Powered by Blogger.

Silent Sunday - 27/9/15

Frugally Festive

Well the count down has begun in the crafty household.

Yes yes I know I said the "C" word ... but no matter how much I resent it being discussed before Halloween, it's steadily creeping up on us.

This year though I intend to be prepared and I'm trying to do it as frugal as possible. I'm not in a position to give my kid everything his heart desires but that's OK. I give him what I can and I know that my son is grateful for everything he has. I've given up trying to keep up with the Jones' ... I'm just happy to keep up with myself :)

So this year's Christmas prep has started.

My lists have been written and my plans drawn up. I'll be honest, it's proving a lot easier now that Agent M knows about Santa. I thought it would be kinda sad this year but so far it's been a lot less stressful. 
His Santa present was always the big present where I had to go big or go home (my own insecurity of trying to give him everything there) but this year he has asked for 1 big present and is only expecting that one. Anything above that is icing!

So what does he want? Well it's been at the top of his wish list for a while and this year he's asking for it again so perhaps I can see what I can do ... The Lego technic crane.

I am of course getting him some other bits and pieces so he has a great Christmas but in order to afford it, I need to be clever. I need to be frugal!

So here's the plan.
  • look for offers - 3 for 2 is a good one if you have a few people to buy for. Argos are doing 3 for 2 on toys right now so I took advantage this week and got both agents a Lego advent calender and Agent M a Minecraft set (his advent calender was free in the deal). I also bought 3 Lego mixels for his stocking too which was £6 instead of £9.

    Many places do buy 1 get 1 half price and on occasion you'll find some toys reduced down to "Better than half price". Most stores stick to the 3 for 2 in the run up to Christmas so look about for the best offers. Any places i find I'll update on the Facebook Page so give it a like to keep up to date :)
  • De-clutter and sell off old toys - Agent M has a stash of toys under his bed that he hasn't played with in months. We've had a wee talk about it over breakfast and he's agreed that he doesn't really want them any more so we decided we'll put them up for sale and the money made will go toward his Christmas this year. Yeah it's kinda cheap of me to sell his stuff to buy him prezzies but at the end of the day we live off a tight student budget so every little helps. (Plus the money is going on stuff he would want rather than sitting under his bed).
  • Online only deals - Amazon is an amazing site for deals. Most of the items they have will go up and down in price meaning you can get a real bargain if your timing is right. How I do it is I add the items to my basket and I'll check it once or twice a day to see if there have been any update messages. If the price changes they will tell you and if it goes low BUY IT!

    There is a Lego kit I have I my basket that I'm waiting to go down again. (I have it in my save for later and i still get updates on the prices). It was £15 cheaper than in shops but I didn't have my bursary at the time so I couldn't get it. I'm waiting to see if it goes down again *fingers crossed*
  • Plan a budget and STICK TO IT! - I am the world's worst for this cause I get a kick outta making things like birthdays and Christmas as special as possible. I love to treat my boys but this year I can't do that. I need to keep in my head that giving agent M to a roof over his head and food in his belly is a whole lot more important than that game or toy he won't really miss. Agent D has offered to help out with Christmas for Agent M this year so I don't need to go OTT. He'll get a lovely Christmas and I don't need to bankrupt myself!

  • Where you can, Go without - Yes its really nice to send a wee Christmas card to the lady that once watered your plants while you were on holiday, or give a card to each kid in your child's class but lets be honest, its only gonna go in the bin come Jan 1st. The average card can range from 59p to £3.00 ... Getting one for your niece, brother, parents, teacher, dog walker etc, your quite easily gonna come away with a tenners worth of glittery cardboard. Then there is the stamps. Most people these days are on Facebook so instead why not send a virtual card? Cost effective and better for the environment :)

    If your heart set on sending cards, discount stores like home bargains do boxes for less. It might not be personalised by saying "Grandma" or "Nephew" but it'll save you a bundle. Poundland usually have a box of 30 cards for your classmates plus an extra for the teacher ... Cant go wrong with that :)
So this year I'm hoping to get festive on a frugal budget ... Here's hoping it works out ... I'll be sure to keep you posted :)

Do you have any money saving tips for Christmas? Feel free to share below xxx

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding

The warm weather is behind us it seems and with the cold nights comes the perfect opportunity to get out the slow cooker. Its been lovely to come home from a long day at college to a my dinner ready and waiting :)

I've also been experimenting with deserts and want to share this one with you ...

Its really easy to make and can be eaten hot or cold. This recipe makes enough for 4 servings and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

You'll Need
6oz pudding rice
2 pints Semi-skimmed milk
1 (354 ml) Can of Evaporated Milk
4 tbsp granulated sugar

To Make
Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and give it a good stir. Pop the lid on and cook on Low for 5 hours or High for 3 hours.

Its really that simple :)

You can eat as is or you can add some extras for variation. Agent M's favourites are 
  • Raisins
  • Dried Banana
  • Apple chunks
  • Jam
  • Nutella
Do you have a favourite rice pudding topping?

How busy is too busy?

I. Am. SO. Tired!

I'm not 100% sure as its still early days but I'm pretty sure I've lost my ever loving mind. I seem to have led myself to believe i am wonder woman and that i can do it all. Perhaps i have mistake my basic cup of coffee for a cocaine laced mug of adrenaline or its possible that i am just trying to juggle to much. Either way ... I'm headed for trouble.

Its kind of ironic since it was only 2 weeks ago i was so excited at the work load when i typed up my previous blog post.

I didn't realise from my timetable just how much work was involved in my second year college course ... and on top of that i have work experience that need to be completed along side it. That has officially taken up 4 days of my week.

Along with the evening class i signed up for, Agent M's activities, blogging, spending time with the Agents, housework, getting clients out with college to help pay bills and me time ... I'm stretched pretty thin.

Things have been slipping through the cracks (like my blog that has been practically abandoned this month) and I've been having to pass on couple time in favour of sleep, Me time in favour of college work and housework has been getting rushed (though Agent M has been helping out a bit).

I can see a collision up ahead if things keep at this rate.

I've been trying to multi task like right now I'm blogging while Agent D has a go on the PS4 (its hardly couple time but he's settling for it as he gets best of both worlds). When Agent M is at his swimming lessons, i do a few laps in the big pool too so I'm getting my exercise in (plus climbing up and down 4 floors worth of stairs all week has to count). When he goes to my dads on the Saturday night i try to get as much crammed in as i can ... College notes typed up, Housework done, shopping, plan out the meals for the week, laundry washed/dried/ironed/put away, dog washed, then by the time it rolls around 8pm i put on a DVD and I'm lucky if i make it till the end before I'm fast asleep.

I need to get into some kind of routine or get organised but i just don't know where to begin. At what point do i go "bugger the dishes, i wanna read a chapter of my book" or "the washing can wait, i wanna go for lunch with Agent M" ... Will that not just set me up for more work in the long run?

At what point is busy just too busy?

There has to be other mums out there that can do all this ... What is there secret? How do they juggle work/family/home/personal life without having a nervous break down?

Answers on a postcard please (or comment below)

Till then I'll just have to keep picking up my dropped balls *snicker* and keep trying to juggle i guess

Shared on ...

Super Busy Mum

Playing Catch Up

Oft, I don't know about you guys but I really needed that weekend.

Last week I started back at college and although I have been looking forward to it, getting back into my routine was harder than I thought. Not being able to sleep at night then getting up at 6am has taken its toll on me ... my skin has turned to shit!

My weight loss has taken a back seat too since I was really ill at the beginning of the week I couldn't make it to my fitness classes. I did however manage a wee swim while agent M was in his swimming lessons so at least that's something (plus climbing my way up 4 floors with a kit bag has to count for something lol). I'm thinking about moving my weigh In's from every Saturday to the end of every month. That way i can focus on my monthly goals i.e Cutting down on the junk and sugar. I'm quite chuffed that I've managed to cut fizzy juice out (with the exception of last weekends wedding) ... I've noticed a big improvement on my feeling bloated and now the headaches have subsided so I'm thinking that i was heavy into fizzy/sugar withdrawal.

I have jumped whole heatedly into my second year of college. 

Not one to miss an opportunity I have decided that I wanna learn more and therefore earn more so I've signed up to a nail care class on Tuesday evenings with the intention of moving onto acrylics after Christmas. I've also signed up for a barbering evening class on a Thursday to get extra training there so it's safe to say I'm gonna be knackered by the time summer rolls back round.

I feel good about it though. 

I want to earn ... I need to earn so going for as much training as my brain can hold will at least help me get half way there. 

The clients are another matter. 

I'm not sure I know enough people to cover all the assessments I'm going to have (unless I can cross assess - use client "X" for both cut, colour and nails *oh please let that be allowed*). This year I'll need to focus on building my client Base and getting my name out there. I'm hoping my work experience in a busy salon will help me pick up some tips and tricks along the way.

I'm hell bent I wanna get out there and carve out my little slice of the industry.

I gotta start somewhere.

So what does that mean for my hobbies.

Honestly, I have no idea. 

The way my timetable is working out I'm out the equivalent of 37 hours a week ... then I have Agent M to care for and making sure I spent enough time with Agent D to stop him feeling neglected. At some point I will have to ear and sleep so I can't see much time for crafting on the cards but I will try when I can. 

Till then I'll blog as much as I'm able and perhaps get to share some tips I've been learning though out my courses (3 at one time - I must be off my rocker!).

I hope you can understand and that you stick with me while i get into the flow of all this.

Its gonna be some ride :)

Motivation Board

So we are a month into my weight loss and on the whole, its not been as great as i had hoped.

All in i have lost and gained weight but at the end of the month i have lost a total of 3lb ... Still its better than nothing and its to be expected to have a bumpy start. This last week has been terrible in terms of eating healthy. 3 take outs in one week is really bad (even before i wanted to start loosing weight and i think that my feeling really ill at the beginning of the week has been partially down to me having junk food for the first time in a month ... plus the fizzy juice from the party. Not sure if junk food poisoning is a thing but if so, I've done myself a good one.

I'm hell bent to get my shit back in order and write this week off as a one off (we don't have big family gatherings enough for me to have to worry about it happening again any time soon).

One thing i am really proud of is that i have been going to fitness classes and working out more. I'm loving the Aqua Trim at my local swimming and there are a few other classes i wanna try out too. I did try Bums, Tums and Thighs but i only lasted 20 minutes in that class before i had to run out to vomit. Next time the instructor says this class is hard for beginners, I'm gonna listen! I've made a note of some others that will fit in with my College timetable that look fun ... i just hope i can manage them *How hard is Zumba?*.

In the mean time however I've decided to make myself a motivation board.

Its a really simple idea that so far has been keeping me going. I have it hung in my room right across from my bed so i see it multiple times a day and although this sounds silly, I really like the idea of physically seeing my pounds coming off lol.

The board its self is a basic cork notice board that i painted in a bright colour (cause who gets motivated by dreary and miserable colours) and have set up so i can keep track of my weight loss.

From the top left ...
  • I bought a small wipe board from Asda on which i have my "target and goals for the month". Yes i have blanked out my current weight and target as i am not ready to reveal my shame yet but i have those numbers glaring at me so i can keep the goal firmly in my head!
  • The "pounds to lose/pounds lost" section is just twine with mini pegs on them. That way i can see the loss and be able to watch it "drop off" as it where before i see any physical change in my body. The top 2 rows are what i want to lose and the bottom row is what i have lost so far. It might not be much now but I'm still gonna keep trying :)
  • The "Before and After" is a digital representation of what i look like now and what i will look like when i reach my target. I know i wont look exactly like that but lets be honest, seeing how i can look is gotta make you wanna try harder, especially when you hate how you look now.
  • "My Measurements" is a new bit (hence why i haven't filled it in yet) but I'm going to track my weigh loss around my body too. I've been told that as i build muscle i will possibly gain weight but still be getting slimmer so I'm going to get my measurements too so i can still (hopefully) see some loss.
  • "Motivational quotes" that i found on Pinterest. Its all part of the motivation :) You can see all the pins i have saved on my pinterest at the bottom of this post, along with other fitness themed pins.
  • I like knowing what's happening and when so i have an "Exercise plan" for the week to keep me going. Since i am in the salon till late on in the evening on a Thursday and Friday I've decided they will be my rest days, along with Sunday as that's generally when i get prepared for the week ahead (washing and ironing the school uniforms and making lunches up etc).
  • Last up i have a list of some "Weight Equivalents". This is one of my favourite finds. It gives you a list of weights and what they equate to. For example losing 1lb is the same as losing a guinea pig ... My 3lb loss is the same as the average human brain which is alot more visual that just 3 pegs. 
I've read online that the human brain works best on a reward system which if you think about it (as a parent especially) it totally works! I decided to give it a try and see if it can help keep my motivation up. As well as being slimmer and healthier *which is a reward all on its own*, at certain stages when i lose a specific amount of weight, i will treat myself to something nice. I just need to write it up and add it to my board but here is what my rewards are going to be.

At ...
7lb - Eos Lip Balm (the half stone mark to keep the momentum going)
14lb - Jurassic Park trilogy on Blu Ray
28lb - A New Crafting Kit
42lb - Hannibal box set on Blu Ray
56lb - American Horror Story box set on Blu Ray
84lb - A new Tattoo

I know your probably reading that last one and thinking 84lb??? Yeah, My aim is to lose 6 stone. The fact that i can even lose 6 stone and still be in the double digits in term of weight is horrific to me. Like i said before I'm still not ready to say how heavy i am as I'm too embarrassed by it but at least I'm trying to do something about it.

To see all the images i have used plus loads more weight loss pins, inc recipes and trackers have a look at my pinterest board below and feel free to give it a follow to keep up to date with more pins :)

Super Busy Mum