About frugalqueenblog

Blogger writing about all things thrifty who wants to save money wherever she can.

Not going out


Hello Dear Reader,

I don’t go out. I’m known for it. I’m an antisocial introvert and proud of it. I like people but the Sheldon part of me doesn’t like it when they do fun all wrong so I’m happiest in my own space. I love weekend pottering, some cooking, pootle about the house doing a bit of housework and get ready for the working week. 

We had our wood delivered today and we’ll love shuffling it about and getting it nicely stacked. There’s a huge amount of satisfaction in a good log stack, like a well stocked pantry or freezer. I’ll stack whilst DB chops kindling. 

I own make up but only wear it occasionally these days, I think maybe once last year…..all part of the not going out I suppose. I do spend money on moisturiser as I’m getting on a bit and need a little help at 51! I’m still growing out my grey hair and I’m still ok with it.

So the nice thing about getting older and not going out is the feeling of been there, done that and not missing it. Anyone else a happy quiet introvert? Anyone else a not going outer? 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Cosy and thrifty winters


Hello Dear Reader,

This winter just drags on with chilliness. I love a frosty morning but these cold evenings and nights need a bit of clever thriftiness. We have our little wood stove that keeps our living room warm and cosy as well as drying our laundry. We have lots of other ways of keeping warm on the cheap.

We always close our curtains, even though we have double glazing as it provides extra insulation and we have extra thick linings in our curtains. As we have a wood stove, we lave the lounge door open, close the dining room door and the heat circulates upstairs. Once that’s warm enough, we open the dining room door and move the warmth around the house. It means one little stove can keep the house warm. Notice I said warm, it’s not a house where you can sit around barefoot so wrap up if you come and visit.

We keep our bedroom cool and warm our bed with hot water bottles and keep ourselves warm with home made quilts. Talking about quilts, we have a few around the lounge to throw over ourselves when the fire dies down.  It’s amazing how a quilt and a mug of hot chocolate can warm us. 

When I get in from work, I wrap up with a thick fleece, slippers and socks and were quite cosy until the fire gets going. It’s a bit chilly in the mornings but we’re up, washed dressed and out within no time at all. 

It’s lovely and warm here tonight. I hope you’re all keeping warm.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xx

What can you do if you get yourself into debt at University?

graduation-caps-thrown-in-air

 Hello Dear Reader,

If you are struggling with debt after graduating from university, you are not alone. On top of tuition fees and maintenance loans, which are now estimated to average £44,000 in the UK, many students graduate with other significant debt.

 

Poor money management is considered by the media to be one of the main issues, with research by the University of Sheffield and comparethemarket.com discovering that ‘students will blow just over £2,700 of their loan in the first fortnight’. However, misleading student bank accounts also account for debt, as they add significant interest to overdrafts after students have finished university. Initial low interest rates, that rise significantly later, on credit cards are also a common cause for overspending and debt.

 

Whatever the reason for your debt, it’s important you seek help straight away, and here’s what you can do:

 

Talk to your family

If your mum and dad didn’t know about the loan or credit card you are struggling to now pay off, you perhaps don’t want to tell them. However, they may be able to help. If the debt is relatively small they could pay it off and set up an arrangement whereby you pay them back. While it might feel like an awkward solution it removes any interest accumulating on the amount owed and ensures you are debt free from creditors straight away.

 

Do not take on any further credit

It’s very important that you refrain from obtaining any more credit while paying off existing debts. If you’re struggling to make ends meet while repaying your debts it can be tempting to turn to credit but borrowing more money escalates the problem and increases your debt level. Debt is a slippery slope so if you’re struggling to make ends meet, look at ways you can make cutbacks or seek further help. Don’t take on any further credit.

 

Seek expert advice

There are numerous free debt advice companies out there offering help and support on clearing debts. Get in touch with someone and find out what options are available, you’ll feel better for talking and you could put down the phone with a clear point of action in mind.

 

Take on a debt solution

There are various debt solutions available, so it’s important you take time to weigh up your options. A Debt Management Plan is an effective solution when it comes to clearing debts, as it involves you paying one monthly payment based on what you can afford. This is usually a reduced amount however so while a DMP is more affordable, it may take you longer to repay your debts. Creditors can still add interest and fees to the amount which will also expand your plan.

 

An IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) is another example of a solution that may be suggested. You pay a set monthly amount based on what you can afford but as this is a formal solution you pay what you owe for a set period of time, usually five to six years, and at the end of the agreement the rest of your unsecured debts will be written off. Interest and charges will also be frozen in a DMP. You can read more here about IVAs or take a look at the differences between them and a DMP. If you are in debt and struggling it is recommended you talk to a debt expert. They will be able to look at your personal finances and circumstances and explain what options are available to help you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

This is a sponsored post. Of course, not all students get into massive amounts of debt and lots of students get family financial help. However, it’s more the case that students are finding college life increasingly expensive and some students, like some people, find debt of any kind a spiral. I always invite comments but let’s not be too judgemental of anyone who found themselves with tricky student debt. There is help out there.

Meatless Monday 


Hello Dear Reader,

Shepherdess pie is a real favourite here. It’s probably one of the cheapest meals we eat on a regular basis. Another winter staple with just about every meal is cabbage. This poor specimen had languished in the bottom of the fridge and had gone a bit yellow but waste not want not. Here’s my very easy recipe. 

1 onion chopped

1/2 head of celery – finely diced

3 large carrots – finely diced

1 cup of lentil

1 tbsp of oil

 2 cloves of Garlic – crushed

Tin of haricot beans or a tin of baked beans.

3/4 litre of veg stock 

Seasoning – I add a big splash of Worcestershire sauce and plenty of salt and pepper.

Mashed potatoes

All all the ingredients except the stock and mashed potatoes to a pot and sauté. Add the stock and cook until the lentils and carrots are soft. 

Spoon into a baking dish, cover in mashed potato and placed under a searingly hot grill.

Serve with anything you like. On a cold, can’t be bothered sort of nights, a tin of carrots and peas and some limp cabbage will do.

So cheap and simple but we love it.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Cheap and healthy vegetarian recipes 

Hello Dear Reader,

There are days when opening and warming up a tin of beans would require me to invoke the spirit of Keigh Floyd and days when I just love cooking for the week ahead. Today was the latter.

Lunch was avocado on rye bread with tomatoes and a poached egg and it was delicious. Well, if you buy ripe ready to eat avocados, they need to be eaten. It was drizzled with balsamic glaze, i used 50ml Lidl’s balsamic vinegar and a heaped teaspoon of soft brown sugar I had leftover from Christmas cake and popped it in the microwave in a plastic jug on high heat for two minutes. It reduces it and makes it sticky. Try it on just about anything.

I then made some mini savoury muffins. I sprayed the muffin tin with oil and heated the oven to 180, well I think 180 as I’ve cleaned the numbers off. I then chopped and dry fried (for the sake of my health, not my taste buds) chopped onion, courgette and mushrooms. In a bowl, I beat three eggs, half a cup of milk, a heaped dessert spoon of corn flour, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, 2 leftover slices of ham (not vegetarian but you can leave this out) and 20g of finely grated Parmesan and a handful of baby spinach leaves. I combined everything and added it all to the muffin tins and cooked it for fifteen minutes. I left them to cool and will freeze them when they are entirely cool. They will defrost in thirty minutes and reheat in a hot oven in five minutes.

Next, I made quinoa, spinach and cauliflower burgers.

Ingredients

1/2 head of cauliflower- rice in the food processor 

Handful of spinach finely chopped, I used half a bag of baby spinach.

Onion finely chopped

1 cup of quinoa, washed and then cooked in two cups of water for 15 minutes.

2 garlic cloves, finely grated.

20g grated Parmesan 

2 heaped dessertspoons of gluten free flour,

3 beaten eggs.

Combine the lot, leave to stand for fifteen minutes. 

Soup – a real favourite for us, sweet potato and lentil with a hint of spice.

Ingredients

1 large onion, 1 tablespoon of oil and gently fry

Add

1 peeled and chopped sweet potato 

1 cup of lentils

1 chopped red chilli

1 tin of tomatoes

1.5 litres of vegetable stock

Simmer for twenty minutes. 

I blend mine. It’s really thick and substantial. 

I then divide it up into old marg tubs, each pot is enough for two of us. We just have a small bowl as part of a meal. 

Back to my burgers. Firstly, I heated the oven to 200 degrees and oiled a baking tray. 

I used my cookie cutter and spooned the mixture in, lifted it off and there were my burgers. 

I made ten burgers. We’ll eat two each per meal. I cooked them for thirty minutes and checked them every fifteen minutes.

They are really chunky and tasty. I bagged some and froze them. 

Here they are up close.

Butter bean dip goes really well with any sort of veggie burgers.

Here’s my recipe

1 tin of butter beans

Zest and juice of one lemon

Good pinch of chilli flakes of chilli powder

2 cloves of garlic – very finely chopped

1/4 cups water/ 50ml 

Small handful of coriander finely chopped.

I blended it with my hand stick.

Here’s the result. A fresh and zesty dip, veggie burgers and we had ours with shredded buttery greens. It’s a really tasty supper and really fresh and healthy.

We are not vegetarians but eat meatless meals throughout the week. It stretches our budget and helps us to eat healthily. 

I’ve got some more lovely veggie recipes this week.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx 

Expensive food occasionally?


Hello Dear Reader, 

I can’t remember when I first ate an avocado but I’ve always loved them. There are certain foods that just shouldn’t taste as wonderful, such as oysters, octopus or avocado, but they do. Slow cooked octopus is heavenly, salty oysters are divine and creamy avocado is my very favourite vegetable. Sadly,  they are prohibitively expensive but we do try and have them every now and then. Oysters are something we really only splash out on every so many years.

I’m trying to look after myself and my go to pick me up is always dark green vegetables and I love the sweetness of butternut squash to go with it, so I spiralized some squash, steamed it for two minutes as the kale was just finishing steaming. Some chicken and a good squeeze of lemon juice and our hearty supper was finished. We had half a slice of rye bread each with a thin smear of butter.

Our avocados were £1 each but they just melted when we ate them. That might not seem much but we try and keep our main meal to a pound or under. Sometimes though, it’s worth spending a bit more. 

So, what’s your go to splash out? Anyone else love a creamy avocado?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Looking after ourselves


Hello Dear Reader,

Oh heck it’s so cold. We don’t get much snow, if any, in Cornwall. Sometimes, we get a smattering over Bodmin Moor and a bit around town and villages surrounding the moor. 

As I was saying, it’s cold, dark and I’m so over this winter! It may have a romantic noir about it to some but it’s strangling me!

I’m aware that I’m feeling like a pile of shit so I’m doing all I can to look after myself.

I’m eating well. I could do more but I’ll start with that.

Winter is supposedly getting worse……look after yourselves too.

More fish, green, Greek yogurt and fruit for me. 

Winter, you can sod right off! Roll on spring X

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs x

I spiralize 


Hello Dear Reader,

I’ve been on the hunt for a spiralizer for a while and found one in B and M for £9.99. I made a ragu sauce with low fat pork and then just stirred in the raw courgette ribbons.

Really cheap and we had two courgette each. My sauce is watery as I don’t add any thickening. I’m trying to be good although I have the breaking strain of a kit kat and did think this would have been better with grated cheese. I didn’t give in (today).

It was much tastier than it looked.

Do you spiralize? Any veggi-getti recipe ideas are welcome.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx 

Meat free Monday 

Hello Dear Reader,

This tastes a whole lot better than it looks. We often have meat free meals and like this, they’re nothing fancy and certainly not expensive.

Our supper was wilted spinach, roasted red opinion, mushrooms and butternut squash with homemade fat free hummus.

I can’t take the credit for the hummus, like a lot of my recipes, is from the BBC. Here it is

1 tin of chick peas as well as the liquid in the tin.

Add to a jug and add,

1 teaspoon of tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed,

1 heaped teaspoon of cumin,

2 heaped tablespoons of Greek yogurt,

Good squeeze of lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Blitz with a hand blender.

Poured the middle, we had half each. I finished this off with a sprinkle of paprika.

Just lovely. In my opinion, anything is good with spinach. All my veggies were on offer in Aldi so nothing more than 59p per pack so good for me and my wallet.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Woodland quilt 

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been ages since I shared any of my quilting with you. I had some odd fat quarters that I’ve wanted to add into a quilt for ages. Previously, I thought of an autumn quilt and now I’m thinking woodland.

I’m using Bonnie Hunter’s quilt design called Bricks and Stepping stones but I sized the four square blocks up to 4.5 by 4.5″ and the ‘bricks’ to 4.5 by 8″. It makes slightly bigger blocks and I can get the quilt made quicker.

Here’s the link to the original pattern with Bonnie’s brilliant instructions. I love her patterns and find them so easy to use.

Below is the pattern I used before with the original sizes of blocks. It gives a lovely repeating patterns and you can add a border to get it to the size you’d like. I seldom make and edge to edge quilt as I like a border.

bricks-and-stepping-stones-quilt

I’m currently sorting through my fabric to make another quilt as I’ll have this one made in no time. I never look forward to the wrestling a huge quilt through my machine when I come to quilt it but as I have neither the space or huge financial investment to buy a long arm machine, I just use a regular machine to quilt and bind. It’s a workout.

I’ve just about finished all the blocks today. Just in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m still quilting all the time and aim to make around three king size or queen size quilts a year and a couple of throws. All of the quilts I’ve previously made are in France now so I need to get quilts finished for here.

Who else is quilting? Anyone else making or going to make Bonnie’s ‘En Provence’? I’m on the hunt for some magenta and lilac fabric and will be nosing around charity shops for shirts next weekend. I might not have much luck with the magenta!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx