What Do I Want This Year?

First things first, I would like to wish you all a wonderful and Happy New Year. The kids went back to school today so I can finally drink a hot cuppa, write in peace, maybe actually get something published, and possibly… go for a wee on my own!!!! We have had a wonderful Xmas break, spending it with family and friends. The kids argued like no tomorrow, but they’ve all had fun. I was pleased to see them all scoot off in unison to school this morning though.

So, what do I want this year? There’s only a few things on my list.

Write More

In just a few weeks, this blog will be 6 years old! Many blogs are started and then forgotten, and to stick at something for 6 years is a huge achievement for me. Having 4 small children I do find it hard to find the time to write. I need to knuckle down and write more. Just an hour a day I should sit down, pour a drink and write.

I want to continue writing about our journey into self sufficiency, but also write more about the kids and our family days out, toys and fun. My life is so busy and there is always something going on, so really I should find plenty to write about!

Grow More Food

Last year, we had a new garden. The garden needed lots of work doing to it, clearing weeds, rubbish and fixing the shed. We managed to grow lots of food in 3 small beds and 4 raised beds. We erected a greenhouse, replaced all of the fencing, built a compost bin and extended the chicken run.

My Dad and Jay put up the new fence.

This year, starting asap, we want to dig up ALL of the bottom end of the garden to grow food in. Small beds just didn’t work for us, and there was a lot of maintenance that went with small patchy beds. Having a completely dug over garden not only gives us more space to grow more food, but will also be easier to mow around and weed.

Continue our mission to minimalise

Last year I realised that we own too much stuff. I was clinging onto items because I MAY need them one day, or because I had a memory of something. Old gig tickets, jumpers from my teenage years and a dusty old vodka bottle (empty) were no longer needed.

I cleared so much clutter last year, but there are still cupboards full of stuff that we just don’t need. Clothes that haven’t been worn can go, kitchen utensils that I have no idea of their purpose can go, and as for the shed… well, I shall tackle that on a sunny warm day.  You can read more about our mission to declutter here.

Read more books

I am a self confessed book hoarder. Most of my books are non-fiction, and sit unread. I want to read more, and only keep the books that I need. I have lots of craft books, that I use for knitting and crochet, but random books (such as The Encyclopaedia of Cats) can definitely go.

Finish decorating the house

We moved here in October 2016. Sounds like a long time ago, but it’s just over a year. The whole house needed painting and flooring. It was a huge job. Luckily we managed to get most of it done. But now, the finishing touches need adding. We have new doors to hang, and that is at the top of my list. I also want to re-do the lounge. When we first moved in we quickly slapped some paint up, and that was OK as a short term thing. But now, I want it done properly.


We also need to replace most of the woodwork in the house. The door frames and skirting boards sadly are in a bad way. A sanding down and a lick of paint, won’t do the job this time.

But… All in good time, dear.

Work on my ‘other’ blog

I bet you didn’t know that I had another blog! Not many people do… that’s probably because I rarely ever actually put anything on there. I MUST work on my other blog and put more time into it. I feel bad that I have another little slice of webbiness on the internet and I don’t use it. The blog is very different to this blog, and focuses on the ‘weird and wonderful’. Ghost stories, freaky events and UFO’s- The Curios is all about the weird, the rare and the grotesque. 

 

 

What are your wishes for 2018? Loose weight? Quit smoking? Have another baby? Let me know in the comments!

The Pramshed

Cut The Cost Of Christmas Dinner

Christmas dinner is one of the most costly parts of your festive celebrations. Between buying the perfect turkey or other meat, the vegetables, side dishes, desserts AND drinks… it can become a little bit too expensive for some of us to handle. Over the years I have managed to bring the price of our Christmas dinner right down.

Luckily there are ways to control your spending on Christmas dinner and in turn save some money for the rest of your festivities or just for your family.


Get your mits on vouchers!

First of all you need to start utilising websites such as Voucher Codes PRO. They are ideal for helping you stay on top of your costs by offering coupons for some of the biggest supermarkets in the area. You could cut your bills down by half just by using vouchers and making sure that you pay attention to the promotions which supermarkets hold in the run up to Christmas.

To reduce what you spend you may want to get into the habit of asking family members to pitch in with either a side dish, a dessert or some drinks. That way you are still hosting the day but you aren’t spending all the money you have on the food for everyone else. Plus, it might make people happy that they get to feel involved in the whole process and make some things themselves. Get dad to bring peeled spuds, Grandma can bring the pudding, Auntie can bring the Bucks Fizz!

 

It might sound like sacrilege, so apologies in advance- but turkey is incredibly expensive at this time of year. With thanksgiving and then Christmas a month later, turkeys become a commodity which everyone wants in their house. The problem with this is that supermarkets will take advantage and hike up the prices of this big bird to make a tidy profit. It may be a better idea to buy a chicken instead to roast, or check out a veggie nut roast instead! A whole turkey can be wasteful, especially if you’re a small family. Go for just a turkey crown instead, for a fraction of the cost.

The best way to save money when cooking your meal is to cook several things in the oven at once. Of course, your meat will take much longer than everything else to cook, but everything else can be cleverly timed to make sure that you save energy and serve everything at the same time on Christmas Day.

If you have the freezer space, buy reduced vegetables in the lead up to Christmas. Chuck them in the freezer until Christmas Day. 10p parsnips purchased in October, taste just as good as £1 parsnips bought on December 23rd! Read more about freezing food here.

 

Boil all of your veg together in one pan for 5- 10 minutes, then you can put them all on the same roasting tray at the same time if you want them roasted in goose fat, or separate the potatoes and then cook them in the oven on sewerage tray. The same applies to most of the side dishes- if you have small baking trays you can stack them next to each other in the oven.