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Monday, 15 February 2016

A quick morning post

Things have got stressful. I've been hit with a number of challenges, the primary being a good friend being sentenced to a significant time in prison. It came as a complete shock as she didn't tell me it was happening, nor did I ever suspect she was capable of commiting a crime.

I've not been sleeping well and as a result my mind isn't in a great place. It's difficult to know how to cope with something like this, I've been essentially throwing myself into work and basic living.


So, I hope to get back on top of things sooner rather than later.  I'm looking into revamping the blog look and feel, as well as writing my new guide to starting out.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

This week in a blog post

Well it's been a week of highs and lows. Sadly hubby was laid off this week with only a one month severance package. This will take us to the end of March though which is better than we planned for.
He has been to an employment agency that specializes in schools and had a positive experience with them so we hope he will be starting a new career very soon.
I went school hunting on Thursday and found an adorable church school with small class sizes and polite children. I applied for the boys to move at the end of this month.
We also invested in our stockpile by way of Approved Food, stocking up on over £380 worth of product at a cost of less than £100. This has set us up well for some potentially tough months.
I started the week stressed and unwell, I'm ending it confident and getting better. I'm sat this morning relaxing in my tidy living room enjoying a coffee before breakfast. Life is what you make it, and despite me being thrown a number of challenges, I'm going to get back up and be amazing!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A treat from The Treat Kitchen

Please note this is not a sponsored post. I genuinely adore The Treat Kitchen and wanted to share this lovely local business with you.


We are big fans of giving the boys an allowance. They receive 50p for every year of their age. They spend this money however they choose, but they also understand that they don't receive other treats outside of birthdays or Christmas. We also fine bad behaviour!

This weekend we took them to The Treat Kitchen. The eldest purchased two bags of their Radioactive Sours at £1.95 per bag. THEY WERE SOUR! I couldn't manage even one of them. Eldest loved them, however, and they last ages as he can only cope with one at a time.

The Youngest had a bag of Dolly Mixtures also £1.95. They were good! Really nice flavour. He loved them (and so did I!)

I had some chocolates! I bought four packs for £10. They were all delicious.

My favourite treat was these:


I love mojitos and these chocolates did not disappoint! I ate all six in one sitting.  Ooops.

Treat Kitchen offers free shipping on orders over £40. Alternatively in you live in the East Midlands you could pop into one of their three fantastic stores.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

This week for less


  1. As it gets colder duvet days on the sofa drinking hot chocolate are in order.
  2. Meal plan your pantry - no-one likes facing a trip to the store in the cold.
  3. Put nightwear over the radiators for cosy sleeping
  4. Read stories to the children in their beds
  5. Listen to your favourite music and eat chocolates
  6. Have plenty of early nights
  7. Bake a loaf of bread for Saturday brunch
  8. Cuddle with your family. Lots!

Aldi Super 6



Well we're back to root vegetables in Aldi's Super 6, however this week the prices are higher and vary per product:

  • Baking potatoes - 49p per pack
  • Lemons - 59p per pack
  • Swede - 59p each
  • Red onions - 59p per pack
  • Parsnips - 59p per pack
  • Chantenay carrots - 59p per pack
I imagine we will purchase at least one of each.  The potatoes will be great with some blue cheese and maybe a home-made chilli jam, red onions are brilliant in a variety of dishes, carrots, swede and parsnips will be good for roast dinners and stews, and lemons to make home-made lemonade, as well as adding to risottos and pasta dishes.

How to cope when one of you faces a job loss

Well here at the Pink house we are facing one of our biggest challenges.  A redundancy.  Mr P's office is downsizing and it looks as though he will be one of those affected.  Unfortunately they do not offer a good severance package, particularly as he has not been there very long.


When faced with job loss, it can be easy to get into a rut of anger, despair, stress and the ultimate desire to give up.  We've got that way ourselves.  However, we sat and had a long chat, pulled ourselves together and started working together.

  1. The talk is the best starting point.  Sit down with your other half and discuss fears, hopes and feelings about the matter.  I voiced to Mr P that I felt this would be a great opportunity for him to go back to school.  He agreed that teaching a STEM subject had always appealed to him, but his lack of degree had always deterred him from pursuing this.
  2. Work out the financial impact.  Can you get away with losing an income for a short or long period of time?  Do you need at least a matching income or can you reduce your earnings a small amount?  This will identify how soon a new job is required and whether you can go for part-time or lower salaried positions.
  3. If a new job is needed ASAP then get applying.  Spend your evenings on the computer going through every job site you can find, looking for keywords that suit your skills and experience.
  4. Evaluate your current outgoings and make cut-backs immediately.  Even if you have a good severance package or a new job in the pipeline, it's best to get your outgoings to the minimum now to protect yourself against the unknown.
  5. I love The Interview Book by James Innes.  James has a number of great books for those seeking out a new job, including CV writing, cover letters, and even fitting in to a new role once you're successful.  I can't recommend him enough.
  6. Look at how you shop for food.  Mr P and I have started shopping around a once a month Approved Food shop.  I've mentioned Approved Food before - we love this online retailer.  We're building a stockpile for around £50 per month and planning our meals around our stock.  We also look at what's on sale in Aldi for fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and breads.  Frozen foods can be purchased at our local Farmfoods, who often have great deals and send out coupons in their mailers.
  7. Declutter and sell what you don't need.  If you don't use it you don't need it.  Make some money off of it!
  8. Finally - stay positive!  Particularly around the children.  See this as an opportunity to change the way you live for the better, be it re-educating yourself, spending more time with family, or starting a brand new career.
I'll keep you updated on our journey through this life change, the highs and the lows, and the decisions we make.

Love Pink xx

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Extreme (not) couponing

So I'm addicted to Extreme Couponing on TLC.  I Tivo it and watch on a lazy afternoon.  Today I was watching in envy as these men and women made huge savings on their groceries.  In the UK extreme couponing is incredibly difficult due to a lack of manufacturer coupons, very few stores to choose between, and heavy restrictions on coupon use.  There is one solution, however.  Approved Food.

Approved Food is an online store that sells products the are close to or past their best before date.  The best before date is different to the use by date as it is an estimate of when the product is past it's peak quality.  Consuming this product beyond that date will have no bearing on your health.  In fact the government have even discussed removing this date to reduce food wastage.

You can made huge savings on Approved Food if you use it the right way.  When I shop there I literally browse every product except for the pets section (I have no pets so it would be a waste of my time). I go for products that have combined sale reductions, with large percentage savings versus the manufacturer's RRP.  Crate offers are also incredibly value.  Approved Food regularly change their products and offers so it's worth checking at least once a month to see what's on sale.

Here is what I purchased today:

  • 8x Apple & Pear Capri Suns
  • Case 15 mini brunch mixes
  • 6 bottles of Pig in a Poke white wine
  • 3x 6 pack burger buns
  • 3x Bisto vegetable stock melts
  • 3x Tomato and garlic cooking sauces
  • Case 16 sieved tomatoes with chilli
  • 6x bags Cheetos
  • 6x herb steam packs for vegetables
  • 3x jars mayo
  • 6x bags Kettle Chips
  • 8x chopped dill
  • 6x Enchilada spice mixes
  • 3x Tomato Ketchup
  • 3x packs of 8 tortilla wraps
  • 6x sausage casserole mixes
  • 3x Soreen orange fruit loaves
  • 3x Lemon and ginger stir fry sauces
  • 3x cases 8 cracker drinks
  • 3x Del Monte juice cartons
  • 4x bottles Vitamin Water
  • 2x Organic UHT milk
  • 3x Cracker drinks juice cartons
  • 1x Hob cleaner


My total RRP was £216.65 including delivery.  I paid £59.80, a 72% savings.  I have space ready to start a stockpile that I can add to with £50-60 a month.  This should gradually reduce my weekly grocery bill.  I'm really please I took the time to go through the site in full, enabling me to get the best offers for my family.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

An exhausting Saturday

Well I'm sat here absolutely shattered. We spent most of today cleaning our old house! It hit home how much I need to get a routine in place.

Hubby cleaned the kitchen when we got home and made me a coffee. It was bliss.

This evening I made fish pie in the multi-chef. I made the white sauce in the bowl with 50g flour, 30g butter, 20g olive oil, 250ml milk, 250ml white wine. Then mixed at 90 for 8 mins.


I then steamed a selection of seafood, fish and some peas which were mixed with the sauce and topped with mash in a Pyrex.

I baked in the oven until crispy and done!

Enjoy the weekend x

Friday, 8 January 2016

Highlights of this week

So the week has come and gone, it's been a mixture of high points and low points.

  • The eldest son and I started family therapy - it was cute and emotional, but overall a success.
  • He also celebrated his birthday, we had white chocolate cake and a few gifts.
  • I signed up for Flylady Premium and met my mentor who is absolutely lovely and set me going on my before be routine.
  • We held our first dinner party, it was very informal and lovely to see our friends.
  • A friend of mine is getting married and had invited me to her hen-party. It sounds like lots of fun and is not the usual second mortgage require hen-party!
  • Meal-planning went well for all but one day (when I forgot to get the pork out of the freezer). We've had some great meals within our budget.
  • Hubby is considering going back to school with a view to teaching a STEM subject. We're currently looking over his options.
  • We've been clearing out the old house, which is exhausting, but makes it all the more wonderful coming home to our new place!
  • The youngest has now moved up to a new reading level, which he's incredibly proud of!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

This week for less

Hi!  This week for less is all about winter comforts.  It's actually not that cold here this winter, but it is miserable, dark and frequently raining so plenty of indoor fun is required.  So here's my list of gorgeous things to do for less.


  1. Mulled wine is priced down post Christmas.  I think I saw it at £2.50 in Asda the other day.  Grab a bottle and enjoy in front of your favourite TV show.
  2. Get out the kids' activity books, pens and crayons and spend time with them at the dining table talking and doing activities all afternoon.
  3. Watch a movie on TV with homemade popcorn and hot chocolates under a blanket.
  4. Use those gifted bubble bath sets for warm bathtime bliss in the evening.
  5. Spend time reading your favourite book or bible passages with a glass of Merlot (Aldi sell a great Merlot for £3.15 a bottle).
  6. Make a big batch of soup from your leftover vegetables and serve with home made bread.
  7. Watch Poirot on TV/Netflix
  8. Have a pyjama day with the kids!
  9. Make a huge brunch for the family
  10. Throw a dinner party for friends (using budget friendly recipes)

Monday, 4 January 2016

This week with FlyLady

I've recently rediscovered FlyLady.  I'm currently working through the Back to Basics program and today I will be shining my sink, the core of the FlyLady system and also the habit of the month.

As I work full-time I save my home blessing hour for the weekend, however I still fit my missions in during the week.  This week we're flying in the kitchen.  Having just moved home, clutter is not a big issue for me - we dealt with that in the move, getting rid of anything we didn't need or love.  My purpose now is to keep my home clutter free and clean whilst raising two kids and holding down a full-time job.

  1. Monday - Shine sink and do zone mission
  2. Tuesday - Shine sink, lay out clothes for tomorrow and do zone mission
  3. Wednesday - Shine sink, lay out clothes, shower and dress first thing, and do zone mission
  4. Thursday - Shine sink, lay out clothes, shower and dress, write out routines and do zone mission
  5. Friday - Shine sink, lay out clothes, shower and dress, do a five minute room rescue and do zone mission
  6. Saturday - Shine sink, lay out clothes, shower and dress, do a five min room rescue, check my planner, weekly home blessing
  7. Sunday - Shine sink, lay out clothes, shower and dress, 5 min room rescue, check planner, 15 min declutter

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Aldi's Super 6

This week Aldi has it's Super 6 out for 29p each.

Items

  1. Iceberg Lettuce
  2. Cucumber
  3. Spring Onions
  4. Beetroot
  5. Salad Tomatoes
  6. Celery
Quite an odd S6 for mid-winter, however they're also doing the New Year resolution style health and fitness special buys, so I guess it ties in with that.

I'm planning on using my S6 buys in a variety of things.  Salad lunch boxes for work, cucumber and celery sticks for the eldest son who takes a packed lunch to school, smoothie additions, side salads and in vegetable soups.  I make it a rule that I mainly buy my fruit and veg from the S6, however I've had to top up my potatoes this week.  We have a lot of fruit from last week's shop which means I didn't need more this week.

Next week might be tough as usually the S6 only changes once a fortnight.  It will certainly feel strange having a Sunday roast with a side salad, so I might need to pick up some extra veg for steaming.

Meal plan and shopping list

Well this week we have a lot in stores.  My mother in law came down over Christmas with a ton of meat for our freezer, including a ton of pork and a beef roast.  We also have too many Christmas leftovers to count.

Sunday - Beef roast with mixed vegetables and potatoes
Monday - BBQ beef on Brioche buns with salads
Tuesday - Sausage casserole with potatoes
Wednesday - Penne pasta with Tuna
Thursday - Pork chops with salads
Friday - Dinner party serving chilli prawn spaghetti
Saturday - Fisherman's Pie

I shop from Aldi


2 x Lettuce
Cucumber
Spring onions
2 x Beetroot
Tomatoes
Celery
Brioche buns
Potatoes
Prawns
Chillis
Spaghetti
Free range eggs
Butter
Loo roll
Squash (drink not vegetable)
2x Bread
3 x Juices
2 x Diet coke
2 x Lemonade
Grated cheese
2 x UHT milk
Ham
Anti bac wipes
Toffees
Merlot
2 x kids yoghurts
Cheese slices

I'll head out later to do the shop, it gets busy on Sundays so I leave hubby and the boys at home for ease.

Happy new year, new home, new me...

Good morning and a very happy new year!

A lot has happened in 2015 - the headline being us buying our first home!  Hubby and I have always rented previously to allow us the flexibility of raising two pre school age boys without using childcare.  When I started working again back in 2014 we agreed we would save and buy our first home.  Which finally happened in December.  It's been a long and expensive ride, but so worth it now we are here.

2016 will be the year we recover financially from the cost of buying our home.  Surveys, solicitors, furniture and fees have all added up and now frugal living is on the cards.  I've also had some personal light-bulb moments, including reconnecting with God and my other saviour - FlyLady.

I want to re-establish my blogging and record and share my experiences with my readers.  I'm planning a very exciting, very fulfilling 2016 and I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Love

Pink x


 

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