burka, and shuffle, so narrow is their vision.'  Oh the irony of the last part of the sentence made me laugh out loud.  :))

Bear with me, I promise to write a more positive piece next time xx

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Today me and Mini A went to the local Remembrance Day parade to pay our respects to all the service men and women, past, present and future.  Whatever your views are on war, today is the day to remember all those who have fallen; soldiers and civilians alike and to also spare a thought for the families who will no longer see their loved ones.  The turn out was brilliant for such a small town.  Service men and woman marched alongside the Sea Cadets, Scouts, Cubs and Brownies.  Different generations all joining together to remember!

However, that was not my only reason for attending. You see, the week before a group of volunteers had given up their time to clean the war memorial that stands outside our town hall.  They had given up their time to make a difference to our little town.  I must admit I didn't help out with this as I only found out about it after it had been done. That's why I asked to join the group and should any other projects come up I would be able to hear of them beforehand.

Too many times of late have I heard people bad mouthing the town, 'it's gone to the dogs,' etc, etc.  It makes a refreshing change to hear of people doing something positive and want to make it a nicer place to live.  So today not only did I pay my respects but also showed my support to the group of volunteers who are helping put a sense of pride back into the community.

I'll leave you with this :

by Jane Weir

Three days before Armistice Sunday
and poppies had already been placed
on individual war graves. Before you left,
I pinned one onto your lapel, crimped petals,
spasms of paper red, disrupting a blockade
of yellow bias binding around your blazer.

Sellotape bandaged around my hand,
I rounded up as many white cat hairs
as I could, smoothed down your shirt's
upturned collar, steeled the softening
of my face. I wanted to graze my nose
across the tip of your nose, play at
being Eskimos like we did when
you were little. I resisted the impulse
to run my fingers through the gelled
blackthorns of your hair. All my words
flattened, rolled, turned into felt,

slowly melting. I was brave, as I walked
with you, to the front door, threw
it open, the world overflowing
like a treasure chest. A split second
and you were away, intoxicated.
After you'd gone I went into your bedroom,
released a song bird from its cage.
Later a single dove flew from the pear tree,
and this is where it has led me,
skirting the church yard walls, my stomach busy
making tucks, darts, pleats, hat-less, without
a winter coat or reinforcements of scarf, gloves.

On reaching the top of the hill I traced
the inscriptions on the war memorial,
leaned against it like a wishbone.
The dove pulled freely against the sky,
an ornamental stitch. I listened, hoping to hear
your playground voice catching on the wind.


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Money and Energy Saving Tips!

Saving money and energy has now become a way of life that I automatically think about without thinking about it, if that makes any sense.  I thought I'd compile a list of things I do around the home and when out and about (most of you will already be doing these no doubt).

  • Never let the kettle boil - turn it off before it has chance to 'click'.  The water will be more than hot enough for what you need it for.

  • Only boil what you need, (or nearly boil as the case may be).

  • Turn all electrical items off at the socket - the only item that stays on overnight is the fridge freezer.

  • Don't throw crusts from loaves away - freeze them and use them to make breadcrumbs.

  • My bedside bulb has gone and rather than replace it I have a wind up camping lamp that I use when I want to read in bed.  Strange looks from the elder 2 kids round the door when they can hear me cranking it up!

  • I shower in the dark - the light from the landing is more than enough for me to see.  I know some will say why not shower in the morning - simple reason, I am not really a morning person and have far too much to do, plus I like getting into bed feeling nice and fresh.

  • I'm not a big fan of make up but one item I simply cannot do without is my liquid eyeliner.  When I feel this is running out I add a couple of drops of water to it and get a few more months out of it.

  • On wash days I put a load in as soon as I come downstairs and by the time I've taken Mini A to school the cycle has finished.  I then spread out on my maiden and radiator airers in the conservatory.  Even in winter, if the sun is shining it soon heats up and the damp air is not spread around the house.  Another tip I picked up from fellow bloggers was that if the flags are dry, the washing will dry whether it is summer or winter, so outside it goes.

  • A simple solution of thin bleach, washing up liquid and water kept in a handy squirty bottle keeps mildew at bay in the bathroom.

  • Any leftover lemon from baking is squeezed and mixed with 300ml of water and used in the microwave for 2 minutes to keep it clean and fresh.

  • I'm lucky enough to be able to walk to work each day, thus getting fresh air and exercise all for free.

  • Everyone should be in possession of a 'Magic Sponge'. Cheap, and ideal for removing those stubborn marks.

  • I only buy what I need, not what I want.  However, if there is an item I want and need but is not really essential, I will post on Facebook to see if anyone wants to sell or give away the item in question.  If not, I will scour the car boot sales. Failing that, should anyone ask me what I would like for Christmas I will mention one of these items.  Retro scales is one such item - I need some new scales as my current ones are cracked and do not hold enough, also the retro scales would be in keeping with my kitchen but something I  would not consider buying myself.

  • I email or use Facebook messaging rather than texting.

  • Use all the loose change in your purse when paying for stuff to make your notes last that little bit longer.

  • I saved Hands On over £5 when he needed a car radio code.  He was willing to pay to have it unlocked.  I wasn't.  I scoured the internet and hey presto we now have one working radio.

  • Watch every item being scanned if you use a supermarket, particularly those on offer and check your receipt whilst in store.  Several times I have had to take a detour to customer services due to incorrect pricing. 

  • In a supermarket look at the higher and lower shelves for the item you want.  Whilst the offers are mainly placed at eye level and you think you are getting a bargain the cheaper alternatives are very often placed on the higher and lower shelves.

  • If you have to use a supermarket for your fruit and veg don't buy in the packages.  It is cheaper to buy them loose.

  • And finally -  a smile, and a please and a thank you go a long way.  Good manners cost nothing!

If any of you have any thrifty tips please do feel free to share.  I'm always willing to learn.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


I've often said that since starting this blog my life is turning around and can honestly say I've never been happier. Don't get me wrong, life is not a bed of roses and the kids think I am more barmy than ever and this is because of a number of reasons. Now I only buy what I need and not what I want.  I avoid supermarkets at all costs and choose to shop around my local town, except for baking stuff.  I've not found anywhere else that stocks baking ingredients. 

Instead of having too much week at the end of the money, the roles have been reversed and any extra is going towards the mortgage.  The cupboards are bulging and we've never eaten so well.  Chicken nuggets, frozen chips, etc,  are totally out of the question, along with takeaways.  Everything is made from scratch. If the elder 2 choose to eat out they do so with their own money, they are both working after all. 

My shopping bill has reduced each week because I've stocked up on items that I know I will use.  I have used Approved Foods a couple of times, and again only bought what I needed.  There are some groceries on there that are more expensive than my local Heron Food store but others that cannot be sniffed at.  McDougalls Scone Mix £2.99 for 3.5kg and extra virgin olive oil £1 for 250ml. I am still trying with baking my own bread but have quite a way to go.  Still not perfected it yet.  That's why I always look in the reduced section first at Heron.  Today I was able to buy a full loaf for 20p because the sell by date is tomorrow.  After putting up the lunches most will be used, and the crusts will then be saved and frozen to coat Friday's fish.

I have been decluttering by either giving items away to people who need it, see here.... or selling it on Ebay and Amazon.  Remember that untidy bookcase?  Well, some of those books are surprisingly worth a small fortune.  Ebay is going well, the television we had in the bedroom sold for £57.17.  Not bad considering Hands On was going to tip it and said we wouldn't get anything for it.  I sold 2 dresses, 1 brand new for £5.52 and another one that I had worn for £9.70.  I couldn't quite understand that.

The thing is I want to share this with everyone.  Why has it taken me to the grand old age of 36 to realise it???  That's why I am finding it increasingly frustrating when friends and certain family members (Unthrifty Sis is not included in this statement btw) say they are struggling to make ends meet, yet in the next breath tell me about where they are going out for their next meal or where they are going at weekend.  Putting this diplomatically without sound didactic I suggested they cook their own meals to which their answer was that it was cheaper to buy a carvery than to cook it themselves.  I'm sorry, I have to disagree.  I'm going to be blunt here, it boils down to laziness.  I too have been guilty of this in the past but now prefer my own cooking to anyone elses.  We live in a society now where everything is so rushed that actually cooking a proper meal is too much effort for the majority, which will only be passed on to younger generations.  As much as elder 2 think it's time to call the men in white coats,  they do appreciate a home cooked meal and seeing me cook for the family every evening will hopefully be something they will take away with them for the their future families!