Friday, 29 May 2015

I've changed my mind

Looking back, I have to say my mind-set has changed tremendously over the past few years.  When I was working I exercised very little control over my money – I can’t even dignify the slight amount of control I did exercise with the word “budget”.

My, how things have changed!  Today my state pension and church pension both arrived in the bank and by eight o’clock I had worked out my budget for the month.  I get regular income from three main sources.  There’s my church pension which arrives on the last working day of the month.  There’s my civil service pension from the earlier part of my working life which arrives on the twelfth day of each month.  And there’s my state pension which arrives every four weeks.

June will be a very expensive month.  I’ve been invited to a wedding evening “do”, I’ve got four birthdays to mark, the car is due its annual service, I have two fair-sized domestic bills to pay and I’m expecting Jack my gardener/handyman a couple of times. (I realise that many would consider these to be unnecessary expenses but they matter to me.)

So I know that I need to eat from existing stores when I can, that coffees out will be no-nos, that I need to hold off any further spending towards my Cornwall holiday and indeed I shall have to think very carefully when I spend anything.

But I know I can do it!  I know that I won’t have to worry about these things because I have thought about them in advance. Some of the necessary money has been set aside in previous months either specifically for that project (eg the car service) or in my just-in-case fund (the domestic bills). 

I wish I had been as prudent years ago.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Good to be wrinkly!

Being a wrinkly/crumbly/(insert your insult of choice) has many drawbacks but some things are absolutely great.  One such thing is flexibility when it comes to holiday timings,

I've never taken August holidays.  Quite apart from the fact that it is the most expensive time of the year, I've always felt that colleagues with children or with spouses(spice?) that teach should have priority there.  Now I am retired I have no-one to consider but myself and I still prefer the quieter times of the year.

So over the past couple of weeks I have been planning a two week break for myself in October.  I want to visit the Eden project and various other lovely gardens in Cornwall.  I can't use B & Bs because disability means I need to know exactly what I am getting so I use Travelodges.  They are cheap and clean and if I decide to have a whole day in my room (sometimes essential) no-one minds.  

I started by making a spreadsheet of the prices for every night in October for various Travelodges and found that the cheapest to get ten consecutive nights for me would be Bodmin.  That suits me - it's central Cornwall so I'll be able to get around.  As I say I am flexible on timing so I got a good deal. I've also booked three nights in Dorset so I can visit Amy.  I still need to find somewhere for one night on the way down as a six hour drive would be too much for me but so far accommodation is £401 which I think is pretty good, an average of £30.85 a night.  

The next thing to look at is places to go and the best way to pay, but there's no hurry about booking those.  

Friday, 22 May 2015

Can I have a gold star?

I know I haven't finished the Room of Doom but I have done A Lot this week, so can I have a star, please?  Pretty please?

The Room of Doom started the week like this and finished like this.

The sofa went from this to this 
So can I have this as a special award to start my Sabbath?
And I'll do some more next week!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Slow but steady progress

I knew it wouldn't be a quick job.  And I really haven't been a good girl.  The trouble is, today was the loveliest day we've had for quite a while so I went out.  

But there has been progress.  Here's how the sofa was last night.

And here's tonight's view.
Not a lot of progress.  But I have found this.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Not a pretty sight!

I warned you that I would be back!  It is not a pretty sight but I have made some progress.

This morning I invited you to play spot the sofa.
Further clues are now available.  

But not a lot.

I'm back - and in the Room of Doom!

I got up this morning full of determination.  One look in The Room of Doom was almost enough to change that!  Oh dear!

But it was only almost enough to change it.  I sat down with a cup of coffee and my pooter and I looked at my posts on this blog since January.  I realised that although it is still an almighty mess, I have made some progress.  But it is still the Room of Doom.

A second cuppa made the world look a slightly better place.  A Plan formed.

And here is the result.

Impressive, huh?  Not perfect but I was able to vacuum the floor.

Don't be too impressed though.  This level of tidiness comes at a price.

Spot the sitting room sofa.

I shall report back later today

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Spring Staycation

This is just a quick post to say that I have had a lovely staycation with my friends Amy.  Once again Louise came to help me “hotelify” my home so we could relax here at Frugal Follies. 

I collected Amy from Newark on Friday, Saturday we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Sunday was church, lunch out and exploring Caistor and Monday we went to Lincoln Castle. 

I feel as though I have had a lovely holiday without the hassle of packing and I have decided to visit Amy in the autumn. She’ll be coming here next year again. 

One decision I have taken is that I want to explore the idea of special times in my own home even when I don't have a visitor to share them.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Thirty on a Thursday

The wonderful Louise came yesterday so I've now got a bright clean, shining house.  Today I will set up the bed for Amy, and I'll just about be ready.

But thirty on a Thursday?  Well, getting ready for Amy has involved some decluttering and this morning I decided to try and make up the leaving-the-house box up to thirty.  These alliteration challenges work for me - so far.

Anyway, today's haul.

1 pack of pillow protectors
1 Purse
1 lightbulb (bought for a lamp which I no longer have)
1 tub body butter
2 craft CDs
2 DVDs
2  embroidery kits
and fifteen books

In addition to these I've found three PVC tablecloths for Brownies and a casserole and a stick blender for a friend along the road.

And there's still an AWFUL lot left

Sunday, 3 May 2015

'Fessing up!

My friend Amy is coming again soon so once again I am preparing for a Staycation. Last time her visit went really well so I want to build on that success.

One problem I have is that I no longer have a guest room.  Until Amy came last November I had never needed one.  I have a dining-room-cum-sewing-room and that had to take on yet another function as a guest room.  I use it several days each week as a sewing room and several days a year as a dining room.

So inviting from the door!
You’ve guessed the problem – I have an awful lot of sewing stuff.  Quite apart from two sewing machines and an overlocker there are huge quantities of fabric and “stuff”.  Each time I need the room as a dinning room everything gets shoved every which place.  I really don't want to live like this and I would like to be able to do a neat conversion job each time I need the room for a different use.    It didn’t look QUITE as bad as this before I started sorting but I’ve had to abandon the Room of Doom for the moment.
Glorious which ever way you look!

So for those of you who thought I had only one Room of Doom – think again!