Tag Archives: budget living

A house is not a home…


so they say. Today I looked at FIVE of them with my Little Irish Friend. It’s a mugs game. I have a budget, which means, I have a budget. However, houses don’t have prices, they have ‘ranges’. So something that looks like it might be £250,000 could really be £275,000 dpending on a) what the potential buyer thinks it is worth and b) what the vendor will hold out for.

We saw the first at 10:30 and the last at 15:00. We could barely speak for lack of food, talking, thinking, and just dealing with the dozens of other viewers. A snack, some reflection and an offer went in. You can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be accepted – despite being ‘in the range’.

I am exhausted. Time now to finish a 3000 word essay, start a second one and wait for a reaction.

Will keep you posted.



Jumping the gun a little


I have found a house that I imagine I would like to live in and am going to see it on Saturday. In fact it is more or less the dream place for me, but I know that without the money in place to make an offer – this little venture will lead to a bit of heart ache…

The move is coming closer though and and some point the search must begin.

Also, one idea is that if I see a smaller house it will make it more easy to rid myself of more bits and pieces long before the move happens.

And, I do like looking at houses.



Boots – as in for feet


I wear lace up ankle boots most of the time that I am not required to wear uniform flats, wellies, hiking boots and sneakers. Oh, and not with summer dresses, but most of the time boots are the footwear of choice.

Clarks have historically been the best source of these boots. One year, when living in Japan, some friends and I ordered Clarks boots from the USA, (getting shoes there for foreign feet that one actually WANTED to wear or could afford was problematic and for some reason it was easier to get British shoes from America…..). Not sure how to gauge the foot size difference we sent off paper tracings of our socked feet to help the supplier get the size right. And they did! We wore identical boots for ages and as you have to take your shoes off and leave them in the entrance of any home you enter, there were three pairs of the same footwear in different sizes in the porch!

Like most of my boots they were worn into the ground.

A few years later I got a great looking dark brown pair, and on a trip home to Australia, my younger sister admired them so much, I gave them to her, sure that I could replace them.

It was not to be. Same style, but only in black….so I wore them for another year and on another trip to Oz the same sister received the boots and again last year…..!

I buy my boots online through Quidco, where at times there is a 12% cashback offer. This time in Australia, my youngest sister gave me her boots, cool looking Country Road things with zips after I had parted with my pair. Alas, they are a fraction too big (but ok with thick socks) but the real issue is that they are loose around the ankle. So after sliding around in them for the last 5 months I have crumpled and have ordered, from the Clarks Outlet Sale, with cashback on top, one of the last remaining three pairs of my favourite boots, in black….

The Country Road boots will be donated and I will have footwear that fits when I head off to Italy to see younger sister who is there now…but she is not getting my boots!

Now there’s a (troubling) thought


He says he might pack it in and come back. The job is not what he was told and expected. He would have to stay in the house with me (eeek), (good thing the charity folk haven’t collected the beds yet!).

Heart sinking moment or two, but it is still a MIGHT.

It is a troubling idea though. Under one roof again.

But, let’s cross that bridge when it rises up before us…

Daughter is THIN and pale and worn out. Lots of TLC, good food, some chocolate and REST. Tonight we are having TONJIRU the all time best ‘feel good’ food. My dear friend in Japan made it for me at the lowest point in my life, that and apple crumble….cures everything. Only we are having Tori (chicken) jiru (soup), cos the pork looked so awful and I prefer chicken anyway, still does the same trick…

Flights to Bologna booked and paid for but sadly not with Nectar points as I missed out by not booking them on Thursday. It seems that only one or two seats per flight can be purchased that way, and one has to be quick. However, I still managed a fab deal and feel proud and really, really excited. Just over a month to go.






Had a major one yesterday – all overcome with emotion and hurt. Some hard self examination and reflection about being a NICER, KINDER soul. I could really work on that! Basically beat myself up about a lot of stuff, got teary, did a little study and a lot of procrastinating.

Today was a little better. It started though, with a big unexpected expense as my laptop was not talking to the printer and a call to the helpline revealed that my IP address had been hacked and there were over 45,000 Trojans in the system….slowing shutting down all I have.

I paid for them to fix it, it took a couple of hours but both laptops are clean and protected now. The Internet was fine, just the IP address.

That motivated me to record the expense and have started using and adapting the budget template from Blonde on a Budget‘s blog to get an idea of spends.

The solicitor also sent me a requested letter about my marital status and financial situation so that I can apply for a little more bursary and the accountant has sent all my tax returns so that the girls can apply for a bit more help.

So even with my head under the duvet, things still got done!!

While it is clear there can be no extravagance, I did knock for my neighbour, who spends days on end alone and asked if she would like to have a coffee with me in town as there were errands to run. It was nice and a break from the desk.

Daily, small downsizing tasks are being performed too. Yesterday a wardrobe was emptied, today all the old office paraphernalia that was in this room has been collected in one space to be donated.

Little and often is my mantra for dealing with the big things that are freaking me out!

About to do a pasta bake for dinner/lunchbox tomorrow and food for daughter while I am on shift.

PS. Daughter ran 18k in the foulest, coldest, wettest, windiest weather the other day. She was dripping and splashing through water ankle deep. To accompany her I fashioned a waterproof ensemble from wellies, a raincoat tied around my waist, apron like to keep the rain off my legs, rain coat, worn traditionally, gloves (leather) but covered with bright blue surgical gloves for water proofing, scarf and waterproof hat to keep the rain off my face. The brim of which sent waterfall like torrents onto my legs if I looked down…..

Think, The Lady in the Van, only on a bike.




Slipping into 2016


2016 arrived quietly here. Oldest and I were at home, both writing/studying until just before the countdown. We then went out to collect youngest who was with a friend.
Resolutions are not my thing. But there are plans and pledges and an acceptance that major, major changes are heading my way this year.

This small painting (that I own) is called ‘and we came along this road’ and it says everything to me about the future. I don’t know where the road leads, but there are sunny patches and shadow as well as trees and clear blue skies…

and we came along this road

I do know that I will need to be resourceful, frugal, organised, strong and clear about my choices, but it is a pretty road and to be enjoyed….

The tenant in my rented flat has just given notice, so this will no doubt speed up the selling process…which means the search for MY NEW HOME will begin in earnest, soon. (Excited as I love looking at houses….because I am so nosy, and nervous as this time the decision is all mine for me, that’s a biggie).

His nibs has been here since last night and tells me that he is VERY ANGRY about a lot of things….there have been a few sneaky tears on my part, but a lot of standing up to him.

He got a speeding ticket on his first day back, in the car that I now own (as I have to sell it  while he is out of the country). He suggested I take the flack as he is no longer on the insurance (rubbish). When I said no he asked me if I wanted him to go to jail? Then there was some waffle about it all taking so long for letters etc to reach him in paradise, but I said so be it. I will not accept his fine and I WILL NOT lie and break the law for him. Lots of tutting and sighing and rolling his eyes at my audacity.

But apart from that petty drama, 2016 has eased its way in and is here to be lived to the max!

Happy New Year everyone xx








Loans and borrowing


I pride myself in having no loans, other than the mortgage, to which I no longer have to contribute, and no credit card.

Today however, I applied for a student loan. True, I have been fortunate not to have to until now. After weighing up the pros and cons it seemed that the extra will help no end, mainly as although they are both over 18 and not ‘dependents’ and both work hard to live within their means, the girls need a bit of help every now and then.

Billy Bunter made it very, very clear that he wanted nothing to do with the girls’ financial support post separation as they are not his. He was admonished for this by the solicitor but he was adamant.

There is no guarantee it will be approved as I already hold one degree in beer consumption clad only in a toga – oh and Japanese!! But if it works then when they need a bit extra, I can help out.



The swing of things


Tonight I have blanched the sprouts….am about to tackle the chestnuts and will then make the stuffing balls. Pork mince with pancetta, lemon zest and chestnuts….a once a year fiddle that is worth every mouthful.

We have yet to sit, four at the table, to eat since the girls and the boy arrived. Looks like tonight it might not happen either. Still, nothing is wasted.

This has still been the most cost efficient, low key Christmas in years and I am feeling proud. We also managed to fill a bag for the Food Bank today.

We don’t need extravagance and so many need the basics.







Catching up


There are many jobs that need doing around the house and it is a constant catching up exercise at the moment. Hard to think that this time last week I was heading for the ferry in Calais.

Since then my dad has been rushed into hospital by ambulance. Happily, he is out and well and recovering and my sister is going to stay with him and mum for a week from tomorrow. I wish they were all not so far away.

I have also had four 12.5 shifts in a hospital about 2 hours from home by train.

I have seen a carotid endarterectomy – the removal of the portion of inner lining of the carotid artery that is partially blocked….I was with the patient from admission to recovery and the anaesthetist talked me through the whole op. The patient was awake, but of course felt nothing.

I have seen a endoscopy performed. The gut is like another world.

I have held hands, laughed, fetched bedpans, made beds, measured and tested urine, escorted a confused and wandering patient back to their ward, taken obs, watched dressings on ulcers being done and met a bunch of people who while doing their work, took time to answer questions, teach, correct and encourage.

Now I need to turn all that into skills and knowledge so that I can be the best nurse I can. That is the hard part. At times I worry and feel anxious and then realise that just about everything I do and see is a new experience so if it was all taken in my stride it would probably indicate complacency.

This week I have also worked hard on establishing barriers with the ex. He was not happy that I suggested his demands for me to answer his questions were not urgent – they aren’t and only become relevant once I move out. When there was time and I was ready, I wrote the email and answered the questions.  His emails seem needy and he claims it is all such a huge struggle, but this belies the FB activity, so to cynical me it is a ploy to kindle sympathy and bolster him up. This I have not done.

Another very good bit of news is that Juno the Jack Russell (best wee dog ever) has met and fallen in love with her new doggie walker. It has been so stressful leaving her on the long days. I take her out the minute I get home, if it is not raining, and walk her as much as I can when I am off. Previously we only did the fields, but now we are doing town as well and she comes to the bank and other places (which she HATES). She stands whining really loudly or jumps as high as the counter to show she is ready to go NOW! If it has no appeal to her, she lets everyone know.

It is an expense, but to me, worth every penny to have her exercised, socialised and to break up the long days alone.

I have been making packed lunches and avoiding spends, like not one bought coffee all week, although there are some. Best frugal effort of the week was making a soda farle when the bread ran out….frugal yes, lead like also. OMG, if dropped from a plane it would wipe out an entire city!! But, I sliced and toasted it…but definitely needs work!

Have a good Sunday folks. Dog walking, streamlining and study on my list today.