Saturday, 7 October 2017

Extreme Couponing - my thoughts

I love watching episodes of Extreme Couponing on the telly, when I see the savings I really want to give it a go myself.

But then, when I think about it afterwards I see the flaws.

Do these Extreme Couponers, or Kewponers as they all seem to call themselves, do a 'proper shop' when the cameras stop rolling?  Most of the purchases seem to be toothpaste, a particular sports drink, 'feminine products' as they are politely called on the show and some sort of weird pasta which I have never seen before.  I am not sure how people can live on these items alone.

I also don't understand how, if everything is so carefully planned out, the shoppers can spend up to 10 hours per shopping trip.  I also think that the time each till is tied up with the mega loads would not be appreciated here in the UK.

The room that is needed to store the stockpiles also amazes me, to have that sort of spare floor space here in the UK would require a property of the size needing the kind of income that this sort of penny-pinching would not be needed, but they all seem to have double garages or basements, even those on the lowest of incomes.

In the US it seems that you can 'layer' coupons, that is use a manufacturer's coupon on an item along with a store coupon, here in the UK most coupons say 'cannot be used with any other offer'.

Also, in some stores, if an item costs, say 60 cents and you have a coupon worth 50 cents which will 'double', (some stores will double coupons with a face value of up to 50 cents) the additional 40 cents per coupon can be used against the total spend.  In some cases, stores will give you a voucher to use on your next visit if your coupons total more than your actual spend.

In a couple of episodes I have watched, it seems that in the US if an item is incorrectly labelled at a lower price than it actually is, then the store has to stand by it, here in the UK, a price is 'an invitation to treat', in other words it is an invitation to enter into negotiations to buy the item, the store can refuse to sell at the labelled price and withdraw the product, this rarely happens as the item will be reduced as 'goodwill', but it could.

But after all that nay-saying, I would still like to try it.

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

My mental make-up is different.

I've known for a long time that my mental make-up is probably different to the accepted norm, but it is only in the last few years I am really accepting it.

If something is happening in the world which does not directly affect me or mine, then frankly it passes me by.

If an advert comes on the telly for poorly children I can watch with no reaction, simply being annoyed that my programme has been interrupted.  If an advert comes on for animals, whether it be the RSPCA, PDSA or overseas aid, I cannot watch and have to change the channel.

The recent terrorist activities in Manchester and London have not appalled me, they have fascinated me, I am aware enough that I should be horrified, but I am not.

The terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, when I saw the news at about 1.30am in the morning, my first thought was 'Oh my God, I hope there were no animals in there' because that is where my thoughts go.  I haven't donated to the fund set up because it didn't occur to me, as far as I am concerned the Government need to sort it out.

But when the Manchester Dog's Home got set on fire I donated as much as I could.  Now I could justify that because it was a deliberate act but that wasn't it, it was because it was animals.

Does this make me less of a human, or just different?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

When the Revolution comes...

...and I take my seat as the head of Government I recognise that I will need some assistance to run this once great country and bring it back to greatness.  So I propose the following people for my cabinet (some are fictional, some are historic, but this is my fantasy cabinet).

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Up until a few months ago, my go-to person would have been Richard Branson, without a doubt, but having seen how he is trying to bring down Brexit he is now off my radar, so I would choose Ebeneezer Scrooge (I did say fantasy cabinet).  He is not afraid of offending people with his decisions, if people owe money they pay or get out.  Simple.

If he didn't want this job, then I would choose him for Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (if you don't work, you don't get a pension).

Secretary of State for Education

Miss Trunchbull.  If children don't learn discipline at school how are they going to survive in the workplace? And with my proposed clamp down on the current benefits culture, what are they going to live on?

Secretary of State for International Trade, and President of the Board of Trade

Again, this is a job that I would have earmarked for Richard Branson, but now I think it would have to be James Dyson.

Secretary of State for Transport

You knew this one was coming - Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond or James May.  They understand that reducing speed limits on motorways is ridiculous, as are bus lanes, cycle lanes and closing the entire motorway for hours to recover a single item of debris.  They know that the new Smart Motorways are just going to bean excuse to mint money.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Why is this even a post?

Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

Any law enforcement office who has appeared on Nothing To Declare or Border Security.  They seem to care about their country, if they don't want you in, you don't get in.

I am still working on the rest of my Cabinet, so check back.

Who would be in yours?

Sunday, 21 May 2017

I treated myself to a Gousto Food Box.

I decided to try a Gousto Food Box, at the time there was £25 off my first order so it only cost me £15, the offers are changing all time so this may no longer be available.

If you sign up with this link - here - then I get £15 towards my next order!  But before all you lovely people rush off to sign up and give me free food, read my review to see if Gousto is for you.

Now, I can understand what Gousto are trying to do, get more people cooking fresh in their own homes but I feel that the target audience are the sort of people who have the big flashy kitchens with loads of space, loads of utensils and equipment, but no food.  People who survive on meals out and takeaways.

I ordered a box of four meals for two people, which in my case would make eight meals for one person.  I chose my meals and delivery date, paid, sat back and waited.

Nearer to my delivery date I received a text giving me an hour slot for my box to be delivered which was really handy and meant that I did not have to stay in all day - there is nowhere really safe that parcels can be left if I am not in.

The ingredients arrived in a large cardboard box with any chilled items wrapped in a plastic bag and insulated with natural sheep wool, this can be recycled in many ways, I will be using it as a mulch on one of my vegetable beds.  There were also a couple of ice blocks to keep the temperature down.

To create my four chosen meals I received:

I also received recipe cards and a wooden spoon.

The only ingredient that was not provided was vegetable oil, I assume that this is because it is expected that everyone keeps this in, however I do not.

According to Gousto, these four meals have stopped me from creating 2kg of food waste.  2kg??  I don't think I create that much food waste in a month, let alone a week.

I have, however, doubled my non-food waste as most things are in their own individual wrapper(s).

Once cooked the meals seem, to me at least, a bit scant until the pasta or rice is added bulking it out and adding carbs.  The Sunny Sweetcorn Noodles was essentially Noodle Soup and didn't fill me as a main meal, both nights I had this I ended up making myself some toast later in the evening.

I wasn't able to make the Katsu Curry completely as per the recipe as I simply did not have the counter space in my small kitchen requiring as it did two chopping surfaces (one for veg one for raw chicken), three plates to breadcrumb the chicken fillets, a pan for the pasta and two wide bottom frying pans for the sauce and the chicken.

I will try one more delivery to see if meals without pasta or rice are more substantial, but then I will be going back to doing my own thing.

Have you tried Gousto?  How did you get on?

Friday, 5 May 2017

Am I a dinosaur?

I don't mean am I a big scaly thing with huge teeth and tiny arms (the answer to that is yes) but in my ideas.

I am a child of the Seventies.  I grew up without the aid of Health and Safety and yet, I am still here.  

I spent my formative years digging in the dirt, damming streams, running round builder's yards and scrap yards.  I left the house every morning clean, I returned every evening I wasn't at school looking like I had been shoved up a chimney.  I had to come in the back door and strip down to my underwear in the kitchen before I was marched up to the bath.

We built dens in the park with the long grass, we didn't demand that dog poo be picked up, we knew to avoid it.  If you wanted to be evil, you would pick up a lump of poo in a load of grass (generally a whole handful of grass to a tiny speck of poo) and chase someone with it. 

We didn't have to deal with syringes back then as drugs were not a major issue anywhere apart from the seediest areas, any druggies straying out of these areas would have been run out of town by an angry mob of mums and dads and none of them would have dared gone to the Police about their 'Human Rights'.

And even if used syringes HAD been a problem, our parents would have told us to leave them alone, so we would have done.

And even though we didn't have watches or iphones, we always knew when it was time to be in.

Television too was different.  I grew up with On The Buses, The Rag Trade, Love Thy Neighbour, Benny Hill and Jim Davison.  It didn't offend me then, and it doesn't offend me now.

Yes, I used to wonder how Stan and Jack always managed to get women (Reg Varney looked like my Grandad and Bob Grant, eww, even as young as I was),  It was all so harmless and generally it was the underdog who came out on top.  There was no bad language and how many women did Benny Hill catch?  They always managed to evade him, okay in hindsight there may have been a reason for that but then, it was funny.

So when Ashes To Ashes came along in 2008, I somehow missed Life On Mars, I had to watch. Real men coppers like Gene Hunt and Ray Carling, reminiscent of Jack Regan and George Carter, were too much of a draw.

Real Men.  With a capital M.

Brut wearing, whiskey drinking, V8 driving.  This was the man I needed.

Unfortunately these days it is more likely to be the women swigging single malt and revving the V8 whilst the men are sipping soft drinks and driving Priuses.

But some of us dinosaurs want these real men, so if you know a Gene Hunt looking for a hard drinking, hard gambling lady love, send him my way.


Monday, 27 March 2017

Do you have to be a vegan to love animals.

No, you don't.

Let me start this post by saying that I have nothing against Vegans who quietly make the decision to not eat any animal products, that's their choice.  I do, however, have a problem with Vegans who constantly post pictures of dead animals or animals in distress, we are not stupid, we know where meat comes from.

I am an animal lover, well apart from slugs, frogs and toads, but generally I can find no fault in an animal. And yet I eat meat.

I buy my meat from local farms, amazingly, considering we have so few things to do around here, we do have a lot of farms.  I like that I can see that the animals are happy before they are slaughtered on site (reduces stress), I have no problem knowing that the pig with the blissed out expression that I scratched behind the ears is now on my plate between 2 slices of bread. 

I know what a distressed animal looks like and I will not buy from anywhere where the animals look distressed.

I don't like buying meat from supermarkets, you do not know how the animal has been treated even with the Red Tractor mark.

I certainly do not buy anything marked as Halal.

But where do the Vegans think the animals will go if we all turn Vegan?

If we all become Vegan, the only place we see a Gloucester Old Spot pig, or a Hairy Coo, or a Masham, or even a dairy herd Fresian is in a zoo, they are not going to be allowed to gamble happily around the fields, they will be slaughtered as they are not profitable.  

We will have scenes reminiscent of the Foot & Mouth outbreak all over the world.  Piles of dead animals everywhere.

Keep eating meat, just make sure you know where it has come from.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Liebster Award.

I hadn't heard about The Liebster Award until I was nominated by the lovely Tattooed Mummy who I am sure you all already know but just in case you don't you can meet her here.

Liebster translates as dearest or beloved so the idea of the award is to nominate bloggers who you enjoy reading to answer a few questions and then go on to nominate their favourite bloggers and so on and so forth.  It's a way of getting to know each other a bit better and maybe find some more blogs to follow.

These are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you – and display your award with pride

Answer the eleven questions put to you by the person who nominated you

List 11 random facts about yourself

Nominate and link to other bloggers that you think are deserving of this award

Give them 11 questions to answer and let them know they’ve been nominated!

Liebster Award logo

Anyway, here goes.

Tattooed Mummy has asked me....

1. What is your favourite movie?

For a while, when I was pretty down (not that I am exactly highkicking down stairways now) my favourite film was Drag Me To Hell purely because at the end boy did not get girl as *spoiler alert* girl gets dragged to Hell right at the end of the movie. Bet you didn't see that coming.

My guilty pleasure film is Wayne's World and I can recite a lot of the script even now, and the Bo Rhap scene has been performed in my car on more than one occasion.

2. What is your least favourite food?

Sprouts!  Or tripe, I remember going to the market every couple of weeks with my Gran and buying raw tripe which she then used to poach in milk.  Bleurgh.

3. If you had to choose only one social media to use for the rest of your life which one would you pick?

Twitter, I use it so much more than I do facebook these days.  Unless MySpace makes a huge comeback, I liked that you could add music to your profile page.

4. Why did you start a blog? And is that still why you blog?

I'll be honest, I started my blog to try and win competitions as when I started comping an awful lot of the winners seemed to be bloggers.  It didn't work out for me.

Now I blog less, these days it is generally when I am having a drunken 'aaaargghh, what is going on in the world?' moment

5. Are you a happy person?

Right at this minute, yes.  But ask me again when my sicknote expires and I have to go back to work.

6. Can you sing?

I like to think that I can, but I can't.

7. Which country that you have never visited would you most like to?

I'm going to be a bit cheeky here.  I would love to go to Croatia for a holiday if I ever get the money.  I've never been although I did go to Yugoslavia just after I left school in 1987.  Oh my God, I just realised that I left school 30 years ago!

8. What do you do to relax?

Drink generally.

9. Do you always take off your makeup at the end of the day?

I don't wear makeup unless it is needed as part of a fancy dress outfit.  If I haven't sweat the stuff off then I will remove it.

10.  When was the last time you painted your nails, and what colour were they?

A couple of years ago I painted my toenails before I went on holiday as two of them had turned black after I walked into the bed post.  I painted them blue.  I was sitting on the beach one day looking at a pretty blue shell I thought I had found thinking how unusual it was, then I realised one of my nails had fallen off.

11. Which book(s) are reading at the moment and are they paper or digital?

I am currently rereading my paperback copy of Trainspotting, I'd forgotten it was written in Scottish and it took a while to get back into.  That's my curled up on the settee book.

In bed I am reading, on my Kindle, Twelve Minutes Till Midnight.

And the book in the smallest room, paperback obviously, is Thief's Return which I won on Goodreads a while ago.

Now I have to give you 11 facts about me, not sure I am interesting enough for 11 but here goes.

1.  I would rather be in Spain.  I would love to live in Spain but I don't want to have to work whilst I am there otherwise it will just become here.  But warmer.  So I need to win the lottery.

2.  I was bought a pint by a former member of King although it was so long ago now he may have still been in the band at the time.

3.  I didn't lose my virginity until I was 41.  Worst thing I ever did.

4.  For the last 5 or 6 years I have been trying to grow my own veg, other than a marrow plant that tried to take over the garden I have not been too successful.

5.  I have been made redundant twice.

6.  I voted 'leave', which may seem at odds with point 1 above, but I want to be ruled solely by the Government that we elect, whoever that may be, in this country and not by officials based in another country.

7.  I am a member of the Queen fan club, not her Maj, but Freddie and the boys, and attend the weekend long Convention every year, although this year I cannot attend due to the dates but it would have been Covention number 25 for me.

8.  I've never been to Nandos.

9.  I've never been a Bridesmaid.

10.  I love Hallowe'en more than Christmas.

11.  I want pink hair.


Now I need to nominate....

I choose

Emma at Emma Drew Info
Laura at Heroine In Heels

And your questions are

1.  Do you enjoy blogging now as much as you did when you started?

2.  If money was no object, where would you like to live?

3.  Did you ever accidentally call a teacher 'mum'?

4.  Have you ever seen a ghost?

5.  Do you have any tattoos?

6.  Are you a dog or a cat person?

7.  Can you drive?  If so, how many times did you have to take your driving test?

8.  Do you have a Bucket List?  If so, what is the first item on it?

9.  When you go on holiday, are you a sea swimmer or pool swimmer?

10.  Which Friends character were you?

11.  Have you ever tried to find yourself on Google Street View?

I look forward to reading your posts.