Friday, 28 October 2011

About me....

Phew! Having gotten that 1st post out of the way by rambling about food mainly I think I may share some information about me, my family and things I like.

I am 38, my husband or SM (Soul Mate) as I think i'll call him is 37. We have been together for years but only got married 2.5 years ago. We have 3 kids, 1 girl aged 10 and 2 boys aged 11 & 5. Our world revolves around them pretty much and they are without doubt my best achievements.

SM and I both work full time. This is something I have not been that happy about at times but due to circumstances we did it and got on with it. We have been lucky that due to shift work and some great flexibility in our jobs at times we have had to use minimal child care, with one of us being at home the majority of the time.

Whilst I wish I had been able to stay at home with them all before the went to school they seem to be well adjusted, confident kids and I am very pleased at the way they are turning out.

Also I cannot deny that the extra income has allowed us the opportunity to live in a nice house , in a nice place , where we all have the space we need and the kids have the freedom they need to grow in safety. We have also been able to take holiday's etc and start hobbies that we just couldn't have afforded if I didn't work. So whilst I do have a pang of regret that I wasn't always home, the kids don't seem to have been affected and have the opportunity to be able to things they not have done.

Total respect to all of the stay at home mum's by the way. It is not an easy job to truly run a house and family well.

I love to cook and you will find most of my posts will have some reference to whatever I am making that day or am planning. I also like personal finance, even although I have been VERY bad at this in the past, that is all behind me now! I am currently trying to overpay my mortgage each month so I can be rid of it early and deny the banks tens of thousands of pounds less out of me in interest!

I like getting what I need or want for less and enjoy the 'hunt'.

Things I would like to learn :

  • How to sew. I recently got a sewing maching and am desperate to learn how to make curtains blinds etc.

  • I want to learn French (I can speak a little but not enough to get by  other than ordering something in a cafe etc! I have a dream of maybe owning a small place out there when i'm older.

  • I would like to be a better cook. I have cooked all my life, after being well taught by my mother, but I would like to refine my skills a bit and learn things like making pastry etc. This may feature heavily in future posts, disasters and successes....
Finally I am always striving to be a better mum / wife etc and find a better balance to my life. This is something that I have found difficult in the past but am getting better at!

Favourite day of the month!

Hello and welcome to my blog. I have been hurting my brain wondering what my first post was going to be about... then it came to me when I realised yesterday was one of the best days of the month. That's right, PAY DAY! Yipee.

Now I have had lots of great days this month with my family etc but there is something so satisfying about pay day when I get to budget for the coming month, pay some extra off my large mortgage (very embarrassed at the size. Maybe i'll learn to share the amount one day. Until then i'm still in denial!) and just generally get 'my house in order' for the next 4 - 5 weeks.

Things I did yesterday;

  • Checked the cupboards, freezer etc and the Lidl's leaftlet. I tend to meal plan around what is on offer at the various supermarkets and have been finding more and more thebulk of my shopping is being done at Lidl with smaller shops at Tesco and Morrisons.  I am a total supermarket tart and actually enjoy the whole 'shopping around' thing. I am aiming for no more than £250.00 grocery spend this month. I have reduced this from over £500.00 a month back around Spring time.

  • I moved money around via on line banking, i.e. topped up the various on-line saving's accounts I have for things like annual insurance's, car running costs, holiday fund etc.

  • Paid my credit card bill in full. I have a Tesco Clubcard credit card which we use for most of our shopping and petrol to take advantage of the points. However I always pay it off in full each month.

  • Wrote out our weekly meal plan. I usually do this with the kids as they like to be involved and I think it is a good way of making them think about the food they like and about budgeting in general. I often take them shopping with me and talk about comparing things and the difference in price.
Meal plan for the coming week, starting tonight;

FRIDAY - Home made pizza. Usually served with raw carrot and cucumber sticks.

SATURDAY - Turkey Curry with home made flat breads.

SUNDAY - Lemon roast chicken with cabbage & roasted carrots and rice.

MONDAY - Pasta with pesto. (If I have enough basil leaves on the plant, I often make my own pesto but the best 'fresh' alternative is Tesco 'Finest' fresh pesto. I'll team this with any 'value' pasta I can get for 18p a bag and combine with any stir fry veg and perhaps bacon, smoked sausage etc. The kids love it and it's a fairly cheap meal for 5). This is one of my 'stand by' meals for nights the kids are off at clubs etc after school and it's chaos. You can have it on the table in under 15 mins and it's filling & nutritious if you use plenty veg.

TUESDAY - Fish cakes, made with tinned salmon. I usually team them with Cauliflower cheese or peas & carrots. 

WEDNESDAY - Beef and Ale stew. I will shop around for the cheapest stewing steak and bottle of the cheapest dark ale to use.  Team it with buttery mashed potato and any veg.

THURSDAY - Bacon & pea risotto.

Of course I don't always stick to the meal plan rigidly, I may swop nights around if we don't fancy a particular dish on a given night but I have found meal planning to be a huge saver in the cash dept and we are not eating lesser quality food although we are saving money every month.