Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Work has become really busy with a lot of clients wanting paperwork turning round in a few hours and many going for accreditation status, so I'm fire fighting my inbox at the moment.
I did think I had a lul so started a bespoke blog for Groundworkers which is SO NEARLY finished but I keep getting taken off it to do urgent client work.
So I will be back (and no, I haven't meal planned) (and no, I'm not comfortable with it) as soon as I can!!
Now, off to swap the laundry over and do a couple of CoSHH Assessments.
PS - If anyone wants to write a guest post to help me out on Money Saving, Organising or Making Money - Please, please do leave me a comment and I'll get back to you!!
Friday, 25 April 2014
So once you've had Gluten Free Hot Pot for an evening meal, save the leftovers and make this, like this...
1. Defrost the pastry (or make your own) and roll out to a dinner plate size
2. Warm the plate in the oven. I find this makes the pastry cook better and a little crisper
3. Grease the plate - use a brush or a spray unless you have fireproof hands.
4. Place the pastry on the plate and cut round, not to close, you need enough to crimp together to seal the pie
5. Fill the pie with the left over hot pot (you'll be surprised at how little you need! Freeze the rest if there's any left over)
6. Now do a gravy check. You need a little but not a lot otherwise the pastry on the bottom will not cook. Add a little if you think it needs it
7. Roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the pie. Again, roughly cut round and crimp the edges together using a fork.
8. Prick the top of the pie to let the steam escape
9. Glaze the top with lactofree milk or cream if you are dairy intolerant
10. Cook until looking golden.
Check the bottom by sliding in a knife between the pie and the plate. If the pastry is cooked the pie is done, if not it needs to go in a little longer.
Serve with Peas and a little extra gravy if you are a fan of "wet" food, like my boys
Voila - a Meal for the price of pastry!
There are no affiliate links in this post and I have not been compensated to mention DS and Lactofree products. They are just what I use and I find them the best alternative at present if you have intolerances.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Nothing is in the right place, things in jars are going out of date and it just needs organising.
So, empty the cupboard and whilst you do this get rid of anything which is out of date.
Wipe out the cupboard and dry it.
Put the tins into some sort of sensible order. I start with the ones I have most of and put those together, double stacked. Then vegetables all go together, then sweet stuff ... you get the idea.
Probably the most useful advice from me on this one will be to put anything the kids love to eat at the back such as pots of custard or jelly that you are saving for a packed lunch.
Have an organised week!
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
|Top 5 Thrifty Blogs|
These are my Top 5 Thrifty Blogs
Living Well Spending Less
This is an American Blog but most of the posts make perfect sense whether your in £££ or $$$. Loads of to the point how to posts here to keep you on track and a huuuuuuuge Thrifty Thursday Linky where over 300 thrifty posts are linked up each week.
From Aldi to Harrods
Just discovered this last week and I'm loving it! From tips on how to make £1000 in one month to posts telling you when to post on eBay for free. I'm currently reading through old posts on here and my favourite has to be How To Sell Your Smelly Shoes on eBay. You will not believe it!
Mortgage Free in Three
I've spoken about Elaine's blog recording her journey of paying off her mortgage and living a debt free life. Last month Elaine make a phenomenal amount of money and also shared some fantastic ideas for both making and saving money.
Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
A great source for low cost recipes. If you're struggling with your meal planning or need a tight week, get over and have a read as Michelle seriously knows how to keep the cost of the weekly shop down and her family eat really healthy food.
A Thifty Mrs
This is the first thrifty blog I came across and I love the household advice on here. I now know how to launder my towels correctly and mix up cheaper cleaning solutions. A mine of advice and also a source of sales alerts and bargain buy news. Invaluable, you must subscribe to this one to know about the offers asap.
So that's what I read and what keeps me on track. How about you - what's your favourite thrifty blog?
Monday, 21 April 2014
Remember how we ate out of our freezer for the whole of February?
Well now it's pretty empty and although it's nice to be able to find things, it's not so nice not being able to grab a quick meal top heat through.
So this week, I'm batch cooking all day Monday (I know how to enjoy a bank holiday :s) to restock.
I spent Saturday looking for meat deals to keep the cost down as a big cook like this can be expensive otherwise.
So this is what we're on...
Monday: potato hash (aka pie filling)
Tuesday: Potato, spinach and Chicken Curry
Wednesday: meat and potato pie and peas
Thursday: enchiladas and potato wedges
Friday: Chilli Con Carne and rice
Saturday: Take away
Sunday: Steak and Ale Casserole
I'll cook four portions of each meal and have the slow cooker going for the potato hash as its the least fragrant!
The enchiladas and curry will both be wok cooked and the two big pans will be on for the chilli and steak casserole.
I freeze everything in either Pyrex or disposable foil trays so there's no faffing around with plastic bags, I can just bung things in the oven or leave them out to defrost.
This post is linked up with Meal Planning Monday on At Home With Mrs M where there's loads of different meal plans. Go and have a look
Have a fab week!
Sunday, 20 April 2014
I do actually own my own business, believe it or not - and most choose not to!!
For those who don't know I'm a Health and Safety Consultant and I own my own company Infinite Safety Ltd. I work mainly with Construction Clients in the Lancashire Area and I work part time.
I work part time for two reasons. Mainly because
Saturday, 19 April 2014
My youngest seems to get four at a time and take a week in doing so. He goes off his food and goes picky whilst there's one on the way and although I've tried hard foods to get the tooth through, I think they
just appear when they are ready.
We were sent two packs of Plum Little Yums to try and they have gone down a storm. He will eat these with Cheese and Chicken when going through a teething week so they are ideal for picky lunch. They are also ideal for taking in the changing bag as a snack as they are individually wrapped in packs of three.
They are suitable from six months on and are certified as organic. They are also a great way to get babies self feeding and don't contain added sugar or salt but still taste great.
The two flavours we tried (and we have all tried them!) were Pumpkin and Banana and Spinach, Apple and Kale.
The flavours are sweet but not sacharinny and certainly don't leave teeth coated which I find other baby biscuits can do
Both varieties went down well and didn't leave any mess, which is a massive plus from me as I often can be seen with various food stuffs around my knee level! As you can see, someone just wanted to help himself!
A box of 18 (6 packs of 3) is currently £2.49 in Tesco. I can't find them stocked in another supermarket yet but I'm sure when they become available they will be on offer! They are available online via the Plum website and a few organic food suppliers.
Friday, 18 April 2014
Thursday, 17 April 2014
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
My life is a constant rush and unfortunately not off the adrenaline kind.
An uncluttered house is my dream and I'm working at it ten minutes at a time.
This week, I have been cleaning bannisters. It's also good exercise!
It's a simple job but one that gets ignored no matter how many times you lean on it.
So the easiest way, I find, is grab a bowl of hot soapy water and a cloth.
I hold the cloth and run my hands down each spindle, quite tightly, to get those rings of dust.
Then I pull the cloth from side to side through the gaps, where the dust really gathers.
Then it's a quick wipe down the sides, wipe of the handrail and I'm done.
I also do the skirting boards on the other side and it just takes me ten mins.
What can you get done in ten mins, what task do you avoid?
Have a good, clean week!!
Those who have read this blog will see that I've lost focus on that goal several times. If I had stayed focused, I would have paid off my mortgage by now and have a nice little income in the form of rent.
Most of the time, doing what you always have is not enough and you can only scrimp and save so far.
So how to make that extra money to throw at the debt you want to kill?
Firstly look at what you do. There's 24 hours in a day. How much of that do you spend in front of the TV? Could you spend that couple of hours doing something else? Do you sleep too much? (I do given the opportunity)
Have a look at People Per Hour or E-Lance. Are there any jobs on there that you could do in that couple of hours a night
I know you don't want to work all the hours, but this doesn't come easy. Hard work pays off!!
Are you crafty? Have a look at Etsy or Folksy. Is there anything on there that you can make and sell to create another income stream? I find Craftseller magazine a great inspiration. Buy a second hand one off ebay, see what you think.
Is there anything you can do locally? Babysitting maybe? Tutoring students?
Do you blog? Can you write? Can you complete questionnaires for a few quid (you could do that AND watch TV!)
And your regular job, could you do more hours? Are you worth a pay rise? Can you do a project at home maybe for a bonus?
If you own your own business, market yourself in different ways to get more work with a different clientelle, maybe?
These are just ideas to get you in the right frame of mind. You have to have several income streams to make this work fast. Have a look at the March Side Hustle Posts on Mortgage Free in Three. Elaine's kids were determined to make a set amount and they did it. They pulled together and they did it because they worked hard and made more income streams.
Hopefully I've got you raring to go now?! So go! Do!!
Monday, 14 April 2014
So, as usual I'm acting like my children actually run the house and have the upper hand, and I'm letting them do the meal planning again. I've suggested they follow up on this and do the shopping too but they both disappeared leaving me with a 1 year old that can push a trolley but just throws money out of purses therefore can't yet be trusted.
Although they have chosen what they want to eat, I have jigged it around a bit, just to stamp my authority as an adult really, and to make it so I can cook once on Monday after I've shopped and then have more free time to clean up after the little darlings and chauffeur them around if necessary.
Here it is..
Monday - Spaghetti Bolognaise and Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Green Thai Curry and Rice with piles of mange tout and baby corn
Wednesday - Spaghetti Tacos and potato wedges
Thursday - Slow Cooker Curry
Friday - Cheesy Mash Shepherd's Pie and piles of veg
Saturday - Take Awaaaaaayy!!
Sunday - Paprika Chicken and Quinoa
and the plan for cooking...
- Make huge batch of spag bol and freeze several portions.
- Put enough in fridge for Spaghetti Tacos on Wednesday
- Make Thai Curry and refrigerate
- Mix up the curry sauce in a freezer bag and put in fridge
- Make garlic bread - from scratch!! (anyone know if I can freeze dough?)
- Make two shepherds pies and freeze
- Make pan of rice and veg for with curry
- Dice chicken and add to bag of ingredients
- Fling chicken curry bag contents into the slow cooker in a flamboyant, I've beat this stove standing lark fashion
- Remember to switch slow cooker on at the plug!!!
- Make some rice and chips at tea time
- Defrost a shepherds pie
- Bung shepherds pie in oven and boil loads of veg
And you're thinking but what about the Paprika Chicken?
Well it's already lingering at the back of the freezer. I found it during a lunchtime freezer dive last week.
This reduced cooking plan is really working for me!
This post is linked up with the Meal Plan Monday Linky on At Home With Mrs M. There are loads of meal plans on there and I urge you to read them as some are gourmet!!
Sunday, 13 April 2014
|Colin Burbidge - The Lancashire Wine School|
Saturday, 12 April 2014
Segmented plastic pockets are filled with pictures and pre-designed journalling cards which give a large layout where the elements just slot in and all the pockets are held in a lovely padded ringbinder.
It just doesn't work for me though. I like simple scrapbook layouts but I don't like my layouts when I do them in the Project Life style. So after investing in the cards, the pockets and the binder, I need to find an alternative use and that is...
To do my meal planning!
I've been meaning to make a meal planning board for ages but haven't got around to it. I want a card system where I can categorise meals into types of meat, sides and carbs and I figured my project life binder is ideal for this! I can even write recipes on the backs of the cards.
I have a lot of meals to write up and add to my binder but this is my starting point.
The boys can even have a browse through when they don't know what they fancy. It'll be like a menu for them. They'll love it! They have waiter service, why not have a menu too!
What do you think?
Would this system work for you?
Have you any alternative uses for the Project Life Materials?
This is not a sponsored post, it is me making a craft project out of an investment that is sat there gathering dust. Although, I would love to do a sponsored post if Becky or her team are reading?!
Friday, 11 April 2014
|The Gods Shining on My Dog who never leaves a Poo Behind!!|
Thursday, 10 April 2014
Here's five ways to get you and the kids out of the house for not very many pennies at all.
1. Take a picnic. Wherever you go, whatever you do, take food with you. I can't pay £2 for a sandwich and drinks really affect the savings. Take far too many drinks and enough food to keep the "can I haves?" at bay.
|Cheap Days out for kids|
2. Visit a Museum. The majority are free. Google your county followed by the word museum and find one you may not have known about. Fleetwood Museum was our surprise last Easter.
3. Visit a Graveyard. What?!! Are you crazy!? What kind of day out is that? Well, if you've an interest in family history or maybe a section in your local graveyard (we have a polish section and a WW2 section) you can really get stuck into discussions about how the world was. ok, it's not an every holiday day out, but it is an experience!
4. Park Crawl. Like a pub crawl but parks instead. Great if you've got fuel in the car and your town has several parks. We visited one a week in the summer hols last year and rated them on equipment and friendliness of locals.
5. Couponing!! I know Walkers are currently giving half price vouchers to Sea Life Centres and if you get on the money saving forums, any good deals will be listed. There's always Tesco vouchers too. You can even buy them for a song on ebay! Search Tickets and see what comes up.
6. RNLI - if you live on the coast, have a mosey round the lifeboat station. Check they are open first though, most are and all have an open day at some point in the year.
7. Scavenger Hunt. You know I love them. Do a nature themed sheet and do the hunt in the park before you settle down for your picnic. Take a bat and ball and go all old school in the afternoon with ball games!
So, hopefully that'll give you some ideas to get out. And if you had budgetted for the day out and do a cheaper, or free alternative, bank the money in your savings fund!
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
So this weeks 10 minute task is to clean your front door (and the back if you work like a dynamo!)
- Grab a bowl of hot soapy water and wipe the inside of the door down with a cloth
- Really get into those nooks and crannies
- Give it a wipe down with an old towel to avoid water marks
- Clean the glass and dry with kitchen roll. I use hot water with a dash of white vinegar in.
- Repeat this for the outside
- Polish the ironmongery. Get that letterbox gleaming
- If you have a step, sweep off the dirt.
- Stand back and be proud of your front door.
Try and incorporate this into your porch/hall cleaning routine.
I'm getting some really positive comments on Twitter about my #tenmintask posts - what can you get done in 10 minutes? Would you like to write a Guest 10 Minute Task Post? Leave me a comment below
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
So here's my top 5 ways to increase your chances of getting higher bids.
1. Good Photos. Have a staged place to take your photos. A white background with light on the item works well.
2. Low Start Price. Sounds crazy but you need people to put that initial bid in to get things going. People will bid a quid without much consideration, they will not bid £4.99 without a thought.
3. Time the Auction. Depending on what the item is, your end time can have a massive impact on the number and speed of the bids. If you can get just two people battling it out for your item, you will get a better price. Consider your target market. Lego will do well ending on a Saturday tea time when the kids are watching it and pestering mum and dad. End the auction at 11pm and no one will be watching. However, if you're selling a fashion item, end that around 9.30 on a Thursday when fashionistas will be ebaying for next weekends outfit.
4. Tell Everyone!! Each listing has the option to share. I'm sure those that follow me on Twitter are sick of me posting what I'm selling, but don't forget the search facility on Twitter. If I tweet I am selling #lego, anyone interested in lego will see my tweet promoting my item.
5. State the Obvious. If it's new, unused or an unwanted gift - say so. If it's from a smoke and pet free home, this makes a massive difference. Tell people what your item is good for. Tell them who would love it as a gift. Say how quick you'll post it and point out your good feedback record. And remember, ebay has an amazingly good page rank when you google an item you are wanting to buy, and who wouldn't buy brand new but at a discount price?!
So have a go! Just remember when you are pricing your item to consider the listing fee, the percentage ebay will take, the paypal fees and the postage charges if you're offering free postage. I work on everything selling for a quid plus fees then anything on top of that is a bonus.
Tweet me @Claire_Sheehan if you are selling and I'll RT for you.
Oh! Here's a bonus tip Free Postage incorporate the postage fees into your price and you'll get more bids as we all love free postage. I work on items under a kilo being £2.60 second class, but postage scales are cheap and there's loads of online post label services that can give you the price.
Go on!! Clear your clutter and make a few quid! It all goes to your major financial goal. My mortgage is shrinking thanks to ebay and my house is becoming less cluttered. Win Win!!
Monday, 7 April 2014
So, tactics are required here. Dinners (lunches) are always a bit of a hit and miss thing. Some are planned and healthy, some are made by themselves as a cooking activity and others are thrown together and eaten like we're cavemen.
I will not be chained to the kitchen for this holiday and I do aim to leave it at sometime. I'm adopting the Once a Month Mom tactic. (prepping as many meals as possible and spending one full day cooking)
Here's the meals:
Monday: Chicken Dinner
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes and Potato Wedges
Wednesday: Chicken and Veg Pasta Bake
Thursday: Turkey Tikka Massala
Friday: Chilli Tacos
And here's how I'll do It
Monday: Cook 2 Chickens and double veg refrigerate leftovers
Make Cheese Sauce and refrigerate
Cook Sloppy Joes in Slow Cooker and refrigerate
Bake 4 potatoes and refrigerate
Mix up Turkey Tikka Massala Raw in a Freezer Bag and freeze
Cook big batch of Gluten Free Chilli on hob then freeze
Tuesday: Warm up sloppy joe mix, Cut wedges, sprinkle with seasoning and bake, toast buns, fill with sloppy joe mix and serve
Wednesday: Warm up cheese sauce to loosen up. Put extra chicken and left over veg in pasta bake dish, pour over cheese sauce, pour over water until loose consistency and stir well. Take out 20 mins in and stir. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cook until hot.
Take the Turkey Tikka Massala from the Freezer
Thursday: Cook the Turkey Tikka Massala
Take the Chilli out of the freezer
Friday: Heat through the chilli and serve in tacos with loads of accompaniments
What do you think? Sounds easy? I'll report back next week how it goes (fingers crossed!)
There's loads more meal plans which are probably not so frantic over on At Home With Mrs M which this post is linked up to.
Friday, 4 April 2014
Thursday, 3 April 2014