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Saturday, 31 December 2016

2017 and Non-Resolutions

2016 has been good to us in some ways but absolutely foul in others.  We have had sickness, redundancy, two bereavements, more sickness, the GC have had accidents requiring hospital treatment, the list goes on.  The number of famous, talented people we have lost this year seems to be at an unprecedented level too.  It's very sad and, to be honest, I will be very glad to see the back of 2016.  There are just a few hours to go, already it's the new year in Australia and the countdown begins everywhere.

May I wish all my followers and readers a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2017.  I hope only good things come your way....




I will not be making new year resolutions because I know I will fall at the first fence, but I promise I will carry on being frugal, helping others as much as possible and raising money for charity.

Are you making resolutions?

Have a great evening and a great 2017, thanks everso for popping in x

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Frugal Eating Begins Here!

We did go into town yesterday as planned but parked on the outskirts of town and walked the rest of the way in order to get some exercise.  Erands done, we popped into Marks and Spensives just as these were being marked down.  They were too good to miss. ....



I bought two packs of potatoes, one has gone into the freezer for later on, one will be eaten tonight.  The slow cooker is on with some beef stew for OH which will feed him for two days and with a bit left to freeze (at least I hope so! ) The cream will be dolloped onto warm mince pies for pudding.

Today is a rest day.  No visitors , chores for the day are done, now there's a nice cup of tea with my name on it and a bit of knitting to carry on with.

Have a lovely day and thanks so much for popping in xxx

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Aftermath, A Walk & Bargain Hunting

Well it's all over now bar the shouting, as they say.  Food has been munched, drink has been drunk and except for a quick New Year's Eve drink we will be back to normal.  Nothing has been done to excess.

Yesterday had a very frosty start but we drove to Stourport and had a lovely brisk walk along the river in order to blow away the cobwebs.  It was lovely and fresh, making our cheeks and fingers glow with the cold but clearing our heads and waking us up.  On the way home we stopped at Sainsbugs and found some bargains.  The bread was 20p and has been frozen for toast, the wraps 24p have been separated into 3's interleaved with baking parchment for a quick defrost then re wrapped and frozen for lunches.  The spinach 40p will be used for Cornish Chickpea's lentil bake and we ate some sprouts with our tea last night. The pancakes 19p a pack have been frozen for another day and the Pains au Chocolat  20p will be eaten for an indulgent breakfast.  This is just the start of my frugal intent during January so watch this space....



There were lots of Christmassy things drastically reduced too.  I looked at them, picked them up and put them back.  The only things I bought were a 10metre roll of wrapping paper for 50p and 2 packs of tags @ 10p each.  The original price in total was £5 so not at all bad for 70p....




Have you succumbed to any sale bargains?  We might have a trip into town today but I really only want to buy a birthday gift for a friend's birthday.

Thanks so much for popping in.  I hope your Christmas was wonderful x

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Merry Christmas One And All & New Year Planning


Today is an absolutely lovely day weather wise; bright and sunny with a crisp frosty start.  It was just the thing for a brisk walk, well wrapped up, of course, and then buying a few bits needed for Christmas.  Now we are home and warm so it's time for a bit of R & R .

The next two days will be spent baking and making a big pan of soup for quick meals later on when we are too stuffed for much else or too lazy to cook.  The freezer is full of bread, frozen veg, Quorn (in various forms) and some braising steak for OH which I will put into the slow cooker at some stage next week.  We intend to eat out of the freezer and store cupboard as much as possible from now until the end of January.  My purse will remain firmly CLOSED for as long as possible :)  I have some Nectar points to use in the new year and hope to have a couple of pounds worth of M & S vouchers soon too.  These will be used in preference to cash to buy things like bread, fruit, fresh veg and milk.

A household budget will be prepared after Christmas in preparation for 2017 but I will not be increasing the food budget element (even though prices seem to be increasing even now) but will endeavour to eke out our current amount by more frugal shopping and proper meal planning.  As far as I can tell at this stage this year's bills have come within budget, possibly just under budget so I'll let you know once I have the total in the new year.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, love and hugs to you all but particularly to anyone who needs a special hug <<HUG>>  due to feeling poorly or lonely or in need of one.

Take care & thanks for popping in xxx






Wednesday, 14 December 2016

On Feeling Yuk and a Christmas Play

Today has been gorgeous; bright and sunny and reviving.  So much so that I ironed a huge basket of clothes whilst basking in the sun streaming through the window.   I didn't get much sleep last night.  I had my 'washing machine head' on, you know when everything floods the mind and you begin to mull things over :/  It didn't help that OH was snoring like a pig either.  I finally dropped off sometime after 4am and awoke feeling sluggish and not at all well.  I think I was a bit dehydrated too as I didn't have a drink during the day yesterday from 11 am until 5pm as I was out,  so a pint of water drunk slowly over the first hour also helped.

Yesterday was spent with DD at GS's primary school watching the Christmas production of Oliver.  It always makes me smile to watch and listen to the children, some bold and confident, some finding it so excruciating that they rush their lines to get it over quickly, some forgetting their lines altogether and being prompted by another child, and some silently mouthing the lines of the whole play :)
I know I should have taken a bottle of water with me but I forgot, so I had drunk a cup of tea before I left home at 11am and then nothing until a lovely mug of tea at DD's at 5pm.  I never learn....

After ironing such a huge basket of stuff I felt I deserved a bit of R and R so fished out some of my yarn stash and began a chunky waistcoat to keep me warm this winter.  A ball knits up in around 2 hours so it won't take long to finish. I'll show and tell in a few days.

It's going cold again now that it's dark so PJ's and dressing gown on and more knitting I think.  There is some good stuff on TV tonight too.  I am enjoying Lucy Worsley's telling of the six wives of Henry VIII and tonight is part 2.

Oh, forgot to say I have an eBay sale today...net funds of £13.25...yay!  It's a very good start :)

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

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Yellow Sticker Shopping

 
photo from Google
 
 
Did anyone watch the Martin Lewis TV prog last night?  It featured a woman who spends less than £3 a week on her food shopping by buying just yellow stickered items.  That woman has dedication!
Marlene from Simple Living blog has the same mindset and gets some brilliant buys on a regular basis. 'Mean Queen' Ilona has it down to a fine art too.  I rarely find anything reduced to pennies so I think I must go at the wrong time of day.  As it's a car journey to the shops it's a bit tricky to get the timing right but I must try harder, especially in the new year when big bills start to roll in and money is tight.  Already we have a bill for £1760 for our ground rent.  We have already saved up enough for that and council tax is paid by monthly direct debit, but there will be rates, water & sewerage charges, a tank full of LPG to pay for, TV Licence (end of December), the telephone line rental (paid annually up front to get it cheaper) which is due middle of January and so on.....
If we can save on the food budget it will help enormously as we also have to find money to site our touring caravan somewhere during the whole of February now that OH is no longer warden here, otherwise we will be homeless for a month!  We are hoping to take the 'van to Padstow at some stage so we need cash!
 
Ebay is calling me....must have a rummage and sort some stuff to sell....
 
Is January an expensive time for you too?  Or perhaps a different month?  What do you do to cope?
 
Have a wonderful day and stay warm x


Friday, 9 December 2016

Disgusting Coffee and Girl On The Train

My heart always sinks when I see the tag 'new improved' product on absolutely anything so when I saw it on my favourite coffee; Nescafe, I debated whether or not to risk £5 of my food budget on a 300g jar (with 50% extra free) I did risk it and sorely regret it :/  The new jar with a snazzy red lid contains the most awful instant coffee. The smell is different (not at all tempting) and the taste is nothing like I'm used to.  I emailed Nestle asking about the changes and got this reply:


Dear Angela
Thank you for contacting us about NescafĂ©. 


We were sorry to hear of your recent disappointment with the product. 

Any changes to our products are the result of rigorous research and development as we believe in producing products with a great taste, consistent levels of quality and safety, value for money and convenience.
 
The new recipe indicated with a red lid is replacing the old blend.


We always value feedback from our consumers and this is particularly important when loyal consumers comment on any changes we have made. We will pass your feedback to the brand team who take on board all the comments they receive for future product development.



Thank you once again for taking the trouble to contact us. We hope that in future you will enjoy our products. (Not a cat in hell's chance of enjoying your coffee! and that bit wasn't in the original reply :D )
Kind Regards
 

Josh Temple

Contact Centre Executive
Consumer Engagement Services
 
 
 
Grrr... £5 wasted....

 

Has anyone else tried the new red lidded jar of Nescafe?  What do you think of it?
 



It seems that several of you have read the book and I must admit it would be one that I would have left on the shelf but for DD lending it to me.  Once I began reading, however, I couldn't put it down!  It's written in the style of darting to and fro from past to present and back again but with shortish chapters giving other character's viewpoints as well. It kept me gripped the whole way through.  The lead character, Rachel, is absolutely infuriating and I wanted to shake her sometimes but alcohol abuse has it's own problems, I guess.  I guessed who the perpetrator was long before the end but thoroughly enjoyed the book.
 
What did you think of it?
 
Well I have my PJ's on, the kettle is on (for a nice cup of tea) and I'm ready to hunker down.  I'll watch Countrywise at 8pm them TV off and a nice read.  I'm currently reading a Jenny Colgan Book (I LOVE that woman!)
 
Stay warm and safe everyone and thanks for popping in x
 


Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Disappointing Day....

Thank you all so much for your good luck wishes on my last post, they are very much appreciated.

The day began at 1.30pm when we could go and set up our sales tables and I felt pleased with the Christmassy look ...


Left hand side....

Right hand side....

I went back at 6pm as requested and the first parent walking past said " wow! I'll take four!"  so four little filled knitted stockings were sold, quickly followed by a fifth one.  Great, I thought, a good start.  After then ...hardly any sales at all :(  I only sold ONE campervan pincushion and a few cards.   As soon as the show finished at 8pm the whole audience went home without even looking at the stalls. After my donation for the stall, I was left with £10.60 takings and I wasn't the only dispirited stallholder, the young lady to my right sold only one baby hat (£3.50) despite having the most beautiful crocheted baby clothes.  The lady to my left sold about 4 scarves at £2 each :/

I do hope that Janice is having a better day today in Alberta, Canada. Please let us know how it went.

Anyway, today I opened my Christmas cards from DD and GC The envelope alone cheered me up :D





In my post last weekend I mentioned my value cheesecake....


Mamasmercantile asked me to let her know how it tasted.  It isn't actually as big as it looks in the photo as it's sitting on a dessert plate but it certainly served 6 of us.  It obviously wasn't as rich as a home made one but it was light, creamy, sweetly toffee flavoured and was delicious with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side.  Well worth £1.25 in my view (quick to defrost too) and it would be perfectly possible to cut it in half whilst frozen and keep half back for another time if there are just 2 or 3 of you.

On another subject, it has been extremely cold at the start of the week with heavy frost and around minus 9 during the night. It took 25 minutes to de ice my car on Thursday before I could go out.  Today, however, it's much warmer and it's a bit of a relief to turn down the heating.  OH has a cold (man flu, of course, which is so much worse (NOT!) so the heating has been on A LOT :(
Today is lovely.  However, Winter....I am READY.......


Warm socks, blanket at the ready and a book which is simply unputdownable.  Has anyone else read The Girl On The Train?  Now, where's my cup of tea.....

Thanks everso for popping in x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas is Coming! FB Update

Just a very quick post tonight; an update to the Food Bank challenge.  Days #24 to 26 as shown and I have made a decision regarding the last 4 items which will be Terry's chocolate oranges on offer at £1 each.  At least a family will be able to share one of those :) Everything but the oranges has been taken to the FB in time for Christmas distribution.  The chocolate will be donated on Saturday.




Tomorrow is the Christmas production and fair in the village where I will have my stall.  Please wish me luck, it's at this stage I get very anxious in case no one buys anything!

Have a lovely evening and stay warm x