Wednesday 23 December 2020

The One Hundred Books Challenge


Right back at the start of this year I began one of the six Challenges that I have managed this year.

  You'd think with a year of more time and less ability to do so much of what we normally do in our day to day lives completing Challenges would have been a doddle, but in many ways this year has proved harder than most to set my mind to anything.

With such huge disruptions to normal living and in my own life, Challenges were at times just not on my mind at all.  You would also think that given all that 'extra time' lockdown gave us, staying at home, following rules etc etc reading more books would have been a given to an avid book collector like myself.  

Quite the contrary, if anything I found myself harsh on my collection and lots of books were jettisoned without even appearing on my list of read books, after all if I didn't read more than a couple of pages they didn't deserve an entry at all.  I made more than £140 selling books through Ziffit and donated some to charity shops when they were open.

So how did I do?

Below is the final tally of the books I read each month and the grand total is 45 books read.  Not the one hundred that I aimed for, not even the halfway point ... a sad years reading in my opinion and I know I can do better.  

Hopefully next year will be better and this brings me to something else.  Next year this blog will be dormant as I have started a new blog for a hopefully year long Challenge that I am hoping to complete.  It too involves a lot of reading ... so maybe I will find my reading mojo somewhere along the way ... and it deserves to stand alone with it's own space in blogland.

If you scroll to the bottom of this post you will find a link that will take you to the first page of that blog and posts will begin in earnest next week.  Thank you for reading all about my Challenges this year.  The links of all my Challenges for the past three years will remain on the sidebar if you wish to read them.

My 2020 Reading Total


45 - kept

44 - gone

43 - kept

42 - kept

41 - gone


40 - kept

39 - kept


38 - gone

37 - kept

36 - gone

35 - gone

34 - gone

33 - gone


32 - kept

31 - kept


30 - kept

29 - kept 

28 - gone


27 - kept

26 - kept


  25 - kept 

24 - kept 


 23 - kept

22 - gone

21 - kept 

20 - gone  


19 - gone  

18 - gone

17 - gone

14/15/16 - gone


13 - gone

 12 - gone


11 - kept

10 - gone

9 - kept


8 - kept

7 - kept

6 - kept

5 - gone

4 - gone

3 - gone

2 - gone

1 - gone

The link to the new blog:

I'll see you over there.  If you are interested please click on the Follow button on the sidebar of that blog, and thank you to those of you who spotted the first post go live and added your names immediately.

Sue xx

Wednesday 7 October 2020

Challenge Six - The Coupon Challenge - It Should Have Been Day Four


So this should have been Day Four and the day to go shopping and use up my £7.50 worth of usable Nectar Points ... only the great Welsh lockdown happened!!

As I needed to be at home in Wales to cover for Alan working away next week I couldn't get back to the Van and still be able to return to Wales when needed.  So I'm here without having the chance to buy the food that I had planned ... and with a need to use up a lot of the food in the cupboards here too.  So this last leg has been put on the back burner for now.

The Sainsbury's I now use is near the Van and although I could travel to the one in Rhyl and perhaps do the grand finale that I had planned for this Challenge here, I think I would rather chomp my way through what I have in store here instead of moving house with it.

So the Grand Finale was going to be to live for a week on whatever I could buy in one visit to Sainsbury's using only my Nectar points and up to 20p for overage.

Oh well ... the best laid plans of mice and men and all that!!

One good thing is that I found a lottery ticket here at home in Wales being used as a bookmark in one of my books, and checking it on my phone I realised that it was a £30 prize winner.  Yay 😃

I have also been busy Ziffit-ing my books, as car boot sales have been non-existent in our part of Wales.  My first box of over £50 worth went off with the DPD man yesterday.  If that goes smoothly another will be following next week.

Sue xx

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Challenge Six - The Coupon Challenge - Day Three


The next lot of coupons to be used were the Tesco coupons. 

 I had a grand total of £33.50, made up of at least four lots delivered over the course of this lockdown year and none of them used as I have been paying contactless and just not getting my purse out.  Quite a substantial haul of food could be bought with these if you think about the amounts I spend on some of my Challenges.

My first thought was to do a month long food challenge, this was quickly discounted as things are so up in the air at the moment with lockdown rules and something new that is happening in my life.  My second thought, and the one that saw me heading to Tesco, was to put together another 'Rainy Day Box', a stash of food for emergency use.

But literally as I drove into the car park my mind changed.  I don't need this I thought, I can do better with this 'money'.

With my mind made up I went round the store putting three of everything that I thought would be useful for a foodbank to give to people that need supplies more than I do.

Three boxes of cereal, three packs of teabags, three jars of coffee, three tins of fish, three tins of fruit ... you get the picture.  I made it as balanced as I could and doing it this way meant I could keep loose tabs on how much I was spending.

When I got to the checkout I loaded one of each item on the conveyor belt telling the operator that I had three of each and before I knew it everything was back in the trolley ...

... along with the few things that I had picked up for myself, a BOSH! cake and a few tins of tuna for Ginger.

On the way out of the store everything for the Foodbank was bagged up and dropped off in the collection trolley near the door and I came home with virtually no shopping to put away, which always makes me feel very good somehow.

I left the receipt in one of the bags I filled up for the Foodbank but from memory I think I went over by about £2 and paid with my contactless card.  Not a bad mornings work.

Sue xx

Monday 5 October 2020

Challenge Six - The Coupon Challenge - Day Two


My next shopping trip out from the Van clutching my saved up coupons turned out to be the Marks and Spencer's food shop.  

Alan needed a new phone so we Googled the nearest EE store and it was in Lancaster, just 40 minutes away from the Van, so we decided on a day out by bus.  Lancaster has a horrendous one way system and just one wrong turn or getting into the wrong lane and you are circling the town over and over ... can you tell I speak from experience!!

 Thinking that there should be an M&S in such a big place I Googled that too and sure enough it was just up the road from where we were going.

Mission sorted.

I didn't expect to get much with my £24 of coupons, but I intended to shop as wisely as possible.

After sorting out Alan's phone we had a spot of lunch in M&S and then wandered the food aisles slowly.  It had been months since I had visited an M&S, not at all during lockdown in Wales and as I have already said there is none near to the Van.  There was a lot of new stuff and the beginnings of Christmas stock.  I averted my eyes from this and we each chose some foods that we fancied.  This photo shows my choice ... a good selection of foods to stock up the fridge with tasty treats, my reward to myself for completing the Ration Challenge.  

I chose to get a box of the gorgeous Vegan Kievs, four meals for me in one box.  I usually serve them simply with just a portion of rice and peas.  The Chicken Nuggets pandered to my 'inner 10 year old self' just a little snacky type meal with a pot of mayo to dunk them in.  The samosas were to be another simple lunch, and the Dirty Fries an adventure.  I had heard of these but never tasted them ... gosh perhaps I shouldn't have ... they were delicious, and when I opened them I ate the full two portions the box states it contains all by myself.

We decided we would each choose a ready meal for our tea that night, as Alan was setting back off to Wales in the early evening.  Mine was the Sweet Potato Katsu Curry.

This is the photo I used on the original post the day I bought it, my first evening meal after the Ration Challenge ended.  It was very tasty and very spicy and displayed as it is one of my small plates it looks just right.

Alan's choice of ready meal was a Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake, to be closely followed by two of the Pineapple Tarts, it would have been all four but I stopped him.  I should imagine the other two were consumed not long after his arrival home, but I didn't ask ... if I don't know I can't tell him off  😄

  The salmon fillets are tucked in the freezer at the Van, handy for fishy meals on his regular visits ... once we can get back!!

Our total spend came to £29.15, which with the coupons deducted was a happier £5.15 spend.  Not too shabby for some tasty treats and a stash of fish for future use.

I was happy with our food spend ... much happier than the cost of Alan's new phone, it's a good job it's a business expense!!  While we were there we also took advantage of all the points I have available on my Costa Card and had a free coffee each.

Oh, and as the lady in the M&S Café gave Alan two sachets of mayonnaise to go with his lunch and he only used one, I brought the other home to add to my little stash tin.  You've got to love a freebie ... of any description.

I'll be back tomorrow with the third part of my couponing adventure, the part that saw me coming home with a lot less than I expected in my shopping bag.

Sue xx