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  • FIRST POST
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 31st Jul 17, 7:37 PM
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    redofromstart
    <<<out of cheese error>>>
    • #1
    • 31st Jul 17, 7:37 PM
    <<<out of cheese error>>> 31st Jul 17 at 7:37 PM
    New name, new diary, new approach! I regularly read, and sometimes post, on the diaries of others but haven't started one myself as it is such a public thing to do. Anyway I need to stop drifting and get our finances back on track before we run out of cheese.


    Family is:
    Me - PT, self employed, bit of this bit of that. Currently on a PT contract with a few months to run.
    OH - generally works as a consultant and has a famine or feast income. On a rare direct employed contract at the moment
    DC - two boys


    Biggest challenge is a huge mortgage, taken out in the days of huge lending and post retirement mortgage dates. Stuck on high SVR as we haven't managed to both be in secure employment at the same time for years. The plan was to overpay and reduce the term but life got in the way a lot.
    10 years of chipping away at it may mean we can now try to remortgage but the barriers are two debts that I need to deal with so that they do not impact on affordability.


    Debt 1 is a student loan, £840 left at £94 per month - 1.5% interest (maybe?)
    Debt 2 is a 0% credit card, £2500 with over a year left to run. This is a carry over from the last famine, and has been reduced from a total that was closer to 15k.


    We do have a couple of months mortgage in savings, but that is the 'emergency job switched off fund' and is generally untouchable.


    OHs works full time and his wages cover the mortgage, and basic outgoings. Its up to me to generate the income for overpayments and debt clearing . I have to work round the boys as we don't have family local or any childcare in place.


    This diary is to try and keep me on track, before the big red lever turns the mortgage off. If we can remortgage, even with reducing the term to his retirement date, it knocks £200 a month off our payments which is a huge amount of leeway next time the famine hits.
Page 48
    • Mydmp
    • By Mydmp 6th Mar 18, 4:20 PM
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    Mydmp
    Where does the time go?

    Some years ago now I had a tiny cluttered house in urgent need of redecoration before we sold it, two toddlers, and an OH who was never there because of work. I only worked two days myself at that point, and the boys went to nursery so I was never on my own to get on with things. Nursery did an offer that allowed me to book an 8 week block of one extra morning to use some funding for not that much which bought me some free time. I used that time so productively that at the end of the 8 weeks the house was clean, tidy, decluttered, painted and ready to sell. I did that in the 4.5 hours of nursery time each week, and once it was done I could stay on top of it.

    I know you can transform a house from a tip to presentable in a few hours a week. I have done it before. So I can't see why I can't make myself do it on this one. It just isn't happening. No 'mojo' whatsoever.

    Meh!

    Looking back what was different?

    I was younger, had more energy and didn't have the delights of fibro to contend with - and I can't do anything about that other than eating properly and actually looking after myself, to which end I have made a doctors appointment this afternoon instead of just ignoring the problem.

    Nobody helps, everybody hinders. Last time the boys were little and I didn't mind so much. OH still works long hours. SS trails through leaving a mess everywhere. None of them mind about the mess, they can't even see it. There are politics to all of that that I don't propose to attempt to address again but what I can do it stop putting negative energy into being upset about it, and use that energy to drive the changes that I want. Previous experience says when I start doing stuff OH and DS1 will eventually, slowly join in. Be happy about what is done, rather than angry about having to do things seems fairly key.

    There was a sense of urgency. Nursery was costing, and we wanted to move so I had to use the time productively. I dropped them off at 8am and by ten past I was working on the house and I didn't stop until ten minutes before I had to pick them up. No cups of teas, no five minute sit down, or spending longer choosing a CD than I did doing some work. Now I come back, make a cup of tea, have a quick look at t'internet and before you know it oh look its lunchtime. I justify this to myself by 'not watching TV' or I am doing surveys/SBs but actually that generates very nominal amounts. Its nice to do, not a replacement for income or effort into the house. There is a huge opportunity cost to me being at home and I need to use the time productively. I am procrastinating, even now writing this, when I could be doing an hour before I have to go out.

    Right, WM is on and I need to do the DW. It didn't get in this mess overnight and it isn't going to change overnight, but every hour should be made to count.
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    Can sympathise with everything that you say. We're in a very similar situation. House and garden as well as finances have been seriously neglected over last 12 months. We need to get on top of things and then keep it that way.
    You express yourself extremely well and your diary is inspiring.
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 7th Mar 18, 4:40 PM
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    redofromstart
    Thanks DIA and mydmp - your comments have really helped

    Today was spent at the offices of my former employers, and another bunch of flowers (from some of the people who went through the nasty process which is the best feedback ever on how I work) came home with me so I now have three. Good job I have enough vases but so lovely to have such a wealth of pretty fresh flowers.

    I cam home via a big stupidmarket and got some RTC 40% off lamb cubes and half priced mooli as the Boy Who Doesn't Eat loves it raw and grated. I thought about just 'having a look' in the £shop next door but we all know this is fatal so I didn't.

    The lamb I thought about a curry, but the idea of a good strong flavoured lamb stew was hovering. It is now gently stewing in the oven as Lancashire hotpot. Yum

    Had a look and couldn't find last nights chicken thing online but its a good fast dinner so:

    Easy Quick Pilau
    Dry fry a good handful of flaked almonds and put on one side. Add some oil and a sliced onion to the pan and fry gently for five minutes. Add your cubed protein (I used chicken breasts this time) and let them fry for a few minutes. Add some bite sized veg ( I used peppers and peas this time straight from frozen) and give it a few minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of curry paste (the other half of the home made batch) and stir for a few minutes to coat everything. Tip in 300g of basmati rice, stir and add 900ml of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add the almonds and a big handful of sultanas, then lid on, low heat for 12 minutes till the chicken is cooked and the liquid is nearly all absorbed. Filling and tasty.

    Lamb Hotpot
    Brown the lamb cubes in batches, and tip into a shallow oven proof dish. Add a little flower and mixed herbs to the last batch and cook off the flour. Tip all of the meat into the dish. Squirt of oil in the frying pan, then add a sliced onion and fry gently for a few minutes. I added a splash of vermouth, some Worcestershire sauce and a some stock, let it absorb the flavours then tip the stock and onions over the lamb. Season and tuck in a bay leaf if you have one. Peel and slice your potatoes then layer these on top. I do two layers, one in each direction, squirting with a little oil inbetween. Tightly cover with foil and then put it in a medium oven for a couple of hours. Take the foil lid off and turn it up to 180 half an hour before you want to eat.

    OH usually does an onions in vinegar thing to serve with it so I need to track that recipe down next. Otherwise we have broccoli, leeks and carrots so simple enough.
    • Mydmp
    • By Mydmp 7th Mar 18, 5:09 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    Mydmp
    Thanks DIA and mydmp - your comments have really helped

    Today was spent at the offices of my former employers, and another bunch of flowers (from some of the people who went through the nasty process which is the best feedback ever on how I work) came home with me so I now have three. Good job I have enough vases but so lovely to have such a wealth of pretty fresh flowers.

    I cam home via a big stupidmarket and got some RTC 40% off lamb cubes and half priced mooli as the Boy Who Doesn't Eat loves it raw and grated. I thought about just 'having a look' in the £shop next door but we all know this is fatal so I didn't.

    The lamb I thought about a curry, but the idea of a good strong flavoured lamb stew was hovering. It is now gently stewing in the oven as Lancashire hotpot. Yum

    Had a look and couldn't find last nights chicken thing online but its a good fast dinner so:

    Easy Quick Pilau
    Dry fry a good handful of flaked almonds and put on one side. Add some oil and a sliced onion to the pan and fry gently for five minutes. Add your cubed protein (I used chicken breasts this time) and let them fry for a few minutes. Add some bite sized veg ( I used peppers and peas this time straight from frozen) and give it a few minutes. Add 4 tablespoons of curry paste (the other half of the home made batch) and stir for a few minutes to coat everything. Tip in 300g of basmati rice, stir and add 900ml of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add the almonds and a big handful of sultanas, then lid on, low heat for 12 minutes till the chicken is cooked and the liquid is nearly all absorbed. Filling and tasty.

    Lamb Hotpot
    Brown the lamb cubes in batches, and tip into a shallow oven proof dish. Add a little flower and mixed herbs to the last batch and cook off the flour. Tip all of the meat into the dish. Squirt of oil in the frying pan, then add a sliced onion and fry gently for a few minutes. I added a splash of vermouth, some Worcestershire sauce and a some stock, let it absorb the flavours then tip the stock and onions over the lamb. Season and tuck in a bay leaf if you have one. Peel and slice your potatoes then layer these on top. I do two layers, one in each direction, squirting with a little oil inbetween. Tightly cover with foil and then put it in a medium oven for a couple of hours. Take the foil lid off and turn it up to 180 half an hour before you want to eat.

    OH usually does an onions in vinegar thing to serve with it so I need to track that recipe down next. Otherwise we have broccoli, leeks and carrots so simple enough.
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    Receiving flowers is always a lovely boost, particularly when it's as a thank you for a job well done.

    We love lamb but it's one of the few things that I haven't been able to find reduced during my few days of bargain hunting. Might just have to call at supermarket again this evening when I have to nip out to give someone a lift.

    Your recipes sound delicious. The rice one is particularly suited to our needs as we are a family of two meat eaters and one vegetarian. I love recipes that I can adapt to cook the same meal for all of us. In this case I would use some of our reduced chicken for meat eaters and Quorn chicken pieces for vegetarian. Means two pans but just one lot of ingredients prep.

    Tonight I'm planning on making smoked haddock chowder for dinner using some of the reduced fish I got yesterday and accompanied by some of the reduced artisan crusty bread from Monday's haul. For the vegetarian option I will replace the fish with chickpeas and some smoked paprika.
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 8th Mar 18, 9:21 AM
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    redofromstart
    I use smoked paprika a lot mydmp, and have I mentioned the rather lovely chipotle chilli flakes in MrM? The two combined are my default cheer a meal up option.

    Today is not going to schedule. DS1 off sick, and I feel a little delicate myself but that could just be the tablets. Didn't sleep very well so was reading on the kindle - and was flicking through '30 days to an organised home' and the flylady book as they are both free to read on my unlimited trial..

    I like reading about making a difference, I don't actually like doing it. I am going to shut down the laptop now, and shine my sink. Dressed to shoes obviously.

    Visitors tomorrow evening and Saturday. I do actually need to crack on with it.

    Ooh, must just check prolific and ....
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 8th Mar 18, 9:27 AM
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    doingitanyway
    Thanks for the chipotle flakes tip I'll be getting that. I use smoked paprika a lot but combining the 2 sounds like a good idea.

    'dressed to shoes obviously'

    Sorry DS1 is unwell. Do the best you can today and be kind to yourself.
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/March 2018=0 DEBT FREE 23/03/18
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 8th Mar 18, 11:01 AM
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    redofromstart
    Pottering in the dining room, I can almost see a table.

    Along the way I have tidied up several cat beds and replaced a couple of chewed shoe box beds with clean ones, This is an outrageous crime. You can cut the atmosphere with a knife. Can't even sulk outside because it is snowing
    • sashybo
    • By sashybo 8th Mar 18, 12:49 PM
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    sashybo
    redo you can't throw out the favoured cardboard boxes. We have a dedicated cardboard box in our kitchen & the big cat would never forgive us if we threw it out. He likes to peek at us from inside as though we can't see him and also bop the other cats on the head as they walk past. Also see cat rule no 2: "If I fits, I sits" and this covers any & all materials.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    PAD started 27/01/09 - £10,617 extra paid off debt. Total Debt paid off £51,528
    Loan £2095.14, CC 0% BT £985, Car loans £22,206.11

    Have a Debt Free Diary to try & keep spending in check.
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 8th Mar 18, 2:36 PM
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    doingitanyway
    I thought I wasn't a cat person but you guys are slowly changing my mind. So funny...
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/March 2018=0 DEBT FREE 23/03/18
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • Starmummy
    • By Starmummy 8th Mar 18, 4:23 PM
    • 119 Posts
    • 545 Thanks
    Starmummy
    Hi Redo.... I have a confession I've spent far too many hours this week reading your diary from start to finish.
    It's completely addictive I love the cat stories and the recipes have given me something to aspire to. I adore cooking and i've just not made the time recently.

    Thank you for all the smiles.

    A huge good luck on your journey
    SM
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 8th Mar 18, 4:57 PM
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    redofromstart
    hello starmummy, thank you very much, that is a lovely thing to say.

    Nothing remotely inspirational today food wise though, freezer dinner for the boys and about to sort chilli for OH who is likely to be very late. Probably a jacket potato for me but I have been eating junk in between cleaning so may be not.

    The dining room of doom looks a lot better for six hours of effort. It isn't a nice room, and will not be until a lot of work is done, but the clutter and dust mountain is gone. It smells of polish and there are no longer cobwebs hanging from the beams. Clear space on the dressers and the dining table. The cats hate me The boys haven't even noticed as predicted.

    Sashybo what is it with cats and boxes? You can put one down for two minutes and someone appears. The smaller the box the better.

    DIA we will convert you eventually The dogs were sat at the top of the garden steps in the sunshine this afternoon, happy to escape from the dust removal.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 8th Mar 18, 5:00 PM
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    greenbee
    Well done on the cleaning.

    Eat something green
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 8th Mar 18, 5:41 PM
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    redofromstart
    Well done on the cleaning.

    Eat something green
    Originally posted by greenbee
    The antibiotics are green?
    • sashybo
    • By sashybo 8th Mar 18, 10:17 PM
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    sashybo
    Sashybo what is it with cats and boxes? You can put one down for two minutes and someone appears. The smaller the box the better.
    Originally posted by redofromstart
    I know, as soon as we get a delivery in a cardboard box the cats start eyeing it up. The big cat usually claims the box before its even been opened. It's a good way of luring a cat in hiding out too.

    Well, you know that getting into a big box is just not as satisfying to a cat as squashing your rotund furry bum into the smallest space possible.

    Well done on your cleaning.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

    PAD started 27/01/09 - £10,617 extra paid off debt. Total Debt paid off £51,528
    Loan £2095.14, CC 0% BT £985, Car loans £22,206.11

    Have a Debt Free Diary to try & keep spending in check.
    • Mydmp
    • By Mydmp 8th Mar 18, 10:24 PM
    • 28 Posts
    • 103 Thanks
    Mydmp
    Hope you're both feeling better soon. I'm currently suffering from insomnia too. Been going on now for months and it is really frustrating. You have my sympathies.

    I have some dried chipotle chillies so will definitely give them a go mixed with smoked paprika. It's amazing the difference a few herbs and spices can make to a meal.

    We've had vegetarian lasagne tonight. Used a pot of the cottage cheese that I bought for 6p instead of making a white sauce. Tinned chopped tomatoes, some red pesto, tomato pur!e and chopped fresh basil (bought reduced from 70p to 30p) for tomato layer. MrM budget lasagne sheets and grated reduced cheese on top. Delicious, healthy and only cost £1.20. Made three huge portions so just 40p a head (could have stretched to four but was so good that we had seconds)
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 9th Mar 18, 11:33 AM
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    redofromstart
    Out for a bit this morning, out of milk error. DS2 is going through pints and pints but, given his status as the 'boy who doesn't eat', this is a good thing.

    MrM in the clearance bit had a few tubs of the piri piri seasoning I bought a few weeks ago at 75% off (21p each), hope they are not discontinuing it as it was excellent value for something that wasn't mostly salt, sugar or filler.

    Lovely to come down to a clean dining room, its where I mostly work and I don't think I realised quite how negative the impact the room was having on my mood. Finished reading the flylady book last night, a few things I had forgotten about or stopped doing over the years.

    On the cat front, Madam is still sulking. How dare I put a shallow cardboard box under her (under my desk) nest so that her old bones don't get cold. She has been asleep on the dead microwave outside in protest. Now asleep on the mouse, with her chin over my right hand so excuse typos - one finger typing.

    Today I need to clean the kitchen, and then have a couple of hours decluttering the Snug so that is isn't hideous tomorrow. Madam says I should just sit here and be a cushion. My hand is numb and she is dribbling on my clean desk.

    The lasagne sounds good mydmp great when the reduced stuff works together nicely like that.
    • parsniphead
    • By parsniphead 9th Mar 18, 12:10 PM
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    parsniphead
    The lamb hot pot sounds lovely. Your post always make me realise how useless I am in the kitchen. Must try harder.

    Flylady... they scare me. Good luck with the decluttering.
    My mini challenge: pay off MBNA by 31/08/18. £233.10/£502 46.43%
    Total outstanding consumer debt - £333.10/ £7864.52 4.23%
    Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 9th Mar 18, 1:09 PM
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    redofromstart
    oh PH, they aren't intended to. If it helps, my eventual meal last night was a lovely crisp sandwich, out of a green packet for greenbee. Nice fresh danish bread (which upsets my IBS least) and thick butter, the crisps need to be crushed by being carted around in the bottom of a school bag for a few days to get the taste spot on. Delicious.

    The flylady thread people are lovely and I was part of it for years but I simply don't have time to keep up with the thread at the moment so I am just cracking on by myself. The original flylady stuff is actually quite simple tbh:

    1. Clean and clean something well once and then keep it that way through regular minimal effort - for example the infamous shine your sink, scrub your sink really well once, and then make sure you wash up and wipe it every day so you never have to scrub it again
    2. Have a morning and evening routine that you always do - make beds, quick wipe of bathroom, 15 minutes of putting rubbish in the bin and things away every day, etc, have to work out what works for you.
    3. Put things away straight away, every time so that it doesn't build up again
    4. Focus on one thing at a time and never get out more than an hours worth to sort. Finish what you started down to the bin bags out in the car ready to go.
    5. Look after yourself too - physical and mental.
    6. Work hard and fast, no procrastinating or stopping to fiddle on the internet
    7. As you clear new areas add them into the daily routine so they stay clear.

    Anyway, I have scrubbed the oven and the removable bits are in the DW. It's tons easier since I invested in a professional deep clean so now I just need to wipe regularly, and wash the shelves in the DW every now and then. I have a £1.99 oven proof sheet thing on the bottom that catches the drips (H&B) and that is wipeable too so it shouldn't ever get back to revolting.
    • greenbee
    • By greenbee 9th Mar 18, 5:11 PM
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    greenbee
    Good to see the cleaning is going well, but perhaps you could eat something that has actual nutritional value? Like a vitamin pill?
    • doingitanyway
    • By doingitanyway 9th Mar 18, 6:55 PM
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    doingitanyway
    You make Flylady look easy. Perhaps I'll try it again. I need to do something...
    Like what you say about your dining room. It is exactly the same for me. My dining room is my work room too. I'm inspired by you

    Well done on the cleaning
    JANUARY 2016/SECURED DEBT=24,822/March 2018=0 DEBT FREE 23/03/18
    MORTGAGE FREE 25/07/16
    • redofromstart
    • By redofromstart 9th Mar 18, 8:02 PM
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    redofromstart
    I had some red grapes and a banana just for you Greenbee

    Jacket potatoes (with cheese/chilli/mooli) for dinner, bought some more of the lovely on offer Mariola potatoes in MrM, all now neatly stashed in a cotton bag in the dark so they should keep for a couple of weeks. Made a bero Brack fruit cake while the oven was on so that is my snacking sorted for next week.

    The Snug I ended up doing hard/fast/short bursts of effort - clearing his craft stuff away, get rid of bits of paper, find homes for tons of cables, etc. It looks much better and bigger for the effort and I should now be able to finish the bookcases. Once we got past 'where is my stuff?, Have you binned anything?' we agreed the daily use room is better for having the non daily use items removed. Now I just need to try and keep it that way, and fight the inevitable creep of stuff back into the empty spaces.

    I need to empty and fill the DW, and steam mop the kitchen floor before I go to bed but I will be coming down to a fairly clear and clean ground floor. Been a long time since that last happened.
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