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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL




Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and a happy, healthy 2015
 
 


Thanks so much to all my followers, may your Christmas be very special and the New Year bring, health and happiness in bucket loads.

I'll be back in a few days xx

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Selfish Behaviour

First of all a big welcome to my new followers: ribenaruby and simplesuffolksmallholder,  thanks for clicking :)

What a mild day we have had today.  I took the opportunity to finish my pre-Christmas errands and the town was so festive and full of Christmas music that it fair lifted my spirits.  I made my last 2 Advent gifts....



Day #23 was a pretty glass dish that I really like but have no real room to display
Day #24 (paid in advance) was a read-once book which might make someone a nice gift

Both went to the Heart Foundation charity shop along with the other bits I had put aside.  I have tried to share out my giving among several charities as they are all worthwhile in different ways but does anyone else feel that you have to spread yourself a bit thin in the charity giving stakes?  I have my favourites, of course, but there are so many charities doing good out there that I feel guilty not being able to help them all in some way.

Today I witnessed something incredibly selfish.  I decided I needed a pot of tea in town and popped into the local Marks & Sparks coffee shop.  It's always so very busy and I struggled to find a seat but managed to get one eventually.  Next to me was a lone woman at a table for 4, bum on one seat, bags on another, coat on a third but no food or drink.  After about 15 minutes a man turned up who was remonstrated with for being late.  After some discussion (which I could overhear without straining ;)  the man suggested getting some complimentary water to put on the table.  At the counter is a jug of tap water, glasses, and slices of lemon from which you are free to indulge.  The woman brought not 2 glasses but 4 to make the table look fully occupied before she ordered 2 hot drinks for them.  I left a couple of minutes later without making any comment but I was sorely tempted.....  would you have been brave enough ?

Thanks so much for popping in x



Monday, 22 December 2014

Loss Of Inspiration & Advent Update

Well the shortest day is over and we are motoring on to Spring!  Even though I know the worst of the weather is still to come, I feel more positive when the afternoons become lighter.  It can only get more cheerful :)

Just a quick update on the Advent gifts:

Day #20  Items donated to FB trolley

Day #21 Two brand new computer cables (still sealed) found in a drawer sent to CS

Day #22 I am running out of inspiration...... so all my loose change popped into Air Ambulance collection box

I have 2 more gifts to make but have no idea what they will be.  Perhaps a couple of handmade items to the charity shop? Help!




Thanks so much for popping in x

Friday, 19 December 2014

Hooray for Handmade Revival

A big welcome to my new follower, Kate. Thanks for clicking!

When I was in junior school I learned to knit, sew and do cross stitch.  My hand sewing wasn't very good but I excelled at knitting and could knit an Aran jumper with the best of them.  Then when my children were babies (in the 1970's) we had very little money so I used to knit baby clothes then jumpers for the kids and jumpers for us too, for that matter.  I sewed a little (badly!), did a bit of cross stitch for a hobby and repaired socks to make the money stretch.  As the years went by, handmade went out of favour.  It was cheaper to buy knitted garments than to make your own so I stopped doing it and jumped on the bandwagon of shop bought mass- produced clothing.  I really missed my hand knitting but the kids no longer wanted 'mummy made it' clothes.  Only now that I am in my 6th decade has handmade made a big comeback.  I have rediscovered my make-it-yourself Mojo! Hurray!



I make cards, have rediscovered the pleasure of knitting, have bought myself a cheap sewing machine and am trying so many techniques that it's exciting once again.  Last night I watched a Kirsty Allsop programme for a Handmade Christmas and really felt in the true Christmas spirit.  It's all about families, isn't it.  I refuse to be sucked in by the commercialism.  Yes, I enjoy the ads on TV, the food fest ads, the technology ads...but that's all I do...watch and enjoy.  There is nothing I need.  I refuse to be a 'Bah Humbug' kind of person though.  Everyone wants their own kind of Christmas and good luck to them if they can afford to spend hundreds if not thousands of pounds on it.  Notice I said " if they can afford to spend..."  In my view it is pointless to spend so much that you are paying it back over the next 12 months.  I only spend what I have saved and budgeted for and yet we still have a wonderful family Christmas.  It can be done on a budget.  I look to blogland for cooking inspiration, cheerful makes, patchwork tutorials and I have found it all :)  

Did anyone else abandon handmade until recently?  What do you like making best of all?  I would love to know...

My Small Treasure for today is all the wonderful people who are happy to share their time, tips and inspiration with anyone who cares to look for it.  Bless you all x

Advent Gift day # 19

1.5l of Comfort pure was on offer at £2 in Morrisons so I bought an extra bottle and gave it to DD to help out with her budget.



Thanks so much for popping in x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Quiet Morning & A Bargain

I popped into town this morning fully expecting loads of traffic and a struggle to find a parking space.  Joy of joys...no trouble!  I don't know whether people are waiting to do a big shop next week or whether they are well prepared this year.  But I had an enjoyable morning and a bargain.  About twice a year I get a voucher from Debenhams with whom I have a seldom used account.  I have had this account for more years than I care to remember but the card gives me 20% discount at the coffee shop (useful for meeting DD occasionally) so I have kept it on.  They sent me £5 with no minimum spend so my 5 pairs of socks cost me exactly 50p!  I am really pleased with that and the icing on the cake was that I remembered I had a £5 gift card for Boots in my bag ( a reward for doing surveys) so I had a free sandwich and drink for lunch too.
 

I have had a lovely browse around town, dropped the bag of goodies into the CS and posted some last minute cards.  Now I am sitting at the computer with a hot coffee with a shot of Bailey's in it.  Simple pleasures :)

Advent Update

Day #16  a handmade Christmas card sold online and 100% of the proceeds have been donated to Help for Heroes.

 
 
 
Day #17  As my trip into town cost so little I bought some goodies for the Food Bank.  Thinking of the children, I bought some little boxes of chocolate covered biscuits, some nets of chocolate coins, some value toffees, a bag of chocolate pieces, a Christmas pudding and some 10p bags of kiddy mix sweets.
 
Day #18  (I am paying this in advance as tomorrow will be spent entirely with FiL)  The gift is 2 boxes of mince pies for the Food Bank trolley.
 
Have a lovely day everyone and thanks so much for popping in x
 
 


Monday, 15 December 2014

Advent Gift Day 15

Tonight we met up with some friends whom we have known for more than 50 years and we shared a lovely Christmas celebration meal together in a local pub/restaurant.  I am so grateful for a) the friendship of two lovely people and b) being able to buy a nice meal out, that my Advent gift for today is this....



Day #15.... I had a few swagbucks points which I redeemed for a $1 Charity Impact Card.  I chose to buy a hot Christmas meal for 2 people with it. It will be used by the Westside Food Bank in Los Angeles to feed 2 disadvantaged people with a hot meal.  I wish I could donate more, maybe sometime in the not too distant future.

Thanks so much for popping in x

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Christmas Story Quilted Panel

It's a little warmer today but I am still inclined to stay indoors and it will be a good time to do a little sewing.  All my handmade cards are done, so today will be spent on adding little beads to my quilted Christmas panel.  The washing is in, the fire is on and so is the kettle. Time for fun!

This is the first time I have done something like this and I'm pretty rubbish at sewing but I just love the look of this panel.





I'm not sure where to begin but perhaps with red beads as the holly berries at the bottom of this picture...


The Angel definitely needs a bit of sparkle doesn't she, perhaps on the heavenly bugle to begin with then on her dress....


I love the look of the shepherds with their 'over the top' beards, almost as if they are in disguise :)


I have backed the panel with plain material but this does give you a glimpse of my dog-leg machining...sigh....however hard I try my sewing looks like that of a seven year old!  At least the back won't be seen when it's hanging up.  Although I basted it all together before sewing the layers I found it quite hard to get it all smooth and flat.  Does anyone have any tips to help please? If I struggled with this then a bed size quilt will be impossible! It will all need a bit of a steam press when I've finished too, I think.  At least I am enjoying the creativity and my grandchildren won't be in the least bit critical :)


Reverse Advent gift #14  is cotton gloves & cuticle sticks which is going in the bag for the CS

 
 
Have a lovely Sunday everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Cold Start & Advent Update


What a frosty start to the day this morning.  A thick frost lay on the ground when I woke up and it has hardly lifted all day.  Quite dark by 3.30pm too so I can hardly wait for 21st December when it will be Winter Solstice and the shortest day.  Then we'll know we have turned a corner and are heading in the right direction for Spring (as far as the light levels are concerned anyway).

As I was stuck at home, I took the opportunity to catch up with some housework and ironing which really warmed me up, the bonus being no heating required!  We had our LPG tank topped up on 2nd Dec (so that's where my £100 heating allowance has gone :) but it should be enough to keep us going until the new year if we are careful what we use.  I have a dread of running out when the snow comes, as there would be no hot water for showers, so last winter we bought an oil filled radiator as back up if the worst happens and we start to run low on LPG.  We could then heat the house with the electric fire in the living room and the electric radiator in the bedroom, conserving the LPG for hot water.  It pays to think ahead!

I have a bit of catching up to do so my reverse Advent gifts:

#11


#12

 
Both to the charity shop
 
#13
 
DH had taken the car to work so I couldn't go very far therefore I have put some change into the Air Ambulance box as my gift for today.
 
 

 
They do some marvellous work and it costs £2,500 each time the helicopter is called out.

Wrap up warm now...and thanks ever so for popping in x

Friday, 12 December 2014

Reason For Absence

I had quite an upsetting start to the day yesterday which so deflated me that I couldn't summon up the oomph to post anything.



There are a good many cats in our local area who generally avoid each other and rub along ok but sometimes, especially at night, we hear the hiss and screech of a couple of them having a quick spat.  Well yesterday morning we heard something but couldn't pinpoint where it came from.  We looked through windows to no avail but I had my PJ's on and didn't go out.  A short time later a neighbour rang the doorbell to say that her cat was lying dead beside our shed.  Apparently someone had seen a black cat which they didn't recognise and which had 'had a go' at the poor cat now lying in our garden.  There were no apparent injuries so the owner thinks he might have had a heart attack during the stand off. Never before have I heard of one cat killing another.  I felt so sad at the poor little body lying there, but wonder if my going outside in my night attire would have made any difference to the outcome.  I hope desperately that it would not have.

We went about our day as usual and took FiL out to lunch but we would have done that anyway so I will not count it as my Advent gift for yesterday.  I therefore owe 2 days worth including today and will try to make it up tomorrow somehow.

I do hope everyone is warm and safe after the terrible rain, wind and waves in the North.  Have you suffered any damage to your home or garden?  Did you have any power cuts?  I hope this is not the start of a hard winter.  Rain I can cope with but snow and ice noooo.........

Take care dear readers and thank you so much for popping in x



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Bargains, Jam Pots & Feeling Helpless

Today dawned bright and sunny after a night of heavy rain.  I popped into town to post the dog bed pillowcases to the lovely Pam and decided to try to locate more. Crumbs, Pam, I see what you mean about C S prices!  I can understand them not wanting to split a set if they have the duvet cover but odd pillowcases at £2!! Mine were from Oxfam and cost pennies so I will keep an eagle eye on them for more oddments.

Each time I go into town I see the same people sitting on the cold pavement, not begging you understand, but obviously having no purpose to their day and possibly no home to go to.  My heart aches for them.  Sometimes I would like to offer food or a hot drink but I am afraid to approach them for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.  Once again I walked past I am ashamed to say......

I had to go into Sainsbury's for something and spotted these....




Advent calendars reduced to 30p each so I grabbed the last 2 Peppa Pig ones and 2 Hello Kitty for the Foodbank trolley.  Reverse Advent  Day #10  so that 4 children can know the pleasure of a bit of chocolate during the countdown to the festive season. I also popped a big bag of rice and some tins of soup in.
 
I had another idea for a stocking filler.  These tiny jam pots are 5 for £1.50 in Morrisons and 4 of them fit nicely into a cellophane bag so the cost is:
 
4 jams @ 30p = £1.20
Bag & ribbon 23p  (£2.29 for 10)
 
Total £1.43

 
 Father-in Law will like these as a normal jar is much too big for him. 
 
Does anyone else have ideas for little gifts? I want to make some foodie ones soon too. Any ideas for those please?  I like Simple Livings Chocolate Oaties so they could feature heavily :)
 
Thanks so much for popping in x 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Quick Advent Update

Just a quick post today, I have been really busy, so just an update....

Reverse Advent day #9

The lovely Pam from A New Life in Wales has been busy for weeks making dog beds out of old pillowcases for the Dog Rescue Centre near her.  I popped into the Oxfam shop this morning and picked up 4 decent ones really cheaply so I will post them to her.  A small thing but it might help...

And Wow! hasn't it been cold today.

I promise a better post tomorrow...honest :)

Thanks for popping in x

Monday, 8 December 2014

Foodbanks & Ironing

 
The need for Foodbanks is making headline news once again. 13 million people are below the poverty line. Someone has said that people are going hungry because they can't cook.  What b*ll*cks!  Families are hungry because they have no food to cook or sometimes no means to cook it with.  I don't want to start a huge discussion because so many people are able to make a better fist of it than me.  See Frugal Queen's blog for a wonderful but heart wrenching post, but it could happen that any one of us could lose their job tomorrow, or be widowed, or penniless for any number of reasons.  Every day I am grateful for having enough to eat, for being warm, for having warm clothing for a fast approaching winter, for living a fairly stress free life.  My parents were never wealthy either, we lived in a council house but were lucky to have never known true hunger.  Shortages, yes, but hunger, no.

I have a personal dilemma.....I donate to the local Foodbank every week but I don't know whether or not to volunteer to help.  I have some free time but my big fear is in encountering someone I know personally who is in need.  Would it be embarrassing to them as well as me? Would it put them off coming for help?  What should I do?  Does anyone else help out at a local Foodbank?

Reverse Advent Day #8



My gift for today was almost an hour and a half spent ironing for my daughter.

I popped over to see her and drop off some Christmas gifts which she will deliver for me to some friends of hers.  She was almost literally snowed under with washing and ironing.  She is struggling to work extra hours (impending redundancy creating the need to save, save, save) cook, clean & take care of the children too.  Ironing was the least I could do.  She would have done the same for me :)

Thanks so much for popping in x









Sunday, 7 December 2014

Affordable Gift Ideas

Oooh, I have more followers! A big hello to:

Northern mum down South, Pam & Bonnie Frame.  I hope todays post will not be too boring and put you off!  But...

Over the last few days I have been thinking about when we were broke, the kids were small and we still wanted to celebrate Christmas by giving gifts to others.  I remember the agony of indecision, spending as little as possible but wanting the gifts to look decent.  Poundland and the like (other pound shops are available :) were not around then.  Probably Woolworths was the equivalent at that time.  Now they have some super stuff for affordable gifts.  The lovely baking book, paper cases and even a little set of scales were all £1 each and would make a great gift for a budding cook (or new money saver) Popped in a gift bag (3 for a pound in the card shop) they would look very presentable.  I notice that there is a new book out now too for celebration cakes.  It might be a bit ambitious for me though...the incompetent cook ;)  ....maybe great for others.


Add these serving tongs to bulk it out if you like, also £1 in various colours....
 

They also sell wool. There are not many colours to choose from but these lovely sparkly DK yarns are on 3 for 2 at the moment.  £2 for 3 balls make a great gift for a crafter or charity knitter (pop in a gift bag!)  Great for knitting gloves with....


I spotted these in Aldi when we took dear FiL shopping.  £3.99 for 750g  Great for giving to a family, a teenage boy (my son would have loved them, he could eat for England) or any man in the family who is tired of getting socks.


I also saw some lovely photo frames for £1.  One of my favourite gifts of all time was from my best friend.  For our Ruby Anniversary she gave me a photo frame with a black & white photo of us and our Best Man on our wedding day. It's lovely...



This particular frame isn't available in the pound shops but there were some pretty ones which could have been decorated with gems and/or flowers to make them special.

There were also some super mugs for £1 which could be filled with wrapped sweets and popped in a cellophane bag tied with ribbon.

 I apologise if this post is boring to the well organised but it just might help someone out there who is struggling for ideas.  Has anyone else bought some bargain gifts? Any tips much appreciated

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Washing Powder Test Results & Advent Update

A big welcome to my new followers....thanks for clicking!

In October I began an experiment to see if I am using too much washing powder per wash.  Remember this?


I marked the lid every time I did a load of washing and I am dismayed to find that I got this many loads done before I ran out. .....



Only 48.   48..... I ask you!  I am definitely using too much because with mindful use of detergent I have only stretched the box by a paltry 3 more loads.  This means that I have saved only 1p per load.  The phrase 'must try harder' springs to mind :-\

Today's Reverse Advent item is this...,


This DVD plus a couple of books are going to the CS on Advent day #6  Rather than take one item to the CS at a time I am going to pop them into a bag and drop them off once a week.  It seems silly making a special journey each time when I have to drive there.

I am enjoying immensely reading other peoples blogs in which they talk about their gifts . Frugal Queen, Sue and others are giving away some lovely items. It's fantastic.  I wish I could be a bit more creative in my giving but there's time yet...As I won't be going out tomorrow I am also making Advent #7 a gift to the Foodbank.  I have 3 items to donate but will buy another couple of things later to add to them. 

How is your Streetbank Advent going?  If you are taking part I would love to hear about it.  I need INSPIRATION!

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Friday, 5 December 2014

An Exciting Moment & Reverse Advent update.

It's Friday already.  I don't know where the week has gone and I haven't been idle either.  I am booked up for today too as dear Father in Law wants to go shopping.  He is 92 and very slow so it will be virtually an all day task to get him organised.  We do some of his shopping for him anyway but, for some inexplicable reason, he wants to go to Aldi and B & M today.  Now, there is no way on this earth that we would normally go on a Friday but he doesn't ask for much in this life so we will do our best to get him there.  Personally, I think he might live to regret it but I am counting the day given up to this task as my Reverse Advent gift  #5  I am busy sorting books for the CS which I will take this weekend and will let you know what I have found tomorrow.

Earlier in the week we decided to have a trip out to Newark as we have never been before and we were hoping the Christmas market was in full swing.  As it turned out we were a day too early :( but we had a lovely day there anyway.  As we are Club Brownhills members we could have a free overnight stay in our Wendy House on Wheels on their premises so we took them up on their kind offer.  Next morning look what we found next to us....

 
 
Alison Kershaw is a published author!  She has written (and is still writing) The Beyond series of supernatural books.  I have never read any of her works but I got talking to her husband and he explained that none of her books are really gory or nasty ( I would hate that) so I think I will try the first book in the series Didikai Witch.  I might have found a new genre to get stuck into :)
 
Has anyone read any of her books?  There are some reviews on Amazon but not enough yet for a clear picture to emerge. Can anyone help please?
 
Thanks ever so for popping in x
 
 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Streetbank Advent Day #1

Frugal Queen wrote a post about the Streetbank Advent. I have no idea how to post links but the idea is this.  It is the opposite of the usual Advent in that each day you give something away right up to Christmas. That is 24 Random Acts of Kindness during December.  Well I'm all for giving it a go.  Last weekend I had another sort out and I will see what I can do.  Anything from donating to the Foodbank, to donating to a CS, to popping coins in a Charity box, to giving someone a bit of help or time will count.  It doesn't have to be one each day you can give several days worth in one go and then none at all for while.  I will report what I have managed to do so please watch this space....

For today, I will begin with:

1) A stranger on the internet asked for some information on items she is collecting so I am posting her copies of what I have free of charge. She is more than pleased :)

It's obviously not worth posting a photo of an envelope but I am hoping to do more later today.


EDIT

2)  As I was doing a small shop today I added 6 items to my trolley for the Foodbank and popped them in the Sainsbury's collection point

3) All my leftover small change has been popped into the Air Ambulance box

4) DD is having a rough auld time of it lately so I purchased a Clarks shoe voucher towards the next pair of school shoes for each child.

That will put me ahead slightly in the Reverse Advent stakes as I might not be able to go out until later in the week.








Thanks ever so for popping in x

Sunday, 30 November 2014

A Wonderful Surprise

I was really lucky to be pulled out of the hat for a gift swap on Simple Living's blog.  Look what arrived yesterday!  It all came in a lovely Christmas red gift bag.  Thank you Simple Living :)
I am going to be really good and keep everything wrapped until the big day because we don't get many gifts nowadays and these will make the day really special...
 
 
 
This morning started off quite sunny but the light soon vanished so I have been struggling to try and finish my Christmas cards.  It's so difficult to match colours in artificial light so I had to stick with the ones that I already knew worked together.  I'll get there in the end.  Tomorrow I will tell you about my participation in the Streetbank Advent.  If you want to see what it's all about do check out Frugal Queen's blog.  That's where I found it.
 
Thanks ever so for popping in x
 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

FREE Fruit & Veg And My Wheels Are Back

Whoop whoop! I have my car back!  It has cost an eye watering £312.62 but it was returned to me at 7pm last night, just in time to save DH from going to work on the bus this morning (it wouldn't have hurt him now, would it ;)  Fingers crossed when I say this but it seems OK, no damage to the engine, thankfully.
 
Yesterday, my lovely Father in Law gave me 2 Sun newspaper vouchers for Morrisons fruit & veg.  By spending £10 it gave me £5 off so this lot here cost me just £5.82 I am really pleased with that as I want to ramp up our intake of fruit & veg now that the weather is turning colder.  I have some sausages in the freezer so Sunday lunch is sorted....sausages (veggie ones for me)  lots of veg and gravy.  That will leave plenty of veg for a veggie stew, peppers for omelettes, cauliflower cheese etc and baked apples with custard. Yum!
 
 
I tried to give away my spare voucher in the store but nobody wanted it. One gentleman carefully adding up his items with a calculator already had a voucher and other people didn't want to spend even £5 on fruit & veg. Astonishing really when they were filling their trolleys with alcohol, ready meals and expensive nibbles.
 
I wanted to pop into M & S to look at the reductions and remembered that I had a voucher for the coffee shop.  A reviving medium filter coffee cost £2 and I got 3 slices of brown toast, butter and marmalade FREE.  Although small slices of bread, I could only eat 2 so I buttered the third, wrapped it in my serviette and popped it into my bag for later.  Does anyone else feel guilty slipping perfectly good uneaten food into a bag for later?  I hate waste but hope that people don't think I am penniless :)
 
I hope you are all having a good day and surviving the crowds if you have to shop today.
 
Thanks ever so for popping in x
 
 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Black Friday Mayhem

 
I have just been watching news footage on the mayhem of so-called Black Friday shopping.  What the ....??  Grown men and women fighting over a TV or some such, sleeping outside shops to be the first over the threshold then battering each other to get their hands on a prized item.  One poor woman was hit on the head with a TV.  How can it be worth all the hassle.  It's yet another tradition that has come from the US along with Trick or Treat and school proms and which I heartily wish had stayed Stateside.  Look at the proms, parents nagged or on a guilt trip to buy their daughters a dress costing, in many cases, a couple of hundred pounds and which will only be worn for one night.  It's total insanity.

It got me thinking about my own schooldays and Christmases past.  I was the middle one of 3 children, my sister being 10 years older and having left home by the time I was 6. We each had a pillowcase hung on the bottom of the bed on Christmas Eve.  When we woke and excitedly unwrapped our presents we had things like an annual, some chocolate (one year I had a chocolate shaped like a record wrapped in gold foil...wow! ), a scarf, gloves and one good toy like a doll for me & a Meccano set for little brother.  The other gifts in the pillowcase were given by family members but made to look as if Santa brought them (crafty eh?)  One year our paternal Nan had knitted me a yellow cardigan with two pockets in and in one she had tucked a little bottle of scent in a bear shaped bottle.  I really thought I was the bees knees then!  I never felt deprived but I always felt that something was missing because the family spent Christmas day alone.  No other family members visiting and no telephone so no calls either.  As I reached around age 10 or 11 my maternal grandparents had moved to a bungalow around the corner from our house.  They were getting on a bit so mum would cook some extra Christmas dinner and I would get the task of carrying four plates (one plate plus one inverted on top to keep the dinner warm times two)  Many a time I carried those precious dinners through the snow, never once dropping anything :)  Nan & granddad were always pleased to see me and made a lovely fuss, then I would trudge back through the snow to eat my own dinner.  By then, of course, the rest of the family had eaten but mine had been kept warm in the oven.  Boy, did it taste good after being out in the cold!

The first thing I did when we got married was to invite family members to celebrate Christmas with us in our new (to us) home.  This was often on Christmas Eve or sometimes Boxing Day and my Sister and her family, Brother and his family plus both sets of parents would come.  Food would be simple, usually a buffet and we would have games like bingo with cheap prizes.  It was lovely.  We didn't have much money and no car for the first year of our marriage but it created some happy memories.

Does anyone else have happy memories of simpler Christmases past? Or do you wish you had done something different?  I would love to hear about it.

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Thursday, 27 November 2014

An Expensive Day

photo courtesy of Google
 
 
I'm afraid it is not good news regarding my little car.  The light of dawn showed a puddle of oil beneath my car and a hole the size of a 50p piece in the sump :(   It has been towed away for repair and I know that the recovery costs alone will be £60 to £70.  Heaven knows what the total bill will amount to.  I'm just so glad I was sufficiently organised this year to have bought all the Christmas gifts well ahead of time. What a blow. Still there are people having to cope with far worse things than that and no-one was hurt...that's the main thing.  At the moment we are car-less so it should be good for the waistline having to walk everywhere...

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Life Can Be Mean

Another quick post today, I'm afraid, and it's a moan :(

Today we decided to have a day out. A one off. Something we don't normally do. So we took a trip to Worcester. Not for anything special, you understand, just a look around the shops and treat ourselves to a bit of lunch out.  It was lovely. Four whole hours of mooching and a lovely bowl of soup in Debenhams. At 4pm we set off home, a few miles to go, DH about to overtake another vehicle and clatter!  For a split second I saw Something in the middle of the road...a piece of wood...a piece of metal...I don't know...but we clipped it and with an almighty clatter it hit the underside of the vehicle.  Of course, DH pulled over as soon as possible  and all appeared well but as soon as we got home the oil light appeared on the dashboard.  I had only had it checked and the car MOT'd yesterday so I am gutted.

I have to be grateful that no-one was hurt but it's my little car, not posh, not expensive but mine and less than 4 years old. Damn and blast it (sorry for my profanity but I feel justified) We will have to look at it tomorrow as it's impossible to see anything in the dark. In the scheme of things it is a minor blip but booger it...grrr...

Do you sometimes feel that life has a go at you? That it will not let you sail along gently? 

Hope today has been kind to you dear reader.

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Monday, 24 November 2014

More Bargainacious Spuds

Hello to my new follower, Twiggypeasticks, I love your name :)

Just a quick post today.  Do you remember these...



They are on offer once again in Morrisons at £2 for a 12.5kg bag. This time the variety is Sante so I don't know how they perform but for the price they are well worth a try. They should store well in a cool dry place.  My last bag is still in the shed and they are fine, I just fetch a few indoors every few days. More mash tonight on veggie shepherd's pie. Yes, I know it's a contradiction in terms but quorn mince instead of lamb is a winner in my book :)

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Childish Pleasures

During the half term break I offered to look after the two GC while their mum was at work.  I always try to plan activities to keep us all occupied and to nip squabbles firmly in the bud and this time it was 'baking' well, actually, no bake cornflake cakes.  The eldest has an innate sense of fairness so the chocolate was divided very carefully into two equal portions and they were absorbed in melting, mixing and popping portions into paper cases for quite some time.  Result! No squabbles!  It took me back to when my two were small...happy days...
 
 
 
The next activity was crafting, which they both love.  After a quick beans on toast for lunch (the kids had to show me how to work the microwave (well it's different to mine!) some simple felt shapes were stitched and decorated with immense concentration and again....NO squabbles.  They each produced a penguin, a couple of stockings to hang on the tree and some quilled pictures. 

In no time at all, mum was back and I was amazed how quickly six and a half hours had gone.  It got me thinking that Nan has a much better time of it than working mum.  I can remember being far too busy to spend so much time with my own.  There were jobs to be done even in the holidays, washing, cooking, shopping.  How lucky am I now to be able to give the children all my attention.  THAT is my Small Treasure for today.

Thanks ever so for popping in x

Friday, 21 November 2014

Slow Cooker Bargain and A Swollen Finger

I have been reading all the recipes & tips regarding slow cookers and decided that one might be a money saver for us too.  The prices vary wildly and I'm reluctant to spend too much in case it doesn't get used enough.  After much research I bought this yesterday.  It cost £16.99 but Sainsbury's have the 'double up' offer on the Nectar points.  I swapped 1000 points for a £10 voucher so, in effect, this only cost me £6.99 cash....well worth a try, I think.


It has a proper crockpot (not aluminium), 2 heat settings plus a keep warm feature and a 'power on' light and should make 4 good servings of whatever I decide to make.  Now for another recipe search!



A couple of months ago I injured my ring finger. I was (insert an embarrassed face) playing a game with my Grandson and bent my finger back sharply causing it to throb and swell.  Luckily, I removed my rings before they got stuck and waited for the swelling to go down.  I waited...and waited...with no luck.  Now I have been married for 43 years and it felt really weird not wearing rings so I decided that I needed my ring re-sizing.  It has come up beautifully! Polished and looking like new but 3, yes 3 sizes bigger.  Bearing in mind that my ring cost £6 new and £25.99 to stretch it (no extra gold added) it was an expensive game of rough and tumble...


Now I need to save up to get my engagement ring re-sized too....That'll teach me to think I am still a kid :)



Thanks ever so for popping in x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sunday Chuckle


A friend has emailed this to me this morning and I thought I might share...



photo courtesy of Google

Now that I'm older, here's what I've discovered


1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

2. My wild oats are mostly enjoyed with prunes and all-bran.

4. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded

5. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.

6. If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?

7. It was a whole lot easier to get older than it was to get wiser.

8. Some days, you're the top dog, some days you're the tree.

9. I wish the buck really did stop here, I sure could use a few of them.

10. Kids in the back seat cause accidents.

11. Accidents in the back seat cause kids.

12. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

13. The world only beats a path to your door when you're in the bathroom.

14. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he'd have put them on my knees.

15. When I'm finally holding all the right cards, everyone wants to play chess

16. It's not hard to meet expenses . . . They're everywhere.

17. The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

18. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter . . .I go somewhere to get something, and then wonder what I'm "here after".

19. Funny, I don't remember being absent-minded.

20. Have I sent this message to you before...or did I get it from you?



Have a lovely day everyone and thanks ever so for popping in x



Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Roman Villa & A Shimmer

Hello Joanne, welcome! Thanks for clicking and becoming a follower :)

At the hotel we stayed at there was the remains of an amazing Roman villa in the grounds (AD 360?)The Orpheus mosaic was discovered in 1728 and re-buried in 1730, probably in order to preserve it, then re-discovered in 1977.  Almost half of it had been destroyed by the elements but it was painstakingly restored using modern terracotta so that now we can imagine how beautiful and vibrant it must have been during Roman times. The circle (probably) depicts the Four Seasons:

  • Kore/Persephone
  • Aphrodite/Venus
  • Nemesis/Leda
  • Demeter

 It is so beautiful and I felt quite in awe of the workmanship.



As you can see, although a cover has been built over it and railings put up to prevent people damaging it further, birds and the elements are still able to get onto the mosaic.  Maybe it needs to have a glass cover....



Actually it's quite exciting to still be able to walk inside the villa walls and imagine how it must have felt to live there all those centuries ago.  It was built quite close to the river, just a matter of yards in fact, so would there have been flooding, I wonder?  How much deeper would the water have been?  Who lived there?  Soldiers or a whole community?  Apparently, hotel guests and staff have heard feet tramping through the dark as if soldiers were on the march....


Inside the hotel are several cabinets containing many artefacts which have been found in the vicinity, and which are now on loan from the museum. Wow....



Whilst exploring we found this......I would NOT like to sleep in this one!


This next photo was taken in the Long Gallery next to the Haunted Bedroom and this is where I struggled to take certain photos.  At first, I couldn't get a shot of this at all, it just shimmered, then suddenly I was allowed to take one.  Behind the yellow flag is a small gap in the wood panelling which exposes some of the original flint wall.  I couldn't snap this at all but I did get a shot of DH trying with his own camera.  He just got a shimmer too....




I was way too wary to touch the exposed bit of wall.  I am such a wuss!

Does anyone else love historical sites?  I so wish I had paid more attention to history lessons at school but there is no substitute for actually * feeling * the history.  Is anyone out there into archaeology?

Thanks ever so for popping in x