Wednesday, April 21, 2010

28 weeks

Dear Sophia,

Today you are 28 weeks old. That's six and a half months that have just zoomed by. The last couple of months have been unbelieveably busy, both 'socially' and developmentally. So much has happened that I hardly know where to start! Auntie Bekki married Uncle Rob, and you attended your second ever wedding. We moved house, and we're settling in nicely. You love the carpet, and have even rolled over a couple of times to celebrate. We also visited my Grandparents - your great grandparents (on my mum's side) so that they could meet you for the first time. (Great Grandma will hate the following photo, but it's the only one I have of the two of you. You don't look too happy, but I think that's just the moment of the photo.)
For me it was a very special visit because not only were we showing you off to your relatives, it was also the fist time that I'd seen my grandad since he had a stroke last year. It really meant a lot to me to see him holding you, and to see how much he enjoyed having you around.Actually, I want to leave this post there and come back tomorrow for part two. This one is dedicated to my Grandparents, and particularly for my Grandma who is doing an amazing job looking after Grandad.

love Mummy

Happy Happy

(I have no idea what's going on with the date stamp on camera, I've reset the date and turned it off. This was actually taken on Sunday 18th April)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Photos of Sophia

Well I have some lovely photos of Sophia taken this weekend, but currently the camera lead is misplaced. I'll ask Menard if he knows where it is when he gets home this evening.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"if you don't need it, it's not a bargain"

The experiment is going well, according to my figures I spent £16 on food, which if I'd bought it at original price would have been £22 more. Yes, that's a saving of £22! Of course it helps that I started with a near empty freezer, which is probably now more than half full.

I liked what Kathleen said in her comment so much that I used it as the title for this post. Yesterday I popped into Morrisons as I'd been to the doctors which is very close by (as an aside I'll say that I'm trying to combine my supermarket trips with other errands, since it's no good saving money on food if I'm wasting it on fuel!). One of the fridge area reduced sections was absolutely crammed with stuff, and yet I only left the shop with five things. That's because there always seem to be a lot of microwave meals and that type of convenience food, and I refuse to buy those even at reduced prices. Personally I'd say that shepherd's pie or toad in the hole will taste ten times better made from scratch, and they'll probably still cost less than the reduced microwave-able version. (Especially if I use mince or sausages which I'd bought at a reduced price!)

Actually, there is one exception to this rule - I did pick up two 'meal bags for one' yesterday - it's the equivalent of a takeaway curry meal in a bag, with curry, rice and poppadoms. You can freeze them, which I did, and we'll be able to get them out at a time when we fancy a night off cooking. And they were reduced to 99p each, so I don't think that's bad!

I think I also have high expectations of the reductions on certain items. What happens is that there's one reduction done in the morning, once they discover that an item hasn't sold and today is the sell by date. Later on in the day further reductions are made. Yesterday as I stood by the fridges there was a guy doing all the second reductions on that area. That meant I could select what I wanted and pass it to him to be reduced further. They sell things like stuffed peppers or vegetables prepared for roasting - all you have to do is remove the foil and stick them in the oven. Usually these retail at £2, but even with a first, and possibly second reduction, I'm unlikely to buy them. These are the bargains you'll occasionally find at the end of the day, marked down to 19p a packet. And that's when I'll happily stock up!

(I'm suddenly aware that this post is either interesting or frightfully boring. If you're finding it boring feel free to pass on reading it, and come back when I post Sophia pics or something like that!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The great 'reduced' experiment

I'm a canny shopper, I love my deals. I think I partly learnt this from my mum, and partly I just love maths and working out price per 100g or whether the bigger or smaller packet works out better value. I remember a time when petrol was 49.9p per litre, and watching with my mum to look out for which petrol station sold it cheapest, and what if you took into account store points and things like that. Well now petrol is reaching record highs of around 120p per litre, and I now have my own family and household to run.

I was in Morrisons* yesterday picking up some bits and pieces and ended up with a basket that was made up either of reduced items or 'value' product. And I idly wondered to myself whether it would be possible to only buy reduced or value products. Later in the day this lead to an idea, and now the idea is in practice. I want to try for the next couple of weeks to live off my store cupboard and things I buy from the reduced section, or the value brand, or a few exceptions, buy fresh.

For example, yesterday I bought two packets of mixed berries which were originally £3 a packet, reduced to 49p each. The fruit inside was still good, they'd merely reached the day of their 'sell by' date and needed to either be shifted from the shelves, or thrown away. Since we now have a freezer in our new flat I can purchase things like bread or meat products on their 'sell by' date at a reduced price, and safely use them a few days or weeks later. (I like the sound of that!)

Morrisons also has a reduced section for non-perishable goods such as tins. Yesterday I found a tin of tomatoes well within date (by more than a year) that was reduced to 19p because it was dented. I was quite happy to buy it as dents don't bother me.

So, my experiment is as follows - for the next couple of weeks or so (depending on how it goes and whether my husband gets sick of it!) I plan to only buy things which are reduced, or from the value range. The exceptions to this rule are milk, things for the baby (like formula, and potentially fresher veg) and possibly yoghurts for my husband! I know that currently we are stocked with toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste and also things like cleaning products and washing detergent, so I am not including those in the experiment.

There are several things I like about this personal challenge. Firstly the excitement of not knowing exactly what I'll be buying. I am entirely at the hands of the supermarket! I'll make sure that we get fruit and vegetables in our diet, so if I have to buy unreduced, I will. Secondly I think it will be good for me to stop and think about exactly what I'm spending. I'm putting it all in a spreadsheet (yeah, I'm a geek) and categorising what I buy (fruit, veg, bread, meat...) including a section for 'splash' - something that was reduced, but wasn't necessarily an essential.
Thirdly, I'm hoping it will be good for my diet - I'm less likely to just grab a chocolate bar to add to basket if I'm looking for bargains and trying to be canny in how I shop. Finally, I'm hoping it will save a bit of money, because after all, who couldn't do with saving a bit in the current climate!

(*Morrisons is one of the cheaper supermarkets, and their store own branded products are called 'value', whereas in somewhere like Asda they're 'smartprice'. Just a bit of clarification for any of my readers across the pond!)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

bizzy backson

We will be getting broadband on Tuesday, and then I will be back!