Tuesday, 3 October 2017

I'm Excited!

I'm excited! I want to shout out loud.....

I have my first Christmas Presents!

Boots have begun to stock their shelves with Christmas stuff and I just happened to see some suitable gifts when I popped in with DD for something else.  I got 2 lovely gifts for women and one for a man which had a potential total cost of £18.50  By using my points and Boots' 3 for 2 offer I got them for FREE and I still have over £1 worth of points left on my card...result!

On Sunday morning I put the kettle on to boil for my first cuppa of the day, opened a new box of teabags and idly counted them one by one into my airtight empty! WHAT?? A box of 40 teabags contains only 38?  I tipped them out and tried again.  Still only 38. They are the cheapest Sainsbugs Fairly Traded teabags but I still felt cheated so I sent off a very polite email to Sainsbugs to query this.  By Monday I had received a very nice email to say they will be looking into this issue and that they will credit me with 400 Nectar points (worth £2) by way of compensation. I just checked and they are already in my account. Thank you! In all my 46 years of wedded bliss I have never before thought to count the teabags in a pack.  Have I been missing out all these years? Do some packs contain more?  Is it a hit and miss issue? Has anyone else ever checked theirs? Or am I completely nuts?  Answers on a postcard please ;)

Regarding Nectar points, I checked at the weekend and I have points worth £25.87 so far....

Add to this my free 400 points and I have £27.87 towards more gifts (jumps up and down in excitement! )  Today I received another email newsletter to say that from Friday to Sunday this week Nectar card holders will receive free prize draw points if they spend £10 or more and swipe their card.  It's well worth doing because the top prize is 5000 points worth £25 and you will get at least 200.  Go people! ;)

By the way, OH loved the sausage casserole.  He said it tasted slightly sweet but absolutely delicious.  It didn't need any extra liquid and served him 2 enormous portions.  If I had been a bit quicker I could have stretched it to 3 and frozen one of them.  Never mind I'll know for next time ....

Thanks everso for popping in.  Stay safe x

Sunday, 1 October 2017

It's October! Foodie Post

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last 2 posts. It seems that many of you can't help but notice the price hikes in the shops either and I can't see things stabilising in the foreseeable future.  A lot of belt tightening to come, I think....

Today is October 1st and the good news is that my food spends have stayed just within budget this month (12p left)
I have checked my store cupboard and freezer and still have the makings of:

Sausage casserole (slow cooker),
HM veg curry (I have never made one from scratch before so it will be a bit hit and miss!)
Quorn fajita wraps.
A few frozen prawns which OH can have smothered in Marie Rose sauce on a baked potato
 so potentially 5 evening meals if the sausage casserole serves OH twice.

 Leek & potato soup (twice)
Cheese on toast
Baked potato with baked beans
Sandwiches (egg perhaps)

My tasks this morning have been prepping sausage casserole for OH tonight......
2 sliced onions and 6 browned sausages (cut into chunks when brown)

 I only had 2 carrots left....

A jar of sauce 86p (I haven't bought this before so I hope it will be ok)

All put into the slow cooker to work it's magic. It should give hubby 2 good portions.  It might need more liquid but I'll see how it goes as it cooks.  As you know, slow cookers tend to create steam which adds to the liquid level anyway.  I'll let you know how it tastes in another post....

There were just 2 leeks left so soup is now bubbling away for my lunch and there should be plenty left for tomorrow....

Monday is' big shop' day so I need to get fresh salad stuff, veggies, fruit, some fish and not much else I hope :/
October needs to be a frugal month too. If I can spend as little as possible at the beginning of the month I might be able to keep some cash in reserve towards Christmas food.

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

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A Century Reached

Today is my Mum's birthday.  She would have been 100 years old and I got to thinking how the world must have changed since 26th September 1917 when she was born.

 In many ways the changes are for the better:

Free healthcare,
Better housing,
Guaranteed old age pensions,
Washing Machines,
Television, for example
I'm sure you can all add much more to the list....

But I feel that some changes are for the worse. There can be a loss of community spirit with an 'every man for himself' attitude in some places.  We are far more mercenary in attitude whereas our parents never bought anything new unless the old item was broken.  Credit was shameful to them and my Dad worked long hours to keep us in a decent council house with coal for the fire and food to eat.  Holidays were few and far between and every penny was stretched until it squeaked.

Thank you Mum for passing on your knowledge to me and my siblings.  As a pensioner now myself I have sifted through my inherited frugal mindset to give me a sense of being able to cope come what may....
 I Love You Mum
Sleep Tight
Have a lovely day folks wherever you happen to be xx

Monday, 25 September 2017

Seeking Deals and Rocketing Food Prices

It's now officially Autumn, not just meteorological Autumn, but the real thing and the time of year when lots of bills start coming in including renewals.  I don't just pay the renewal price but do lots of research to try to get things cheaper.

My car is due it's annual service but it's almost £350 for a major one and I do so few miles that I'm thinking of leaving it until the Spring.  That will help keep my budget totals for 2017 in check.  It will need an MOT in December though and as the dealer has increased prices I intend to shop around for that too.  Every pound saved makes a difference.

OH is also checking broadband deals.  We are with BT and the contract expires on 23rd December when the price will increase from £28 per month to £54.99 per month :/  We use freesat for TV viewing so only need a fair broadband speed for emails and browsing.  We also pay 12 months upfront for the phone line (£205.08 last January) OH is wondering whether we can cancel the phone line and use our mobile phones to make calls instead but I'm unsure of the practicalities of doing that.  Has anyone else done away with their phone line? Is it possible to use a mobile instead of a fixed line on a long term basis?  The jury is out.....

Bloggers have been commenting on the rocketing food prices in the shops.  I totally agree.  I seem to get less for my money every single week and many of the Basics and Savers brands have disappeared from the supermarket shelves altogether. Mr M's basic butter has increased to £1.35 a pack. It seems only a short time ago that it was less than £1. I bought one of the last few packets of mixed dried fruit on the shelf this morning.  I really hope they are not discontinuing those as I use them in lots of HM cakes and puddings :(

 I am trying to cook simpler food to keep the cost down too; more jacket potatoes, soups, baked beans on toast, slow cooked casseroles etc and OH has meat of some kind only two or three times a week now.  Fish makes an appearance once or twice and it's often just fish fingers or fishcakes so that I can eat it too.  Hubby says he doesn't really miss meat all that much and it's more of a treat when he does have some.

The family came to visit at the weekend and I was unsure what to feed them on.  Mr M is selling packs of 4 x Estima baking potatoes for 50p and they looked lovely so I bought 2 packs plus a large block of mature cheese for £3.50. Tea for 6 of us consisted of  baked potatoes (microwaved then crisped in a hot oven) and I put out a bowl of grated cheese and some hot baked beans along with a bag of mixed salad (43p)  From the bottom of the fridge the remains of some YS'd cucumber (19p), sliced YS'd radishes (35p) and a red pepper.  Every bit was consumed with relish.  Even the children, who can be very fussy eaters, cleared their plates. Result!

A meal plan for tonight onwards is my next task. I spent very nearly £40 on the food shop (including £5 on a big pack of washing powder as it was on offer) and need to stretch everything to last for as many meals as possible.  Wish me luck....

Thanks so much for popping in x

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Christmas Thoughts

It really does feel like Autumn this morning.  Last night was very chilly indeed but the sun is trying to break through....fingers crossed :)

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post.  It was so nice to have 'get well' wishes, I just hope I didn't come across as feeling self pitying :/

Yesterday, my thoughts turned to Christmas. Yay! I love Christmas! But not the expense :(
Last year I had some cash from selling my handmade cards to a local shop.  This year I have my thoughts turned to ways of buying gifts for points not cash. I know I have Nectar points as I haven't spent any since last Christmas (well, post Christmas actually as I tried to eke them out as long as possible in January 2017) as well as some Boots points which I have been saving up.  I don't spend extra to get these points I just maximise the ones available.  For example, Sainsbugs have been offering extra points for a set number of card swipes in a given time so whenever near the store I buy a couple of items I need from there.  It's usually 8 swipes in 4 weeks so that's 2 per week and fuel purchases count too. I only buy items the same price or cheaper than elsewhere too, otherwise it's a bit pointless (lol....please excuse the pun, I couldn't resist it!)  So I have:

Nectar £25.61
Boots (as yet unknown)
M & S (ditto)

I also have a sealed pot to be opened in November

DD and I usually go Chrissie shopping the first week in November so I need to have a good think how to fund it this year. We have new babies to buy for this year too but I just want to put cash in a card for them.  I don't want to start having to choose gifts which might be totally unsuitable.  I'll start as I mean to go on.  We don't buy gifts for many adults in the family.  There is DD's family of 4, my brother and sister in law, and token gifts to 2 neighbours and a young couple we know. 

Perhaps I can make some stocking fillers again this year.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Lists done? Bought anything?

Have a wonderful Sunday x

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

An Apology and Autumn Arrives

First of all an apology for my long absence from my blog.  As soon as I get two new followers I go AWOL so a big welcome to Deb S and Janipi P  :)

I have had no blogging mojo at all for the last four weeks, I'm afraid.  My energy levels have been low and everything apart from day to day living has been an effort.  I got the results back from all my tests; kidneys, liver function, ovaries, and thyroid.  None of them showed any worrying results, thank goodness, so I still have no idea exactly what has floored me.  I feel a little better today apart from a headache so I need to soldier on and make sure I eat healthily in order to get my strength back (pause for some paracetamol....)

We managed to get through last month on a very tight budget although the bank account was squeaky by the end of the month.  There was just £9.48 left in my own account by the end of the third week and the annoying thing was that I couldn't withdraw £5 from that at any of the cash machines I tried...grrr... in the end I managed without by combing the house for every last bit of change.  Every handbag, pocket and potential hiding place was searched.  Boy was I glad when 1st September arrived!  The downside of this month is that it is now officially meteorological Autumn and it's getting colder.  Chilly mornings have meant that I have allowed the heating to click on (it's set at 13 degrees ) just for half an hour to make the start of the day a bit more welcoming.  We have not had an LPG top up since May so I feel justified in using a bit of what we have saved to warm us up first thing.  The heating is not needed in the evening as we can put the electric fire on if necessary and we tend to have a hot meal around 5.30pm which, in itself, warms us up.  I have brought out my fleecy blanket to snuggle into as I watch TV.  OH has always laughed at me when I use it but he actually shared it a couple of night ago when his legs were cold :D

I have been watching the news of hurricane Irma, the devastation, the flooding and the heartache.  My own heart aches for the people caught up in the storms.  We are so, so lucky here.......

Stay warm and safe wherever you happen to be in the world.  God bless you all xx

Monday, 14 August 2017

National Numeracy Challenge

I always thought I was ok with numbers and numeracy in general, enough to get by with on a day to day basis.  When I saw this challenge on the MSE website I clicked on the link and took the test.  Boy, it really gave my brain a workout and I scored 87 out of 100  87%...not bad... but not as good as Martin Lewis!  I think he got 98% The test is really good because it pinpoints any weaknesses (mine was interpreting graphs and pie charts accurately) so that you can work on any weak areas.  If you fancy having a go yourself the link is here:

It costs nothing but about 30 minutes of your time.  Go on I DARE you ;) x

Has anyone had a go yet?

Have a brilliant day folks x

Friday, 11 August 2017

On eBay and feeling Under The Weather

Another week has flown by in a flurry of activity.  DD returned home safely from the family holiday in Kos (sigh of relief) There was an aftershock whilst they were there but very slight so it didn't cause any panic and she said the hotel staff were very blasé about it.  They are quite used to it happening apparently.

It's been 17 weeks since OH had his tooth extracted and he still has a hole in his gum, albeit a tiny bit smaller.  He went to his follow up appointment and they have booked him in for another check up (no treatment given) for 30th January 2018!  He is totally fed up with the whole experience and I'm heartily sick of having to keep wiping water splashes off the bathroom mirror after his swooshing the cavity out 3 times a day still.  It's looking increasingly likely that the hospital is waiting for the gum to heal itself.  It's a very slow process.....

I can report some success with my decluttering and eBaying this month, thank goodness.  I listed some of my lovely glass which I couldn't sell at the car boot for more than tuppence halfpenny and have sold 4 pieces for a total of £120 minus fees...yay!  I really needed the cash this month so I am really pleased with the result.  There is a new baby in the family so £20 is winging it's way off to the family in a HM card.

Frugal In Derbyshire has been requesting eBay-ing tips in her post.  I've been selling on there for about 15 years now and find it very useful for me as no one needs to come to my home to collect stuff unless I allow it (as in the case of heavy or bulky stuff).
  •  At the moment Royal Mail have a half price promotion for medium parcels weighing between 2 and 5 kgs so now is the time to sell bulky stuff and post it out.
  •  For newly registered eBayers it might be a bit of a faff to get your account up and running as they need so much info these days and's free to list a certain number of items but they take 10% of a sale price including postage & packing so do remember to cost it in.
  • Save all kinds of sturdy boxes ready to post your item in.  It's very frustrating to find you've sold something and don't have an appropriate box.
  • I ask the supermarket staff if I can have the loose bubble wrap in fruit display boxes (ONLY the loose stuff, I don't want to whip it all out and damage the fruit!)  It's great to fill spaces and save money.  No one has ever refused me yet.
  • Good photographs are a must, you are allowed to put 12 in a listing.
  • Be totally honest with your description and take time to describe your item accurately.
There is so much advice out there on the forums too, have you found eBay useful?


On a different subject, I have still been feeling 'under the weather' so I gave in and rang for an appointment with my GP last Wednesday.  I couldn't be seen until the following Monday morning :? but I have had blood tests taken for liver & kidney function, ovaries and thyroid as a starting point.  Watch this space......

I have a stall at the craft fayre again tomorrow but I'm not holding my breath for any useful takings.  It's fun anyway.... :)

Have a great weekend folks wherever you happen to be, take care x

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Rooster Miracle

We have had another mixed bag weather wise over the last week.  Mostly rain but a bit of welcome sunshine this afternoon which we lapped up.  The grass was mown and more lettuce seeds sown as the first batch is almost ready for eating :)  The strawberry plants have revived thankfully, and although we lost all the remaining fruit the valiant little plants are putting out runners which we have pegged down in pots in order to increase the number of plants for next year.

I have always wanted to keep a few hens and never had the chance so OH surprised me with a gift... a metal rooster...and I love him!

When I opened the curtains yesterday morning I rubbed my eyes in disbelief, just look what had appeared overnight.....

Yes, our lovely neighbours had carefully placed not one but two hard boiled eggs beneath my rooster during the early morning!!  I fell about laughing and every passer by does the same.  Priceless!

The weekend is approaching so have a great one everyone wherever you happen to be x

Friday, 28 July 2017

End of Month Financial Review

Good morning everyone :)  Well, what a mixed bag of weather we have been having;  sun, wind, torrential rain, more sun, more rain..... It's been decidedly chillier than of late and today has dawned overcast.  Luckily I have nothing more planned than washing ironing and cleaning.  Oh joy! (insert a wry smile emoji) but first a review of my personal finances....

I think I have said before that my state pension goes straight into the joint account to help pay the household bills and my personal spending comes from a small works pension which goes into a separate account so that I know exactly what I can spend.  It's just £87 per month and has to cover fuel for my car (insurance, road fund licence, MOT etc are included in the household budget) birthday gifts for the family, as well as all personal spending such as crafting stuff and any treats like books, magazines etc.  I generally supplement this income with eBay sales, if I can find anything to flog that is. This month I have sold a couple of things but I have had several birthdays, anniversaries etc and it's my lovely grandson's 10th birthday tomorrow so money is going in his card too.  I have decided to give up buying the GC birthday gifts from now on as they prefer to choose their own.  I must confess it's much easier and less a waste of money than buying a toy which is never played with.

This has left me with £54.04 in my account to last until the end of August :/ I still need to buy petrol but will eke out the drop left in the tank for a few days yet. September will bring another round of birthdays and, of course, Christmas planning will begin (sorry to those of you who can't think of the dreaded C word yet!)  I plan to list a bit more stuff on eBay as I really do need to do a bit more decluttering.  Don't you feel much better after a good sort out?

Anyway, must crack on.  A big welcome to my new follower, Sally I think it is, it's lovely to 'see' you.

Take care all x

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Holiday ?? What holiday?

Well, school's out for Summer once more and DD has a holiday booked for next week.  Where do you think they are going? guessed it...Kos....  Last year it was Turkey and I was worried the whole time until they returned.  This time the family don't really want to go after the devastating earthquake, the little ones are scared, but the penalty on their Thomson holiday will be 100% if they don't go.  They lose the complete cost even if they choose another destination. A holiday is supposed to be relaxing .....isn't it?  Is anyone else due to go soon?

Today was the local Craft Fayre once more.  It wasn't well attended (again) because the school holidays have begun and people are whizzing off on holiday but I took a little more money than last month and had a laugh with the lovely stallholders.  Of course I agreed to do one next month too :/

The rain lashed down the whole of last night so everything is looking and feeling freshly washed and clean once more.  It was lovely lying in bed and listening to it.....

See you tomorrow.  Thanks everso for popping in x

Sunday, 16 July 2017

God Bless The Air Ambulance Service

God bless the men and women of the Air Ambulance service all over the country.
On Friday we had a bit of an emergency here.  A neighbour, who is a young 60'ish tripped over her flip flops and fell head first down the back steps of her home, knocking herself out in the process.  Within minutes of the 999 call a paramedic who lives locally arrived in his own car closely followed by a regular ambulance crew. God bless them all too.  Shortly afterwards we heard the shugging sound of  helicopter blades and a low flying helicopter circled slowly before landing in the small field nearby.  How they managed to land is a miracle.  In order to take off again the pilot had to turn around at almost ground level then lift off and fly backwards to avoid the electricity lines crossing the field.  My heart was in my mouth.  The neighbour has head injuries and broken ribs so she is in quite a state, poor soul, but she should recover given time.
The incident made me think how I've let my fundraising and donations slip a little lately.  The AA has no government funding at all so help is always needed. I intend to donate again as soon as I can.  I still support Help4Heroes by donating a percentage of my eBay sales but my Food Bank donations have been neglected compared to last year.  On Saturday I donated 4 items as cash is tight this month but I will ramp that up too next month.
We are so lucky in this country with our emergency services.
Have a lovely, safe and relaxing Sunday x

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Specs, Teeth and a Tenor

Saturday again!  I have suddenly realised that it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post but I confess that I've been feeling 'under the weather' for a while and not much interested in anything. The flashing in my eye is back but in the right eye this time and it's very disconcerting.  When I had it in my left eye it eventually stopped (after some months) and I kind of learned to ignore it but this is new and scary.  I have had to buy new specs too as my old ones, although the prescription hasn't really changed much, have started to fall apart.  A lens keeps falling out and they are loose all over.  I chose the cheapest frames I could find that I actually liked but they have still cost £236, an amount I hadn't budgeted for this year :/   Most of the cost has come out of my savings but I'm desperately cutting back on all other spending this month.  I've put just £10 worth of fuel in my car (usually £20 a month) and I'm just over 1/4 tank full so I hope it might just last another two weeks.

In addition to my eye problem I've had a delicate stomach.  I think my IBS has reared it's head again so I'm watching what I eat and trying to eat small and often.  It seems to be helping.  Jacket potato and cheese for lunch today.

OH had a hospital appointment come through to see about his toothy problem.  The socket still hasn't healed and he's still having to wash it out 3 times a day.  The consultant said that it will heal in time and the undescended wisdom tooth doesn't need to come out after all....sigh....he has to go back in a couple of weeks  for them to check the progress of healing.  If it's not healed they will (and I quote) "Do Something" .....bigger sigh......After more than 3 months it's no joke.....

On the brighter side, we took a trip to Stratford on Avon last Wednesday as the weather was warm and sunny.  Near the river was a young man who has been on the TV program 'The Voice'.  He had set up his sound equipment and was performing songs from the musicals for the eager crowds.  We sat and listened for quite a long time, eating our sandwiches, and he was lovely!  Coins were falling into his music case like rain so he must have made quite an impression.  His rendition of 'Bring Him Home' sent shivers down my spine.  He will be performing in September at Stratford ArtsHouse   I won't be able to go but I expect it to be excellent :)

Have a lovely day everyone, wherever you happen to be.  And a big welcome to my new follower Margaret (I think it is) x

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Awesome Knitting & Baking C*ck Up

Crumbs...another week has gone in a flash.  Somehow there just aren't enough hours in a day at the moment.

In my last post I promised to share details of the knitting exhibition which we found purely by accident in Honiton, Devon.  It was at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery which is housed in a lovely Georgian townhouse, the former home and studio of the artist Thelma Hulbert.  I was in awe of the knitting skills of everyone who contributed.....

I LOVE this clown!

A picnic.....

Vegetable garden produce.....
Beautiful knitted roses....

A sweet little blue tit.....

Yummy looking cakes....

Cacti galore......

This was a favourite, a bee hive!.....

The exhibits change every few weeks and, sadly, this one has now closed but for FREE admission it was awesome (donation made, of course)

Baking c*ck up!

As money was a bit tight by the end of last month I tried to eke out the desserts by making a lemon curd sponge using a fatless sponge recipe from an untried recipe.  BIG mistake!  It was so dry despite following the recipe to the letter but I was determined not to waste it.  It contained four eggs after all :/  I opened a small tin of pears, placed them in the bottom of a big dish, sliced up about half the cake and laid that on top.  I sloshed brandy over the sponge (it soaked it up nicely!) and emptied a tin of value custard (cold, straight from the tin) on top of that and chilled it. It made 4 good and tasty portions of pudding with a drizzle of cream one day and a dollop of ice cream the next. OH thinks I'm a Domestic Goddess ;)

Today is wonderfully sunny and I've had a wander around the local garden centre this morning.  I had enough cash for a pot of tea in the teashop too....lovely.

Enjoy your day wherever you happen to be x

Saturday, 24 June 2017

On Amazing Weather & A Disaster

When the weather forecast predicted a warm spell we tootled off to Devon in the caravan last week and, BOY! were they right! A 5 day heat wave arrived!  It has been roasting but we had a wonderful week in Sidmouth.  It was too hot to eat so we lived on simple salads, fruit and lots of ice cream :)  We came back on Thursday last and it has cooled down considerably although I'm still wearing shorts around the house.

One of our neighbours promised to water our strawberry pots in return for watering their garden (they were away the week before us and came back the day we went IYSWIM) We came back to this.....

and this.....

To say I am gutted would be an understatement.  The second plant must have been in a slightly shadier spot and I managed to salvage a few strawberries for tea but that is the lot.....

We have our potatoes in a different part of the garden and another neighbour (totally unasked BTW)  trained his hose onto our tubs of spuds.  What a star he is.....

I had a little rummage around one tub and found these.....

 We ate them steamed, with HM quorn lasagne, peas & carrots.  They were delicious....

When we were away we had no internet access so I'm totally out of touch with what's been happening in blogland and need to catch up.  Next post I'll tell you all about an amazing knitting exhibition we accidentally found.  If you love knitting you'll love this exhibition.

Thanks so much for popping in and being patient.  Take care x

Saturday, 10 June 2017

The Toothy Tale Continues....And Craft Fayre Woes

Poor OH is still suffering after having his tooth extracted.  The socket is still wide open after more than 8 weeks and he is so fed up.  Last week he visited his own dentist, the one who had referred him to the larger practice in the first place, who has now decided that something more needs to be done, referring him to the local hospital, this time to extract the impacted wisdom tooth next to the original extraction.  Apparently the wisdom tooth could be stopping the healing process.  Now, as OH had originally asked whether this tooth needed to come out and they had said no,  he is NOT best pleased.  Heaven knows how long he will have to wait for an appointment so he is still swooshing the socket after meals and cursing roundly as he does so.  The poor chap has lost half a stone in weight (no snacking!) and will become a shadow of his former self  if they don't hurry up and sort it.

It was the craft & local produce fayre this morning and I set up the stall full of enthusiasm...

Hardly anyone came through the door :(  As the £5 charged for the tables goes to local causes,  I agreed to try one more time in July (sucker, aren't I?) I've got a handful of advertising leaflets to distribute around the village so I hope next month will be better (yes, I know....I'm an optimist!)
The good bit of news is that I bought a large home baked iced lemon cake for just £2 from another stall holder so we can have a treat for tea.  If I had taken more money there would have been lots of other things there to tempt me to part with it, handmade jewellery, scarves, hand painted tea light holders, hand decorated canvas shopping bags.......the list goes on.

Have a great weekend folks x

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Joyful June & Gently Does It

Gosh! Saturday again already, who ate the week?  We have had a very busy week.  Jobs (long put off) have been tackled, the garden tidied, the house de-cluttered (including 2 black bags of shredded paper from old bills, bank statements and generally any rubbish with our names and address on) and a bag of stuff taken to the charity shop.  I made requested ;)  OH to clear out the drawer on his side of the bed as it was so full it was in danger of the bottom falling out.  We ditched an old broken shaver, an empty box from the Satnav we had stolen 6 years ago, an old extension wire and empty box after empty box!  Boy did we feel better after that lot, de-cluttering is definitely good for the soul :)

A warm welcome to Julie, my new follower, how are you doing? :)

On Wednesday we went to the car boot sale but as buyers this time.  It was a pleasant day for browsing and I only bought some fruit and veg.  A big bowl of Jersey Royals for £1, 500g of small English tomatoes for 50p and a punnet of English strawberries also £1.

I can't believe it's already Summer.  Remember this photo of my Peonies?  The sun has made them burst forth in a veritable froth of pink tutu like flowers which have proven to be a bit too big and heavy for the stems.....

Of course, I couldn't let them just fall so this morning I trimmed off the biggest two to bring indoors....

Close up they are so beautiful.....

A while ago I bought something from Boots which generated 1000 bonus points worth £10.  As a rule I don't spend much in Boots as they can be much more expensive than the pound shop or even the supermarkets but I needed some Sensitive toothpaste (expensive at £3.50) so decided to use some points.  The antiperspirant was on offer at £2 for a large size and the handwash just 75p.  The little lot below cost my favourite price...FREE... They would have been £6.25!  And I still have £4.55 worth of points left.

As finances in May were a little stretched and we have a week's holiday coming up shortly, I want to spend as little as possible on the food budget and start June off gently.  We are going to eat simple and mainly home cooked food for the next couple of weeks.  I found a tin of condensed milk in the store cupboard along with some Tesco Value milk chocolate so made Millionaire's Shortbread using the recipe from the Hairy Bikers' Family Cookbook.  It's so simple (well, it must be if I can make it!) and it was a good job I did it because the family descended for a visit during the week and it vanished before you could say "Hairy Biker" !!

I will need to do some more baking to last us over next week, so today or tomorrow it will be a batch of scones, although I will wait until I have the oven on for something else too.
The LPG has been topped up (not too bad at £67) and I'm hoping that it will last us until September now that we don't need the heating on.  Showers and washing up take very little gas so I'm crossing my fingers.....
Later on I'll have a rummage at the bottom of the fridge.  I know we are out of carrots but I have peppers, tomatoes, those lovely new baby potatoes and a few mushrooms.  Frittata could be on the menu.  I'll see what else I can find.
That's all for now.  Have a wonderful weekend wherever you happen to be x

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Sunny Days & Car Boot Sales

It's Saturday and it feels like it's going to be another stunner.  During the early hours I awoke to the sound of heavy rain but it's almost 11am now and it's warm and sunny, Yay!

Yesterday afternoon we were invited to a neighbour's BBQ so, armed with a pack of veggie sausages, a bottle of good rose wine and 4 cans of San Miguel, we tootled off just a few yards away for a good chin wag and lots of laughter.  By 11pm we were getting chilly so we dragged ourselves away home and slept like logs until a) I heard the rain and b) OH got up at 7am to go to work.  Me?  I'm off out shortly to visit DD and her family and to eat (probably) another bit of barbecue food in the sun :)

On Wednesday we decided (well, to be truthful I decided) that we ought to do a car boot sale to help clear some 'stuff' and raise some cash for our next short holiday.

The nearest one opened to sellers at the unearthly hour of 5.30am!  We packed the car the night before, got up at silly o'clock, skipped breakfast and got there at 6am.  As soon as we had turned off the ignition and opened the boot the dealers descended like a pack of wolves!  I sold 4 items before so much as a single box had been unloaded but I decided that a 'bird in the hand' was most definitely 'worth two in the bush'.  Luckily, they bought stuff I really wanted rid of but we didn't manage to sell any of the decent stuff because people wanted to pay very silly prices and I'm not selling my treasured crystal for £1 :(   We took a total of £29.50 and it cost £7.50 for the spot so by 11.30am we gave up, packed up and came home.  Not a very cost effective exercise but worth a try we thought.

In a weak moment I booked a table at a local craft fair which takes place in 2 weeks time :/  so I am busy making lots of items to sell (hopefully)  I will not be allowed to sell my HM cards as there are already other sellers booked in, so I'm racking the creative side of my brain for other ideas!  I only want to make low priced items because, although the table only costs £5, I need to make at least some profit on the day.  I'll try my pin cushions again and make some simple brooches, card toppers, felt hanging hearts etc

Has anyone else chanced their arm selling at craft fairs this year?  Are people actually spending their money?  I know many belts are being pulled in at the moment but I would regret not trying....

Enjoy your day wherever you happen to be and thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Heartbreaking news

Oh my God, another atrocity, this time targeting young people in Manchester Arena.  My heart is broken for the people killed and injured, many of them just children.  When will this all end.....

God bless and keep you all safe xx

Monday, 22 May 2017

Holiday Woes and Growing Things

Hello all (waves as she comes in) today so far has been a stunner weather wise.  Our holiday was almost a total washout, just two sunny days and the rest wet and windy :/ However, we did manage to breathe in some lovely fresh sea air and ate pasties on the quayside, ice creams too, so not a total disaster :)

Thank you everyone for your comments on my last post.  Real books, it seems, win out for enjoyment every time with kindle having it's place only when travelling.  I got through two whole books during the 9 days we were away; one 'real' book and one kindle one.  Rainy days make me feel less guilty about sitting reading for hours on end.  The biggest problem with the wet weather was where to go each day so we did more eating out than we would have liked.

One favourite was taking the ferry (£4 each return) to Rock where we ate delicious fish cakes in the Rock Inn. It wasn't cheap @ £13.95 each but the meal was soooo delicious and the two salmon and cod fishcakes filled us up until evening when we had just half a HM sarnie each ......

On the first Sunday, it was deceptively sunny and we sat eating ice cream and basking in the glow at Padstow harbour (sigh) ......


Rock Beach

Rock at low tide


At home there was a touch of frost on more than one occasion which, luckily, hasn't stunted the growth of my potatoes.....

But it did affect my illicit strawberries by taking off all the little flowers which were ready to form the fruit.....

Other shrubs were unlucky too, both the Camellia and Rhododendron were decimated......

But the Lupins survived....Hooray!

And so did the Peonies...yay!

Now I just need to fetch in my lovely, freshly line-dried washing (shame I have to iron it...hmmm)

A big welcome to my new followers Lee and Mary, it's lovely to 'meet' you :)

Thanks everso for popping in x