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  • FIRST POST
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 11th Nov 18, 10:14 AM
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    lessonlearned
    Champagne Lifestyle on a Lemonade Budget.
    • #1
    • 11th Nov 18, 10:14 AM
    Champagne Lifestyle on a Lemonade Budget. 11th Nov 18 at 10:14 AM
    Can it be done.

    Well I have decided I am going to give it a jolly good try.

    And I invite you to join me....Please share your tips, experiences, deals, bargains.

    For those who don't know me.....a little background.

    I am a widow, aged 67. My husband died four years ago after a long illness which wrecked our finances and which changed my financial landscape, hopefully not forever. I am working on it.

    At one point I thought I would have to go bankrupt but with the help of Martin Lewis (All Hail) and the collective knowledge, wisdom and support of the lovely people on these boards I pulled myself back from the abyss and am now financially stable.

    Not rich but I have "enough".

    Now a confession ........although I am very content to live a simple and now thankfully stress free life I do have a penchant for a little luxury.....and .........before I get too old and decrepit, its time for some fun. Time to finally reap the benefit of all my hard work.

    I have just moved house. It's a money pit and I love it. Doing up old houses is my idea of fun. I love rescuing old wrecks and turning them into elegant, comfortable homes and then when I sell ........hopefully they end up a profitable investment.

    I did well on the last one, which I bankrolled and project managed.i gave all the profits to my son who put in all the sweat equity and hours of back breaking work. I was happy just to break even on that one and give him a leg up.

    However .......as we all know "all work and no play makes Jill a very dull girl". So, whilst I am fully committed to making this new house a stunner And hopefully make a nice little profit I want to

    a) do it on a tight budget and
    b) not put my life on hold in the process this time.

    So......my plan is to live off my income of £12,000 and use some of my capital as my war chest for the renovations and hopefully at some point start up a small sideline business. No idea what yet.

    So how to streeeeeetch that £12k, until, in the words of one of our dear chancellors, I think it was Nigel Lawson ....."the pips squeak". How to extract every ounce of luxury and fun.

    I am in the process of reviewing my budget. This is always an ongoing process for me. I am constantly refining my budget to make the most of what I have. Sounds a bit anal but I do it at least once a month.

    This week I had to change my mobile phone but although I now have to pay an additional £5 per month I am happy with the deal. I also have to take my car in for what I hope will be a minor repair.

    My car is getting on a bit and so far has cost me peanuts to run but it's on notice. If it starts getting too expensive then its days are numbered. I can live without a car if I have to, at least as a short term measure. We have good transport links here. I have a free bus pass and a senior railcard. A taxi into the city centre is reasonable.

    I have good practical skills, love charity shops, and make most of my own lotions and potions.

    What I really need to do is learn now is how to get the fabulous entertainment, hotel and travel deals that I know are out there. As a solo there is often a premium to pay for the privilege of travelling alone......

    So now it begins......my quest for a champagne lifestyle......

    I am sooooooo worth it. Lol.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 11-11-2018 at 10:35 AM.
Page 59
    • Blackcats
    • By Blackcats 6th Jun 19, 6:29 PM
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    • 800 Thanks
    Blackcats
    My champagne moment today was using a gorgeous shower gel and body lotion that I got as a Christmas present. I'd been saving it - either to re-gift or for "best" but actually it made a Thursday morning seem very indulgent. Didn't feel guilty about not re-gifting it because as the saying goes "I'm worth it"
    • I Love comps
    • By I Love comps 7th Jun 19, 3:52 PM
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    I Love comps
    Hello lessonlearned I have just read through your fabulous and inspiring diary.

    Great news about your weight loss. Hope you enjoy getting out more socially. Remember years ago when people were widowed, they never seemed to meet a new partner. You will probably meet someone when you least expect it.


    I have subscribed to your diary.


    My champagne moment of the day - It Friday, which means no more work until Monday.
    I'm a Board Guide on all of the Shopping Boards. "I am a volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly.
    Any views are my own and not the official line of moneysavingexpert.com. Board Guides are not moderators. If you spot an inappropriate or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 8th Jun 19, 7:34 AM
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    lessonlearned
    Good Morning My Lovelies.

    And another miserable wet one. I have to confess I have put the ch on to take the Morning chill off and I'm back to jeans and polo necked sweater. Flaming June??? It's blimmin cold. It's the christening tomorrow, hope it bucks it's ideas up. The forecast looks a bit less grim so fingers crossed.

    Hello ILC. Thank you for your kind words......you've read the whole thing from start to finish?? !! Now that's staying power!!! Anyway glad you enjoy my witterings.

    Well last night was a lovely champagne moment. I went to my first meet up meeting. I was made to feel very welcome and had a lovely time. We went dancing to a "Soul Night". It was a revelation. I hadn't expected it to be so busy but the place was packed to the rafters. In one room there was Motown type music and in another there was real hardcore "Northern Soul".

    Now I absolutely love all kinds of music everything from Elizabethan Terpsichore through to punk but somehow Northern Soul passed me by so I went to have a listen out of curiosity. I have to say the dancing was amazing. I didn't join in with them but I did have a bop round to the Motown soul. Anyway a fabulous night out and one I shall definitely repeat again. The icing in the cake was it was only £6 admission fee.

    .....and talk about "Raining Men". There were hundreds of solo men there. Who knew. I just chatted. Ha ha. I had to leave early because I have the builder coming round in a bit to work on my kitchen so I had to do my Cinderella bit. But I had a great time.

    For anyone who is like me - a new solo And looking to rebuild a social life - I would say definitely give your local Meet Up group a whirl. As one of the guys I chatted to said "it's not about dating, it's about just getting out and meeting people, having a couple of drinks and a few laughs. There's no pressure". He was a widower.

    I was quite nervous about trying it, I thought I would feel like a fish out of water but I had a great time.

    Tonight I'm off to one of those special cinema screening events. I'm going to see Take That. . Should be fun and it's only £13.50. Looking forward to it. I noticed that there are forthcoming events with both Westlife and Andre Reu so I will probably go to those too.

    After all - "Life is a cabaret"

    Tomorrow the christening, no doubt I will shed a tear because of my husband's absence, but then we are going to my favourite restaurant for lunch so that will be nice.

    So all in all a fun filled weekend......

    Hope you are all having fun and lots of chamlagne moments too.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 08-06-2019 at 7:37 AM.
    • sugarbaby125
    • By sugarbaby125 8th Jun 19, 12:06 PM
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    sugarbaby125
    LL I am glad to hear that your 1st dancing meet up was such an unqualified success for you. Good luck for all of your future meet ups
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 8th Jun 19, 12:26 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Ah thanks SUgarbaby. That's nice of you, I'm following in your footsteps...... I know how much you love dancing. I won't be singing though. My voice isn't up to it. Ok for a choir but not good enough for going solo. I might rejoin the choir I went to before, I really enjoyed it.

    The meet up programme looks really interesting, next week I'm going to something called Sanctuary......sounds like a mini festival......folk music, comedy, street food type stalls. I have also signed up for several events - the week after to a comedy club and then over the next few weeks there is a pop quizz, a steak night and various tribute bands, a Spanish fiesta....so plenty to choose from.

    Also it looks like there are plenty of dining opportunities. I'll definitely sign up for an Indian or Italian meal. There is an Italian meal tonight but I'm already committed to going to the cinema.

    I am on the wait list for the casino night, there were limited numbers and I dithered too long. Never mind I'll know better next time.

    Looks like I might be in for some fun times.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 9th Jun 19, 7:00 AM
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    lessonlearned
    Good morning.......

    1st champagne moment of the day.......sitting up in bed, sipping coffee, enjoying the sunshine through the window, admiring my front garden and seeing the results of all my hard work out there. The rain has brought a fresh crop of weeds but I will tackle those in the week.

    Last night was fab, really enjoyed the Take That cinema screening.

    Today is my grandsons christening, the sun is shining, it's going to be a good day.

    Oh and the icing on the cake......I have lost another 1lb,
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 9th Jun 19, 11:49 AM
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    MadamMim2013
    Grateful for so many things this weekend family, good food and especially for a wonderful friend who dropped all to meet me when I was having a real wobble..
    A particular (more upmarket ) dating site however I am not so grateful for.. it’s caused disrpution and chaos to my brain! (Hence the emergency friend meet up) I have been single (by choice) for 5 years now and decided to put my toe into the water so to speak..aaaand OMG its just as blooming awful as I thought it might be.. Some of the questions and why is it, when they can clearly see an age preference they think its ok to “wink” and even disregard my polite reply as I couldn’t possibly know my own mind and have boundaries.. (block has been widely used) I have paid for a 3 month subscription (for only a months charge!!) yet am seriously thinking of just deleting my profile..
    Should I hang in there? Will it improve and do I just need to toughen up a little and block (without the need to be polite first) when rude offerings are made?
    Ooh I am in a pickle & would really appreciate your advice!!
    Thankooo in advance
    Last edited by MadamMim2013; 09-06-2019 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Missed a bit!
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC £192.92/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • sugarbaby125
    • By sugarbaby125 9th Jun 19, 12:33 PM
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    sugarbaby125
    My Champagne moments this weekend were having a lot of time to relax and watch some of the Sky programmes that I enjoy watching and missed while I was on holiday.

    What I have enjoyed even more is having long, relaxing baths with lots of Epsom Salts, The Body Shop Satsuma shower gel and Sanctuary Mandelular body scrub. I prefer baths, but on holiday I had to settle for 2 or 3 showers a day.
    • retromother
    • By retromother 9th Jun 19, 12:37 PM
    • 99 Posts
    • 518 Thanks
    retromother
    Lovely thread! Read through the whole thing. I do a lot of champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget. I'm a big believer in never paying full price!!

    Some of my champagne purchases:
    Buying a Jaguar S Type second hand which set me back just £1200
    The House of Fraser sales. My last purchase was a Ralph Lauren dress which cost only £65
    Primark skincare. The rose range is so good and has a lovely scent.
    When we went to Florida (which we got for a bargain price) we went to their large outlet store, I picked up a Micheal Kors bag for £55.
    We get steaks from Muscle Food. Much cheaper than the supermarkets.

    So today I popped to Aldi to pick up the super six. They have cherries which normally cost a fortune. I'm now baking a swirl loaf which is a Terri Ann recipe, the diet I'm currently on. I've popped a Miss Marple on the TV and will be enjoy coffee and swirl loaf.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 9th Jun 19, 6:28 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Hi Retromother. Lovely to "meet" you. Sounds like you have got lots of champagne tricks up your sleeve.....love the sound of the S type. - a seriously nice motor..

    When my little motor goes to the big car park in the Sky I am aiming To treat myself to something a bit special too. I fancy a convertible, a little Mercedes maybe. I have promised my son I will take my grandson (his son) for burn ups and road trips in my convertible when he's old enough.

    I intend to be the granny who grows old disgracefully.

    Madam Mim......I have tried 3 dating websites and frankly have been appalled...... I have absolutely knocked that idea on the head. Life is just too short to put up with that sort of nonsense.

    From now on I am just going to have fun in my own inimitable way. In the parlance of my kids "its going to be awesome". If I meet a like minded soulmate along the way then fantastic but, if not, then no biggie. I will definitely not settle for second rate. Cant stand feint hearted men. .

    I adored my husband and we had 34 fabulous years together. We had a ball. The last few years were tinged with sadness because of his illness of course but even in his darkest moments we could still share a joke. His courage and fortitude, charm, grace, dignity and humour in the face of adversity were a master class in how to squeeze every drop of life out of his allotted time on earth and how to make every day count. He remained my soulmate to the end and his memory continues to inspire me. If I can't find someone as good as him then I simply won't bother.

    I want my future 90 year old self to raise a glass of champagne and say "Well done darling, you have had a fantastic life".

    Well the christening went well. The star of the show behaved beautifully and even the weather was kind. The priest asked if anyone wanted to do some readings. The inlaws are Venezuelan, both university professors so well used to public speaking and both speak very good English but they were too nervous. My son raised an eyebrow to me so I took the hint and did the readings. Although I'm not much of a singer I do have quite a reasonable speaking voice (or so I am told) so I did the honours.

    Then a fantastic meal at my favourite restaurant.

    A great day to round off a fabulous fun filled weekend.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 09-06-2019 at 6:39 PM.
    • caronc
    • By caronc 9th Jun 19, 6:36 PM
    • 5,662 Posts
    • 34,506 Thanks
    caronc
    Lovely moment today of sitting in the sunshine (well wrapped up as it was breezy) next to the sea, enjoying a great view, a takeaway coffee and a good natter with my sister. Felt like a real treat for under £5 between us and certainly banished any cobwebs!

    • sugarbaby125
    • By sugarbaby125 10th Jun 19, 11:11 AM
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    sugarbaby125
    Welcome Retromother

    LL I am glad that your Grandson's Christening went so well for your whole family

    My Champagne moment yesterday was going to Karaoke. I had a fun time. I sang 3 songs:

    1. Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You by Andy Williams

    2. No Matter What by Boyzone

    3. Lean On Me by Andy Williams
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 12th Jun 19, 8:22 AM
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    lessonlearned
    Well.....what do we think of the weather then.......

    Yesterday I was so cold, despite my winter clothes and the ch on. A reminder of how cold this house is and that I really need to get my a@@ in gear and get it sorted for next winter. Insulation has suddenly gone to the top of my to do list, along with either double or secondary glazing (can't decide) and ordering in bulk supplies of smokeless fuel.

    So my champagne moments ended up being of the hygge variety, Candles, roaring fire, sofa throw, comfort food. in flaming June.!!!!
    • pattypan4
    • By pattypan4 12th Jun 19, 9:54 AM
    • 314 Posts
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    pattypan4
    champagne moment for me is to realise that suddenly, in my new house, I can be comfortably warm at the touch of a switch. No more buying, hauling and lifting heavy bags. Good luck lessonlearned, hope you get the insulation sorted soon.
    • Blackcats
    • By Blackcats 12th Jun 19, 9:54 AM
    • 97 Posts
    • 800 Thanks
    Blackcats
    Champagne moment for me was enjoying a bar of C*dbury dairy milk which was free via a shopping app. It was a family sized bar so I made it last 2 evenings which I think shows a marvellous self-discipline.
    • Siebrie
    • By Siebrie 12th Jun 19, 9:59 AM
    • 1,604 Posts
    • 24,748 Thanks
    Siebrie
    A particular (more upmarket ) dating site however I am not so grateful for.. it’s caused disrpution and chaos to my brain! (Hence the emergency friend meet up) I have been single (by choice) for 5 years now and decided to put my toe into the water so to speak..aaaand OMG its just as blooming awful as I thought it might be.. Some of the questions and why is it, when they can clearly see an age preference they think its ok to “wink” and even disregard my polite reply as I couldn’t possibly know my own mind and have boundaries.. (block has been widely used) I have paid for a 3 month subscription (for only a months charge!!) yet am seriously thinking of just deleting my profile..
    Should I hang in there? Will it improve and do I just need to toughen up a little and block (without the need to be polite first) when rude offerings are made?
    Ooh I am in a pickle & would really appreciate your advice!!
    Thankooo in advance
    Originally posted by MadamMim2013
    I would come up with a polite, generic rejection sentence and then block them. Plenty of people are on there for 'fun' or a quick hook-up, and I assume you are not interested in those. I was a member of a Christian dating website for about three years, and had quite a few nice dates, but none of them clicked. My best male friend was also on that website, and he always showed up in my 'best matches' list So, they got something right, but it was never romantically correct. He found his wife through that website, but only because she was adamant they'd meet; he wasn't that interested at first. Once they met and started talking, they couldn't stop. They have been married for fifteen years now, three kids.
    2019's wi-wa-wombles € 1.067,17 = £ 939.29
    Wombling to wealth 2018 € 972,97 = £ 879.54
    Still a womble 2017 #25 € 7116,68 = £ 6309.50
    Wombling Free 2016 #2 € 3.483,31 = £ 2,969.05
    • MadamMim2013
    • By MadamMim2013 12th Jun 19, 11:03 AM
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    MadamMim2013
    I would come up with a polite, generic rejection sentence and then block them. Plenty of people are on there for 'fun' or a quick hook-up, and I assume you are not interested in those. I was a member of a Christian dating website for about three years, and had quite a few nice dates, but none of them clicked. My best male friend was also on that website, and he always showed up in my 'best matches' list So, they got something right, but it was never romantically correct. He found his wife through that website, but only because she was adamant they'd meet; he wasn't that interested at first. Once they met and started talking, they couldn't stop. They have been married for fifteen years now, three kids.
    Originally posted by Siebrie
    Thanks Siebrie, that gives me hope & I have decided that perhaps a thicker skin is required and I’m not to give in so quickly! I will definitely think of a polite rejection sentence instead of just blocking in panic..its the fight or flight response in me, having been crucified by my ex husband, I suppose it will take a few attempts to work out not everyone is out to hurt me!
    "There's a little witch in all of us"
    2018 GC 93 2019 GC 3 2 JUNE GC £192.92/£300
    : DEBT FREE 06/2018
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 12th Jun 19, 2:50 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Thanks Siebrie, that gives me hope & I have decided that perhaps a thicker skin is required and I’m not to give in so quickly! I will definitely think of a polite rejection sentence instead of just blocking in panic..its the fight or flight response in me, having been crucified by my ex husband, I suppose it will take a few attempts to work out not everyone is out to hurt me!
    Originally posted by MadamMim2013
    There are plenty of good guys out there......... Don't give up and don't let your unhappy experience out you off.

    I have a different problem.....my husband was so fab that so far I haven't met anyone who can hold a candle to him.

    I'm sure he's out there somewhere......just got to track him down. Lol.

    One of my DILs is poorly today with a UTI....it's my sons day off and she texted me to say that I had trained him well because he was being so marvellous to her, looking after her with lots of TLC and making her feel better. Bless his cotton socks.
    Last edited by lessonlearned; 12-06-2019 at 2:55 PM.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 14th Jun 19, 12:17 PM
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    lessonlearned
    Hello me hearties......how are we all on the Good Ship Funtime.

    Have you all got webbed feet yet..........

    Champaggne moments so far today.......not needing the heating on and actually managing to get a small window of dry weather and a bit of weak sunshine so I have been pulling up some of the weeds that have shot up in the front garden. You turn your back for a moment whilst it rains and then before you know it you have got another crop. Oh well beats going to the gym, rough on the back though.

    I had intended going out this evening but the builder has been here so what with the gardening and tidying up after him I will be too tired.....so just a nice quiet night in. Not sure that I fancied it that much anyway, so no point forcing myself.

    Not sure of my plans this weekend.... a lot will depend on the weather.

    Still sticking to my food and entertainment budgets, and although I have been a bit naughty and bought a few clothes when I swore I wouldn't they have all been chazzer shop bargains so I've not broken the bank.

    I have actually made a start on buying a couple of Christmas presents....bagged up my small change jar which was a bit full and had about £50 in there. I won't cash it in yet, that can go towards Christmas.

    Lost another 1lb this week ...nice champagne moment.

    Right time for lunch, al fresco I think and a bit more pottering in the garden......although that might be the sitting in a deck chair with a book variety of pottering.

    Have a great day.
    • onashoestring
    • By onashoestring 16th Jun 19, 8:02 AM
    • 228 Posts
    • 440 Thanks
    onashoestring
    Flowers from the garden
    Cut a few flowers from my garden . A beautiful scented rose given to me by a friend, some sweet Williams that come up each year & a few wild flowers that have grown from a packet of seed I sprinkled on the ground earlier this year. For foliage I cut some stripy grass that grows like a weed in my flower bed. The leaves look like ribbons in my “arrangement “ Put in a jam jar .

    It makes me smile every time I see it. The scent is better than any expensive diffuser & the flowers give me just as much happiness as a shop bought bouquet because I remember the love of the friend who gave me the rose ( when I was going through a very difficult time ) and I know that when this wilts there will be more in the garden
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