Thursday, 2 January 2014

The first five years

Hi, today is special. Take a look at the date, the 2nd of January 2014. Today is the fifth anniversary of my blog. Five years of blogging, and this is post number 1858. I am chuffed with myself, a good achievement I think. It's a diary of the last five years of my life. Five years of sticking at it and not giving in. I didn't know if people would read it, but they do, so that's a bonus, and I am pleased. I would still write it if nobody read it, because it's a record for me to look back on, and I enjoy writing. So thank you people for coming along with me on my journey, I am secretly chuffed that you do read it.

Let's go back to the beginning, the very first post. My words are still relevant today, nothing has changed. I am still paying my way, I am still making ends meet, and I am still not worrying about having just enough money to live on. Best of all, I still wake up each morning looking forward to the day ahead.    

Hi there, thanks for taking a look at my blog, this is my first attempt at blogging, so I hope you find something of interest. The main theme for the blog will be frugal living, because that is what I have been aspiring to for the last ten years. I decided to reduce my time at work, so reducing my income, and creating a whole new challenge, I now work at how to make ends meet. That may sound daunting to some people but it's easy, as long as you can differentiate between what you need and what you want. Making ends meet gives the impression that you are scrimping and saving worrying about where your next meal will come from, that is not true. For me it means making the most out of the money I have, getting the best value, the most food from the supermarket, and the challenge of surviving by my own means. I have never been in debt, always paying my way, so perhaps I am used to living within my means, luckily my mother taught me all about it.
I have been a lorry driver for 32 years, something I am immensely proud of, in total I have worked for 44 years, and now it is time to slow down. All my hard work has almost paid for a house, still a bit to go so not completely debt free, but I am working on it. I am now looking forward to a fabulous retirement, but of course I will never fully retire because I like work. But from now on, any work I do will be on my terms, it will be something I want to do, and I will do it when I want to do it. There, a bit bolshie maybe but that's how I am, I know my own mind. Life is too short to be a slave, and by that I mean a slave to money. I have realised that I am perfectly happy with just enough, a simple life for me means less worries. Do I worry about money, of course not because I haven't got any.

Please join me on my frugal journey, I am going to record how I live my life on very little money. I'm not setting any targets, or making any rash statements like living on a £1 a day, it will be a true story of how it really is. Don't expect me to be complaining about how expensive the cost of living is, or how fed up I am of having no money, that won't happen. Instead I want to open your eyes to the pleasures of a simple life, the enjoyment you can have out of life's free gifts, and how I wake up each day looking forward to the day ahead. See you later. Ilona

My blog is a bit like a magazine, it doesn't follow one theme, there are lots of different topics to dip in and out of. Variety has always been the spice of my life, things become stale so I move on. I like surprise, I embrace change, and I enjoy moving forward. 

I have picked out some photo's from the archives, which give a flavour of what my blog is about. A little bit of nostalgia for me, reflecting on the last five years, and a short tour for you. Have a look, come with me on this whistlestop tour of Life After Money. 

There are lots of reports about walking, on my blog. I love walking for hours and hours. I love the countryside, and I love finding my way with a map. I have done six long distance walks, the longest being 162 miles over nine days. Add them all together and I have walked 807 miles in 43 days, averaging 18.76 miles a day. I also have shorter walking trips staying overnight at Youth Hostels. 
I like to take holidays and days out when finances allow. I budget for this by cutting down on my day to day living expenses. I usually drive on these holidays, my car gives me the freedom to go where I like.
There are examples of my artwork on my blog. I like to use recycled materials, and believe you can always make something with rubbish that might otherwise be thrown away. It just takes a bit of imagination.  
You don't need to spend a lot of money on craft work, if any at all. I use recycled materials. There are lots of hand made bags on my blog. 
Plastic bags can be fused together and made into pictures, and sewn onto a plain linen bag.
I am a contributing guest on Radio Humberside. Here I am in the studio at Hull with David Burns.  
My voluntary work includes helping with a cat rescue in my village. Here are Mayze and her four kittens, they stayed with me for a few weeks because our pens were full. They were found living underneath a shed. We found the kittens nice homes, and Mayze seemed settled here so I kept her.
This is me and Janet, fundraising for the rescue cats. We collect items that are donated and sell them on a stall at events. This was at the Summer Fair at the junior school in our village.
Our village is quite busy with community events. I like to write about village life. This is the refreshment tent on the Green at the Spring Fair. I am lucky to live in a nice place.  
I like to look back occasionally at my life as a lorry driver. They were good times. The best thing I ever did was to pass my HGV driving test. I am proud that I did a really useful job, without lorry drivers this country would grind to a halt. Just about everything we own is transported on a lorry at some point. B & Q was my last job before I retired. I was there for seven years.
My health and fitness is always at the top of my agenda. Here I did a half marathon, raising funds for Lindsey Lodge Hospice. It was supposed to be a night walk starting at 10pm, but I managed to run some of the course. We started off at the football ground.  
Holidays are quite high on my priority list. I save up so I can afford them. This photo is taken from an eight seater aircraft coming into land at St Mary's, one of the Scilly Isles. It was so exciting. A lovely place to explore. I had two boat trips to other islands.
I have a big garden, so I put it to good use and grow some vegetables. It all helps to keep the cost of living down, and the produce is organic, no chemicals. The greenhouse and raised beds I built from pallets and reclaimed timber, all free. The idea of growing veg is that it gives you cheap food, it is daft to spend money if you can get free materials and build things yourself. 
Photography is a hobby I am interested in, though I am not familiar with complicated cameras. I have a simple compact point and shoot, which gives me good results. I like to compose my pictures and experiment with different angles.  
I have a few friends who own dogs, and I love to take them for a walk. This is Lady, we passed a field of sugar beet and I got her to sit amongst it for this photo. I love walking my doggy friends, it keeps me active and out in the open air. A win win situation. 
In my blog you will find pictures of my yellow sticker shopping. I go to The supermarket at 8pm at night, and buy the fresh food at knock down prices, which is going to go out of date on that day. I can get really cheap food by shopping this way, 90% off sometimes. I would find it very difficult to be able to go on holiday and keep my car, if I had to pay full price for food. 
Those that know me, know I am a bit of a joker. I like a laff, and don't take life too seriously. Me and Julie dressed up for a party, I took a step ladder with me, it was a hoot. 
Cats feature heavily in my blog, I have three of them. This is my best boy, Bugsy has been with me for 17 years. He came here as a kitten, he was wandering the streets because his owner kept going away and leaving him. She agreed to rehome him. I adore him.  
Happy food. There are lots of examples of my meals. I haven't eaten meat for over twenty years, and gave up fish a year ago. I eat masses of vegetables, salad, and fruit. I still eat dairy, so I am not vegan. I do believe that my healthy diet, and the fact that I spend a lot of time outdoors, has a lot to do with why I am very rarely  ill. 
Well that's the first five years, let's see what the next five years have to offer. Lead on MacDuff, are you coming with me or what? You are? That would be nice. 



GIVEAWAY  GIVEAWAY  GIVEAWAY  GIVEAWAY  GIVEAWAY

I told you I like surprises, well here's one for you. I will put together a parcel of bits and bobs of crafty stuff, and will post it anywhere in the world. Not saying what will be in it, but there will be something ready made, and something you have to make yourself. To win it all you have to do is comment here. Closing deadline is Saturday the 4th at 6pm. Good luck
Catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip

106 comments:

  1. Happy blog birthday - your blog is an inspiration and especially relevant in these days of recession. Don't count me in for the giveaway though as I have won too many and it's only fair to let somebody else get something this time. Looking forward to joining you on the next 5 years.

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  2. Many congratulations! I'd looked back to your first ever post after your "teasing" yesterday but it is lovely to see your selection of highlights as well. I look forward to your blog each day.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your life and photos for the last 5 years Ilona, it is always fun to see what you have been up to! And it's been good to meet up with you now and then too, you are quite an inspiration gal :0) Looking forwards to the next 5 years....

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  4. Congratulations on your 5 years & here's to many more! I enjoy all your crafty things & I also enjoy craft so would love to win your package although it is a long way to Australia to a retired expat!

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  5. Congratulations to you and here's to the next 5 years! : ) Would love to be entered into your giveaway. Louise from Burton

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  6. Just got the calculator out, you've averaged 1.018 posts a day.

    10 / 10 for effort and determination, looking forward to the next 5 years.

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  7. Happy Anniversary Ilona!
    How great it is that you have had such a wonderful life and shared along your journey!
    Many must have been encouraged along your way.
    I know I first stumbled across your blog about 2 years or so ago.
    When I saw some of the walks you had taken, I came along too.
    I admit, it did take me awhile to follow some of the difference in the way you write, some of the expressions you use took me a bit to understand, slang mountain ans a bit slow on the uptake am I. An example being "chuffed". grin After a bit though, I now have no trouble smiling right along with you! I wish you the best in 2014, and hope all your dreams come true! Godspeed!

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  8. Five years of blogging is pretty good I reckon.
    Well done for keeping your blog always surprising and interesting.
    I hope you keep writing for many more years.

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  9. Congratulations! I remember when I first found your blog and had to read the whole thing from the beginning. Good for you for sticking at it and thank you for not giving up because it's a pleasure to read. I like your sense of humour, you make us chuckle. I also like your no nonsense attitude, you don't care what people think and it was something I have needed to learn over the years. I wonder what the next 5 years will bring you.....Debbie

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  10. Congratulations and here's to the next 5 years!

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  11. Even though I live in Australia I find your blog so relevant to me and each post is so helpful to give myself a kick up the backside and get on with it. I love seeingbyour yellow sticker markdowns as that's what I have fed my family on all year to help me pay off$10,000 debt.
    I am growing veg and recycling anything I get my hands on so that I don't waste money.
    Love your photos of the countryside and your homemade bags.
    Ruth - WESTERN AUSTRALIA

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  12. Happy Blog Birthday!!! Here's to the next five years! You always make me smile with your posts and give me new ideas in ways to save that I had not thought of, for this I thank you! Since I am my mothers caregiver and I can't take her out much its nice to live through your words and pictures :) have a good day!
    Kim

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  13. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary! You are a true role model and I love reading about your life.

    Please don't include me in your giveaway as I am not at all crafty!

    Cheers
    Judy xx

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  14. Congrats, wishing many more years of health and blogging. I so enjoy the effort you put into your blog and find your no nonsense approach to life inspiring and refreshing. Well done!

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  15. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. Well done for keeping us entertained and a little bit inspired too!

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  16. Yes, many congrats. Natalie.

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  17. Congratulations on all you have acheived, I have read your blog right through and just opened a google account so I can follow blogs
    I love the life you have and I am trying to live a simple frugal life and your blog has inspired me greatly, I am going to start crafting as much as possible and save, make do and mend, started this new lifestyle yesterday, off to recycle the xmas cards, lots of love and a happy new year!

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    1. Use the backs of cards for shopping lists and making notes.

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  18. Happy birthday mean queen blog! Since finding your blog, I've read through the archives and u do write about such a variety of topics- all interesting and useful. Currently I'm concentrating on the sewing ones- let the quilting begin! I've so far collected enough fabric for maybe half a dozen squares, so it's a start, lol! Keep up the great work Ilona, here's to another fab five years,xxxxx

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  19. congratulations on your first five years, keep up the good postings for us all as we really enjoy them. Happy New Year and the Best of Health and Happiness!

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  20. Your mother(and father too) would be so / are proud of the decent human being you have become, congrats on the blog anni:-)

    X

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  21. Hats off to you, Ilona! You are such an intelligent, creative, remarkable person ( all in addition to being frugal).

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  22. Happy anniversary!
    I love visiting you every time you post. Reading this post I grinned at the happy meal..you make people smile, that is a rare gift, one you give generously.
    Jane xxx

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  23. Your Blog reminds me of the song title "Sisters are doing it for themselves" and you do do it! I wonder how many people have been inspired by your blog over the last 5 years, I am definitely one.

    So keep on blogging and keep on being bolshie. Here's to the next five years!

    Linda xx

    PS Misread a headline in my writing mag today - I thought it said "Write on Ilona" but it was really "Write on Iona". Did make me giggle.

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  24. Congratulations Ilona, your five years of blogging is a great achievement. I particularly love the variety in your posts; I always know I'll find something interesting and entertaining.

    Appreciatively yours,

    Mary, Cambridge

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  25. Love your blog, Ilona. I love your refreshing view of the world, your care for animals, your sharing of frugal living tips. I love how you haven't sold out and take money from sponsors.

    I love going on your walks with you. Love your accounts of village life. Actually just love reading your blog.

    In your overview of your blog you didn't mention that you wrote about your early life. I found your stories of your early independence very interesting. And the photos of changing fashion and hair were a hoot.

    Keep it up. You are entertaining and an inspiration.

    Wishing you many more years of blogging.

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  26. Happy blogoversary!!
    I love reading your posts and I invariably have a smile on my face when I have.
    Keep posting and I will keep reading. Thanks for the inspiration xx

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  27. Elaine near Philly here: Hope my name at the beginning gets your eyes to my greetings: Hello, Ilona, and warm, warmer, WARMEST good wishes and congratulations all around. You are an inspiration to me -- as much to unclutter and get rid of stuff I don't need as being creative, frugal, mostly optimistic, and kind. I wish you continued good health and adequacy. Thank you for all your hours of good reading and photos. If ever you cross the pond again, you're always welcome here.

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  28. I read your blog every day. Its the only one I do read but I have never told you how much I enjoy it. Very slack of me.!! So from someone on the other side of the world...congratulations. Please keep up your good work.

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  29. Congratulations.! Yours is the only blog I read and I look forward it. I admire your enjoyment of life and as one cat lover to another...life is damned good ,isn't it. Cheers,Ilona.

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  30. Happy Blog 5th birthday, I have enjoyed reading your blog, yourself and frugal queen tend to be my first port of call, and rarely have time for the other 30 odd I have in my favourites. I enjoy blogs that tend to post regularly, im particularly interested in frugality, cats and handmade things. wishing you well for the next 5 years of blogdom.

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  31. wishing you a very happy 5th birthday of blogdom, love cats, frugality, yellow stickers, keep up the good work. happy new year to you.

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  32. I want to thank you for the help you have been to me over the years, especially as you have been so kind as to send me personal emails regarding different things I have asked advice for. I still overspend but am getting better, thanks to you x

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    1. It's a pleasure Jayne. But only buy what you need :o))

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  33. Congratulations on your 5 blogging years! I find your blog very interesting and enjoyable. I would love to visit England. It looks so beautiful.
    sweetiesuzy@aol.com

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  34. Well done Ilona on five years of wonderful blogging.
    I have been reading for nearly a year now and am back tracking to read earlier posts. I look forward each day to your posts.
    You make me smile, laugh and give such food for thought, I carry your words with me through the day, such an inspiration.
    Day by day, little by little, to achieve my goals, with your help.
    Thank you.
    Pam in Texas.xx

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  35. Keep it up Ilona! May 2014 be a year of good health, memories that uplift you, friendship, and love.

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  36. Your blog is part of my morning ritual (drink coffee, read blogs/news around the world, end with breakfast). So thanks Ilona for making my mornings always interesting!
    Nancy from Northern California

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  37. Keep up the good work Ilona I love your blog, it's so uplifting and positive
    Twiggy

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  38. Well done on your five years. I like 'bits of everything' sort of blogs and your is certainly varied. Here's to the next 5 years :)

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  39. Congratulations on the First Five Years of Blogging! You are an inspiration!

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  40. I have only been reading your blog for a few months, but is did go back and read it from beginning to present and I really enjoy it. What I enjoy most and am inspired by are your longer walks, staying at hostels on the way. I plan to be in the UK next fall and do some walking in the beautiful Cornwall and Wales. Congratulations on five years of interesting posts, Ilona!

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  41. You are a tonic Ilona and we enjoy waking up every day with you!

    Here's to the next 5 years of blogging.

    Wishing you all good things for 2014.

    Granny Gx

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  42. happy 2014 Ilona, hope its a good year for you and all your readers. Enjoyed your 'review' and hope your new posts are as enjoyable as your others.

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  43. What a wonderful acheivement! You are inspiring so many people and doing it in a fun and joyful way. You really know how to live! I enjoy reading your posts every day.
    Happy New Year and Lots of Adventures in 2014!

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  44. I look forward to your daily posts, I especially look forward to hearing about your latest food bargain!

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  45. All the best Ilona

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  46. Congrats on your anniversary. I look forward to your creative posts.

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  47. What a lovely post! Congratulations on the five year mark; that's quite the fete! You really do live the nice life, one for all of us to aspire to!
    I, too, shall pass on the give away. My crafting days are long gone.
    Blessings to you in the New Year!

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  48. Congratulation Ilona. Fantastic achievement, both the frugal living and the blogging. I love reading your posts. Like you I adore the outdoors (been hillwalking up here in Scotland again today - beautiful day and gorgeous views) with the dogs, and bagging some more yellow stickers (£10 worth of food for £3). I agree with you that it's all about making the most of your money.

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  49. Congratulations on 5 year anniversary of your blog! I've probably been following it for 3 years and love it.
    Happy new year too Ilona! xx

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  50. Well done. You inspire me as a blogger and how you live your life to the full. xx

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  51. Congratulations! I have been a, mainly, silent lurker her, but read your blog nearly every day with great interest and pleasure. The example you set of determinedly getting the most from life is spectacular, and you so deserve all you achieve. Happy 2014:)

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  52. Well done on your blog 5 year anniversary. I havent been a reader for all that time, but when I first found you I spent the best part of a week reading every post and have been an avid follower since. I really like the variety of your blog and look forward to reading about your day to day adventures. keep it up Ilona, you are a ray of sunshine. Happy new year, heres wishing you a healthy and fun filled year.

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  53. Hi I like most other readers who read your blog enjoy it because of the variety of your life. I am frugal by nature and enjoy a bargain. Just this morning while out walking at the crack of dawn I found my little patch of wild tomatoes growing and picked some as I have no tomatoes left. I am living in a caravan and cruising around so no vegetable patch, so I love when I can 'gather' some food. Very hot in Queensland Australia today supposed to reach 39C. Please keep up blogging in 2014
    Regards Melinda

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  54. Kudos, Ilona! I've followed you this past year, and have enjoyed seeing your side of the world ... as well as gleaning ideas for frugal living. I very much admire your independence and fearlessness. My 8 year-old granddaughter and I would enjoy taking a crack at crafting something together, should we be lucky enough to find your parcel in my mailbox. As always, thank you for the time and effort it takes to share with us.

    Sharon in Alabama (USA)

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  55. Happy Bloggy Birthday! I love reading your posts and look forward to reading the next five years worth. You are an inspiration! xxx

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  56. Wow! Congratulations! I am three days behind you with my fifth anniversary coming on the 5th! Woo Hoo! I only found your blog last month but have enjoyed it very much and hope it continues for a long, long time. Looks like retirement age in England is much younger than here in the States. Hope all your wishes come true in 2014! xxoo

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    1. Well done to you. Retirement age here was 60 for women, and 65 for men, but they keep moving the goalposts. Thank goodness I was born in 1949, and was able to stop work at 60.

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  57. Happy 2014 Ilona. Congratulations on your 5 years of blogging. I read your blog everyday, its so varied and never boring. Please keep going for another 5 years. Cheers!!
    Patricia Brambley. Hampshire.

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  58. Hi there, i have been reading your blog for a long time, sadly my husband passe away on 13th dec so i will be looking back over your blog for any frugal tips i might have missed. Many thanks for writing to us, xox

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    1. Hello wusiwug. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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    2. Thank you, i love how you shorten my name made me chuckle xox

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  59. Congratulations Ilona, you have a great blog. Always entertaining and informative. You are right in that it is like a magazine. I look in every night and never know just what I am going to get. Keep up the good work, here's to the next ten years.

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  60. Wow!! Congratulations on 5 years of blogging!! Good for you! I hope you will continue as your posts are not only very enjoyable but contain much food for thought. Keep up the good work! Cheers from Canada

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  61. Happy Blogging Birthday, Ilona. 5 years is certainly some achievment when so many blogs fall by the wayside. I will certainly continue reading your amusing and insightful posts. So, here's to the next 5 years and all the best for 2014.

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  62. I love, love, love every one of your posts. Yours is always the first blog I look to see if there is something new every day. :)

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  63. Congratulations on your wonderful blog Ilona. I look forward to reading what you have been up to, and feel you are an inspiration to many in that you don't need money or material things to have a good life. Long may you continue blogging.
    Joan (Wales)

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  64. I love your posts and usually check in every night. I find them uplifting, motivating and sometimes you make me laugh at loud!
    Take care, Martha from Kansas

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  65. One of the bloggers said you touch on all her favorite subjects; mine, too, walking, cats, saving money, traveling, sewing. Congratulations on five years, and hope you keep on for many more.
    Maggie in US

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  66. Happy 5th Anniversary, Ilona! Your first post could have been written last week, pretty much - you are a very consistent person :)
    I remember finding your blog, reading a post here and there, and eventually starting all the way back at Post 1 and reading them all in order til I was caught up.
    As always, I especially enjoy your landscapes and the kitty pictures.
    Here's to the next five, eh?

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  67. I wanted you to know that as of Monday my life will change and it is because of coming across your blog at 3 o'clock in the morning on another night when I could not sleep because if the stress of my job and the health if my hubby. Two years ago our life's changed when hubby lost his sight but because of a new job I just went into over drive and carried on working 8 to 12 midnight everyday. Reading your blog made me sit up and think. There is more to life, hubby should come first, so I went in to work and put in a request for part time work which has been granted. I can't thank you enough got putting everything into perspective for us! Money may be tight from Monday but I am sure we will cope.

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    1. Hello Anon. I am pleased that you have recognised you need to make changes. Having a stressful job is not worth risking your health and sanity for. You will feel much better working part time, you will be able to enjoy your life with your husband. Don't worry about money being tight, you will manage. It will bring you a new sense of freedom, and hopefully you will sleep better. My very best wishes.

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  68. Congratulations on having your blog for five years! And yep, I'll be here with you.

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  69. Your blog is such an inspiration Ilona.. I love reading about your life after money.. and thanks for being willing to post worldwide.. it is so nice to feel included.
    Kay (New Zealand)

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  70. Your blog is one of my total faves, and I am one picky little madam Ilona! You inspire me to be a better version of myself and live life in a more interesting way. Hearty congrats and here's to another five years!!! Yay!

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  71. Congratulations Ilona, you are an inspiration to us all. I sometimes worry that you go a bit far on the frugality sometimes, but what the hell, as long as you're happy that's all that matters and you give us all such joy with your sense of humour and outlook on life in general. It's a great blog, long may it continue, Happy New Year Ilona, to yourself and the cats and all your doggy friends!

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  72. just found you this year but I'm reading you in Alaska and loving you!

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    1. Alaska, wow. I'm chuffed. Bet it's cold up there.

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  73. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. What amazes me is that you write almost every day and not one day is it boring. To me that is a great achievement - well done. I will continue to join you on your journey, through the next five years, as you are such an amazing inspiration and I enjoy tagging along with you on your walks around different parts of the country. Please include me in your give away.
    Carolx

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  74. Congratulations on 5 years of your blog. Yours is the only blog i read and i like the variety. I can imagine some blog stick to one subject.
    I look forward to your future blogs so keep up the good work.
    Please don't enter me in the prize draw because i wouldn't get around to it and my sewing capabilities don't go beyond buttons and patches.
    Dave.

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  75. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging, Ilona! I love your blog and am so happy I found it. You have inspired me in many ways - to appreciate and enjoy the simple life, to be creatively frugal and free up my money for the important things... And I love all your photos, especially ones of the beautiful English countryside, land of my birth. Thank you for enriching my life. Susan from Perth, western Australia :)

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  76. Hi Ilona, we so love to read your blog every day. You always think up so many interesting subjects that there is never a boring day........ are we ever going to see the dear little furry man again, did the cats take to your outside litter tray, where are we going on our next big walk together, will the sunflowers grow even higher next time ....... so much to look forward to in 2014.
    Very best wishes to you, you deserve all the praise from your readers.
    Wendy (Wales)

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    1. Hi Wendy. The little furry man is still around. Rest assured he is fine.

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  77. Hi Ilona, congratulations on your first 5 years... I love your blog, I have learned such a lot and enjoyed your trips as well, very welcome as I have no been well enough to travel far so have been with you vicariously!

    Here's to the next 5 years of happy blogging, and beyond.

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  78. What an amazing 5 years you have shared with us, Ilona, and I have learned such a lot from you, and been vicariously with you on your travels. Generously sharing your experiences has allowed me to 'visit' places which are out of my reach - you are such a tented photographer... and creative cook... and inspired crafter.. I look forward to keeping you company on your continuing adventures!

    Thank you for so generously sharing your life with us.

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  79. Wow...Happy 5th Anniversary! (Where does time go?) You have been an inspiration and given me some really great ideas. I also love how it's not all about frugal living. I never know what your going to post next and it's always fun. I wish you many more years of blogging. Looking forward to all the places you will take us next and the people (four legged and other wise) that we will meet. :)

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  80. Happy fifth Anniversary . I watched you on TV and read your blog every day.

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  81. Wow, five years, where has the time gone. Congratulations on reaching this milestone Ilona, and your Blog posts are as fresh as ever.

    I think we both lurch from subject to subject with our Blogs, never quite sitting in a special niche or category as some Blogs do, but it does keep life interesting and that's one thing that your life definitely is - interesting. I look forward to the next five years.

    Congrats again and a very Happy New Year to you and all your little furry friends.

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  82. Best wishes and thanks for sharing your tips with your readers for 5 years. I love your no-nonsense common- sense approach to life and sense of humour! I also enjoy your photos of when you are out and about and a reminder of how much beauty there is in the British countryside!

    Have a good year and I look forward to checking- in to see what you have been up to!

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  83. CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done!

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  84. Congratulations on your milestone Ilona! I have been inspired by your blog in so many ways and love to read it. I still haven't sent you the picture of the purse made of Tae Kwon Do belts that you inspired but I will. It was my first project using a sewing machine! Thanks again for the inspiration. - Rebecca

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  85. This is so inspiring - I've just started s little blog to track my life and my attempts to live simply. How wonderful to see where it could be in 5 years! Thank you!

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  86. Happy 5th anniversary Ilona, you are truly an inspiration to us all. Thank you and best wishes.

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  87. I'll definitely be with you for the next five years..........you're such an inspiration. Thanks for writing every day, you are my first stop every time I go online. I just wish I could get to your supermarket, mine never has offers that good. Best wishes to you for 2014 and beyond.

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  88. I'll definitely be following you for the next 5 years. Your blog is top of my read list each day, and I wish you all the best for the future. Thanks for all your advice and the smiles along the way.

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  89. loving this blog !! x alicia

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  90. thank you for sharing your wonderful, inspiring blog with us. Gill xxx

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  91. I always enjoy reading your blog. here's to the next 5 years!
    Pam

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  92. I am loving, loving, loving following you on your frugal journey. You are a very inspiring lady and I find reading your blog gives me the kick up the backside that I sometimes need to continue with my own frugal ways! I find your positive outlook on life addictive. I always feel uplifted after reading your blog. Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year and hoping that you achieve all you set out to do. Can't wait to read your posts throughout 2014! Caz x

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  93. Congrats on your anniversary and thanks for keeping us entertained and inspired with your wonderful frugalities!

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  94. 6pm. Entries for the giveaway are now closed. Good luck everyone.

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  95. Congrats - I'll be checking in on you regularly - really enjoy reading about your walking adventures.

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  96. I love reading your blog, Ilona
    Congratulations on your blogiversary

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