Saturday, August 31, 2013

Is it possible to travel cheaply?

I've spent the whole morning on the internet which was a bit frustrating as our broadband signal strength is so low up here.  I was searching for the cheapest way to get down south to visit everyone in the one trip. 

 It is approx 560 miles to get to my daughter's in the Midlands and then I want to visit my mother in the West country and this will be probably be the only trip I can afford to do till next year.  The diesel cost of my last trip to pick up the Grandchildren in July cost £200 and to get to my mums from there by train and bus was another £70 so this time I am budgeting to do the trip for half of that - £135.

Well after a lot of searching I managed to get a train south from Inverness to a station less than an hour away from my daughter's for £33.00!  I couldn't believe it and when I went to actually book the ticket it was reduced further to £30.70!  Amazing price as its usually way over £100 making it cheaper to drive than travel by train.  The added bonus is that the station I arrive at is near a dear friend's house and I will be able to stay over at hers for the night and then she will take me to my daughters home the next day.  It is quite a long journey though, nearly 9 hrs and I haven't travelled on a train that long a time before but I will plan ahead.

Next stage - to travel cross country to my mums and I found a train fare for £20, even cheaper than by coach.  From there I planned for the return journey and booked another train to Bristol for £11 then a bus to the airport for £7 and a flight back to Inverness (with speedy boarding - a must for me as I get a bit anxious at airports but I could have saved £5) for £43.99.  The cost to post my train tickets to me was £1.00 making a grand total of £113.69! 

 Yes it was definitely worth the time to get my trip for this price!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Where has the time gone!

The time has been flying since my last post, they say it goes quicker when you get older and I can't work out why but it really does!

Last weekend we went to visit some friends who live on the Black Isle which is not too far from Inverness.  We headed for the beach which is 5mins walk from their house, the tide had just gone out so we walked along searching for sea glass.  Took this picture of my OH who kept searching for me whilst I had a rest and sat on a bench!
It was a bit misty to start with but soon the sun came through.  We headed back to sit in their garden and have a good catch-up, our friends are planning their wedding so lots to discuss.  Later on we went for a walk in "Fairy Dell" to get an appetite for dinner

and ended up here

This was the first waterfall we came across, I couldn't make it to the second one further on, I only had flip-flops on and couldn't climb up the steep steps properly (sounds silly but I am sure my feet have shrunk a bit with losing weight as my flip-flops were a lot looser than usual and this really did make it difficult!) so I waited for the others here.
We went to the local shop on the way back and brought a load of salad items for dinner and watched a movie before heading home. It was a lovely day out.

I've been lucky enough to have work for the last two weeks so that's kept me busy but I have started crocheting another "blooming flower cushion" this time for a Christmas present.  I will post another pic when its finished.  I've also started to read this

I saw the film with Julia Roberts and really enjoyed it. I didn't realise that it was an autobiography though, just thought it was fiction.  I've read the "eat" part so far and its lovely to read as the places are familiar to me because our children sent us on an unforgettable trip to Rome for our 25th wedding anniversary.  The "pray" part is set in India which is a country I would also like to go one day. (Perhaps for our 40th ...hint..hint!)

Today I met up with another friend who I hadn't seen since April.  It was lovely to be "ladies who lunch" and we met at a golf club house which is overlooking the sea. Lovely food with a lovely view and good company.  I didn't take any pictures though I planned too, I was too busy talking!!

 The weather this afternoon has turned very wild, wet and windy.  Summer is definitely on its way out up here and its been very chilly the last few evenings.  We haven't put the stove on yet as we have a limited stock of wood to get through the winter months but I have been wearing my fleecy pj's and needed socks in bed as my feet were so cold. The weather doesn't look great for the weekend, forecast has just said wintry showers on the hills!!! already!!!  I better make a pan of soup for tomorrow to warm us up, I have a butternut squash to use up and got a loaf of homemade bread out of the freezer this morning.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing
Terri X

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Food shopping & Diet update

Our supermarkets are 26 miles away and there is a choice of Lidl, a small Tesco and a small Asda.
To go shopping we have to put £10 for diesel in the car before we start but last year Tesco started a delivery service to our area and this works out cheaper for us to use as I usually get it on a £3 - £3.50 time slot.  My food budget for 3 adults works out at £40 p/wk although I do not always get it weekly as we are both self-employed and money comes in erratically and covering bills when due comes first.  My food budget also has to include personal items such as shampoo etc. plus I have 3 cats to feed so I always look out for offers and coupons I can use to stretch my budget.

Last week I got an email from Tesco giving me £20 off a £50 shop!  This was too good to miss so I ordered and I also got to use another £5 off voucher plus a 29p price saving promise so my shopping came to a grand total of ........
This weekend I am going to take advantage of Lidl's £5 off a £30 shop voucher and I always stock up by the tray full with their baked beans, tomatoes and beans & sausages (for my son). Its nice to actually go to the shops sometimes especially when bargain hunting.
On the dieting front I have now lost 1 stone 10 lbs and I received a few nice compliments from some friends this week who haven't seen me for a while. It has spurred me to keep on track as I have a fair way to go yet.  Today breakfast was 2 boiled eggs with 2oz bread toasted soldiers, lunch was 2 bowls of homemade veg soup and a banana and dinner was 3 quorn sausages with loads of slimming world chips and 2 eggs fried in frylight!   I still have a treat most days (sins) and at the moment I am having these with a cup of coffee in the evenings
So I'm eating loads and its working!!!
Terri X

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A little catchup

I haven't blogged for a little while so time for a little catchup on what I have been doing lately.

Last week I was working Monday to Friday which was good as I am self-employed and work can be variable.  I have had a few jobs since I moved up here but they have been mostly seasonal so currently I work for a family member in her embroidery business doing logo's for schools and clubs.  This is also seasonal but does give me some work throughout the rest of the year. Sometimes I supplement my income making hearts, hence the name of my blog, this has been quite successful other years with orders for weddings, birthdays etc.
                                              this is my best seller, various colours

                                                            this one was a small cushion

Just a few examples of the hearts I make and |I am thinking that I might like to open an Etsy shop one day.

The weekend was a difficult one for our family as last Saturday it was a year to the day since we lost our beautiful sister who had fought  breast cancer for 5 years.   Unfortunately we had to attend a funeral of a family friend who had also been taken from his family far too soon.  Sunday I went to our community church with my BF and it felt so good to sing the praise songs.  Singing always lifts my spirits and after a coffee and a good catchup with my BF the day was virtually over!

Monday I awoke and had the urge to go somewhere and spend!!! Now I know that sounds bad but I rarely get that feeling now and cannot afford to indulge but we decided to put £10 of diesel in the car which we have to do to go anywhere because of the distances to travel  and go out somewhere for lunch.  We took a scenic drive over the mountains to a storehouse we like and I had a nice bowl of lentil soup,(keeping to my diet), which came with a scone which my OH had and he ordered a raspberry and pear crumble as pudding.  We had two coffee's and this came to £9.95 in total.  I had a look round the nice shop there but did not buy anything.   We then called in to a large charity shop as I like to browse round the secondhand furniture.  I only found a tea towel but they were charging £1.50 for it and I just couldn't bring myself to pay that much!  The way charity shops are upping their prices is getting out of hand!  Then we drove back home so our trip out cost under £20 which wasn't too bad.  I ended the afternoon moving some furniture around and sat down afterwards feeling much more content.  I think sometimes you just have to go with the flow...

Yesterday some sheep got in the garden again, they already ate my spring onions and some chard as well as a few flowers the previous week so I think the same ones came again for a feast, this time on my lettuces!  Still I should be grateful they left me one I suppose.  I made a couple of sour dough loaves, one to eat and one to freeze and a pan of curried lentil soup for lunch. I was at work and felt really tired when I got home, fell asleep for a while in the armchair.  I tried to catch up reading a few blogs in the evening and was glad I did as someone mentioned a £5 voucher off a £30 shop at Lidl which is valid Thurs - Monday so I am going to take advantage of that and rebuild by stock cupboard.

Catch up again soon
Terri X

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The holiday's are over

We had a fabulous two and a half weeks with our Grandchildren, the time went too fast and they left Friday night for the long journey home again.  After a bit of a sleepless night, I got up Saturday morning feeling very depressed as the house was so quiet and I missed their chatter and cuddles and the mess that four children create!  Being so far away from them and my daughter is very hard sometimes but they love coming to visit us and the rest of the family. 

I decided that I would have a quiet potter about day so after a tidy up and with the washing on going, it was time to get on with a crafting project I still had to finish for a family Birthday next week.  I have been making a "blooming flower cushion" following a tutorial on the very talented Lucy's blog  and I am very pleased with the result

and this is the back view

Its a great stash buster and the only cost was the cushion pad which I got off Ebay.  I feel a few Christmas pressies coming on! 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing

Terri X