Bramble Cottage Diaries

Hi all,

2022 has been a whirlwind of a year for us. After saving like mad for over five years, in September we finally had an offer accepted on a house and four weeks later we completed the sale. Our new home is in Co Mayo, Ireland and we were cash buyers, as unable to get a mortgage over there. Currently we are still living in the UK, and will remain here until the building works are completed. I hope no-one minds me posting in this board, we are mortgage free, and I feel keeping a diary on here, will help us to remain that way :)

Bramble Cottage is a derelict four room cottage with just under 7 acres of land, 2.5 of that is woodland. We have big plans, Phase One is to put a small extension on the back of the main cottage and Phase Two, a larger five room annex type extension running adjacent to the cottage where there are currently three stone buildings, this will house three (of four) adult children who are moving with us. This is a huge project for us, and is going to be very costly and take a fair while to complete.

We still have a chunk of savings left after the purchase, but need a lot more, so our plan is to hunker down, be more frugal and save as much as we can. OH and I earn decent money, he is a HGV driver and I have two Etsy shops, so its just a case of continuing what we've already been doing for years.

Being in the UK has meant that we have hired an architect to draw up our designs for the build into proper plans, get it through planning and manage the project for us until it is at a builders finish stage and at that point we will move over there and complete the rest ourselves. We want to complete this without taking on any debt if at all possible.

The cottage needs new everything (including a new roof) and at this point we are just throwing figures around, not really knowing what it will cost us. I expect the architect will give us more of an idea once he has drawn up the plans and put the building works out for tender.

Are we mad? Probably. Will it cost more than we think it will? Without a doubt. Are we excited about this next stage of our lives? Hell yeah.

I have been a MSE member since early 2000's and its going to take all the knowledge I have gained from this site to get us through this period, but if we get our heads down I am sure we can do it.

Next stage...

We zoomed with the architect yesterday and he will be coming back to us some point this week with a basic outline and rough timetable. At this point we will need to send him the first payment to cover all his work in Stage 1.

I need to do some budgeting changes in YNAB and look for more places to save money. I will also be scouring OS Board for ideas. The basic plan for the coming week will be spend as little as possible. I have a set amount for housekeeping and although I am not going to lower this, I will be looking for ways to squirrel a portion of that into a separate savings pot. Our budget basically needs an overhaul, which I will be working on today.

Wish us luck, I think we're going to need it!
November NSD's - 7
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Replies

  • MisslayedMisslayed Forumite, Senior Ambassador
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    Best of luck! Looking forward to reading about your progress. 
    I’m a Senior Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Competition Time, Site Feedback and Marriage, Relationships and Families boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] All views are my own and not the official line of Money Saving Expert.
  • KarmacatKarmacat Forumite
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    Congratulations, JamieDodger!  For the first time in ages, I'm looking at the whole mfw board, not just my favourites  :*  and this fantastic adventure of yours is what I see.  Brilliant.  I was persuaded out of doing something like that by family, I'm so glad you've gone for it.  Subscribed.
    Downsized and paid off mortgage 2010
    Retired August 2016
    Paid off French mortgage September 2018
    New kitchen fully installed June 2019
    Not counting this! 2020
    Garden fencing completed, woohoo 2021..........
    October 2021: aiming for £5,000 new money for premium bonds or a car.
  • JAMIEDODGERJAMIEDODGER Forumite
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    Thank you Misslayed:)

    Starting the whole process off with a NSD today.

    OH has gone back to work this morning after his week off, most of which he spend over at the cottage doing lots of clearing both in the cottage and on the land, and doing the initial site visit with the architect.

    I have spent the last hour cutting up fabric for orders from one of my shops and will probably spent the rest of the day sewing the fabric into drawstring bags, while binge watching Netflix. It is starting to get busier for Christmas and orders have come in thick and fast over the last few days, so I am really happy about that. My other shop is also gearing up for the festive period and fingers crossed that all the Christmas cards I have already printed will fly off the virtual shelves on the lead up to the big day.

    Having had a quick scout of the cupboards before I sit down and do this weeks menu plan/grocery list, I am thinking it will be a cheaper food shop this week than usual. None of the bigger ticket items need to be bought so I should get away with spending less.

    Dinner tonight is leftover chilli in a bake. I made a large chilli last week in the slow cooker which fed all of us for one dinner with rice. Then I froze the leftovers in two tubs and both of these will make a chilli bake (one tonight and one probably next week. Not bad for one 750g pack of Lidl's mince...15 dinners :) Tomorrow will also be a use up night. I have some beef stew that needs using in the freezer, plus I am sure there is a lasagne or something and a plate of leftovers from last night (chicken and ham pie). DS3 will probably have eggy bread as he loves that.

    I really need to do a deep dive of the freezers and list all the leftover meals I have in there. I want to try and get them all used before the beginning of December as the freezers need to have space for the Christmas bits.

    I've already started picking up an item a week towards Christmas when I've been at the supermarket. I've bought some Quality Street, mincemeat and Twiglets so far. I might try and get biscuit crackers this week.

    Will be aiming for another NSD tomorrow.
    November NSD's - 7
  • MoneyfordreamsMoneyfordreams Forumite
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    Sounds like you have amazing plans. I will be following too :)
    Mortgage restart June 2018 £119950Re mortgage August 19 £110470, … Mortgage November 22 £85600 final 0% CC 3300Home renovations - £65000, mid 2018 - mid 2022
  • JAMIEDODGERJAMIEDODGER Forumite
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    Karmacat said:
    Congratulations, JamieDodger!  For the first time in ages, I'm looking at the whole mfw board, not just my favourites  :*  and this fantastic adventure of yours is what I see.  Brilliant.  I was persuaded out of doing something like that by family, I'm so glad you've gone for it.  Subscribed.
    Thank you Karmacat!

    I haven't posted much over the last few years as its just been save, save, save, but I too am looking forward to looking at the whole of MFW and getting inspiration from everyone else's journeys :)
    November NSD's - 7
  • JAMIEDODGERJAMIEDODGER Forumite
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    Sounds like you have amazing plans. I will be following too :)
    Thank you! I know its a long slog but it will be so worth it in the end :)
    November NSD's - 7
  • pebpeb Forumite
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    So pleased for you.  I nearly missed you were back 
  • edited 9 November 2022 at 9:40AM
    JAMIEDODGERJAMIEDODGER Forumite
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    edited 9 November 2022 at 9:40AM
    Morning all :)

    Spent a good deal of time yesterday planning on the menu plan for the week ahead. I went through one of my two freezers and pulled everything to see what I had. Tonights dinner will be leftover stew/mash/red cabbage for three, leftover chicken and ham pie for one, and leftover chicken curry for one. I shall cook up some rice to go with the curry and add some extra veggies to the sew and pie meals. That frees up some space and numerous plastic tubs.

    No NSD for me today as we need milk, so I will pick that up when I pop out to post orders later. I also need a couple of spices which I am missing to make meals for the coming week, so I will get those while I am in the supermarket.

    Meal plan for the week:

    Thu - Sausage, mash, veggies and onion gravy
    Fri - Chicken curry and rice
    Sat - Lasagne
    Sun - Roast chicken, stuffing, potatoes, veggies and a yorkie
    Mon - Chicken and ham pie, veggies and roasties, stuffing and a yorkie
    Tue - French pie, mini roasties and veggies
    Wed - Leftover night - Chilli bake from last weeks chilli

    The chicken leftovers from the roast go in a pie for the next day, I cook up a small gammon joint and cube it into portions, a portion of this gets added to the chicken and mixed with a white sauce and a pie lid. One small gammon joint will do four 'pie nights', so a month of meals. Chicken carcass will make stock for soup for lunches.

    This weeks soups will be mushroom for the first half of the week and pumpkin for the last half (pumpkins from our veg garden this year already cooked pureed and frozen ready for soup).

    I expect to get a lot of leftovers from the curry as I am planning a big batch, plus one portion of lasagne for the freezer. These will get used up on leftover night next week.

    Thursday is my food shopping day, so I will not manage a NSD tomorrow either. However I do plan to have a weekend of no spending and fingers crossed Monday too.

    We don't often have an actual proper pudding after dinner (maybe once a week), as usually the kids have something from the tin, but I am planning on an apple and raspberry crumble to use up the last of the raspberries from the garden this year, this is what was leftover after I made jam.

    Breakfasts will be toast, cereal or porridge. Lunches will be soup for those who want it and a sandwich for those who don't.

    I will probably make a banana bread and maybe a gingerbread cake for the tin this week. This weeks ends from the bread will probably make a bread and butter pudding next week.

    Hopefully my bill this week won't be too horrendous. I do have some Tesco vouchers which I will be using off the bill, there's no point exchanging them as we don't really buy anything/go anywhere to make it worthwhile.

    Better get on with work now, these orders won't sew themselves :)

    November NSD's - 7
  • KarmacatKarmacat Forumite
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    When you freeze raspberries, process for later use in any way, can I ask, do you include any of the leaves at all?  I've just cut down my raspberry canes, and I keep thinking about the leaves - ther's raspberry leaf tea, after all.  I'm not at the stage where I can do it/ use them, but it's definitely on the plan for next year, I'm at the stage where lots of the little jobs have been done.

    Totally agree about the Tesco vouchers coming off the bill - I've tried to use offers like that in the past, and it's really been more trouble than its worth.  I still do that with nectar points, though as I don't shop at Sains any more, it's a bit difficult.  Worth it for once more though :) 
    Downsized and paid off mortgage 2010
    Retired August 2016
    Paid off French mortgage September 2018
    New kitchen fully installed June 2019
    Not counting this! 2020
    Garden fencing completed, woohoo 2021..........
    October 2021: aiming for £5,000 new money for premium bonds or a car.
  • JAMIEDODGERJAMIEDODGER Forumite
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    Karmacat said:
    When you freeze raspberries, process for later use in any way, can I ask, do you include any of the leaves at all?  I've just cut down my raspberry canes, and I keep thinking about the leaves - ther's raspberry leaf tea, after all.  I'm not at the stage where I can do it/ use them, but it's definitely on the plan for next year, I'm at the stage where lots of the little jobs have been done.
    I don't freeze leaves, but I am pretty sure you could dry them for tea. Maybe bunch them together, minding the thorny bits, tie some string around them and hang them up somewhere dry and airy. If you have a dehydrator even better :)
    November NSD's - 7
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