Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting Rid

January was a month of spending as little as possible... mmm

I didn't enjoy that much, I did try hard but I still managed to spend £857.67 which has shocked me... I think we can say that it easily costs me £1000 a month to live at an absolute minimum - some rethinking needed.

Anyway - moving on - February is going to be about getting rid. I plan to sell stuff on ebay and amazon, put things on freecycle, maybe take some stuff to charity shops if there is any left.

I tried to get started today but ebay kept kicking me off and sending me on an endless 'signing in' loop - not sure why. I gave up in the end and I'll revisit another day. I did manage to exchange my old Australian mobile for 300 Boots Advantage points though.

So, as with the spending challenge, I will update this post with my progress below.

Stuff sold for cash
  • Old lap top computer
  • Old mobile phone
  • Sim card cutter
  • Fertility herbs 
  • Fertility monitor test sticks
  • Mac OSX Leopard 
  • Pedometer
Stuff given away
  • Rotary clothes line given away via Freecycle
  • I tried to give away the garage door - in full working condition - several people made enquiries but it was too big, or too small so the builder ended up taking it away

Stuff sold to raise money for the charity Bliss (basically maternity things I have been given by a generous friend which don't fit - she did agree the sale for charity)

  • Gap Jeans £0.99
  • Maternity shorts £2.21
  • Maternity trousers £1.04
  • Maternity top £0.99
Another pair of trousers didn't sell even after being listed 3 times :o(

The measly total for Bliss was £5.23. I was a bit disappointed with this and so to continue the spirit of giving that my friend started by giving the clothes to me, I rounded the donation up to £10.



Stuff exchanged
  • Mobile phone  -  300 Boots Advantage Points Cheeky so and so's have sent me an email saying thanks for this, but they wont give me the points - they reckon its not the model I said, but it is - I think it's just the Telstra logo on the front that's throwing them. They wont even send it back so that I can give it to charity! Ah well Mr Boots - I no longer feel so inclined to be one of your loyal customers...


Stuff recycled
  • I sorted through my entire filing cabinet and shredded tonnes of old receipts, expired warranties, bank statements. I didn't think to count the number of times I had to empty the shredder, but I can tell you that the compost bin is more than half full with shredded paper. A very satisfying experience!


Stuff I got rid of from the 'to do' list
  • Sorted through  got rid of stuff from filing cabinet at home
  • Sorted through, filed and got rid of stuff at work
  • Paid my final voluntary NI contributions from when I was living overseas
  • Finished one of my pay it forward gifts
  • Reconditioned old computer ready for sale
  • Decided on my new kitchen units, bench top, floor etc


Stuff I wasn't expecting to get rid of (but I'm glad it's gone)

I wasn't expecting to get rid of was the kitchen floor. In fact - the one thing in the kitchen that was absolutely definitely staying was the floor - but it was ruined by the flood and has been taken up  already so that the concrete underneath can dry out properly before I lay the replacement.

Courgette, Lime and Ginger Jam

This post has moved to http://www.ablissfullife.com.au/2011/01/courgette-lime-and-ginger-jam.html

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baked Egg Custard

Ingredients
2 eggs
450ml semi skimmed milk
30g sugar (you can substitute part or all if this with xylitol if you are sugar conscious)
a few drops of natural vanilla extract
about half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Method
  • Heat the milk, sugar and vanilla extract until hot but not boiling
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a separate bowl
  • Add the hot milk and sugar mixture to the egg and mix well
  • Stir through some of the ground nutmeg and pour into an oven proof dish
  • Sprinkle the rest of the nutmeg over the top
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 45 - 50 mins (timing based on a fan oven - may take longer in a standard oven)

I actually prefer to let it cool and then refrigerate and eat it cold, just on it's own, but many people enjoy this as a hot dish, with stewed fruit for example.

A week in Blissland

It's been a busy week in Blissland. Work began on the garage on Monday. A trench has been dug at the front, footings laid and a the foundations built, ready to put a small wall in, below the new window which is replacing the garage door. Another trench for the sewer pipe from the laundry and toilet has gone in too. The outer side of the cavity wall has been knocked out ready for the door to go in to the kitchen too. The plans changed slightly from the ones I posted, mainly because the one that the architect drew was useless. I am very unimpressed with service I got from them - I won't name and shame online, but if you are planning anything and want to know who not to use do get in touch!

My garage is now looking like this!

Also this week a second chook has started laying - I am now getting some lovely smaller browner eggs in addition to my normal ones. I think it must be Speckled hen that's laying them. She is actually more productive than Vera, providing me with an egg every other day already, whereas Vera is still functioning at one egg every 2 -3 days. My egg collection has been building up and so I have been starting to think of egg recipes. I made a lovely baked egg custard the other day - I'll post a recipe later.



Lots of my thinking time, particularly in the earlier part of the week, was spent pondering how our donor daddy might be feeling at this time. Although I still haven't written the post about choosing a donor, most people reading this will know that I chose a known donor, and that he is going to be part of our lives, and known as Dad. My curiosity led me to some great posts by Jack Murningham, an author and committed donor dad of 2. I'd like to share them for the benefits of those thinkers out there. They are (my summary of the titles) The beginning, Donor Dad on Father's day, and Doing it again. The situation sounds idyllic - I hope it works out that way for us too. I also found some great links to blogs by other Intentional Single Mums which I am working my way though - I'll add links to them at the side, once I get to know which ones are active and a good read.

As for how baby Bliss is doing, this leads me nicely to the most exciting part of the week. On Thursday I got to hear the heartbeat for the first time.



Yes - I am a total saddo and recorded it. It gets worse though - the scientist within me is doing her detective work once again and trying to work out if this is a girl or a boy we have on board. Apparently a heart beat of <140 means it's a boy, and >140 means it's a girl. So what do you make of this? There is definitely 22 beats on the recording. The timer says 9 seconds, but iTunes says 10. If its 9, that's 147bpm, if its 10, you get 132bpm. Donor daddy's analysis is that it is 12 beats in 5 seconds, or 144bpm. My stopwatch says 22 beats in 9.8 seconds which is 134bpm...

OK - we can stop there and conclude that our analysis is inconclusive - what's inside my belly can remain a mystery for a little longer.

I also think I am starting to feel bubba move. I can't be entirely sure, but I think that's what it is. Apparently you can start to feel movement between 14 and 20 weeks, I am approaching 17 so that would be about right. I am looking forward to knowing for sure that it is the little wriggler though. My bump is growing too and I am quite falling in love with it. I have to stand at the right angle though - otherwise I just look fat!

Anyway, I should sign off and get on with my Saturday, the main task being to sort out all the stuff I am going to sell on ebay for my month of making money on (or giving away)  things I no longer want, which is following my month of trying to limit spending (totally sick of that now!!!).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some Handmade Loveliness

Today I received a lovely gift in the mail.


This was part of the Facebook 'Pay it forward' (assumedly the opposite of paying it back?) thing-me-bob! It's a totally gorgeous, soft and gender neutral baby mat.  Thank you so much Rachel. Mmmm - my gifts aren't quite done yet, so perhaps in my case it will still be paying back!

I recently made this myself too.


There are booties to go with it but I haven't made them yet, the pay it forward project is now what I am spending my crafting time on  (truth is they seem a bit fiddly and I have a bit of a mental block regarding them, but pay it forward is a great excuse!).

My next project is going to be to knit a baby blanket. My nana gave me some cream wool a while ago - most of this was still in an enormous ball, but some of it she had knitted into the back of a cardigan for herself, before her eyesight deteriorated too much for her to knit anymore. She said to undo it and use it, but it was my nan's last piece of knitting, and being the sentimental old git that I am I just couldn't bring myself to do that. So, somehow I am going to incorporate her handicraft into the blanket.  Ideas on how I can do this would be gratefully received. Here is what it looks like at the moment.



 My current idea is to undo it back to the start of the sleeves and then cast off - or maybe do 6 rows of rib stitch so that it matches the opposite side, and then use this a a square, perhaps in the centre, or as one of a few squares... what do you think? The main body is in moss stitch. Also, I want to somehow make sure that I always know which bit is nana's work... ideas on a post card - or just comment!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A shed and a fence

Time to post something completely impersonal! I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the interest in my previous post - so many more people read it than I was anticipating. It's great to get so much lovely feedback and support though, but being the focus of so much attention has never been an easy thing for me.  So, for an update on how other things are going around here.

The chicken fence is complete. I have to say the chickens didn't seem to be too happy about being restricted to a corner of the yard when they had been used to roaming freely wherever they wanted. Within an hour of being released into the new enclosure, Old Speckled Hen was over the top and wandering around her old stomping ground. I tried to tease her back by throwing some lovely green lettuce leaves into  the pen but it didn't work. She just ran up and down the fence line staring at it, but was not interested in going through the gate. I decided to let her suffer for a while! A bit later I went back with more lettuce to try again - this time I put it in the corner of the pen, so that when she did her headless chook run, she trapped herself in the corner and I caught her and put her back.



For the next few days I think she may have stayed inside, though I'm not completely sure as I was at work, but I don't actually think she is smart enough to work out how to get back in. On Friday evening though, there was a familiar tap at the back door - Old Speckled Hen had come to say hello. I had really been trying to avoid trimming their wing feathers. I know it doesn't hurt them, and it's just like having a hair cut, but I didn't want to do it, I really wanted them to stay as natural and free as possible. Old Speckled Hen just wasn't playing the game though - so I grabbed the scissors!

Wing clipping was far less traumatic than I anticipated, for both me and the chickens (I have since given Amber and Vera a trim too). I just picked them up (they seemed to hold their wing out naturally) and trimmed. They didn't even struggle, just seemed to be enjoying the cuddle really. They did ruffle their feathers back in to place a bit when I put them down, but that was it. I don't know why I avoided it for so long. I only did one side, but apparently that is supposed to be enough. We'll see what happens next!


The next thing to go up was the shed. I am quite pleased with how it looks and everything fits in with ease. The garage is now clear and the builder is starting work tomorrow.

Other things that are going on: I am doing OK at Rachel's Challenge, but is it a really interesting exercise too. I have been trying quite hard, with just one day of spending on things I didn't need to. So far this year I have spent £184.67 (that is, of course, not including the fence and the shed), nor does it include bills, such as gas and electricity, water, home and car insurance, clothes, phone bills etc. This is more than I thought and a good reality check seeing as I am soon to become an unwaged mum! I think it is good that I have had this focus and will continue to look at how to reduce my spending.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why become an intentional single mum?

I get asked this question a lot. Especially on web forums where other people are considering the idea for themselves. I decided to write the story down properly, with all the appropriate references, so as to create a useful resource for those pondering, and to provide answers for any friends that find my choice absurd.

It's not a choice I made over night. It took some time - a lifetime I suppose.

I have always wanted to have children. I never imagined that I wouldn't. Admittedly there was quite a long period in my life when I was going to have kids in 10 years time (from about 16 to 30 I'd say). Well, I was busy, there was a world to explore and fun to be had!

When I was 31, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I actually got to see the cysts on an ultrasound scan and also got a 'talking to' from the gynaecologist who told me that I might not be able to have children. He said that if I was going to try it I should do it soon, and that I needed to do all I could to prolong the little fertility that I had. I was devastated, but determined, and finally felt a sense of urgency with regard to child bearing dreams.

I did have a partner at this time, but he was less than sympathetic. I'd like to be able to say that this was the first sign that the relationship wasn't good for me, and that I ended it then, but I'm afraid I can't. The first sign that the relationship wasn't good for me was probably before it even started, when his best friend advised me to steer clear as he was the most selfish person he'd ever known. And no, for some insane reason it didn't end there either. I continued in that hideous relationship, gradually having more and more of my energy sucked away for a couple more years. Ironically, I think it was partly my desire for children that kept me there. It was getting 'late', and I didn't rate my chances of finding someone else 'in time'. Finally it dawned on me that as well as being a useless boyfriend, he would also be a useless dad, and one time when he started ignoring me and saying he 'needed a break', I gathered all my courage and left.

I took a couple of years out of the dating game to recover and then started online dating. Cautiously at first, but before long I actually met people. Some great people (and some total disasters!). I made some lovely friends, I had coffee with people that I would never come across in my usual social circles, I even fell in love once. I never made it past date 3 though, and the guy I fell in love with had had a vasectomy, having already fathered two beautiful girls - so all in all it wasn't a very successful enterprise.

I guess I really started thinking about doing it by myself when I was about 35. My housemate had cooked dinner for us and some friends, a newly pregnant lesbian couple. We were talking about the idea of me having children and the continuous list of disasters that I'd had in terms of finding a man appropriate for the task. "You don't need a man Emma" they cheerily stated, "We can get you some sperm!".

Now, at first, I have to say, the very thought of it made me cringe, but it wasn't the first time this idea had been raised. I remember a group of male friends, when I was about 25 and pursuing travel and career instead of getting 'up the duff' like everyone else around me, telling me not to worry - if I left it too late to find a decent bloke they would have a 'whip round' for me! This was of course spoken and received in jest, I so never imagined at that point in time that I would be where I am now!

I told a few close friends about the dinner conversation, and one of them, an unintentional single mum, told me that she had recently met another single mum that had made the choice. She told me about this website, a forum for women who are thinking about, or who have made the decision to become single mums. I joined and started chatting to other women at various stages of their journey.

A couple of books were recommended. The first one I read was the gloriously titled "No man? No problem! Knock Yourself Up" by Louise Sloan. This is a brilliantly written, humourous, frank and informative book with Chapter titles such as "Oops, I forgot to have kids" and "Trysts with the turkey baster". It is engaging from start to finish. Early in the first chapter is this quote from a woman that had made the choice.
“It just seemed like the single guys my age were single for a reason...  ...and I realized I wanted to be a mother more than I wanted to be a wife."
Reading that was an ah ha moment for me. It touched me deeply. It was so true of what I was feeling, yet until I read it I didn't recognise this issue in myself.

If you are curious in any way I totally recommend this book. You can find out more on the Knock Yourself Up website.

The second book I read was the rather more refined "Choosing Single Motherhood: The thinking woman's guide" by Mikki Morrissette. This was slightly harder going but also a brilliant book. There is heaps of information and research on how kids from choice families fare in the world. It was reassuring to read research showing that it is the quality of parenting, not the quantity of parents, that makes for well balanced child. There are also interviews with choice kids that reinforce the idea that mums really can do it alone.

One of my favourite things about this book is that Mikki is supportive of the idea of using a known donor. If you do decide to embark on this journey you will find a lot of scaremongering and people begging you to go annonymous. True, there are cases where things have gone horribly wrong, but they are few and far between. If you are condsidering a known donor and want something to balance out the negativity, help you to make your own informed choice, and take action to minimise your risk in the donor situation then this book will really help. There is a great Choosing Single Motherhood website to accompany this book too, and ChoiceMums.org, also created by the same author contains a wealth of information, links, and a discussion board.

Once I had read these books I had decided. In fact, I couldn't think of anything that suited me more, and was kicking myself that I hadn't thought of this earlier.

By the way, for the interested, I continued with my online dating with a sense of liberty that hadn't had before. There was no pressure  now to find the father of my children and I was free to see people as they really were, and make choices without the ticking time bomb. I was honest with men from the start. That put some of them off straight away, saving a whole lot of bother, but many were fine with it. When I was less desperate to find a dad, it was easier to see more clearly if this was a relationship that would work or not. Sadly, not! Yet! Though I do believe it could still happen - one day.

There will be further posts on enhancing fertility when you're an old duck, preparing for single motherhood, and choosing a donor - when I get around to writing them!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fatso!

I was absolutely horrified at work today when a woman easily twice my size (and not pregnant!) commented that I was very big! How dare she. I wanted to say "so what's your excuse?" but I managed to bite my tongue.

I am definitely growing in size though, and am surprised myself by how fast this is happening, though having seen pictures of other people at a similar stage I don't believe I am too out of the ordinary. Earlier on in the day a rather more polite person (a student and not a teacher!) asked me if I was pregnant. She is the first person to have asked and I was so chuffed that people can now notice my bump. Here it is:


I am definitely starting to feel better too. For the last couple of weeks all of the books and emails have been telling me how I should be blooming... blooming mad if I read that again more like! But thinking back, I can remember days when I felt a lot worse than I do now. My hair is definitely benefiting, though my skin is not doing so well, and I can do more before I collapse in a heap. 

Another thing, I have only 76 more working days - not that I am counting of course, after all, who will boost my self esteem once I leave the nurturing environment of my workplace?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boy or Girl?

Is baby Bliss a boy or a girl?

I have collected all the old wives tales that I have found so far and copied them here (there are some contradictions but hey - I copied them as I found them).

The ones in bold are ones that apply so far. I'll bold new signs as they occur

  • It's a boy if:

  • You have nausea in the morning
  • You did not have morning sickness
  • Your baby's heart rate is less than 140 beats per minute
  • The heartbeat sounds like a train
  • You are carrying the extra weight out front
  • Your belly looks like a basketball
  • Your areolas have darkened considerably
  • You are carrying low
  • You are craving salty or sour foods
  • You are craving protein -- meats and cheese
  • Your feet are colder than they were before pregnancy
  • The hair on your legs has grown faster during pregnancy
  • Your hands are very dry
  • Your pillow faces north when you sleep
  • Dad-to-be is gaining weight, right along with you
  • Pregnancy has you looking better than ever
  • Your urine is bright yellow in colour
  • Your nose is spreading
  • Your face gets thinner
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves in circles
  • You are having headaches
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an even number
  • Ovulation occurred between a full moon and the day before a new moon
  • You hang a needle on a thread over your belly and it goes side to side

  • It's a girl if:

  • You have nausea in the evening
  • You have morning sickness
  • Your baby's heart rate is at least 140 beats per minute
  • The heartbeat sounds like a galloping horse
  • You are carrying the weight in your hips and rear
  • Your left breast is larger than your right breast
  • Your hair develops red highlights
  • You are carrying high
  • Your belly looks like a watermelon
  • You are craving sweets
  • You are craving fruit
  • You crave orange juice
  • You don't look quite as good as normal during pregnancy
  • You are moodier than usual during pregnancy
  • Your face breaks out more than usual
  • You refuse to eat the heel of a loaf of bread
  • Your breasts have really blossomed!
  • Your pillow faces south when you sleep
  • Your urine is a dull yellow colour
  • Your face gets fatter 
  • You hang your wedding ring over your belly and it moves from side to side
  • You add your age at the time of conception and the number for the month you conceived and the sum is an odd number
  • Ovulation occurred between a new moon and the day before a full moon
  • You hang a needle on a thread over your belly and it goes around in circles







If you have your own prediction or know of any other ways to tell the sex of the baby that I can add to the list, please comment.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rachel's Challenge

So, in short, my friend Rachel set the challenge of spending nothing, zilch, zero, or as close as possible to zero as you can in January. My first thought on this was an excuse - "I can't possibly do that as I am starting the garage conversion" - but then I realised that I could do it in all other aspects of my life. I have plenty of food in the freezer and store cupboards and it would be good to have a clear out before things pass their use by date, and to make way for newer stock. I have enough cosmetics to start my own pharmacy and enough fat to burn that walking instead of taking the car can only be good thing. Also, the very fact that I am spending money on a garage conversion is really a reason to try and save in other areas, not an excuse!

I am going to keep you informed on how I am going, not by writing a new post each day but by updating this one. The year started well as far as spending is concerned.

1st January - Total spend £0.00
Having food poisoning and not actually getting out of my PJ's all day will most certainly have helped here - though I could have always spent money via the internet, but it didn't even do that!

2nd January - Total Spend £0.00
Feeling much better today I ventured out of the house on foot to visit a friend. I would have bought a pint of milk on my way home but the shop was shut so, by default, I can report another zero day!

3rd January - Total spend £0.00
Feeling rotten again today. Having been lulled into a false sense of security about feeling great once in the second trimester I am shocked to find that I am actually have the worst nausea that I have had so far. All good for the spending though. I didn't leave the house and what little food I ate came from the freezer.

4th January - Total spend £0.90
Bought milk finally! Also used the car to go and buy supplies to lay shed foundation, but when we got there the shop was still on Christmas Holidays. So the journey (and the fuel) was wasted. So again, would have spent more money if the shop had been open, but by default a fairly inexpensive day.

5th January - Total Spend £0.00 
Managed not to spend any money again, but I did have to use the car as I had to go back to work today :-( . However, I did calculate that I will only have to do that another 84 times! For tea I found some leftovers in the freezer - I wasn't really sure what it was and so couldn't decide between pasta or rice to go with it - I settled for rice pasta! It was quite a yummy find. Must have been a batch of 'what's in the fridge' with aubergine!

6th January - Total Spend £0.00
So I managed it for another day but I am so going to have to visit the supermarket for fresh stuff soon. The fridge is almost bare. Drove to work and back (about 23 miles in total). My dad fetched the materials for the fence and foundations today so technically I have spent money on that, but I haven't actually shelled out yet and don't know how much. Also got a letter from the council today saying that it is ok to go ahead with the garage conversion so I can really start spending now!

7th January - Total spend £7.21
I had to have a little spend today - I bought bread, milk and an energy saving light globe. I resisted the urge to do a full grocery shop. The last remaining veggies (1 small butternut pumpkin, a sweet potato a half a brown onion and a couple of spring onions) along with some beans from the freezer, are about to become soup for tonight's dinner and tomorrows lunch. I have the ingredients to make a mattar paneer for tomorrow's dinner. I don't think I'll get beyond that without a shop though!

Bonus dinner! 
Just after I typed the above, before I even had time to peel a sweet potato, a friend who I helped out on Tuesday rang to tell me he had cooked my dinner - a rather scrummy sausage casserole. So, veggies were saved - I think I can live for yet another day!

8th January - Total Spend £0.00
It was handy that I didn't eat the soup last night - this meant I was able to feed the hungry workers that put down the foundations for the shed and started on the chicken fence. Really, I have spent money on the fence etc, but it hasn't left my hands yet, so I claim a £0.00 day again.

9th January - Total Spend £32.15
I finally had to give in and go to Sainsbury's. I don't think I have ever been so excited about buying a fresh lettuce!

10th January - Total Spend £0.00 but...
OK, so, I actually didn't part with any money today either, but I sure am using it. First of all I drove to work and back - a shame but it has to be done. Then over to Peterborough for my pre-natal aqua yoga (course paid for in advance last year). Also the chicken fence is finished and the shed is being erected on weds, and people need to be paid by the end of the week. But home renovations don't count do they...

11th January - Total Spend £60.21 (plus a big wad of cash for the shed man!)
£57.67 of this was for fuel for the car, the other £3.54 was for onions, tomatoes and apples.

12th January - Total Spend £30.00
My first indulgent spend of the year, this £30 was spent on a massage. Reflexology and a leg massage to be precise. I could say it was for medical reasons, as I am having a bit of trouble with fluid retention in my legs...

13th January - Total Spend £3.80
Groceries - fruit and water to be precise. I know that buying water is ridiculous, but I had drunk all that I taken with me to work and was still thirsty. The only place to fill up a water bottle at work is in the girls toilet, and I'm simply not doing that!

14th January - Total Spend £31.78
£15.18 on groceries and £16.60 on gifts

15th January - Total Spend £18.52 (all of which was totally unnecessary - bad girl!)
Today was the first real day that I spent money that I could have avoided. I went to uni on the train (fare will be refunded from work), but I spent £2.30 on the car park at the station when I could have walked. It was windy and rainy though, and I was tired and running a bit late. Then, when I could have taken a pack up, I bought all my food for the day. I have grown to loathe doing my pack up, and it was Saturday, and there is a Planet Organic cafe just around the corner from the Uni... Total spent on food and drink for the day £8.23. Then, as I was waiting at the train station for a connection I noticed a new Jodi Picoult novel, which somehow found it's way into my bag in exchange for £7.99. Ooops!

16th January - Total Spend £0.00


17th January - Total Spend £12.25
£1.39 on a Birthday for my great aunt who is turning 100, and the rest on groceries

18th January - Total Spend £40
Having my hair cut a dyed

19th January - Total Spend £1.39
Another birthday card - for a 4 year old this time!

20th January - Total Spend £15.81
Tesco - the cupboards are bare - I was cooking Tarka Dahl in my new slow cooker and went to the cupboard to get a tin of tomatoes and there were none, I didn't have quite enough lentils either. I got a bit annoyed with the whole exercise - I feel like I am always going to the supermarket for little bits. So this time I did a bit of a stock up on store cupboard items and also bought sausages as I think my next slow cooker experiment will be sausage casserole.

21st January - Paid some bills!!! Total Spend £346.83 :-(
Gas £180.28, Electricity £77.32, Landline £41.43, Mobile £22.74, Internet £10.25, Window Cleaner £6,  Boots (hair conditioner, belly cream and heartburn remedy!) £8.81

22nd January - £14.04
Oil for the car (£11.59) and a Hot Chocolate (service station price!)

23rd January - £29.05
Groceries

24th January - £61.02
Im bored of Rachel's challenge now!!! I don't like it anymore!!! [pout]
£50.15 on fuel for the car, £5 on a car wash (I know, but it's cold!) and £5.87 on groceries

25th January - £14.39
Natal Hypnotheraphy CD, as recommended by my friend Tara

Rachels challenge that she has set for herself is to mimimise her waste. I don't have much - there is certainly no food waste now that I am a chicken mama, so I am setting myself a different challenge. I am going to see how much money I can make, by selling stuff I don't want.

26th January - £0.00


27th January - £10.37
I had a voucher to use on baby clothes that expired tomorrow. £5 off when you spend £10. So, seeing as I had just heard bubba's heartbeat I no longer had to fear I would tempt fate by shopping. With the money off, I ended up paying £6 for 14 vests (white of course!) 7 in newborn size and 7 0-3 months. The other £4.37 was on milk, bread, and a pot of chilli olives from the deli (not essential I know, but one deserves a treat to celebrate a heartbeat!).

28th January - £34.36
I ended up doing my main weekly shop. I had a theory that only buying things when you actually need them would be cheaper and reduce wastage, but I don't think it did really. Will soon be able to tell as I have a fridge full of fresh veggies at the moment. Going more frequently for a few things seems to be a bit of a false economy, although I always call in on the way home from work rather than making a special trip, I really don't like supermarket shopping. This Friday night I decided to get it all over and done with and not have to think about it again for a a while.

29th January - £65.40
Advance purchase tickets for the Baby Show and the train fare to get there.

30th January - £19.99
Spare gas cylinder for the sodastream

31st January - £0.00 


Total spent for the month  (not including the building stuff) £857.67


I am quite shocked at this really - I thought I could do better than that. The gas electric and telephone bills are quarterly ones so I don't have them every month, however house and car insurance don't feature here, not does servicing, repairing and MOTing the vehicle - and there was no council tax payment, and no clothes or shoes, and I had already paid my aqua yoga class up front, and I have been conscious of my spending...

Not looking good for an unwaged single mum is it - better find more ways of saving I think, not sure how though!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

So, it's that time of year when we are all supposed to reflect on our lives and think about what the new year has in store for us and how we chose to live it. As always, I will make resolutions to do things rather than to give things up...

Well, without a doubt I have a big year ahead. First on the to do list is to create the foundations for the garden shed which is arriving in a couple of weeks time. This will give me space to store all the stuff that is currently in the garage, so that the garage conversion can begin at the end of January. This task will be shortly followed by the building of the chicken fence. Whilst I am sure the chooks are happy with free range of the whole back yard, I would like to reclaim a poop free area for myself, and my veggie patch (which is hopefully well feritilised by now!).

The garage conversion will allow me to move my office downstairs and convert the current office into a nursery. It will also allow me to move things like the washing machine and brush cupboard out the kitchen giving me more kitchen space. So you've guessed it, following the garage conversion comes the nursery! And if I still have the time (and the money) before the baby is born I may do the bathroom too as I think the option to have a quick shower instead of a long bath might be quite handy as a single mum!


Other things I plan to do include 
  • have an active healthy pregnancy (this means I am actually going to do the yoga, walk more, return to the pool...)
  • read all that stuff about birth that I keep putting off and be informed
  • have more regular communications with my beautiful friends, both near and far
  • blog more frequently
  • visit my God daughter, Isobella Rose, at the very latest by her Birthday in May
  • follow the January savings inspiration of my friend Rachel as far as I can (household renovations being the exception!)
  • finish my maths course
  • continue to develop own business ideas
  • spend more time on the farm
  • be a good mummy
I think that's enough!!!

I hope that 2011 brings you all good health and good fortune.

A head count and a heart beat

Well I am happy to report the the ultrasound went well. It was so awesome to see the little bubba and it's heartbeat on the screen.  Here s/he is:


And yes there is only one, so I can no longer use the twins excuse for my weight gain - though a bout of food poisoning in the last couple of days seems to have helped with that!

For much of my pregnancy I have been thinking that this is a boy - but when I saw the ultrasound I found my self talking about 'her'. I was so going to wait until the birth re finding out the sex, but I am now wondering if I can... I guess we'll see how I feel at the 20 week scan.

S/he is pretty active and danced and wiggled lots. We did manage to get one or two pictures though. Also bubba is right on target growth wise and was exactly the right length from tail to rump that s/he should be at 12 wks and 2 days (58.3mm).