When life gives you too many lemons…

024 by KnotFamous
024, a photo by KnotFamous on Flickr.

You knit a lemon bag! Notice how I have more limes (to add to Sailor Jerrys) than I do lemons 🙂

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March 18, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

When technology ruins everything (ie no posts for a while)

Yes, I’ve made all the excuses before, but this time I’m going with the ‘I hate typing on virtual keyboards’ thing again. Or maybe it should be, ‘I love how quickly the Kindle fire starts up and how I can check it anywhere/almost anywhere’ thing.

Anyway! Back to the 3 Months Frugal challenge.

Gonna be honest. My flatmate and I are moving out. Which is a bit sucky really. Ultimately it will be a win in the long run, because we might be able to save more cash/get a mortgage/get some kind of a life going, but I can’t help but feel a little bit like I didn’t make it on my own. In light of this information, I feel that my 3 months frugal challenge hasn’t really lived up to much because I’ve kind of given up on love for my flat now, so haven’t really felt a desire to get anything for it.

However, I should probably tell you about a couple of Ideas that I did have back when I still cared. Firstly, I finally decided that I needed to find a way to put my net curtains from the 99p Shop up in my room (yes the 99p Shop was selling net curtain panels for a short while! And I purchased them before the challenge started, so it’s allowed). I had thought about getting a curtain pole for it (you know one of those ones that hold themselves up because there’s a spring inside types) but I was lazy about it. And then in a moment of inspiration I decided to just thread a cord through them and just tie the ends around 2 strategically placed drawing pins. I added a 3rd in the middle just for stability and voila! privacy!

And then my landlord got double glazing and I couldn’t put pins into the plastic, so that was a bit lame. But I was warmer so not so lame. I did try using some self sticky hooks (also from the best discount store in the world!) but they weren’t strong enough and kept falling down.

My next idea came from having a dinky kitchen and never having anywhere to put my onions and lemons. What we did have, was hooks that go over the cupboard doors (I’m actually thinking these were from Poundland, cos I wanted to pay the extra penny for quality ;P). So I decided to knit up some net bags and hang them up instead! It worked a treat, and I will be posting photos in a post to come.

My last idea that is worthy of note is that on my travels home, I found a TV stand that had been thrown out which was EXACTLY the one my sister had been looking for. So I picked it up, and a bit further away found a bit of wood which would work as the replacement shelf (missing in the original), and took that home too. Turns out I can’t saw in straight lines though! And I improvised the coasters which were not all there with plastic Coke bottle lids. I was super pleased with that, but I didn’t get photos before I gave it to my sis and she keeps forgetting to take some.

So yeah. That’s it for now. Happy frugalling!

March 16, 2013. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Never underestimate the power of planning

It turns out it’s nearly impossible for me to write a blog post on a virtual keyboard, so I’ve had to wait until I have a real keyboard again to write a proper posting.

I treated myself to a Christmas present (half price!), which came on the 8 Jan, and I have been absorbed lately in reading the last book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. It’s so good, I’ve lost out on more than a couple of hours of much needed sleep (and pretty sure I’ve dreamt some additional plot lines!). Although I do have to say I don’t think the way that Perrin and Rand talk to each other in the first couple of chapters isn’t quite right. It sounds a bit too casual/modern to me, but fortunately it seems to have got back on form since.

As for everything else in my world, it was touch and go for a while, but I think I can safely say  that I can pay the rent this month and still have food to last! Though I think there might still be a few lean months ahead. I wish to offer my  thanks to all the generous people who leave tips. I couldn’t do it without you!

Really everyone, I cannot stress the importance of planning all possible meals in advance. For the past 2 months I’ve checked through our cupboards and gone through my recipe books to find suitable  meals that make use of what we already have. I keep the list of all possible meals up in the kitchen and cross them off the list as the ingredients get used up. I find this method is a lot more flexible than planning set meals for set days (because nothing ever goes exactly to plan), and it means I only buy exactly what we need from the shops. I think the last time I did a big shop at Lidl was in November!

My student cookbooks are amongst the most valuable things I own. I recommend everyone have at least one or two because they offer cheap, healthy and fast suggestions. I mean after a long day, who really can be bothered to stand around and make a dinner party dish that uses ingredients that you have to look up on Google and costs more than a weeks’ wages???

So the moral of this post is: tip your servers, never underestimate the importance of planning and every so often try to have a little treat. Life is hard enough without a little sprinkle of happiness every now and again.

January 13, 2013. Tags: , , . money, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Upcycled soap holder

Unfortunately not the most beautiful of shots, but haven’t had daylight time to photograph them. If I can, I’ll get some better shots and edit this post.soap holder

So it’s basically the bottom of an empty plastic bottle, with 3 elastic bands around it. I chose 3 because it just happened to fit snuggly into the grooves of the bottle design, but I think the more air can get to the soap the better, so it doesn’t go all mooshy. If you have the time and the paints, I’m sure you could easily colour this to fit a bathroom theme you have going on. Give it a go!

soaphwsoap

January 7, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The 3 months frugal challenge

I’m back!

I know it’s been over a year since I’ve been away, and I was seriously debating on whether or not to pull the plug on this blog, but have found a new challenge to bring me back.

I was writing out a shopping list today for items to get from the Pound shop (possibly my most favourite shop ever) and I wrote down ‘ hand soap’. Then something inside my head said ‘ but we’ve already got loads of solid soap, why can’t we just use that?’ Then I figured maybe it will need a soap dish. Now I’m sure I had one, but I’ll be honest, it’ s a bit ugly and I can’t seem to find it right now. So part of me is thinking, well if I’m gonna have to buy something else I may as well just buy the liquid soap. So I had a spark of inspiration and thought I’d have a look on the internet to see if anyone had made one instead. I found a couple of good ideas, though I haven’ t made it yet.

But anyway, this sparked a new idea, that I should have an experiment to get into the frugal living mind set. So my intention is to try not to buy anything apart from food and clothing for the next 3 months if there is a possibility of making it instead. If after 3 months I have been successful, I will try to carry it on. In the meantime, I will try and share my crazy ideas with you here.

Wish me luck!

January 6, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Baking bread

Around New Year’s I decided to give bread making a go, mainly because I miss my gran’s special bread. Some weird part of me has this strange need to learn as much about ‘the old ways’ as possible, yet is quite happy to let the present go flying by at its excessively fast pace.

The initial bread was technically cheating, because I used a packet of pre-mixed flour, which I later discovered was out of date. This however had no bearing on the finished product, as the bread was gorgeous, and converted the flatmate into a home-baked bread fan too.

Then I had a day when Inspiration told me to bake 3 batches in one day, and take them to various parties to consider. There was no pre-mixed flour this time. I checked. I guess the shop had realised their error after selling me my previous pack. Not to be disheartened, I went to the fancy shops and purchased some easy mix yeast, some strong bread flour and …well that’s it actually, I didn’t get anything else. Apart from a gingerbread man, but that’s not part of this story. Anywho, I got mixing when I came home, and then remembered that I’d forgotten to buy another loaf tin. ‘Doesn’t matter,’ I thought ‘I’ll just bake them one after the other.’ Then I realised that I might be running late for work if I did this. But still I bashed out the loaves, and in my glee, whisked them off to their respective homes before getting in to work.

Then I came home, eager to try my bread from scratch…and was a bit confused at how dense it was. Perhaps it was because I’d substituted some ordinary plain flour for the strong when I had run a little short? Upon my next meeting with my gran, she gave me some feedback and I realised I hadn’t added any oil. Perhaps that was it? Next, I stumbled upon a TV cooking show featuring the humble white loaf. ‘Maybe you should watch this?’ the flat mate said. With the exception of the previously discovered information about adding a little oil, the baker did nothing special that I hadn’t done. ‘Maybe I just didn’t knead it long enough’ I thought.

My bread making pride having been somewhat dented, I avoided making bread for a while. Until today, when I thought it would make the perfect accompaniment to a proposed dinner. So I tried again. The dough came together beautifully, not a pinch of flour remained in the bowl. I added a smidgen of oil, and it still looked good. I turned the ball of dough out on to the work surface and kneaded away, remembering the TV chef’s advice that the aim was to stretch the wheat. Then, suddenly, I realised the dough was stretchy. A squee escaped from my throat as I carefully placed my doughy baby back into the bowl and covered it with a tea cloth. I put the bowl near the radiator and made a makeshift tent out of the washing up bowl to insulate it further.

About an hour later, I went to peek under the tea cloth, and another squee burst forth when I realised that the doughy ball had grown fat and happy. I eased it into the loaf tin and slid it into the warm oven. I can smell it baking into bread as we speak (type/read). If it works, then I’ll have discovered that success is not only sweet, but also warm and crusty 🙂

 

February 19, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Money matters

This is not a new years’ resolution, but it is resolution. I will get my money issues under control this year come hell or high water. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if the tunnel seems pretty long right now.

And most importantly, I must, must must, make sure not to fall into the trap of getting into the black and then going back to my old spending habits. I will control my money and no longer let it control me!

I may have made some big mistakes in the past, but they will stay in the past and have no bearing on the future, other than to serve as a warning.

 

My will has spoken!

January 29, 2012. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Stereotypes

Today I officially cemented my status as Cypriot. For dinner I made rice with vermicelli, kofte served with humus. This alone I think puts me somewhere in the category but the icing on the cake was the fact that after rolling my koftes into shape – and just before the cooking stage – I had lined up my little koftes on my tray with the map of Cyprus on it. Oh yeah! Stereotypes don’t get anymore real than this, baby!

January 10, 2012. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

I hate Sundays

In the past month or so I’ve come to hate Sundays with a passion. If I succeed in having one that doesn’t end up with me in tears, I may revise my opinion

November 27, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

6mm win!

I’ve finally managed to stretch my other ear to 6mm!! I have achieved my ear stretching goal! Admittedly, this one hurts like sin, but I think it has a bit of scar tissue that it’s trying to stretch and that’s why it feels a bit sore.

Anyway, I don’t have anything else to add really.Except maybe 😀

November 24, 2011. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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