The SHOMO Awards and a busy weekend

SHOMO Awards

Zoe, Emma and Andy at the SHOMO Awards

I have had such a busy week, my feet have hardly touched the ground! This is mainly because I was out all weekend at the SHOMO awards and spent Sunday in Brighton. Since then if I haven’t been at work I have been decorating. I haven’t had the chance to catch up with myself. I need to, as my new lodger arrives on Sunday and the house is a bit chaotic.

I’m not exactly a control freak, but I don’t respond well to chaos!. will be working flat out on Saturday to reclaim some order.

The SHOMO Awards

I attended the SHOMO Awards (UK Money Bloggers annual conference and awards ceremony) on Saturday. It was full on and extremely interesting. I had the chance to attend a couple of most informative workshops; one on Pinterest and the other on self-publishing. Pinterest fascinates me, but is also a bit of a mystery. I learned a lot from both sessions.

I met some bloggers whose sites I have followed for a while, which was lovely. It is a real community, with everyone so willing to give help and advice when you ask for it.

Shoestring Cottage was nominated for two awards: the Best Thrift and Frugal Blog and the People’s Choice award. I didn’t win either but I never really expected to. It was great just to be there. I met Zoe from Eco Thrifty, who won the Thrift and Frugal category. I love her blog and its whole ethos. She follows her eco principles and bought her own coffee mug. I wish I had thought to do that. Her blog is great, so go over and have a look if you don’t know it.

Skint Dad won the People’s Choice. I wasn’t surprised about this as he has a huge following. His blog is packed with good money saving ideas.

If you want to see all of the nominees and winners, head over to the UK Money Bloggers site. The event was brilliantly organised by Andy Webb from Be Clever with your Cash. He even managed to win a few accolades himself and very well deserved they were too.

I have picked up so many ideas for improving my blog – if I could just find the time!

An empty nest

Room with a view

Daughter number three flew the nest on Sunday and went off to Brighton university. I took her down there and helped her to settle in. She has a lovely room and the campus is very nice. It is, however, next to the football ground. They had a big match on so the traffic was terrible. Hopefully, it won’t always be that bad.

We had just picked up her key and been on campus for three minutes, when she managed to fall down some steps and damage her ankle! Not the kind of trip I envisaged.  I thought she had broken it at first, but she rallied. By the time I left it had swollen up and yesterday she sent me a photo of its vivid blue and purple hues. She hadn’t even started the student fresher’s week events and she has a sprained ankle already!

This week’s frugality – how are you doing?

Lost in Blog Land

I have mentioned before that I recently joined the UK Money Bloggers. The site is well worth a read as it is full of interesting articles on finance and frugality.  The members are a lovely, helpful lot with some amazing blogs. I chat regularly to the group on Facebook and they are so willing to share their experience and advice on anything blog related.

This week they have published an article of mine in the Loose Change section about my No Spend Month. Check it out if you get the chance.

Honestly, I would get lost in Blog Land if I had the time. What did we all do before the Internet? Does anybody else spend more time than they should reading lots of blogs?

 Dishwasher emergency

 Our dishwasher – a brilliant Miele one which was about 12 or 13 years old – finally bit the dust at the weekend. Mr S has pulled it out and managed to sort it on several occasions, but this time it just wouldn’t work. I bought it when there were 5 of us at Shoestring Cottage and very useful it was too. Did we need a new one? I didn’t think so. I reckoned we could go back to that quaint, old-fashioned method of a bowl of soapy water!

 However, Mr S mentioned it to his brother and sister in law, and they just happened to know of a dishwasher going for free. Last night they turned up with it and it is now in place. I just need to work out where to put the rinse aid as the light is flashing but there is no obvious place for it to go. I hope we can get it working properly. If not, we will get out the Marigolds. I’m not rushing out to get another one just yet.  There is no frugality in buying something if you don’t need it.

 Grocery challenge

Very soggy car park!

 We overspent slightly on our £35 a week grocery challenge last week. However, we managed to make this last for 10 days, so we are still on target. This week we have spent about £34. We have been having less meat and a lot of pasta and rice. However, we have been eating really healthily, with fruit, salads and yogurt on the menu as well. Anyone else still on  a grocery challenge this month? I would love to hear how you are getting on and the kind of meals you are eating.

Do you ever just get an evening where you cannot be bothered to cook? You can’t give in to a takeaway when you are on a tight budget. I feel like this tonight, having fought my way through the flooded roads of Essex and lots of traffic – with very wet feet as our car park was under 4 inches of water!  Fortunately I tend to plan an easy meal into my week, in case I am late or don’t feel great and don’t have the energy to cook after work. Tonight we are having fish in breadcrumbs, oven chips and peas. There is no shame in this and at least we aren’t going down the chippy!

I hope it is dry wherever you are and you are making some progress towards frugality!

 

 

 

 

SHOMO Awards: who will you nominate?

SHOMO Awards 2017

I mentioned recently that I had joined the UK Money Bloggers group and was featured on their site, here. The group runs annual awards for bloggers, the SHOMO Awards, each September. I have booked my ticket to attend and I’m so excited to go. This will be a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and attend helpful talks and workshops. If anybody wants to nominate me I would be very grateful.  I am hoping to get nominations in the Best Money Saving Blog and the Best Frugal & Thrift Blog categories. You can find out more and make your nominations for all of your favourite money blogs here.

Much More With Less

SHOMO Awards UK Money BloggersToday I went to meet one of the group to compare notes and swap hints and tips. Faith Archer lives just up the road in Hadleigh. She has a lovely blog, Much More With Less, documenting her move from London to the countryside, with frugal ideas and lots of beautiful photographs of her garden. We had lunch and a long chat about blogging, exchanging thoughts and tips. Hadleigh is a lovely Suffolk town with lots of charity shops, which Faith very kindly guided me round. I hope to see her again at the SHOMO Awards.

Making extra money as a polling clerk

With the general election just around the corner, I have been recruited as a polling clerk! I am quite excited to see the wheels of democracy at close hand. It is a very long day: 6 am to 10 pm. It’s not the best paid hourly rate but will nevertheless provide a nice chunk of cash for my savings. I am always on the look out for ways to make extra money and it should be interesting.

Has anybody else helped at an election?

The Liebster Award

liebster-awardI am very excited that one of my fellow bloggers, the lovely Mona over at Small Things Good , has kindly nominated my blog for a Liebster Award.

Here is a bit of background to the award – basically it is aimed at promoting undiscovered bloggers like myself!

The word “Liebster” originates from the German word “liebste” which means “dearest”. The origin of this award is unknown, although several posts have suggested a German blog. The rules of this award have changed over the years although the underlying goal remains the same: to bring attention to blogs that have not been discovered yet. In 2010, the rule was to pick 3-5 blogs that have less than 3,000 readers but recently, you list 10 blogs with less than 200 subscribers. It is quite a dramatic difference, but for the better.

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  2. Show off your award on your blog (in a post, widget, etc.).
  3. Answer 10 questions given to you by your nominee.
  4. Create 10 questions of your own.
  5. Nominate 5-10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
  6. And of course, tell them about it and provide a link back to your website so that they can know more about the award!

Here are the questions I answered:

  1. What was the driving force that led you to start your blog? I was, and still am, struggling with money and realised that I felt so much better when I took control of my expenditure. Frugality became a hobby rather than just a necessity. The blog was partly to share my experiences of being a frugalista and partly to give myself encouragement and renewed determination to keep going!
  2. Chicken or Fish?  It has to be fish! I love it. However, day to day I eat more chicken because it is cheaper.
  3. If you could meet any famous person, recent or past, who would you want to meet? Gandhi, or failing that, Jason Isaacs 😉
  4. If you could know the exact moment you were going to die, would you want to? Why? Lord, no! It would make me anxious to be aware of my impending doom! Would anyone say yes?
  5. What is your favorite thing to blog about? Anything and everything, mostly with a frugal theme. But sometimes I am inspired by a particular event, so will blog about that.
  6. Sweet or savoury? Can’t I have both? I love chocolate! However, if I have to choose it would be savoury.
  7. If you had to choose one meal to eat, every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Really good sausages with creamy mash, vegetables and gravy. I think if I chose something fussy I would get bored more quickly.
  8. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, preferably very dark with a touch of ginger.
  9. Tell me 5 random things about yourself. I spent 7 months on a kibbutz in Israel and had my 21st birthday there. I am a qualified yoga teacher.  I once nearly drowned doing white water rafting in New Zealand. My nickname is Chickenlady because I used to keep chickens and now have a collection of china, cloth and metal chickens. I dream of owning a VW camper van.
  10. Cake or Pie? Cake, obviously! I love baking too,

My 10 questions to the bloggers I give the Liebster Award to are:

Why did you start your blog?
What are your hobbies? 
Trip of a lifetime, where would you go?
Who would be your top 4 guests, dead or alive, at your dream dinner party?
Which do you prefer for an evening out – clubbing it or a meal in a restaurant?
Sweet or savoury?
What would your dream career be?
Who is your celebrity crush?
What is your favourite season and why?
What is your one all-time favorite food? 

It’s hard to know exactly how many followers some blogs have as they don’t always say! Anyway, I nominate:

http://sweetblondieblueeyes.blogspot.co.uk/; http://frugalinsuffolk.blogspot.co.uk/; http://dreamer-dreamingofasimplelife.blogspot.co.uk/; http://ourlifeinacaravan.blogspot.co.uk/

Please check out their blogs!