CJ Back to Basics


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hallo aus der Schweiz! Hello from Switzerland!

Saturday the 15th October 2011 was 'The Big One' at Le Talbooth in Dedham.

What a fantastic night!!!

90 wonderful people came to the event....

I arrived at 6pm before the event to find Sandra and Brad already helping put the balloons and place names on the tables, they were both such a great help to me in organising the event.
The food was top notch, absolutely lovely and the service was great too, the Talbooth staff attended to our every need.  I can't recommend them highly enough!
Marilyn, our guest speaker was great, she was so informative and spoke with great ease, a really great addition to the night, she stayed for dinner and it was a real pleasure to meet her.
My Dad Peter, well... I think he must have missed his vocation.. he made a fantastic auctioneer, i was really quite impressed!!! well done Dad!
My Mum Irene and her friend Pauline did the raffle with Mum on the mic, they did so well we ran out of tickets!
After the meal, auction and raffle, Kevin started to sing, he was everything I thought he would be and more... absolutely brilliant, everyone loved him and i wouldn't hesitate to book him again for any event i had he was great and a really nice chap too!  The dancefloor was immediately filled with eager dancers and everybody had really made an effort to dress up for the occasion which was really special.
One thought I took away that evening was that every person in that marquee was such a lovely person, the room seemed somehow filled with love.  Such a special night shared with very special people indeed.

Thankyou to everyone, who helped, supported and came and enjoyed. Thank you also to those who couldnt attend but still donated to the charity.  Everybody was so generous, I couldnt have asked for a better result.  I am really so very grateful to everybody and i really do hope that everyone there enjoyed it all just as much as I did!!

The night raised an outstanding £2,100 for the charity save the children!! more than double of what i had hoped for!! I was absolutely amazed!!

So in total, the save the children fund is sitting at nearly £3000 raised in total.  Thankyou everyone!! xxxxxx

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Frugal living should carry a very BIG health warning!!!

So I have run out of razors and instead of buying expensive razors I decide it's a good idea to use the tube of veet sensitive in the cupboard on my legs and underarms, as the instructions say you can and its "sensitive enough for even the most sensitive skin".
So I am standing in my bathroom caked in the stinky veet and about a minute in my underarms are on fire...!!! No joke it feels like someone is holding a big match underneath my underarms.. Oh the pain... Panic panic.. Cold water, frantically washing it off.... not easing off...i have a bright idea that the product is still on there as i had only used water and i thought, maybe i will wash it off with soap and water... omg even worse!!! They are still burning a bright red an hour later.. Damn you veet, I have painful scary underarms for the weekend.. Thanks for that!!! Sensitive... Yeah right!!!!!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Quick update...

Well... where do I start??

It has been a complete rollercoaster in the last couple of weeks.. both emotionally and practically...

So after the breakup, i was sitting in my PJs on my laptop, feeling very low and like there was nothing to feel positive about (of course there always is.. I have my health, friends and family etc etc and as I said before I am much more fortunate than some others especially the children we are raising money for) but sometimes these feelings somehow overcome you, no matter how hard you try. So I just thought, this is how I feel today and just accepted its a normal way to feel after what happened. So I was in a hate my job, I hate everything mode and I found myself sending my CV off to a recruitment consultant in Switzerland.  My Dad used to do touring coach holidays out there and my Mum and I used to go with him sometimes, i think its my favourite place i have ever visited. So I thought "I'll send off my CV there"!

Then, completely by suprise, out of the blue, I get this call from Hiliary in Switzerland wanting to put me forward for this job in Switzerland.  So still in my hate everything mood I said yes please why not? Thinking it probably wouldnt go any further.  Then I have a phonecall a day or so later... they would like a telephone interview with me on Wednesday.  By this time I am thinking, oh my god, what have i done?!

So the call is at 5:30pm GMT, i sit there eagerly watching my phone, 5:30 goes past, i'm pacing up and down my living room (very impatient i know!).. the phone rings..

It lasts nearly an hour, I feel it went well (although i was so nervous i felt out of breath!) and she was ever so nice. Then into the other living room to have a half hour discussion with my parents... will they call back? wont they call back? a pointless discussion as it is totally out of our hands but nevertheless very essential!!

The next day Hiliary calls, can i fly out to Zurich for an interview on Friday?? Oh, this is really happening, what have i done? i must be mad? i dont speak German.. I dont know a soul out there.. I have no money! So i said yes I would love to!!

They paid for the trip so I had no expense, all my other worries still very much existed but excitement and the sense of adventure took over... in my head I was yodeling on some hill with snowcapped mountains in the background.. then i stopped as i realised that was Austria...

Got that Friday off work somehow and took a flight to Zurich at some silly hour in the morning when nobody should be awake, I couldnt sleep at all the night before, nerves, excitement, more yodeling...so i felt pretty worn out! 

When I arrive in Zurich its 33 degrees celcius and i am dressed up with tights shoes the lot, the nerves are still there but even worse now! I meet Hiliary and we walk to Starbucks where he buys me a cold apple juice.  At this point I am totally mortified... after spending an hour trying to look like a well presented, cool, calm and collected interviewee... i now look like a bedragled, sweaty mess, with wandering eyeshadow and one very damp brow!

Into the interview, I have a panel of three interviewing me, again I have the shakey voice and now even more sweat dripping off my brow, trying not to draw too much attention to it I discreetly wiped my brow. Probably wasnt discreet at all and they probably thought i had some health issue of some sort!!

They were all very nice though, really lovely people.  They asked me to go and meet the team at the offices in the morning.  By this point I am thinking this might actually happen for me and my nerves have turned into nervous excitement!

I get a call Monday night and they tell me I have got the job!! I leave to go out there on Saturday the 8th October and start work on the 10th October.

I couldnt believe it, one miserable Sunday in my Pjs, wanting to eat my entire kitchen, having some big fast food cravings too and now my entire situation has changed, pretty much overnight.

So now I have to look for an apartment which are few and far between, the list is endless before I actually leave, but i couldnt be more excited! Its such a great opportunity for me.

I know some of you may be thinking, how is she going to do all of that with a tenner a week?? well in short, its not possible, the cost of living there is so high, but i cannot pass up the opportunity.  I have decided that i will still live frugally and hold onto what i have learnt and once im settled in will maybe think about raising some more money out there.

I am flying back to do the event at the Talbooth event on the 15th which i now have hopefully 90 people attending and which should raise a decent amount for the charity.  I will continue to do what I can however I wont be going back to fast food, beauty treatments, shopping sprees or my old ways, I have learnt too much and I will try to continue with my blog once I am out there.  Maybe I will call it.. Back to basics..Swiss Style.

Anyway thought i would let you know where i'm at xxx

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Half way through the week!!! :)

Hello everyone!

Today I am in "Now" magazine so go and pick up your copy!! Its really great, they are also paying me £200 for the article which is going straight in the "Save the Children fund".  So many thanks to Naomi at South West News and the team at Now magazine.

Tonight, more sausage casserole and rice and I think the rest of my "Tears of the Sun" dvd with the lovely Bruce Willis in.. great film, even if I have seen it a million times!

I came home to Mums homemade jams... Spiced Damson and also Plum and Ginger... mmmm.. some extra special pimped up porridge to come!

Had my first eggs from the new chickens today, they are really tiny!! (mind you they are still young).. they were so tasty!

Here they are.. introducing Bella and Daisy...

there is still a big divide... oldies up one end and newbies down the other, they are "not speaking"!!

I must admit the "new girls" put up with an awful lot!!

I received a lovely card today from the ladies at "Save the Children" (Sarah, Sharon and the team) with some really beautiful words inside, full of thought and support for me.  They had read what had happened in my relationship in the last week and sent me a really wonderful card from them all.  So thankyou Ladies, it really did mean a lot to me and really gave me a lift reading your kind words to me xxxx

So onto the Talbooth event in October... response is good, still need more bums in seats though so if you can make it, please do!! it will be a night to remember!!

Right i'm off to have dinner and a DVD with Mr Willis.. this single life ain't too bad afterall, got to keep chin up!! xxx

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Upside down...

Well this week has been one of my worst weeks I have ever had.. Monday i was engaged, about to book the perfect wedding and church for next year, then tuesday comes and i am now a single lady... Things really do change overnight. Unfortunately I found out he had not been loyal to me and had lied to me for quite some time, so it's all over. I work in the same building too so going to work is like a torture! My only safe haven feels like my bedroom at the moment. I feel so betrayed, I feel consumed with anger and hurt. All I feel like doing it staying in my room, eating and drinking everything in sight. I am not imagining the perfect day now, instead I am fantasising about goey chocolate cake, quarter pounders, Chinese, cheesecake and those tempura vegetables...I keep thinking I will go and take my mind off it by doing something nice. But £1.42 doesn't stretch to any of those things at all!! This is great to do unless you are having a trauma and then it makes it so much worse!! Pretty low at mo but I keep having to remind myself of the wonderful people who have supported and donated and for all the children for which my upset this week might seem like a drop in the ocean to. I have to keep in mind those less fortunate than I. Therefore I am going to make more soup and my favourite sausage casserole and get on with it!!!! Xxx

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

sorry no blog...

sorry i havent written as often as i promised!!

I have been eating my sausage casserole £1.20 for 5 portions, really cheap veggie curry still left over from last week, porridge and of course chickens eggs on toast, mmmmm......

We have two new chickens (my parents bought them).. they are hybrids, both black, one with a tan collar and one with white.. they are almost point-of-lay, but we even had one tiny little brown egg from one! they are docile and friendly. However, I can't say the same for our existing ladies, we put them side by side, in separate enclosures for quite some time, to get acquanted initially as they adivse...but i have never seen so much fuss made!! they hate new ladies in their territory, Buffy is most put out, there is lots of squarking and pecking... guess thats where they get the pecking order from hey!! they will sort it out... eventually....i hope!!

Still sticking to my £1.42 a day! it so tough though, if you are like me.. as soon as something happens in your life to hurt you or you have had the worst day at work.. you reach for the food and the drink!!! that was my therapy....

Great news though, the event at "le Talbooth" on 15th October is a great success, more and more people tell me they are coming, its fantastic!!!! will be a great night, tell your friends and family about it... the more the merrier!!!

Had the make-up artist and the photographer come over to take pictures for the "national magazine"... it was so fab.. Julia was so lovely and fantastic, she done my make up fabulously and was such a beautiful person, it was lovely to meet her! and Chris the photographer made me feel so confident and at ease, they were both truly lovely genuine people, i loved welcoming them into my home in aid of save the children! thankyou Chris and Julia xxx

So coming up.. i have the face painting again in september and the the event in October, then for the winter i have booked my very good friend Trevor of Klarner's coaches' fabulous luxury coach for a christmas market/shopping trip (overnight), so i shall be selling tickets for that soon!! will be fantastic!! watch this space!!

i am thinking now of a charity car wash while its warm.... i am on a busy main road... so drivers by... get your money out LOL!

speak soon xx

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Tesco trip....Result!!

I needed to get my soup and dinners for next week made as I know i will be busy at work and if i am not organised I will find the challenge very hard indeed!!

So off i went to tesco and i got very excited at the site of the reduced fruit and veg section, it wasnt stuff that i could leave in the fridge all week, i needed to cook it all up when i got home but was cheap as chips!!

I bought
  • Potatoes, cabbage and leek and onions for soup
  • 20 sausages ( i wont use them all in a week), condensed tomato soup, kidney beans and 1kg of rice for a sausage and bean casserole with rice
  • Potatoes, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and tomatoes to make a vegetable curry with the rice
To the soup i added a small amount of the cheap cooking bacon (about 15 pence worth) i still have in the fridge from last week, i have enough soup for over a week!
I used some butter i still have in the fridge and some spices from the cupboard in the vegetable curry, it made enough for about 6 portions!
I havent made the sausage casserole yet.

But here you go, i reckon i have enough dinners for nearly two weeks and all of my ingredients from tesco cost just £6.70, the rice and the sausages will last me a while too and i also have a bag of new potatoes and a brocolli unused. so a very sucessful shop!

I was going to put coconut milk in the curry but went to the aisle and it was £1.89 for one can so I decided to not put it in the curry which then gave me enough money to buy the stuff for the sausage casserole and the rice.

I have decided to live like this successfully you need to buy whats cheap and then make something nice with it, rather than deciding "i want to make this recipe" or "i want this for dinner" because then you are restricted to buying the ingredients regardless of their price.

my many jars of soup

my tasty veggie curry

night night xx

TFI Saturday!!!!

Hi everyone,
Got some great news... Naomi from south west news called yesterday and a magazine want to publish the story, which is fantastic!! They will also pay me £200 for the story which will take me up to about £615 roughly raised so far!
I have also confirmed booking of my first table of 12 at the talbooth in October, Mr Booty of Suffolk law was very kind and called to confirm the booking! So thanks to Mr B!
There has been lots of interest for the event, so
Hopefully will get lots of bums in seats and it will be a great night!!

Foodwise.. I went to Sally's BBQ last night and had a lovely time, I didn't have any alcohol either which was great. I got round taking meat which would blow my budget and took a new potato salad and a spiced rice dish made from what I had left from my tesco value rice and a few herbs etc in it, so kept to my budget, didn't drink and had a great time! Thanks Sal! Xx

Today I am going to make another soup for the week and probably a veggie curry I can make for the week and I also bought some reduced mozzarella cheese for 40p and have some corguettes from the garden so will make that bake again for the week, all cheap and nutritious!

Also I found out that you don't have to own an orange phone to get orange Wednesday's 2 fir 1 offer, you just have to register for a free sim card! So I have warned Steve, he is the "buy one" and I am the " free one" lol!
I have also been looking at a great website called "frugal Britain", my mum found it, it give loads of info and tips for living very cheaply so I am getting ideas from this, have a look it's really helpful!
Anyway I'm off to cook some food, speak later xx

Sunday, 24 July 2011

End of my first month...

Wow what a week, been so busy, I havent had a moment to update my blog so sorry!!  The week was ok, pretty much the usual stuff, work and my soups etc.  I must say though when you are busy it gets very hard with the food as you need to be organised to keep to making the cheaper meals etc and i have been really busy and disorganised so its been quite tough! Got to get organised for next week otherwise I have to scrounge off my mum!

This weekend I have spent at Sible Hedingham recreation ground, facepainting, both days at the "2012 Legacy weekend" organised by Sible Hedingham Parish Council.


I must say I was surrounded by really lovely friendly people, what a lovely village community, it was a real pleasure taking part in the weekend there and what a lovely bunch of children!

We took our family children down there and they all took part in all the games and joined in with the other children too... it was so funny when they were all running round as little spidermen, lions, bunny rabbits and butterflies!!

I would like to say a huge thankyou to the Parish Council, the very generous Frenchman (you know who you are!) and the Sible Hedingham community for making me so welcome and supporting save the children!

I took £68.50 over the two days and gave £5 to the skate park in the recreation ground, so £63.50 for the Save the children fund.

Here's some pictures from the weekend!

Right.. So start of month 2 tomorrow!!! wish me luck!

Dont forget about the Talbooth event, 15th October 2011, all proceeds to Save the Children!! contact me for details! 07715554503 or cjt_84@yahoo.co.uk

night! xx

Monday, 18 July 2011

Monday, almost start of week 4, nearer the end of my first month!

Well I have taken the plunge... booked the venue and booked Kevin to perform! I have set the ball rolling with the poster invitation above! If this is of interest to anyone, please get in touch! or forward on the details to anyone you think might be! It should be a really fantastic night in aid of a very deserving cause! I am still looking for some more items for the auction so any contacts or ideas would be greatly received! xx

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Just got home!!

Well I have to say face painting all day is hard work!! i'm exhausted but it was really good fun!!

I charged £2 a face and despite the heavy rain showers and storms, we took £62, I gave £10 to the carnival organisers for the gazebo and pitch for the day as they are all volunteers too.  So a big thankyou to Claire and the team at Stowmarket for making it possible... Also to my Mum Irene and Steve for donating the face paints and all my guinea pigs I had beforehand! So £52 to add to the offline total on the just giving page! :)

I forgot to say I made my own ricotta cheese, really easy, really cheap, only used about 60p of whole milk and makes a breakfast bowl full and you can stir a spoon into pasta and spinach (I got a big bag of frozen spinach for a pound in asda, its so much cheaper than the fresh stuff but still not bad!) I had that last night and for lunch today, both mornings I had porridge, lunch yesterday was a slice of skinny toast 2p with half a can of asda value beans 14p, with a little bit of ricotta on the top (as i wanted to try it!) and tonight I have had ragu and corguette with some pasta (yes i still have some left from last week!!) so really cheap food all weekend, no alcohol, no diet coke, filthy finger nails from all the paint and an aching back.... but £52 to add to the fund so I am happy!!... just shame its back to work tomorrow hey!

Speak tomorrow xx

As promised!!

 got to leave in 40 mins for the carnival face painting and still in PJ's!! So i'll write up blog tonight! wish me luck! speak later! xxx

Saturday, 16 July 2011

I would like your opinions please??

I have provisionally booked the beautiful marquee that holds around approx 160 people (16 tables of 10 or 12 people) at the Talbooth fine dining, award winning restaurant in Dedham, Colchester for Saturday the 15th October.

It will be an exclusive event with a sparkling wine reception, followed by a fine dining three course meal, with coffee and chocolates to finish.

During the evening there will be entertainment from a band/singer, this is who I would like, Kevin Fitzsimmons, http://www.kevinfitzsimmons.com/ who does Rat pack, swing, jazz, dean martin, frank sinatra so a really varied range, and lucky for me he is free that night! Please take a look at this video of him on you tube, Sir Trevor McDonald introduces him http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUxr2pZC-E0&feature=player_embedded

Also in the evening a charity auction with items donated from local businesses with some really special "money can't buy" items!

If I am really lucky I might even be able to get an after dinner speaker but this is a work in progress!!

I am going to charge £50 per head, for a table of 8-12 people, this includes reception drink, dinner, coffee and chocolates and all the nights entertainment and all of the proceeds go to a really worthy cause, "Save the Children".

Before I go full steam ahead and finalise the arrangements this fantastic Saturday night VIP event, do you think its a good idea?? or have any ideas that I havent thought of?

Please leave me a comment or email me cjt_84@yahoo.co.uk or if you want to call its 07715554503.

Many thanks Chloe xx


So much to do today, finish off some work from the week, get ready for face painting at Stowmarket carnival tomorrow http://www.stowmarketcarnival.co.uk/category/carnival-2011
Come and have your face painted!! All the proceeds go to Save the Children!! Adults welcome too... who said it was only for kids hey?!

Porridge for breakfast, then i have to do my Saturday cook off to make food for next week as i have run out of soup and dinners etc! the money is going well though as I have quite a lot of food left, so i think my tenner is stretching over more than one week!!

I would like to give big thanks to my Mum Irene, she has bought me some more face painting stuff with some special colours for tomorrow and any other events I do and also Steve who bought me the starter kit.  Without them it would not be possible! xx

Almost the end of week 3...... "IT HAS ARRIVED".....

Lol... i can't lose this in a car park!! Hopefully it will raise some really good awareness in the area! Thanks to my work Ipswich Mercedes and smart who made this possible (GM Gary Pike and smart brand manager Claire Boswell who made it possible and to Vital signs for creating it) xx

p.s Dont worry about me driving past too quick and you might not being able catch all of the web addresses on it... it doesn't go very fast.. bless it! well at least i won't get caught speeding! lol!!

As far as my tenner a week... it is going well, im not saying its not really tough... but its going well! Friday I had pimped up porridge 5p, soup 17p, youghurt 7p, a few free plums from the garden and then Delia's tasty haddock kedgeree for dinner which was some frozen smoked haddock 75p, some onion 6p, butter 5p, rice 6p and a boiled egg 20p. Total £1.41.