Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It’s hot and Greenwich was hot

The weather forecast was due to be a lovely hot summer’s day (at long last) so we decided to take a trip to Greenwich.  The Cutty Sark has been restored, the navel college grounds are now open to the general public, and there are some lovely pubs and restaurants.

Parking is limited so a bus trip was in order – 40 mins later in the heart of this wonderful historic town. It was busy, the Olympic equestrian events are taking place in Greenwich park so there was a lot a activity over in the park, temporary buildings, stands for spectators, bridges over the road.
There was concert going on in the naval college grounds, families with picnic, blankets on the ground, children playing while the music was playing, the sun beating down, shorts, t-shirts, little dresses and wonderful blue sky.
The £12 we paid each to visit the Cutty Sark, was in my view good value, the restoration was fab – the smell of teak wood was just heavenly. 

The hull of the ship is clad in copper which is so bling - apparently it makes the ship go faster.

Lower deck - being 5'11" in stocking feet - I had to mind my head - those iron girders were so low.  But the smell of the wood was divine.  I didn't realise that the Cutty Sark did more runs from Australia with wool than from China with tea - very informative exhibition in the lower deck.

The tangle of the rigging was beautiful against the blue sky even if it did look like ordered mess.

DaddyHen visited when he was very little (umm some 40+ years ago) and remembered the figurehead collection.

The view on from the top deck - over to HMS Ocean, The Shard in the background.

A very informative 2 hours was spent going over the Cutty Sark - an enjoyable day.

MummyHen X

Friday, 27 July 2012

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let the games begin

Well I have a few UFOs that need to be completed so I shall take the opportunity over the next two weeks to finish the three UFO that I have on the go. Olympics on the tele, may be a glass of vino bad idea as mistakes happen after too much vino, cup of green tea, feet up, hook or needle in hand; sounds like a plan.

I did manage 30mins in the garden today; work has been absolutely manic the past few weeks so not much time for me; I managed to do a full repeat of a knitting project (can't say much as the recipient reads this blog).

I also managed to hook up some squares for bloggy friends bloggy blankets – not sure if the colours or if the sizes will work but I have some ideas of design.

I have a half-finished mouse that’s waiting to be stuffed and be born – so I think he’ll take priority as his companion mouse has been waiting for some time for her mate.

MummyHen X

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Here comes the torch

For some reason I regressed to being about 8yrs old waiting for father Christmas – I was so excited about the prospect of seeing the torch. Not really sure why I don’t have tickets to any of the events but I just had to see the torch.
The torch was going through Eltham at about 8:30am this morning – a short drive, lots of side roads for parking – right we were off. 

And the SUN shone – (Here in the UK it’s been raining since beginning of April) so to have blue sky and sun was wonderful.

The convoy began with a few police outriders – the security was low key, watchful and alert but allowing the spectators to get a good view without being overbearing - followed by the Olympic cars, the bus carrying the torchbearers and floats from Olympic sponsors.

Then the torch carried by June O’Regan - nominated by one of her grandchildren read about it here

 And to our surprise a ‘kiss’ would take place just yards from where we stood

It was really lovely, lots of excited children (and me), flags waving, bunting, the houses that lined the route were bedecked in red, white and blue

And then it was gone – onwards towards Woolwich

MummyHen X

Monday, 16 July 2012

Fortnightly spending roundup

Well - we’ve been trying to be frugal and carefully with our spending for two weeks now.  In addition to the mortgage and the regular bills we have spent.

Meat Slicer

The food amount includes part of the £50 allocated to bulk buying – some good bargains to be had on items close to use by dates (I seem to be attracted to yellow stickers!!) and some household items reductions on washing power and dishwasher tablets.  The DIY spend was to complete a project, new workshop, that had already started before our new way of spending.  Of the £882.61; £491.84 won’t be a regular monthly expenditure as these were one offs. 

There’s £200 in the food budget for the next two weeks; DaddyHen is convinced that we will come in on budget – which will be great; I'd like to come in under but let's see.
Eight no spend days in the last 14, would have been ten but we had two visits to the vet.

MummyHen X

Sunday, 15 July 2012


DaddyHen and I went PYO –Pick Your Own; on Saturday morning; yes it rained but then it’s been raining here in England constantly since beginning of April.
We went to Hewitts Farm– it’s a vast site with lots of lovely fruit and veg.  We picked Yellow Chard, Broad Beans, Peas, Strawberries and Raspberries.  It was a little wet underfoot but had gone prepared with wellies, coats, and hats, although there was a short shower not long after we arrived it was rather nice to get out into the open air.  This past week had been very busy with work and I didn’t get much time to get away from the office.


With all this awful weather we’ve been having some of the fruit was just rotting – people haven’t wanted to get out in the rain to PYO; which is such a shame as the taste of the fruit is just so real; like you remember from years ago before the polytunnel.

In a month or so the apples will be ready – the trees were just laden with fruit.

In an adjacent field was a mare with her delightful foal

MummyHen X

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Daily bread

I made bread yesterday for the first time - I was so happy with the result.  Thanks to the wonderful tutorial from Rhonda at Down to Earth

My loaf turn out really well - I had to stop Sonnyhen from devouring it straight away.

I sent Daddyhen to the local shop to find the price of strong flour £1.99 for 1.5kgs - no way was I going to pay that; I was actually very surprised at the cost.

I happened to be going past (I wasn't going to make a special journey - I can hear Daddyhen singing frugal frugal) a large supermarket where they had strong flour on offer 3kgs for £2.  I used my lovely KA blue mixer to knead the dough and I discovered my oven and both a proving function and a bread function - Never noticed that before.  Years ago I did have a bread maker but I didn't like the shape of the bread, silly really; but needless to say I got rid.

Forgot to take photo of the start of the process - just getting used to this blogging lark, and don't always have camera by my side.

After proving

I knocked the dough back, put it in the tin, sprinkled with sesame seeds, slashed the top and put into a very hot oven.

I read somewhere about adding a tray of water in the bottom to give some steam - so I gave this ago. 10mins on 220 and then 20mins on 200 produced this...

And half an hour later after much smelling and asking certain people not to touch. 

MummyHen X

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Hooky time

I do like to have a crochet project on the go – something to do with idle hands whilst having one eye on the TV in the evenings (wish they'd put on something worth watching).
This yoghurt bucket now holds our shopping budget for the month so it needed to be jazzed up.

I used Lucys, from Attic24, pattern for a flat circle - until I read these instrcutions my circles were always wavy.  I now have 'got it' I enjoy making circles.
I had the Rico Creative Cotton aran in my stash – I won’t reveal the extent of this stash as DaddyHen reads this and well … umm need I say more.
It only took a couple of hours, the lid circle is stuck on with PVA glue.  Really happy with the result a cheery budget bucket.

MummyHen X

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Vets bill

Big Cats visit to the vet cost me £189.05, nothing major but his teeth did need a clean. It's way more than I had budgeted for, we had a small contingency budget for July which is now £89.05 lighter.  

Dental Scaling £25.20
Antirobe caps £10.56
Metacam £9.38
General Anaesthetic £90
Clamoxyl LA Inj £9.19
Metacam Inj £11.72
BloodTest Pre Op £33.00
But he seems much happier - a few small patches where he was shaved; he's such a lovely cat. We don't mention to him that he was a failed stud - just in case it hurts his ego!?!

>>>Edit:  At the checkup yesterday another injection cost £22.12
Total £211.17.  Contingency budget adjusted

MummyHen X

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Lemon Coconut Cake

Add some lovely warm thick custard for a quick pudding for dinner - yum.  Recipe from here.

MummyHen X

Monday, 9 July 2012

Sliced meats

I mentioned in the last post about how much we were spending on sliced meats each week; well, I bought this meat slicer.

From here, had to order it as my local store didn't have any but the click and collect service is very efficient.

Cooked the meat, left it to cool on a rack, put in the fridge overnight and next morning got slicing

Pork 2.6kg £7.18 *bargain* yielded 800g of sliced meat - Lower right
Chicken 700g £5.00 yielded 450g of sliced meat - lower left
Turkey 700g £5.00 yielded 450g of sliced meat - top left
Beef 2.0kg £12.18 yielded 1.385kg of sliced meat - top right

If we had bought this sliced in the supermarket, usually 2 packets for £4.00 (a packet is 100g) it would have cost over £60. These four joints cost £29.36.  Yes, we had to buy the slicer but that will pay for its self very quickly.
I’m really very pleased, I have 20 packets (4 slices per packet) of sliced meat; 16 of which will go into the freezer, we had some of the pork for supper on Saturday evening, and we have one packet of each in the fridge.

MummyHen X

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Pink gingham blanket ta dah

I finished this simple blanket during the week for a work colleague whose wife had their baby girl 7 weeks early.

It’s the second Gingham blanket that I've done as is such a quick and simple design. The pattern can be found on here on Ravelry
I have another project which I will share later in the week – a lovely little knitting project

Being thrifty

Well, this week has been about putting in to practice the plans – I’m sure I’ve been a little obsessive about it but I believe in what we are doing; the results will speak for themselves at the end of July.
Julys target is to have the emergency fund in place; reduce the food/grocery shopping to £500; put away funds for work that’s needed in the garden and pay 20% off from one credit card.
DaddyHen did the shopping on Friday and spent £109.58 - which is a about a third lower than in previous weeks.  That included a months worth of washing powder as it was on special - which will come out of the £50 Bulk Buying fund. Put £20 of fuel in each car - that raised another topic of some heated discussions this week - Do we really need two cars?
Saturday we did a reccy at another supermarket, - to compare prices and offerings - we picked up some bargains; which will be put to good use.  I got a great idea from Sue - if you don't already read her blog then I'd recommend it - Our New Life in the Country - on slicing meat and pocketing the pennies (20th June posting). We were spending over £40 per week on sliced meats.  There will be more on this over the next week.

Spending this week will be kept to a minimum and to only items that have been planned - grocery shopping and Big Cat to the Vet; his oral hygiene is dreadful - so he's going to have his teeth cleaned. I will leave you with a picture of Big Cat.

MummyHen X

Sunday, 1 July 2012

What's it about …

It’s about me, MummyHen, and my family’s (DaddyHen & SonnyHen) journey to becoming thrifty, debt free, the things we like doing and places we like visiting; I hope you’ll drop by and see how we get on.

Having read other blogs, see My blog lists for my favourites and those that give me inspiration, for a few months on how others have managed to change their lifestyles, some forced some by choice; I took a look at the MummyHen household and decided we spend far far too much, we have far too much debt (mortgage & credit cards) and it’s not reducing quick enough, we have far too little savings and its time things have to change.
So a plan was hatched – we will start today 1st July 2012.

Challenge #1 – Reduce Food Spending

1.      I calculated that we spent way over £1,200 in June.  July’s food budget will be £500.
2.      Cash will be used and when it’s gone it’s gone – a daily record of spending will be kept.
3.      Decided not to use the milkman any more – not an easy decision as we’ve used him for years but he’s way too expensive.  This is what we had each week from the milkman:
a)      3 Skimmed Milk @ 66p per pint = £1.98
b)      1 Semi-skimmed milk @ 66p per pint = £0.66
c)       3 pints orange juice =£3.45
d)      3 pints apple juice = £3.45
Total spend per week £9.54, that’s just short of £500 per year
Equivalent at supermarket
a)      1 Skimmed milk 2pts = 89p
b)      1 Semi-skimmed milk 2pts = 89p
c)      3 Every day/basic orange juice 1ltr (2pints) @ 56p =£1.68
Total spend per week £3.46, that’s just short of £180 per year
It’s a no brainer; we have to use the supermarket as it will save over £300 during the year.

Challenge #2 – Build up an emergency fund

1.       We don’t have a easy to get at cash emergency fund – in the past it would have gone on a credit card – these are now band
2.       £1,000 cash emergency fund will be put together during July
3.       It will only be used for emergencies – ie boiler breakdown. Not to be used for food shopping 

Challenge #3 – Snowballing debt

Six credit cards between MummyHen & DaddyHen – all nearly maxed out, total debt over £50,000. Wow, OMG that’s really freighting to see it written down and for us to admit this level of card debt.
1.       Minimum payments have been setup to ensure there are no additional charges EVER.  The card with the highest interest rate will be targeted.
2.       Our aim is to pay off the first card, by 1st January 2013 – that’s six months
3.       DaddyHen as a loan that will finish in August, the payments previously for the loan will be rolled over to the 1st card, plus
On a lighter note there will also be posts about what we do as a family – well SonnyHen is getting older so most times it just me and DaddyHen.