Chit-chat July

So as you know, I took a blogging break. My mind was getting in a further mess of confusion. I felt overloaded, yet I wasn’t. I just couldn’t cope with how my brain was feeling of further confusion and, forgetfulness and my blog that started as therapy for me, when I first started writing this blog meant I just couldn’t be arsed to write and air what I was feeling, because it felt like too much work.
I was tired. I have been feeling tired for a long time as you know, as well as stressed. I wanted and needed to switch off. If I could have locked myself in a room for a week, or two without any form of contact, I would have done that.
It meant also not reading other people’s blogs, as well as avoiding mine. But at times, when I felt really good, I allowed myself to read the odd blog posts, liking theirs and maybe commenting. But I made sure my time was short.

So did my blogging break help?

Yes, surprisingly it did. I am still forgetful and I don’t expect this to improve, but feeling in general now to before, I feel much better, mentally. But I wasn’t expecting it to, with how I felt back then. This is my first post, since back from my blogging break.

I thank my kind readers and friends for their kind supportive comments, whether here on my blog, by email, or personally. 

Asthma

To top it off, which some of you will know already, my asthma has been very troublesome this year. It affected my sleep in the end, for nearly two weeks, because I was waking up through the night every 2 hours, or less. But the asthma (and cough) itself had been going on much longer than this, before it disrupted my sleep.
I was proper pissed off. If I wasn’t tired enough, I now had to face disruptive sleep, until asthma (cough) was more under control, as well as being pissed off and frustrated with my coughing and limits it was putting on me, because I wasn’t walking out to he extent I was before.

I have had asthma for years, but it’s never been an issue. So for the first time in all the years of having asthma, this year was the first year I can say it was a nuisance.
I have had one nurse appointment that led on to having a doctor’s appointment, as the nurse was concerned on a few things.
At this first doctor’s appointment, after examination and discussion, I was given a short course of steroids. I felt third day in on them that my chest felt lighter and by the fourth day, that night, I got my first decent nights sleep. But my cough was still a pain and gasping for breath with it. And I still wasn’t myself. I also started coughing up blood towards the weekend, so this led to me making a second appointment at my doctor’s.
At my second appointment, I was examined and we chatted. My examination shown, like at my first appointment that there were no sign of a chest infection, but because my cough was no better and because of the coughing up blood, he thought it might be worth having a short course of antibiotics. These antibiotics were a strong dose and I seen further improvement in the end. I just have the odd coughing bout now, which varies in extent, depending on weather and pollen.
I also had a chest x-ray, which turned out to be ok.

I am glad that my throat no longer feels like razor blades from coughing, but I am seeing if the rest may calm down on it’s own. If it doesn’t and I am not back to my full self, I shall go back, which if this is he case, I may have already done it by the time this post airs.

Dairy free

Before my cough got worse, I already decided I was cutting out milk and yogurt again, using soya alternatives instead.
I am also only going to have:

  • dairy free butter
  • dairy free ice-cream
  • diary free chocolate

The dairy free chocolate I find more satisfying. The bar lasts me much longer, as I only take a few pieces at a time, where a dairy bar of the same size, I will eat all in one go.

I did this again, because I know by cutting out milk and dairy yogurt alone, the phlegm is much less in the back of my throat, or not at all mostly, when I have done this before, when I have had the phlegm problem in the past. I am not cutting dairy out for any other reason, than this.

With the asthma being much worse, as already talked about than its ever been, the phlegm in my throat felt very bad, at my worst coughing. I can’t imagine how much worser it would have felt for me, had I not cut milk and dairy yogurt out at this point.

In the past, I have done it on a temporary scale for so many months, but the above I have done now, I am doing it more permanently. But going completely dairy-free in the long run, I don’t know yet. At the moment, the completely dairy-free way, I am definitely doing for the remainder of this year and into the New Year and re-evaluate from there as to whether I continue being dairy-free, or partly.
If I don’t have soya milk in my tea, I also drink it black and I will put a teaspoon of honey in my tea a couple times a day. This was something I learnt to like, when I felt I had to cut the milk out before. So no problems in doing it again. And I can drink coffee black.

As this post airs, it will be my first day of being completely diary-free, after slowly cutting dairy off.
I already know that it gets a little bit difficult, when it comes to eating out in some places, because I already know of two places in my local area, where I won’t be eating, now I choose to be dairy-free.
Do you find it the same?

The only hardest problem I felt for me, was giving up dairy cheese. Which is surprising to say, considering I don’t eat a cheese sandwich often. But that’s not saying I don’t like dairy-free cheese, because I do, as I have ate it before personally.
I have some in the fridge ready, for when I fancy a dairy-free cheese sandwich, or toastie

Do you have dairy-free cheese?

I found a very useful book from my local library, to help me on my dairy free journey. It’s called, “How to cook for food allergies,” by Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne. This book covers more than just dairy, so ideal if you have other food allergies. I bought a second-hand copy in the end, on eBay. I will talk about this book in a post of it’s own, a little later.

Are any of my readers diary free, in their diet?

Celebratory party

I went back to where I used to volunteer for their celebratory party. 35 years they have been serving the community.
It was first time they seen me since I left and when they knew I did not stay in the other job, they were quick to ask me back, if I wanted to come back. I told them that I may be in another job I am waiting to hear from, that’s possibly temp to permanent, so couldn’t say yet what I would be doing. But if it turned out it wasn’t happening, I would come back to help, until in another morning job. As long as they don’t give me another leaving due. We laughed on that and they said they wouldn’t. But if I wanted to come back, they certainly would have me.

Budget

So I may have only been in that morning cleaning job for a short time of not quite 2 weeks, but it was enough to know whether a second cleaning job would make all the difference to my budget.
I know that it doesn’t have to be 10 hours at least a week, as I first thought. I could take on a job of at least 8 hours a week and, with that and my other cleaning job, I would be able to live on it without struggling, as well as being able to save.

DVD’s watched

  • Cold Mountain
  • The General’s Daughter
  • The Stray, A True Dog Tale.
  • Replicas (staring Keanu Reeves)
  • (Re-watched) The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Life
  • Unbroken
  • (Re-watched) A Stitch in Time
  • (Re-watched) The Square Peg
  • Sherlock, series 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Books

I have not read any books for some time, other than the last book I need to get back into and continue reading; “The Highly Sensitive Person,” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. So this month, I have read, “The Little Book of Bob – Life Lessons from a Street-wise cat,” by James Bowen, which I bought from The Works.
Then I read, “Hope Was Here,” by Joan Bauer, which I got from the library.

I look forward to seeing you back here and chatting with you. Again, thank you for your support 

There are plenty of posts scheduled here, which I hope you are looking forward to.
I hope to get back into joining in with “Fibbing Friday” and “Working on Us,” prompts too.

Frugal living – Part 7 (Hay fever medication)

This frugal living focuses on hayfever.

I have had hayfever since my teens. At my worst, I have had to not only take tablets for my hayfever, but also nasal spray and eye drops.
When I was learning to drive, I changed my hayfever tablets as suggested by my driving instructor. These tablets were the same I had been in since a teenager and I think the change to having something different did a world of good. This was because for a few years, I had no symptoms to start with, until last year a slight touch. But this year a little more, that I have had to put myself back on my nasal spray.

Now last year, because of cutbacks, it was decided hay fever medication were not to be provided by prescription on the NHS. I was lucky I could still get it when I heard others were paying.
Now moving areas, meaning new doctors and hay fever season already in season for me as I write this, I already knew last October that I would have to buy my hayfever medication this year, in preparation for when that time of year came.

Even though I am buying my own medication for my hayfever this year, doesn’t mean I have to change what I take. But I have looked around and price things up, to get it as cheap as I can for myself.

What have I learnt?

Shop around – one place may be cheaper than the other for the same thing.

Avoid brand names – brand names cost more and you can buy a shops own with the same ingredients. They work just the same.
When you buy your medication, just look at the important active ingredient in your medication. So for example, my nasal spray is Beclometasone Dipropionate nasal spray. The important thing I look for when looking around at Beclometasone Dipropionate nasal sprays, is making sure my dose says 50 micrograms on the box, for that Beclometasone Dipropionate nasal spray. I have also read in a magazine that to look at the “PL code” on the back of products, resting assured it it is the exact same product, so buy the cheapest.

I been getting my nasal spray and tablets from Boots and I have bought their own brand.
My eyes have been a little itchy, but it’s manageable at the moment. But if I feel I need to get my usual eye drops, I will be back at Boots, buying their own brand.

As tight as money is, I can’t leave off my hay fever medication.

I have tried alternatives in the past from health shops, that seamt cheaper in the past, but they don’t work for me.

I hope it’s not going to get more difficult this year

As you know, since January, it’s been difficult money-wise. Even the overtime I did the other month that appeared on my pay slip in March did not make things easy as I thought they would.

Yesterday, I received a letter from my local council that I was no longer entitled to council tax reduction. No explanation why. If I want to find out, just write. Why don’t they save themselves time and just say why in original letter?
No suggestions to bring in April wage slip. So a letter has been written ready for Monday, that I will take in personally to the reception, to get passed on to appropriate department begging not to close my account down yet because when you have my April pay slip, you will see I am still entitled to it from that month.
The letter is much longer than just that though, explaining how they already know I am only on a contract of 16 hours per week from every wage slip they have had so far, they will know my wages vary depending on if I do overtime or not and that mostly I have been entitled to it, since being with them.
I wrote that I assume the letter was based on March wage slip for it stopping, but as they already know this is not permanent hours, this is overtime, so not to close it and wait till they have April wage slip, because they will see I am entitled to it then, as I have had no overtime since up to writing that letter.

The letter sent says it takes up to two months to look at it if you write back to appeal, but I wrote at the end of my letter that I would like to hear within the month to know what I am doing. Like if I have to go through palaver of filling in a form to apply for council reduction again, which if that is the case then it doesn’t give me an incentive to do overtime where I can, with an employer I like to work for, until I can get more permanent hours in addition elsewhere, just so I am not short unexpectedly, with overtime being so random.

I also have a letter ready to post, to my local MP in a lot of matters that affect me:

  • My money difficulties since January
  • Why I won’t claim Universal Credit for the fear I am in a situation if having to pay any overpayments back.
  • Also, I won’t have unnecessary stress of working to what ever agreement they give just to get it, when there are no jobs out there in cleaning.
  • How I have been looking for extra work in a mornings in cleaning since last year, but having no employer taking me on, regardless of my experience and qualifications.
  • I have also mentioned about the above and how I am writing back, hoping this will soon be sorted quickly.
  • I have mentioned how and why I am taking on more of a role as a carer with my mum. How I am told I can get help for this, but when I looked into, I am not entitled. Also, how one day, me and mum will be living together, when I can start picking, as currently in a contract till then, where I am living.
  • I have also asked him who do you complain to when Working Tax Credit don’t write back to you. Told him how I owe them, so they say due to losing my DLA when I was one of those affected by having to apply for PIP, but deemed basically ok to put short. I have been waiting since 2017 with this money on one side ever since that day, waiting to pay it back. I want done with.
  • Which lead on to explains how I would no way put mum through PIP, just for me to receive carers allowance. I rather mum have little money, then no money.

So basically he, had my life story, which hopefully comes across to him just how fed up I am that I cannot get a morning job of 8 hours or more, to go along with my current job, because I just get fobbed off by employers that they found someone better, regardless of my experience and qualifications. And the difficulties I am in and frustration.

 

Frugal living – part 6

I’ve not mentioned it in a frugal post before, but I did talk about it in a post somewhere how I was planning on paying a slightly more for a different tariff for my mobile phone, so I had more internet data. I wasn’t planning on doing this until I moved to Mansfield and settled, so I could make sure I could afford, as well as still need it.
Well it turns out I did not need it, which was a good job I waited as I did, because I would not have been able to afford it now budget-wise. So keeping it as it is and using WiFi in my area I can balance my internet just right. I have only ran out once while living in Mansfield, but that’s because I got carried away looking at everyone else’s Elves on the Shelf. Lol.

Some of the places are at coffee shops where I use the WiFi, when I can afford to. Yes, it might mean buying a coffee, or something, but I’m not going out of my way to do this. For free options, there’s the library and in the town centre.

In Frugal Living – part 3 and part 5, I talked about things I wasn’t allowing myself to buy, until I ran out. Since the last frugal post, nothing much as changed. I am still not allowing myself to buy body moisturiser, because I have plenty and also received one at Christmas.
Shampoo and hand cream are on the allowed list, but only when I have run out.
Shower gel will not be needed for a while with already having one in, as well as another I had for Christmas.
My toothpaste I buy when needed and I have plenty of perfume still, so I won’t need to buy any for over a year, especially as I had some at Christmas too.

I talked in last frugal post how I hope to save in gas and electric, with living in a smaller place now. I feel at the moment I can’t compare due to issues with gas supplier when I first moved in, then changing it over to same supplier as currently electric and having issues with the electric side of things because my readings were not be used.
I then decided in the end to change supplier, due to new issues. So due to all this, time will tell in the end.

In the meantime, the spot lights in my living room and, bedroom all have LED bulbs and partly in kitchen. No plans of replacing any others with no plan of staying here now. All lights in property are spotlights. One thing I noticed when buying LED bulbs, they are not as expensive as they were just a few years ago.

Although I have changed my bulbs in the living room, I now have my lamp as you know. I use the lamp mainly, unless I am crafting in some way. The bulb in the lamp is 4 Watts and so it is cheaper to run than my main lights.

Frugal living – part 5

I have not done anything new, than doing what I’m doing already, as discussed in past frugal posts.
I am though changing how I cut my hair. I have been using this technique originally, as shared in this post, How to trim your own long hair at home. But now, I use this technique, which you will find in the link below. There are nine variations of how to cut your hair in this link and the one I use is method seven of nine, cutting pigtails.
After using the pigtail method, the only difference I do, is I don’t bring my hair to the nape of my neck, instead, I bring it into a ponytail at the front and point scissors upwards to cut, so not a blunt straight cut on the hair length.

Nine methods of cutting your own hair

The new method I now use, I have been doing a few times now. I changed the technique because I wanted to cut my hair shorter, but using the old technique would have made layers in my hair very short. This technique prevents that and it works for me.
As my hair is wavy, I find cutting my hair wet best, for previous technique I used and the one I use now.

In Frugal Living – part 3 I talked about thing’s I wasn’t going to allow myself to buy, until I ran out. I’m on my last bottle of shampoo now, so when I have run out, I will buy another. I’m also allowing myself to buy hand cream, after running out. But this is the only moisturiser I’m allowing myself, as I still have plenty of the other.

With downsizing from a two bed house, to a one bed flat, I’m hoping to see some savings. My rent is more than before, but I still hope to see some savings when it comes to heating. So this is what I will be observing the coming months.

What have you been doing in the frugal side of things? Anything new, or are you just continuing with what you have done so far?

Frugal Living – part 4

Food can be interesting when you are on a budget and you are just using up what you have already in the cupboard, or fridge-freezer. Food can be random to what you normally have, but this adds up interest I feel.

Some random meals I have been having, when it just comes to using what I have:

  • Mashed potato, some tuna out of tin, peas, Black Eye Beans and Haricot Beans.
  • Mash potato, broccoli, carrots and fish cake.
  • Brown rice, mixed veg, mixed beans, with drizzle of mint sauce over my veg.
  • Noodles and mixed veg.

Freezing bread

I started freezing bread, as mentioned in “Frugal Living – part 3.” I have found doing it this way much better for me. It’s certainly made an impact and I notice how much I don’t buy bread, to before, even though before I hardly wasted bread.

Selling old gadgets for new

In my post, “Challenging a need and a want,” I mentioned how I needed a new phone, that would cope with the internet and my needs. But as I mentioned in that post, I wasn’t just going to draw out money and buy it. So due to the way I access the internet now, which is just on my phone, meant I no longer needed my Macbook Air laptop.
If by chance I was to have internet at home again, I have my desktop computer anyway, that I also use to play DVD’s on.
Knowing I will stick with Apple when it comes to computers, should this break down and can’t be fixed, I will buy another second-hand like the one I already own, or a new one. So it was obvious to me I had to sell my laptop for cash. Selling my laptop, paid for my new phone, I also had lunch and I had change.
Being happy with my new phone, I sold the old one for cash and put it away towards holiday next year I hope to have.

Still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars

I’m still saving inners from cereal boxes and glass jars. But it won’t be long before I don’t need to save anymore glass jars.

Frugal Living – part 3

A difficult month money-wise, between last post and this. My budget did not go to plan either – money I wanted to save, I ended up touching. I did end up putting some away, but not what I originally planned. I suppose I should be thankful that I did put something away, because I wasn’t expecting it to happen.

Starting to freeze my bread

I know a few of my friends do this and just take out what bread they need. I have just started doing this myself now and it makes it so much easier for me, than I realised. I wish I did this sooner. I have been careful in the past when buying bread, to reduce wastage. But doing it this way, is much easier I have discovered and I totally recommend it.

Do you freeze your bread and only take out what you need?

My monthly phone contract

I ran out of internet allowance on the final week, so I had to buy an add-on. This did not help my budget and I hope to not do this on next month’s. I do use wifi, but because of where I was and what I needed to do, I had to get one.

No more cling film

Now I have no microwave, I don’t need to buy anymore cling film, when I run out. The remainder I have, I have had since last year because I hardly used it. I don’t know how much I have left, as I have not really looked. But I would not be surprised if I still had this box next year.

What I am not allowing myself to buy

You may remember the book review I did, “The Year of Less,” by Cait Flanders. I’m using one of her tips I have not used before and that’s creating a list of items I am not allowed to buy, because I have plenty of it.

What I have banned myself from buying:

  • Perfumes
  • Moisturisers
  • Shampoo
  • Nail varnish

I meant to share this in an earlier frugal living post.

If you liked this post, you can find past frugal living posts by scrolling either to the right, or further down, depending on whether you are viewing my page from laptop, or a mobile device, clicking on frugal living, under the categories.