It seems we have done well-ish over the last few days. Unfortunately, I have been unable to kick the sugar habit and have stopped on two separate occasions to hand over 65 pennies in return for a chocolate hit. Now all my spare change has gone I hope to control myself a little better.
Saving Top Tips – 7-9th Nov
If a hotel has a ‘coffee station’ this means they want you to take stuff home that isn’t the towels.
This week I was fortunate enough to go to a meeting at a posh country house in the middle of nowhere. The only minor downside was the 14 hour day. The pros most definitely outweighed the cons though. I got lots of free stuff!! Pay for tea bags? Why would I when there are so many ‘coffee stations’ for me to “make use of and help yourself to a range of hot drinks and snacks”. Don’t mind if I do!
Having stuffed my bag with bizarre flavours of tea and shortbread biscuits, I then went on to stuff my face with the wealth of buffet food on offer.
A great night for freebies!
It’s only Day 3 of Operation Save Like Mad And Be Healthy but it feels like longer… Much longer. All I want is a pizza and a bar of chocolate!
Firstly, a confession. I consumed a naughty amount of sugar today. An abundance of digestive biscuits and (gasp!) an indulgent bakery bought Bakewell tart. Ok, now that is out of the way I can focus on the good stuff we have done. It’s not all been biscuit shoveling and needless spending, promise!
Day 2: An attempt at a nut roast.
Working with limited resources, I created a nut roast, of sorts. Good points? Price & effort. Bad points? It was a bit dry and bland. Not exactly what you want in a meal.
Total cost: About £1
Enjoyment factor: 4/10
Budget 0 – Consumer Society 0
Day 3: Spectacular Stir-fry
Thankfully the boyff saved the day with a super meal this evening. Using only what we had in the house (which was mostly frozen!) he created a party for my taste buds. He even made use of the left over green beans and peas from last night! What a babe.
Total cost: Under £2
Enjoyment factor: 1o/10 – I just enjoyed it a second time round. It was completely freezing cold but still amazing.
Budget 1 – Consumer Society 0 – HA!
I feel our biggest achievement is avoiding late night rushes to Tesco Express every night, blowing £30 on random crap. Is it possible to walk into a Metro/Express/Mini and not spend under £30?! As I type this my hands are itching for my keys and a furtive trip under the cover of darkness, seeking a sweet treat… Maybe a bar of Galaxy Cookie Crumble, or some cookies, or ever a smoothie or… or…. *falls into sugar craving coma* Perhaps Nestle were right after all.
So, in spite of a little dalliance with tarts, we have done rather well so far. I have even been making use of my Keep Cup and bringing a hot drink out with me in the morning to avoid being tempted by the evil cafes and ‘coffee houses’ I meet along my way. Hopefully all this saving malarky will start to feel ‘normal’ rather than ‘a pain in the arse’ soon.
While at university I had the pleasure of living with a charming young man who has since run off to Barcelona (check out his far more interesting blog). Said gentleman was slightly obsessive about soup. Every time I make a soup I realise why. I am ready to shout it from the rooftops…
SOUP IS AMAZING!
Dinner this evening was a success! Carrots, lentils, chilli flakes, cumin seeds and some coconut milk. An amazing meal on the cheap, thanks to Barcelona’s most eager soup fanatic and a thrifty Northern friend for the inspiration.
Total cost: No more than £1.50
Enjoyment factor: 10/10
Budget 1 – Consumer Society 0
So, we have made a really big decision. We are going to stop eating out pretty much all weekend every weekend, we’re going to stop going on holiday ever 5 seconds and generally just blowing all our cash on useful crap. We are going to… SAVE MONEY!
So, in order to make our saving efforts slightly less doom and gloom I shall be blogging about my ingenius ideas about frugal living. Living in London and not spending every penny you have on going out and other treats requires a reasonably amount of self control.
Apparently having savings is a good thing. Apparently spending all your disposable income on lattes and brunch is not a clever idea when you are meant to be a “grown up”.
So, to try to counter our tendency for frivolous spending, we are making a budget and sticking to it. Revolutionary, eh?
Half term descended upon us after 8 weeks of 12+hour days… Too exhausted to entertain the idea of going away anywhere we accidentally saved money!
Thanks to Virgin’s cheap £12 singles we were able to visit friends in Manchester who, in return for our company and a trip to the cinema, fed, watered and entertained us for a long weekend. It was amazing to see them and relax in front of the stove. Our view for the weekend was mostly this:
Next stop was Chez Mum & Dad. Living at home is waaaay cheaper than being a real grown up living on your own. The minibreak was rather enjoyable with a mixture of gale force winds and winterly sunshine.
Admittedly I had to actually request Love Film send me this film but you need some cheesetastic films in your life sometimes, right? Armed with a comfortable sofa, an adopted cat, chocolate and boyfff this evening was all about revelling in how great we are at our jobs. Bliss.
Obviously the idea is that Diaz’s character is totally ridiculous but, unfortunately, I could actually relate to at least one part. “Atticus is a good person I can tell this because he is a good lawyer so this means he’s a good lawyer.” To which she writes expletives and slaps her forehead. Ahh… How much I can empathise with this!
I did something that made myself (and my victim) a little sick this morning. Arriving at the tube station at 6.50am I noticed baked goods being sold at the little underground coffee shop thaannang. Having bought my head-sized iced doughnut, the shop keeper wished me a great day in spite of being on route to work. My chirpy response?
“It’s OK, I’m a teacher. I actually like my job!”
As part of Teach First’s 10 year anniversary celebrations around 3000 people came together at The Southbank Centre to discuss what needs to be done over the next 10 years to continue impacting the lives of young people. It was particularly exciting because, as well as teachers, there was such a variety of people from different sectors. I managed to speak to and hear many important, influential bods throughout the day as well as catching up with mere mortals I haven’t seen for a while.
After loading up on complimentary coffee & OJ and catching up with the founder of YES! Futures (a charity I did some work with over the summer) it was time to go to a rousing opening ceremony. It was dutifully inspiring, thanks especially to the host Ndidi Okezie who I have enjoyed listening to at an RSA/Teach First event in the past.
Once my eyes had spontaneously moistened, thanks to moving testimonials and wishes from students accompanied by emotionally charged music, and the challenge was laid down in the shape of the 2022 goals, it was time to start the day…
North West : From Burnley to Liverpool and back to Manchester…
The first event for me was a lorra, lorra fun; I was speaking at a North West event, sharing my experiences with new and potential participants in the region. It was great to reflect on what had made it such an amazing 2 years. People seemed fascinated about my lack of English degree and being the first participants at our school. It was great to reassure and encourage potential North West-ers.
Can schools compensate for society?
The ultimate highlight of my day was definitely the RSA Debate. As I said, I have followed their other talks (videos of which can be found on their website here and here) so was slightly hyper about it.
Having volunteered at King Solomon Academy over the summer I was really looking forward to seeing people’s responses to the head teacher’s talk. Max showing just how passionate he is about the kids at his school was such a mood lifter. Many questioned whether or not progress was replicable elsewhere, bemoaned that teaching takes up so much time, and generally tried to suggest excuses for past failures. It was great to see that so many people raised their hands when asked whether they would like to see the “Whatever it takes” and “Climbing the mountain to university” banners.
Lots of cake…
So, after a day of learning and inspiration I ended it by awkwardly asking the CEO to sign my copy of his book I had won, toasting Teach First’s continued existence and eating some birthday cake and Mexican food at Wahaca!
Friday was meant to be all about the sunshine but instead we ended up drenched to the core walking in Richmond! Yesterday we were a lot more successful in enjoying the late summer weather in Herne Hill with a trip to the velodrome.
Having never been to a velodrome before, I wasn’t sure what to expect (as with many things these days!)… It was a really great atmosphere, definitely helped by the weather. The people were really friendly and many were there to cheer on friends competing in the novice rounds or even the more professional ones. All the races were impressive to watch, especially as it was all new to me!
One thing I’ve noticed around here is that all the people seem reasonably similar to me except they have more money and some of them have kids in designer clothes. This was quite noticeable at the velodrome today as people dressed similarly to Richard and I (only not from cheapie high street shops) milled around. As I get older those in their late 30s don’t seem to old anymore. They just seem like they have shiner, newer stuff than me. I bet they also buy Sainsbury’s ‘Taste The Difference’ rather than Basics, without even giving it a second thought. Aaahh… to be monied!
After the excitement of the Olympics this summer people (or at least, we) were excited by the announcement made that many of the riders would feature in Rio.
It’s not really surprising that future Olympians were in our midst; the velodrome is a fave with celebrity riders including Wiggo and hosted the track cycling events in the 1948 Olympics. So, ya, it has a history…
“I’m a son of Herne Hill and I love to go back there” – Bradley Wiggins
After seeing the track yesterday I think I’ll be heading down to try it out myself very soon! They have women’s training evenings down there reasonably regularly.