Monday, 28 July 2014

Welcome and busy

Welcome to Jane Galliford and Janice Piper via Bloglovin. You are most welcome.

Although yesterday was still quite warm, it was at least cooler for me to be in the kitchen baking. First thing was some bread, a mix of white, brown and polenta. It seemed drier than normal but seems to have risen okay:

Due to the temperature, after it is sliced, it goes into small bags for freezing, half a loaf at a time:
Once that came out of the oven, something for DB went in. He had run out of Granola, so a batch of Black Treacle Granola was duly made. He normally only eats this on Saturday morning but we both like to sprinkle it on home made yoghurt:
Only the oats and seeds bake in the oven, we like everything else fresh.

Then a quick break for a meal, grilled chicken, a few chips and loads of our green beans. By now the oven was beeping again to let me know the granola was ready. The last few sad blackcurrants, along with a few blueberries and a good sprinkle of dried coconut, were folded into a one egg sponge mix. I managed to get 5 muffins from it:
We shall have half of one this afternoon with a cup of tea. Two will be served for supper with some custard. The other two will be for a snack with a cup of tea tomorrow.

In-between doing all of that, I took 10 minutes out to make 4 litres of washing machine liquid, this time, incorporating some aromatherapy oil. I have no idea whether it will stay in the clothes but the liquid smells lovely:
Finally, in the garden, I pruned things, dead headed and gave everything a very good water. The next few days are set to be a little cooler thank goodness. However, although no rain was forecast for us until the beginning of next week, it thundered and rained enough overnight, to water the garden nicely.

Friday, 25 July 2014

The unusual...

DS and FDiL for Christmas, bought me a gift of unusual vegetables. One was a purple carrot:
Quite a decent size as well. From the same gift, I am also growing Tigerella Tomatoes but they aren't quite ready yet.

Another new vegetable/fruit that I bought off the internet, is a Cucamelon:
Out of the 4 plants I sowed, just one stayed alive, just as well, as it is rampaging all over its designated spot. Each pod is about the size of a large grape, although I am still trying to work out when to harvest. They do taste very refreshing, a cucumber lemon cross.

They were both added to a nice colourful salad (the lettuce, Little Gem,  was also our own):
The salad was eaten with home made quiche, the pastry of which was biscuit like and very fragile, due to the heat I think:
It went down a treat. The quiche lasted us for 3 meals each and despite the pastry, tasted fine.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Savings and interest...

Weather wise, the past few days have been hot and humid and the next few are forecast to be the same. Today however, is very different. It is 20C, cloudy with a cool, brisk wind. I have on my thinking cap, it is cool and lovely!
Living a simple life which is often frugal, being able to save in any way in this household, is our number one priority. If you are in debt, you need to know how much, what kind and where to make savings in your 'entire' household to begin to tackle it. I use the word 'entire' to speak not only for everyone who lives with you, but 'entire' as in using your brain as well. Everyone who lives with you, should ideally being singing off the same page, many brains make 'light' work! Your debt will diminish more quickly if you are all able to face up to it and tackle it as a unit. If not, don't despair, you can still do something. Anything is always better than nothing.

There are many blog's around that offer better advice on this but here is how we do it.

We no longer need to be as frugal as we once did as our financial circumstances have changed over the years. Do we stop? No we don't. It would be so easy once finances are better to quickly revert to the old slip shod way of running your life. That is the road to ruin my friends and once travelled, you should never, ever, want to travel it again.

If any of you have monetary savings, how often do you check the interest rate? Most good on-line savings accounts, offer a reasonable rate for just one year. On the anniversary of them opening, it will drop down massively, usually to just a fraction of a percent. This includes ISA's (or the new ones NISA's), especially if they have a fixed rate. Write down the end date of any account and check it close to that date to see what the rate will change to.

For example, we have a monthly savings and a bills account. We try to keep it all with one bank for ease of transfer from one to another although the new banking system is quicker than the old. However, our rate finished on the 19th July so a couple of days before that, we started looking around. Not much out there, and our bank in particular is one of the least attractive. The first things we did was to get them to convert the old ones into new ones, lot less work for us!

As their rate is low but we still want to use them, the amount in there will be kept as low as it can. What isn't needed in the next month will live in a higher interest ex fixed rate ISA, whose rate has dropped but is paying out more than any savings account I can find and more than some ISA's.

Yes, it may seem a lot of work but as we check and move money around all the time, we are used to it. If a company isn't willing to invest in us, we don't invest in them.

The same thing applies to your mortgage, check it, could you get better elsewhere? If so, can you move it. If you can, do so, if you can't why not? Find out the reason then move when you can.

More next time.