Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Long update on caravan living!

Well everything came together in the end! We have now been living in our static caravan for 3 months and love it! We wake up every morning to no traffic/neighbours noise - just the sound of the sea.. We took the decision to down-size to live more simply and have some money as a wee cushion and to enjoy some holidays but I am still being as frugal as I can as we want to be able to pay all our bills and manage without touching the capital unless necessary - I am working 3 days a week and OH (although a casual worker) is working 2 days every week at the moment so things are ticking along.... One of my budgeting problems is going to be gas and electric - in our old flat I paid it by direct debit of £108 per month - here we get an electric bill twice a year from the site and gas bottles are £65 each but lord knows how long one will last - we are still on our first bottle. W have gas central heating but only put it on for a while in the morning and boost it at night and use an oil filled radiator on low to keep it from getting too cold - its a new caravan with residential standard insulation but at the end of the day we are still living in basically a tin can!. We do cook at lot and because its bottled gas we are becoming a lot more aware of ways to save on the gas - I only ever use the oven if I can have something on all 3 shelves. I always use steamer pans (sometimes I have 3 steamers on one pan!) and we are using the slow cooker a lot more. So I am still budgeting the same amount every month and after a year will see how it matches up. Housekeeping - the problem is we only have a 3 drawer freezer and I was used to a huge freezer in my old shed -I relied a lot of buying reduced bargains and freezing them but now we cant (also dd has been on a gluten free diet and is feeling so much better but its working out rather expensive) We have a plastic shed outside the van (to house the washing machine) and are thinking about buying a small freezer to out out there too but not too sure how it would fare in the winter. I have noticed we seem to be throwing out food which I have never done before but I am still not back into making menus etc cos we have had so much to do. Although we are sticking to our budget I always feel I can do better... We only got our washing machine a few weeks back - we are not allowed to have washing lines so have caravan drying racks on my decking but stuff does not dry like a good old washing line. THere is a launderette on site so I have been using their tumble dryer (£2 a shot which is well worth it as it saves the inside of the van being full of wet washing) Our treats have been 2 new (second hand) cars - OHs car died the day we moved so defintly a need not a want! And a bus trip holiday to Oxford, the Cotswolds and Bletchley Park which was great but exhausting. Christmas is going to be a challenge too - I have always bought in the Jan sales and picked up barginas during the year but we do not have the room to store excess stuff so will have to re-think presents and probably give vouchers which will be more costly. The storage aspect is definlty a challenge and making decisions about buying wants not needs a lot easier as we dont have a lot of room for unnescessary stuff!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Moving day this Friday! (we hope)

When we sold our flat we agreed the moving day was this Friday coming...turns out there all sorts of problems their end which is holding up papework...our solicitor is still confident it will be Friday but I can see us actually signing the missives with all our stuff in the van - aaarrrrgh! So we have been in limbo but I have decided to start packing up properly. As we are downsizing so much we dont have a huge amount but it needs boxed up. We are getting rid of all our furniture as we dont need it in the caravan and even that is proving difficult - I have advertised stuff free to take away - nobody wants it - we can no longer take things in a trailer to our local re-cycling so what are we going to do with two couches, a double bed and a dinning table with 6 chairs??? Our local recycling charity wont take them as they dont have fire retardant labels - grrrrr. OH has now decided to take a grinder to them to cut them up into reasonable chunks and we will make many car journeys to the tip! I'm going to have one last push trying to get somone to take them - I seriously hate waste! Everytime someone comes for a visit they leave with something!!!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Back to blogging, seriously downsiszing!

And I am back! Been a busy year - I now have 2 grandbabies who I love to bits, have had 2 funerals, 1 wedding, been off work for the last 6 months with a knee problem, managed to put back 2 stone 10 lbs of the 4 1/2 stone I had lost, OH had got a job 2 days a week and I have gone from full time to part time...busy busy busy! One of the effects of being stuck in this flat unable to walk has been we decided to sell up to release capital(been talking about if for years) and today have accepted an offer! So we are moving from a 3 bedroomed fairly large flat to a.........static caravan! Its brand new and you can live in it all year round and still fairly pricey but we have talked it over and it what we want to do. We have been majorly de-cluttering (thank heaven for Marie Kondo!) and selling everything that wasnt nailed down. If everything goes to plan we will be moving mid July fingers crossed... Really looking forward to living in a much smaller space with much less stuff - its been a long road getting rid of stuff - goes against the grain not to keep every last bit "just in case" but we are not getting any younger and need somewhere easier to maintain. So it will be a complete lifestyle change and I'm up for the challenge! So will keep you posted on how things are progressing.....

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Marie Kondo decluttering!

I have just discovered this blogger app so bear with me & i will try to upload before and after photos of my de-cluttering attempts using the Marie Kondo idea of only having posessions that inspire joy...

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Further de-cluttering - and musings on clutter...

I downloaded a sample of a book on de-cluttering into my Kindle (actually I got a load of samples as they are free!)Most de-cluttering books tend to be American and yes, there are some interesting things in it but I do like a British persepective....so when I read the sample of Banish clutter forever by Sheila Chandra I was so impressed with it that I actually bought the Kindle edition! A major event for me as I simply wont buy Kindle books but I really like how she wrote about clutter basing things on the toothbrush principal (ie you always put your toothbrush back in the same place and never lose it) So bascially there is a home for everything. I really like this book - although its repetetive (and I need that) there is some really good ideas and insights into why some de-cluttering never seems to last. I have read it all now and am letting it sink in. I will read it again when I have time to do the excercises and see how it goes - a lot of it makes good sense to me and rings bells.
So on that note I attacked my too-small wardrobe - now regular readers now I have lost 4 stones and whilst on my diet journey I was putting away clothes I came across in jumlbe sales and car boots that I would like to get into.....the problem about losing so much is when you are bigger you have an idea of what you want to wear when you lost weight - however, when you lost that weight those clothes might no longer be what you want to wear and this has happened to me. So in my de-cluttering last night I put 11 (yes 11!) tops into the car boot pile!
Ongoing de-clutter total - 30
Money from sales - £3 (sold my iron!)

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cut price shopping and this weeks menu

This weeks menu (from the cupboards/freezers!) is
Spag bolog
Prawns/jacket pots
Turkey curry
Macaroni cheese
Barbecue chicken wings
Most involve left overs from Christmas. Wrote out a shopping list to accompany these and decided not to go to Asda as too many temptations so just went to our local Co-op - bought exactly what was on my list (thats a first for a long time! lol) - I spent £30, got £3 off by using my Student discount card and had a £3 voucher off so it only cost £24 for the week! The Co-op is more expensive but I am not tempted by lots of offers so with the discounts it worked out much better. Next week will be dearer as there are meals to be made for me and dd but will have to buy stuff for dh (dodgy tum) but will work on the same principle of the spreadsheet and see how it goes.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Spreadsheet for pantry, freezers and meals

I am going to change the way I do my shopping and meal planning - both seem to have vanished since I have been working full time and its all my fault so need to get a grip! I do love a spreadsheet! I have tried to be organised with food as in knowing whats in the cupboards and our 2 freezers but paper doesnt work (even when its on the fridge to fill in when folk take out stuff!)so me and dd went through all the cupboards and freezers today and wrote down what we had (chucking out all the out-of-date stuff as we went along!)
So wrote what we had on a spreadsheet under 7 headings
Mains ie meat, fish, chicken etc
Sides, such as veg, beans etc
Carbs, ie potaotes, chips, rice , bread etc
Sauces ie curry,stir-fry etc
Portions or frozen meals
Then at the end I made up a heading of Meals and then under another heading Shopping.
Went through everything we had to easily make up 7 meals, added any wee bits we needed to the shopping list and Robert is your mothers brother! Highlighted anything we were going to used for the meals and once the week is over I will take off those things
Once I can get my cupboards and freezers down I can take advantage of whatever is on special offers and both dd and oh will muck in with the menus instead of leaving me to think of everything
Well - thats the plan anyway!! Will post my menu and this weeks shopping list onces I have the go-ahead from the troops!