Destination Nurburgring 2015: Not long now!

So later on this evening I will be sat on the ferry bound to Rotterdam! I haven’t done any posting of any sort over the past few days because work has been genuinely manic, and the past few days seem to have just disappeared in a blur.

There may be distinct radio silence on the blog front (pah! That’s nothing new) as I suspect internet access will be sketchy at best. I may be able to do some Twittervating and Instagramming, dependent on how extortionate internet will be on my phone. If I can sweet-talk Michael for the wifi password it may be a different story, but we shall see!

So on my return (well, maybe a little later than my return – I go from ferry to work to yoga to bed to dead repeat the first couple of days) I shall be (hopefully) uploading pictures and writing up the posts from this year’s trip!

The weather doesn’t look optimistic but who knows. I just want a sleep! Anyway, my bags are packed, my car is full of petrol, my bank balance is empty, my playlist is uploaded onto my iPod, and I am about ready to go!

See you on the other side ūüôā

An Update from My Garden

It’s been a quiet few weeks; sorry about that! I’ve not been very well – I had an awful cold and mega headaches, and even the thought of looking at a computer screen was enough to send me off to bed!

This weekend I’ve been in my garden a lot! April is past the midway point now so things are definitely coming on. My best friend Amy came to help on Saturday: I was meant to be passing on my wisdom but it was more about sharing the work!

We build my salad planter (see picture below), filled it with compost and planted out the spinach and mixed leaves from the greenhouse, dug in the shredded paper from my Minimalist Challenge into the second bed to retain water, repotted the squashes and pumpkins that were poking the roots out, and the courgettes too; we then sowed four different carrots (Harlequin, Red Samurai, Baby carrots and Chanteray), parsnips and salsify in that bed; we planted out the rest of my potatoes, and finally we sowed my Rosella tomatoes! Amy went away with a little courgette and some spinach in pots.

Sunday I sowed All Year Round lettuce, after discovering that Dad can’t stand mixed leave salads (apparently they’re “the weeds that grow at the side of the road”), and the pak choi from the greenhouse into the planter. I then weeded my caulis and cabbages, and sowed some fresh cabbage and broccoli for later in the year. In the papered bed I also sowed some turnips and shallots.

It’s been a busy weekend! I managed a little time with my camera.

Bought from Yorkshire Trading, this is to be my salad planter. I have spinach (back right), mixed leaves (front right), and have now sown All Year Round lettuce (front left) and Pak Choi (rear left).

Bought from Yorkshire Trading, this is to be my salad planter. I have spinach (back right), mixed leaves (front right), and have now sown All Year Round lettuce (front left) and Pak Choi (rear left).

Rosella Tomatoes (for all I keep calling them "Roselia" like the Pokemon!), these are to be dark red cherry tomatoes.

Rosella Tomatoes (for all I keep calling them “Roselia” like the Pokemon!), these are to be dark red cherry tomatoes.

Look at these bad boys! These are my courgettes (black beauty) and with the lovely warm weather we've had they've come on greatly.

Look at these bad boys! These are my courgettes (black beauty) and with the lovely warm weather we’ve had they’ve come on greatly.

These are my Dutch tomatoes (cherries) at the far back, with some Ailsa Craig tomatoes in the fore. There are some peppers hidden somewhere in between if you can see! These have been inside for about a month, and I've brought them into the greenhouse.

These are my Dutch tomatoes (cherries) at the far back, with some Ailsa Craig tomatoes in the fore. There are some peppers hidden somewhere in between if you can see! These have been inside for about a month, and I’ve brought them into the greenhouse.

Here you can see my cucumbers! 5 for 5! So pleased. There are courgettes as well round the edges, but I'm very pleased with my cucumbers! Fingers crossed I can keep them going.

Here you can see my cucumbers! 5 for 5! So pleased. There are courgettes as well round the edges, but I’m very pleased with my cucumbers! Fingers crossed I can keep them going.

Beans! Look at the size of them! These are runners down the middle, mangetout towards the left, which are lovely and flouncy, and on the right edge, dwarf beans.

Beans! Look at the size of them! These are runners down the middle, mangetout towards the left, which are lovely and flouncy, and on the right edge, dwarf beans.

Mange-touty! Last year I grew mangetout from store-bought plants, but I've started these from seed and they look pretty darn good!

Mange-touty! Last year I grew mangetout from store-bought plants, but I’ve started these from seed and they look pretty darn good!


Gallery: Easter Sunday – Specialist Cars Malton “Big Breakfast Meet”

A snapshot of the "Big Breakfast Meet"

A snapshot of the “Big Breakfast Meet”

Just like Kar Freitag! Except without as many German people... or without the noise... or the sand!

Just like Kar Freitag! Except without as many German people… or without the noise… or the sand!

"The Dark Knight" is exactly what this car will be called!

“The Dark Knight” is exactly what this car will be called!



Here's a German!

Here’s a German!

This is like an 80s version of the future... too many angles, it hurts my eyes!

This is like an 80s version of the future… too many angles, it hurts my eyes!

Another German!

Another German!

Green Machine! I love this colour, it's so ostentatious it's unreal.

Green Machine! I love this colour, it’s so ostentatious it’s unreal.

You know how cars have expressions? This one... is a little... dopey?

You know how cars have expressions? This one… is a little… dopey?

Not sure why I took a photo of an empty space...oh wait, it's a camouflage Porsche!

Not sure why I took a photo of an empty space…oh wait, it’s a camouflage Porsche!

Dream car?! T-Bone had a sweet ride!

Dream car?! T-Bone had a sweet ride!

So good I photographed it twice!

So good I photographed it twice!

I spy... a Ring sticker! Hmmm think my Dad's gone past this a few times?!

I spy… a Ring sticker! Hmmm think my Dad’s gone past this a few times?!

Camber. I feel a little sick.

Camber. I feel a little sick.

Save the best till last! Little beast in the field. Lookin' good!

Save the best till last! Little beast in the field. Lookin’ good!

What day of the week is it? – a quickie and an update

What is it about Easter week? Fresh off a four-day weekend and I feel like I need another long weekend to get over this one!

And what a full-on weekend it was! I felt like I never stopped. I went to Harrogate to see my best friend from uni on Good Friday, on Saturday I washed Dickie and did loads of gardening, Sunday we went to the Big Breakfast Car Meet at Specialist Cars of Malton where I took loads of photos, and then I baked Mum’s birthday cake in the afternoon, and then Monday was Mum’s birthday so we were pretty much full up with visitors and trips.

I don’t even know what day of the week it is! Is it Wednesday? Thursday?

I was poorly today so had to be off work. I still don’t feel 100%. I have an awful throat and a pounding head. I slept from about half nine yesterday till about half one this afternoon. Oops! Then I took it easy in the afternoon and pottered around in my garden/greenhouse a bit.

I was very happy to see this little buddy peeping up!

Hello little Carmen!

Hello little Carmen!

Now according to gardeners and my Nana, cucumbers are difficult to grow. The back of the packet is enough to put the fear of God into you – must be kept at these temperatures, the first few days are the most important; it’s like getting a puppy! Whatever you do to this cucumber while it’s germinating is something it will remember for the rest of its life. So naturally I was ready to chalk up cucumber growing to my now rather lengthy list of failures (not exclusive to gardening, I might add) – however I am now happy to say so far I have four out of the five seeds all happily germinated and poking their ways upwards into life in my greenhouse!


Might this be a sign of good things to come? Oohoo, I shall take it as so! If I can nurture a cucumber into life, who knows what I can achieve? Making myself well enough for work tomorrow would be a start!

I will have more updates later on, I promise! On…whatever day of the week it will be!



Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

***Music review!!***

Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful

This is a bit different; I don’t often review music. I¬†like music and have a lot to say, but usually my blog is more – well, gardens and cars and ramblings. This does fit with the latter, so please bear with me!

I’ll start off with a disclaimer: I don’t know¬†anything about music; I don’t really know the proper names for things; as a student of Linguistics I couldn’t even get my head around prosody and pitch; however I can bop along to a good song.

Nightwish are my favourite band – mmm, in the first and third incarnations, I should say (though, I suppose, there are 4 incarnations – everybody always forgets about the Sami-Marco swap, but never mind). When they had the second vocalist, I discovered Epica and swapped allegiances. Shocking! Imaginaerum didn’t really do much to win me over (I’m sorry, I found Scaretale really weird and freaky, and the last song was a bit long-winded). But then Showtime, Storytime happened…

I think it’s hard to be a female-fronted/symphonic/whatever you want to call it metal fan without hearing about the whole Nightwish-Tarja-Anette-Floor debacle, and YouTube is rife with the flamers and trolls¬†still rabbiting on about the whole thing. I’ll say my bit here about it then get on with it. I¬†loved Tarja. I love her as a solo artist and as the former Nightwish singer. She has a wonderful tone to her voice that no other singer can replicate, and that’s obvious;¬†every singer has something unique about them, whoever they are. I didn’t like Anette, partly because I was a Tarja fangirl, partly because the amount of ns and ts flummoxed me, but mainly because she was shouty and whiny, and couldn’t match the sheer massiveness of the Nightwish machine. As for Floor? Some of my favourite songs are After Forever songs (pretty much everything on¬†After Forever,¬†but especially Empty Memories & Lonely) so I already knew of her as a singer, and so I was mega, mega excited to see her in Showtime, Storytime, and mega, mega, mega excited to hear her in Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

Now I have to be honest. I’m a bit cross. Not with Nightwish, but with the company I ordered the album from. I ordered it online from a Finnish music shop because I wanted the super special awesome edition with photobooks and signed stuff. It was dispatched on 23rd March.

It is not here!!!!!!!!

In a rage. So I’ve been forced to listen to rips of the album on YouTube. Why should I buy an album I’ve already bought again? If I wasn’t such a skin-flint, I would download it – but I’m cheap, and the Penniless Princess, and an impatient bitch to boot. So, hence, YouTube.

So, onto the poor-quality version of the album I’ve been listening to on YouTube.

The Nightwish sound is there: it’s never¬†gone away. The sound isn’t the vocalist, but the music. Tuomas Holopainen is obviously a god, and that’s that. No question. And this album is certainly no exception. The inclusion of Floor, who can do nice floaty singing (Elan, Edema Ruh), growly angry stuff (Weak Fantasy, the especially cross Yours is an Empty Hope) and big epic turns (Shudder before the Beautiful, The Greatest Show on Earth) allows for a versatility that I think is more evocative of the¬†Once-era Nightwish than the recent stuff. The melodies are good, strong, and I bounce along on my chair to them all. Edema Ruh has been stuck in my head for the past couple of days and is, unsurprisingly, my favourite song.

Lyrics-wise, we’re more on a par with Imaginaerum. There’s more of this Mary Costa name-dropping than the little match girl freezing in the snow. While that might not mean much to anybody else, I just feel like a little bit of the poetry has got lost in the message.

The¬†message. I’ve read a few whinges here and there about it. This album is all about science and evolution, and certainly big songs like Shudder, Greatest Show, Endless Forms and Alpenglow hammer it home. I like the cosmos imagery but I do miss the fantastical stuff – which is where songs like Edema Ruh and Sharbat Gula come in. But I don’t think the message is intrusive at all: Epica often fill their albums to the hilt with political and ethical stuff, and that doesn’t get in the way of some serious headbanging. And at least we haven’t got an album here in a couple of dead languages, as some bands like Leaves’ Eyes tend to be dropping out. (Meredead actually worked nicely for me since I was studying Anglo-Saxon at the time!)

My favourite songs are:

Weak Fantasy – this is a gnarly, cross sort of song. I very much like! I was in a bit of a rage when I first heard it anyway, so it suited my mood. Floor’s angry voice is¬†ideal here; she sounds perfect. I love the little folksy bit in the middle: at first it did sound a bit jarring, but on repeat listens, I wouldn’t be without it. It’s also one of the few times we actually hear Marco. Marco!

Edema Ruh – I’ve gone on about it enough! I love Edema Ruh. It reminds me of For the Heart I Once Had, which was one of the two songs I really liked off Dark Passion Play (the other being Sahara). It’s a ridiculously catchy song, and is apparently based on characters from a book, one which I will be researching. I wonder if¬†Tuomas is taking a commission?! I love the tone, the lyrics, the music – such an uplifting song.

The Eyes of Sharbat Gula –¬†who is Sharbat Gula and why do they have a song? Ooh, I don’t know, but I really like this instrumental.

Shudder before the Beautiful¬†– natch, the second-released song is one of my faves. I liked Elan when it came out, but I wasn’t knocked for six. Here I definitely was: this is Nightwish of old: big, bombastic, taking no prisoners. What an epic way to kick off an album: a punch in the face, or maybe a punch in the eardrums: you end up sat back in your seat, bombarded with the hugeness of this song.

My Walden ¬†– remember Moondance, the sat-round-a-campfire mega chant progressive 2 minute instrumental in Oceanborn? With the male voices chanting? That makes you just want to get up and dance, preferably in a village square or in a barn? Well, this is it’s grown up brother. My Walden is folksy: it has a chant in a foreign language that I don’t know and will need to look up; it has a fast dancey pace that I love; it has a cool breakdown; lots of different instruments; I seem to think of this as Troy Donockley’s gig (oooh I love a bit of Troy! What a cool dude).

Now, obviously, I will give this album a million and one stars. It’s Nightwish + Floor Jansen + a range of moods and tones + massive scope + general awesomeness + did I mention it’s Nightwish?¬†But… it’s Nightwish, but not all there: sort of, Nightwis – we’re missing a letter here.

Floor Jansen is amazeballs. Watch her duet with Simone Simons on the Epica Retrospect tour. Listen to anything from After Forever (I’m naughty; I’ve not listened to ReVamp; bad fangirl). Watch her on Showtime, Storyime, or whichever way it’s spelled. She isn’t quite here. Studio-wise, she isn’t Tarja level. Yet. I think that¬†yet is very important. But if you listen to some of Tarja’s mega songs – Ghost Love Score obviously comes to mind; Ever Dream is also a killer (it’s one of my favourites), or anything off Wishmaster (my favourite Tarja-era album, where I think her voice is pitch-perfect and absolutely matches the music) – in the studio, then you get the idea; for some reason or other, Floor was holding back, or held back.

Which brings me to my next point. Where the hell is Marco?! I heard his voice on like two songs. I love me a good bit of Marco Hietala. Not just because I’m convinced he worked in Hellraiser in York. Marco and Tarja did good duet: Romanticide, The Siren, get in my ears now. Marco and Floor could sure as hell do a good growl-off, but I’m quite sure they can do a good sing-off as well. Hmmm. Is there a mega bonus-track hiding somewhere?!

But then you listen to Edema Ruh, and everything is happy again. I love the plinky-plonk in the chorus. It makes me so happy!

So listen: Edema Ruh: ears: now.

Do any of you guys like Nightwish?? Or might you give them a look after my review? Do¬†you know where my CD is?! I swear, it must be¬†swimming here from Finland. It’s actually being brought to me via husky sled.

“Destination Nurburgring” Flashback: Day 3 – Kar Freitag

***Flashback Friday! or should that be, “Flashback Freitag”?!***

Reflection 2015: Kar Freitag in grey old England:¬†I woke up this morning. It should have been to the sounds of church bells or car engines revving. Instead I woke up to the relative quiet of Windy Farm. It’s Good Friday – otherwise known as Kar Freitag at the Nurburgring – and we weren’t in Germany!

I’ve been able to see a little bit of a cold-looking Kar Freitag on bridgetogantry ¬†throughout the day, so that’s been nice, but it doesn’t make up for not being there. (NB. I’m not commenting on the Flugplatz tragedy just because it’s too sensitive and nothing really to do with me or my blog’s ethos; to be honest, everything has been said about it, and nothing will change what happened.)

This is last year’s post from Kar Freitag. I’ve not done much to the images except resize, mainly because I’m sleepy and lazy, and messing on with them does take a good bit of time.

Good Friday seems to be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, and on a sunny day, spectator spots like Brunnchen and the car park on the hill are rammed with people and cars. Due to how busy it is, the day is a bad one for closures and accidents. Judging by yesterday evening’s events, the idiots are out in force. I have a feeling today might be more of a passenger day, and Dickie may be relegated to base camp!

Writing this retrospectively, Kar Freitag seems like ages ago!

We parked the three cars (Dickie, Dippy the Hatch and the truck) in the field. This was probably a bad idea. Because all of western Germany seems to descend upon the Nurburgring like they have nothing better to do, the roads around the track are absolutely rammed. We’ve travelled on Good Friday before, and the road we used to take to the hotel involved going along the road past Brunnchen, probably the biggest viewpoint on the whole track, and it was literally car park city going up the hill, and Dad about cooked the clutch on the truck. Friends of ours were travelling on the Friday and got stuck in traffic even before they’d gotten off the motorway.

From our park on the hill, we could see the extent of the queue. The road up to Nurburg and the entrance to the track, and down to the junction to go to the fastest petrol station in the world or into Adenau etc., were soon absolutely rammed either way by about mid morning. I don’t know how well you can see on the picture:

Kar Freitag

You can see how full the field is all the way down to the road, and how the road is then queued going up to the right towards the track, and to the left going away from the track. The traffic going away from the track barely moved all day!

Kar Freitag is never a good track-time day. Due to the volume of cars there are often many closures, and the longer a closure goes on for, the more angsty and hyped-up the drivers become, so that almost straightaway you can pretty much anticipate a second closure because somebody got a bit carried away and lost it. I’m sure there are plenty of videos on Youtube of Car Friday crashes if you did a quick search!

2015 edit: and near misses at Kesselchen, featuring familiar faces, if you look here!

I actually got a lap out in Dickie, and it was the worst lap I think I’ve ever done. There was so much traffic on the track and I got scared when about seventy Porsches were all passing me at once. Kar Freitag wasn’t the best day, and it didn’t end very well.

We went to our old hotel for dinner, and I got to have my first proper steak! So that sort of made up for it. The one thing I don’t like about eating out in pubs in Germany is that everyone smokes inside, so the air is so thick with smoke it makes your eyes water and all your clothes stink of it.

Steak Nurburg

Here is a pic of our Steak Nurburg! In Germany, or at least in this part of Germany, they love to put fruit on their steaks. Here we have a peach, but we’ve had pineapples, strawberries, grapes. People do think this is weird, but then again, we have Hawaiian pizzas – ham and pineapple! Gammon and pineapple slices! Cranberry sauce with your turkey! Duck in orange/plum/lemon sauce!

A voice from the future:¬†I’m quite excited to go back! I know last Kar Freitag I lost my nerve a little bit. I’ve shown people videos and it still is scary as anything. And it’s not quite the same thing – not even anywhere near the same league, obviously – but I’ve had a few hands at Forza; just trying to get my head around the corners and everything. Plus this past week I drove Dickie to work and, a little bit cheekily, spent my journey trying to get used to the car again. It’s quite a swap going from a smooth chugaway diesel with wonderful light steering and responsive brakes to a rattly noisy trumpy beast with no lock and heavy steering, lazy brakes but a happy go faster pedal.

Also, that Steak Nurburg looks very good right now! Yum.

Till next time – Happy Kar Freitag!

“Destination Nurburgring” Flashback 2014: Day 1 – The Epic Journey & Tourist Rides

***2015 Reflection***

Hello from 2015! If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might think this looks a wee bit familiar… that’s because it is! In the run up to Germany 2015, I’m going to reblog all my old posts from last year’s trip. I’ve updated the images so they should look a little better. I’m excited to go to Germany this year.

We have survived the night! I think the worst part for me of the whole trip is the ferry ride. I am notoriously a bad sleeper: I have to have complete darkness in the room and as far as can be achieved, complete silence. These two stipulations aren’t easily achieved when you are sharing a room with three other people – I often liken my father’s snores to a Gumpert starting up. But the night passed surprisingly well.

A P&O ferries breakfast isn’t always the most wondrous thing to wake up to: the cappuccino tasted of cleaning fluid and the scrambled eggs were soggy and suspicious, to say the least! But after a hearty breakfast including decent rashers of bacon and surprisingly good hash browns, we were ready to go.

It was a hot journey – hot in the car, but not in the outside world. But Dickie’s air con goes from nothing to absolutely Baltic in no time at all, so I was flicking it on and off the whole way there. We followed Dad towing his car on the trailer, and were forced to have a pitstop in one of the wonderfully well-maintained rest stops, as Father was getting a bit of a wiggle on. They had these crazy bins that reminded me of the aliens out of Toy Story:

a green dutch dalek

We journeyed to Venlo for our usual McDonald’s stop without problem.¬†I’m not a big Maccy D’s fan, but this is tradition, so I’m happy to have a chicken sensation burger, though on the continent they seem to slather everything in mayonnaise.

However, after we’d finished our McDonald’s (and I changed into some shorts!) a friendly Dutchman pointed out to Dad that one tyre on the trailer was flat! So that had to be sorted out, but me and Mum went to look at the ponies, so we were happy.

And then we were off! The journey to Germany was for the most part uneventful. We fell out with the sat nav numerous times, mainly because the sat nav lady seemed to want to send us to Blankenheim all the time.

We got onto the 1, and then we were happily making our way, until we realised we didn’t really know where we were going. The hotel we usually stay in was unavailable so Father had to do some frantic searching to find an alternative place. So we all thought Father was on the ball, then we found out: he didn’t know where it was, the name of the village or the hotel or anything!

But anyway, after a moment lurking in the Rewe getrankmart car park while Mum and Dad went off on their treasure hunt, we found the hotel and got nice and settled! Father unloaded his car off the trailer and we dumped all our stuff at the hotel.

the different hotel

our gasthaus muhlenhardt

2015:¬†I remember that the hotel had been marketed as Pension Muhlenhardt, which was all Dad and I could remember; so when we got into the village and found Gasthaus Steffan’s advertised on the road (which later turned into Gasthaus Muhlenhardt), you can imagine we were all mightily confused!

The evening’s Touristfahrten was set to start at 5.00, so we got there for about quarter to, only to find it was still a track day! The tourist rides didn’t kick off till about half six.

I had a first lap passengering with Dad, just to sort of set us off. Pfft! Like shit off a shovel (excuse my French!). Father were going for it, even if he later told me he wasn’t 100% confident in the brakes – always puts your faith in the car, dain’t it?

Then, after my post-lap sickness had sort of abated, I took Dickie out for a lap! It didn’t help that I was stuck behind a BMW that thought it was too good to buy a bloody ticket for the Ring: we all had to back up while he about took Dickie’s front bumper off with some dodgy manoeuvring. But then we were off! And then I didn’t have time to think about my nausea or even how hungry I was because I was too busy concentrating on where I was going!

I passed my first ever car fairly early on (I think it was literally the first car ever made, but still, it counts!) and I did both the Carousel and the Mini-Carousel, and they weren’t nearly as terrifying as I had thought. I bodged up a couple of corners but then, who doesn’t? All in all, I shaved a good three minutes off my previous lap times. I think those couple of track days at Blyton – and my new seats! – have really made the difference.

We went to Pinocchio’s for tea and I couldn’t eat it all.¬†Mum and I shared a Funghi Fresci – Rob’s favourite dish. It was piping hot but amazing – but the portion was huuuge, and after about five minutes they brought our mains!

tuckin in at pinocchios

the famous funghi fresci

2015: It seems like I just ended this post here with a picture of Funghi Fresci. I’m not even sure if that’s how it’s spelled! I think I was writing the posts on my iPad whilst in Germany, then adding pictures when I got home. That Funghi Fresci looks good!

I’m excited to take my new camera. Hopefully I’ll have a good gallery of photos to share – not just of us, but of lots of different cars. It does feel a little wrong to not be going over Easter – no Kar Freitag! – but hopefully it should be a good weekend: I think most weekends running Tourist rides are pretty busy now.

I’m also thinking of my playlist for this year’s trip. Any ideas? Put them in the comments!

Till next time.



**Also!!! The header picture wasn’t taken on the Nurburgring. My bad – I couldn’t find where I’d saved the very few pictures I have of Dickie on the track (as opposed to in the car park) so I used this one from Blyton Park. He is¬†enroute to Germany, I swear!

Penniless Princess – Shopping: Planning Ahead

**Penniless Princess** – Shopping for the weeks ahead

How do you shop? Where is your favourite place to shop? Let me know in the comments!

Sparkly April

**Caution: if you’re a veggie, this post has pictures of meat in it. Sorry! Avert your gaze if you would rather not see!**

As you may have guessed, I’m all about that¬†budgeting, not that bass! In previous incarnations, I did like me a little bit of spending: a Mulberry bag here, Kurt Geiger shoes there, and above all, never ever let me loose in Michael Kors! But now I’m trying to save to move out, so it’s all about being money-sensible.

What I usually do is on a Monday or Tuesday, have my little list ready, and either at lunch or at the end of the day, I go to Tesco and get what I want for that week. Sometimes if I have a voucher I’m quids in, so I might treat myself – I got prawns one week: ooooh!

This week, however, I decided to go into forward planning overdrive. I had a voucher for ¬£4 off a ¬£20 shop at Sainsbury’s. This might not sound like much to you, but every penny counts! I actually have four of these vouchers: we’re on week 3 of them. But I try not to spend ¬£20 a week on food if possible – and especially not now I’ve had my mega shop!

How to make your money go further:

1. This is my mega shop:

Penniless Princess meat feast






I bought some beef for frying, pork loin steaks and turkey breast. Turkey is a wee bit cheaper than chicken and I quite like the taste!

None of this was on”special offer”: the beef was the basics range, and all in all it came to just over ¬£10.

2. Get your baggies ready! I like these resealable ones which you can get from any supermarket. Just to prove it, here I use ones from Tesco and Morrisons.

3. Get some good sharp knives. The beef was quite hard to cut with my “good” knife, so I used our proper chef’s knife. I sliced everything up – without mixing!

4. Bag ’em up! Just like this:

A months worth of freezer fodder

PRO TIP! Don’t forget to label them. Name and date, if you please.

So out of those three cartons I got 9 x portions of beef, 2 x pork steaks, 3 x pork pieces, and 4 x turkey! That’s 18 meals there! All but one of the beef got whacked in the freezer; the beef I had as a stir fry for tea.

This should last me the whole of April! (Bear in mind I haven’t bought anything for Easter.) I am pretty chuffed with myself. I also have a few portions of meatballs I froze from earlier on – plenty to go off!

The idea is to now only buy what I need¬†fresh that isn’t growing in my garden. I mean, a girl can live on kale, but she needs some variation!

I shall let you all know if this kept me going for all of April.

How do you try to make your shopping (or money in general) go further? Please let me know in the comments!




Penniless Princess – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

**Penniless Princess** – Saving Pennies in Expensive Months

How do¬†you save your pennies?¬†Please comment! I’d love to hear how you save – if you have any hints, tricks or habits you use.

Sparkly April

Hello all! April is here!

April is a big month for me, in about four different ways:

1. It’s Mum’s birthday – happy birthday!

2. It’s the start of the countdown to the summer season at work. Lou and I were just saying today how we feel like things should be kicking up a gear. So far it seems to be relatively smooth sailing… fingers crossed, eh?

3. It’s April Madness time in the garden! I’ll be planting out my potatoes on Good Friday, and starting off more tomatoes and beans (mainly to replace the ones that the frost got…)

4. It’s car insurance month!

Now, some of you might know that the reason why I’m a penniless princess is because I own three cars. Three cars! One of them is Millie my Ford Puma, the best car ever, but who isn’t currently a road-going car; another is the Flying Banana, my daily run around – a Seat Ibiza in bright yellow; and finally, of course, we can’t forget the little blue Subaru called Dickie.

Expensive little dude!

Expensive little dude!

April is car insurance time for the Flying Banana and Dickie. The Seat isn’t expensive to insure, however insuring a performance car for an under-25-year-old isn’t ever straightforward. I’ve had Dickie for two years now: the first year, when I was 22, was¬†extortionate. Luckily it dropped by ¬£300 the next year, and this year my renewal came in at about ¬£150 less. Usually what I tend to do is just pay both insurances up front, after haggling with my insurers, pulling a bit chunk out of my savings. This year things will be different!

I’m really focusing on saving this year. I’m trying to save ¬£500 a month, which so far is going OK, but the big thing is to not dip into my savings.

My February paycheck was a biggie as I got an extra week’s wages, so straightaway I put as big a portion as I could feasibly get away with into another one of my accounts, earmarked as Dickie’s insurance.

Then obviously I had some unsuspected expenses. I won’t be the first person in the history of the world to admit that I have underestimated how much money I spend in the average month, and how much money just seems to zip out of my account. So I had to dip into Dickie’s account, here and there, and it went down a¬†little bit.

Luckily I managed to get a good deal from my insurance company. I also decided to pay my Seat monthly – it might be a weeny bit more expensive in the long run, but it’s a little easier on the eye than a big chunk going out all at once. But insuring the Dickster on monthly payments is insane!

April has to be a careful month now! I have totalled up my outgoings and know now that on certain days I’ll be a lot lighter in the monetary weight department. *sigh* I suppose it’s all about learning to be a grown-up, eh?

So, Penniless Princess is all about me documenting my attempts to save my pennies, curb my spending (which has been, admittedly, wild in the past – whoops!) and to share the things I’ve learnt along the way.

Wish me luck!

I’d love to know how you all get on saving. Do you have a good way you’ve found of saving? Have you any good hints or tips on how to save?