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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) ......

 
Padstow

 
 
 
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




Monday, 8 May 2017

Book or Kindle? And Jolly's

Tomorrow we are off to our most favourite place in the whole of Cornwall, Padstow, for a bit of a get away.  We're taking the caravan as it's much cheaper than renting a cottage so it won't be an entire rest-fest for me as I will still be cooking but I am so looking forward to the fresh salty air....


photo from Google

I'm looking forward to eating a warm pasty whilst watching the activity on the boats within the harbour, scoffing scones with jam and rich Cornish cream, and licking a locally made ice cream cornet too (although not one after the other, of course....obviously  :) ).  We'll walk as much as we are able to work off the effect of any treats and (hopefully) relax in some sunshine to replenish our vitamin D.  Apparently, people are so used to sloshing on the sunscreen that they are now Vit. D deficient!  Good grief, the 'experts' tell us one thing and then some time later change the advice into a totally opposite direction.  Everything in moderation, including the sun, seems to be the way to go, I think.

Book or Kindle? I ask.  I have a book to take with me to finish but I will need another so I thought I would take my kindle too.  Browsing Amazon's website has shown me a big change in the swing of the pendulum from books to kindle.  It seems to be swinging back to books as they are often much cheaper than the kindle version now!  I must admit that I love the feel of a physical book in my hands, the ability to read the cover now and again and to flick back and forth to check on bits of the story that I may have mis-read of forgotten, to see how much I have read in page numbers and not percentages.  I LOVE BOOKS!!  How do you feel about them?

Take care whilst I am away and enjoy the sun (in moderation) whilst we have it.

Thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Marvellous May Already?

Golly, another month has gone by already.  It's May and OH's toothy saga goes on!  This morning he rang the dental surgery for an appointment and was asked to be there by 10.30am.  Marvellous! (I thought) we'll get this sorted at last! WRONG....the nurse looked at the gaping hole and pronounced the gum healthy so they could do no more.  According to her it will heal in it's own good time.  OH must carry on eating food which doesn't need much chewing and swoosh out the socket each time with salty warm water.  I am absolutely convinced that a stitch in the gum at the time would have ensured that it healed within 2 weeks (mine did) Talk about a stitch in time saves nine......

Okay, so today's lunch was yet more HM soup, leek and potato, using the sliced leeks I had frozen a couple of weeks ago.  We are eating out tonight to celebrate my Brother's birthday.  Heaven knows what OH will eat but he is determined not to spoil the celebration, bless him, and he's treating us to the meal too. The following two days meals will be Quorn shepherdess pie with mashed swede, very easy on the gums, and then fish next.... all nice and easy to prepare...... :/

I hope you all enjoyed the Bank Holiday yesterday, we just had a quiet one with lots of reading and pottering after doing the 'main' shop (still within budget this week as I'm not buying any meat)

Take care and thanks everso for popping in x

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Monthly Total On a Sunny Day!



It's sunny!  Today is a beautiful day.  Rain was forecast but it hasn't arrived yet so the windows are open and the rays are giving my spirits a well needed lift :)

A big welcome to Lee, my new follower, it's lovely to have you join us.

On the toothy front, OH's extraction site has still not healed despite it being almost 3 weeks since the deed was done.  There's a gaping hole :/  I can't thank Scarlet enough for her suggestion that we could use a medicine syringe to wash out the socket.  It cost the princely sum of 60p from the pharmacy and a gentle swoosh with warm salty water after eating certainly helps OH to feel more comfortable.  Although I am still preparing fairly soft food I have been able to include fish in our diet this week as well as lots of veg and at least one portion of fruit per day.  The shopping this week came to:

Week 4 £51.10

Making a monthly total of  £178.70 Ta dah!!  So...I have £20 cash in the pot as well as 2 x £5 Morrisons vouchers (gained from points)  This will be 'emergency' fund or saved for Christmas.

Tomorrow is Bank Holiday so I hope you all have a lovely relaxing day wherever you are.  I'm off to do a bit of housework, then a shower and an undisturbed afternoon of crafting :)

Thanks everso for popping in, I really appreciate it x




Sunday, 23 April 2017

Charity Giving and Happy St George's Day!

  

Happy St George's Day!
 
 
Charity Giving
 

After my year of 'Do More Good' I would like to carry on with the theme and 2017 is running away from me already so when I did the top up shop on Saturday I took 4 new-ish paperback books to donate to the charity sale table in Sainsbugs.  By the time I had paid for my shopping 3 had been sold, so potentially £3 to charity. Yay!  The few eBay sales I have had have generated a few pounds to H4H via eBay Giving (around £5, I think) but I really need to readdress my Food Bank donations because there was an article in last week's free paper declaring that the shelves at the local FB are almost empty.  It was put down to a big increase in families with 5 to 9 children attending the FB.  I though those days of big families were almost gone.  Apparently not....
 
This year I am thinking of volunteering at a H4H fundraising collection day in a local supermarket.  I've never done it before, have you?  Did you find it worthwhile? Or should I be looking at other ways to raise funds?
 
Anyway, thanks everso for popping in, have a lovely St George's Day x

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Toothy Update and Week 3 Total

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for the kind responses to my last post.  Janice's diagnosis was correct, OH has a 'dry socket' where his back tooth was removed.  A clot didn't form so the gum hasn't healed :(   We made another visit to the dentist on Tuesday who cleaned out the socket and applied a paste of clove oil amongst other things to try to seal the bone and help with the pain.  He is not in as much pain now but food keeps getting trapped and he is finding it difficult to eat normally.  As he is not eating meat, it has been easy on the food budget this week.  It's been mainly HM soups, mashed potatoes, cheese pie, simple steamed veg etc so :

Week 3 Total £38.13       This included a bottle of  Aldi wine

I have felt so sorry for OH that I haven't felt like eating elaborate meals either but I really do need to increase fruit and veg consumption for both of us so I will concentrate on vitamin filled foods next week.  There is a veggie cider hotpot in the oven at the moment which I hope OH will be able to eat (albeit slowly!).  He won't be home from work until 8.30pm so I'm going to test it now.  I forgot to eat lunch so I'm ravenous :/




 
 
 
 
Yum, that was lovely....fridge bottom carrots, a leek, an onion, half a head of broccoli, a few sprigs of cauli all cooked in a pint of veg stock with a generous 1/4 pint of cider thrown in.  Sage and black pepper to taste, then sliced potato (par boiled for 10 minutes) placed on top and sprinkled with grated cheese.  Oven 180 for 45 minutes.....  It makes 4 portions so we will have the same again tomorrow.
 
I have bought 2 big pots of plain, thick, Greek style Bio yogurt and I intend that both of us will have a portion every day.  OH to help combat the effects of the antibiotics and me...well....just because I like it!  I have felt quite stressed by worrying so it will help settle my mild IBS symptoms too.
 
On a happier note, today has been a lovely, warm, sunny day.  Even now at 5pm it's warm and cheerful.  Frost and snow is forecast for next week so I will enjoy the warm feeling today.  I do hope you are all having a share of it in the UK.  If it's still cold in your own country dear friends, then stay warm and snuggle in.
 
Thanks so much for popping in and commenting x
 


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Toothy Troubles at Easter

Firstly a big thank you to all who commented on my last post regarding breadmaking.  You had me smiling, giggling and laughing out loud as many of you, it seems, have been in the same boat at some time.  From doorstops (Kim) to hockey pucks (Jackie) you all know how it feels to fail!  Thanks so much for the tips too.  I won't give up.......yet... ;)

I haven't posted for almost a week but we have had a bit of a trauma.  After having a certain tooth filled several times over the years along with emergency trips to the dentist when the filling broke or came out completely, OH was persuaded that it finally needed to come out.  His own dentist couldn't (or wouldn't?) do it so he was referred to another surgery ( a big dental chain) in a town further out of our area.  His appointment duly arrived (Tuesday last) and I drove him to the surgery.  He was due to have an intravenous sedative as well as cocaine injections so I had to stay and drive him home.  Golly, was he woozy afterwards!  I knew I couldn't support his weight as he is almost 6 feet tall to my 5' 3" so we had to sit it out in a waiting room afterwards for almost an hour.  Fast forward 24 hours and he was in pain and convinced that something was wrong.  A dash back to the surgery revealed that he had an infection in the extraction site.  Where on earth had that come from? and so quickly too?   He has now been given a course of strong antibiotics which seem to have done nothing to resolve the problem.  He finds it difficult eat anything so everything has to be either mashed or soup and the pain is waking him up during the night.  Paracetamol only seem to dull the pain for a couple of hours.  He's working over the whole of Easter and has gone in today but I keep expecting him to come home early.  I only hope that work can take his mind off the pain a bit.



To cap it all the extraction cost £56.40 so BOOM! that's our £50 rainy day money spent :/  And NO! it wasn't eating my bread that did it !!  LOL

As it has been difficult to meal plan and be cost effective this week, almost the whole budget has been spent therefore:

Week 2 £49.57

Bargains this week include 3 packs of veg from Morrisons for £1 and a pack of 3 good sized leeks for 20p from Asda which resulted in a big pan of leek and potato soup for the invalid (tasty even if I say so myself!)   I won't need to feed visitors this weekend as they are on holiday.  That can only be good thing for the budget at the moment..... :(



Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone and thanks so much for popping in and commenting.  I really appreciate it x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunny Sunday Savings

Happy Sunday!  The sun is shining and Spring is here!  As I've said before, we are not allowed to grow veg here but, once again, we have sneaked some seed potatoes into a big tub ( actually, two tubs this time!) and our strawberry plants are putting on a spurt now that they can feel some warmth at last. 

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and try bread making.  What an unmitigated disaster :/ 
It looked ok whilst proving .......

 
So I divided it up for the second proving after bashing it about a bit......


This is the result....OMG...you might say.  Overcooked? yes, a tad (the oven must have been hotter that it should have been) Solid? yep.  Edible?  Well we ate the one on the left well buttered with some pasta bake, the one on the right is still languishing in the kitchen wrapped in foil.  The bread, when cut, looks and tastes a bit like Ciabatta not what I intended at all.  Go on....you can laugh... my OH did and he texted a photo to DD who rolled about laughing too :)  B*ggers.



I did my top up shop yesterday and spent exactly £20.00 (how did that happen?) but that included a bottle of wine, some loo rolls and some cake and ice cream for the GC.  We sat in the garden and enjoyed a drink and a lovely sunny afternoon together.

Therefore the total for week 1 is £39.90

£10.00 has gone into the 'saved money' pot and the 10p has been left in the housekeeping purse for next week (oooh big spender!)

Thanks everso for popping in and enjoy your evening x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

April Challenge

 
Did anyone watch the new series last night on ITV Save Money: Good Food?  It was very similar to a previous series (on a different channel?) but concentrated on using fridge/freezer and store cupboard stocks more effectively to feed a family of 4.  They also explored the merits of supermarket 'Value' or 'Basics' items, this week being cornflakes, baked beans and smoked salmon  (really? I never buy the stuff)  anyway, the value items were deemed to be no less nutritious than the branded stuff.  I have long suspected that taste is what matters here.  There is often less sugar and salt in the value items (a good thing, yes?) so if the family will eat it without complaint why not buy the cheaper version, or even cheat a bit and decant it into a branded box so that they think it's their usual brand :)  I tried a basic brand of teabags costing 60p for 40 instead of the usual £1.20 for the same amount.  I popped them straight into the kitchen container so that no one knew they were different.  Not a soul has commented and the tea is drunk just as eagerly as before.  I can't tell the difference in taste so they will be bought again.  If you are a tea connoisseur you might beg to differ but we enjoy it so it stays. The baked beans we eat are always a supermarket brand too. 
I think that this will be the way to go to keep the food bills stable at the moment because prices are definitely creeping up but the food budget is fixed.....

I buy very little meat as I don't eat it and OH is coming around to more veg based meals on a regular basis.  He still has to have his weekly fix of bacon butties, ham sandwiches and the occasional meat and 2 veg but the non-meat purchases are keeping the spend down.  April is a 4 week month as far as the food shopping is concerned so I am going to log my spend as I go.  £200 has been earmarked in the account (ie £50 per week) and I tend to do a 'big' shop on a Monday and a 'top up' on Saturday.

Morrisons has an offer on of 3 packs of veg for £1 so I bought a swede, 1.5kg Maris Piper potatoes and a 1kg pack of onions, all of which are British.... BONUS! (there were also leeks or cabbage if you preferred ) Some of the spuds were roasted on Monday to go with a bit of chicken and some leftover sprouts from the fridge.  I need to use up some fridge bottom salad stuff before it's wasted so it will be cheese salad butties for lunches for the next couple of days.  Fish and HM chips tonight....yum :)

I will not be buying our usual weekly bottle of wine until Saturday or OH will open it and it will be gone! I might check out Aldi for that.  If he wants beer before then he can buy his own!

Two new followers seem to have appeared so 'hi' to Jules (I thought I had you before?)  and also to someone else new  I can't quite see who it is  :/  I do hope I won't bore you to tears straight away.....

Here we go.....

Week 1:  Monday £19.90

Thanks everso for popping in, have a brilliant evening ( or day, as appropriate) xx

Saturday, 1 April 2017

No April Fool !

 
Borrowed from Google
 
 
 
Good grief it's April 1st already!  Who stole March??  I was determined not to be a fool with my  our :/ money in March never mind April so I have spent some time (quite a lot of time actually) online, checking price comparison websites and haggling reductions as advocated by Martin Lewis and his team (SUPER chap!)
 
Successes as follows:
 
Main car Insurance:     renewal quote £329  Paid £260 (haggled it down)
Second car Insurance:                         £237          £167  (Confused.com)
Caravan Insurance :                            £260          £182   (rang around for quotes)
                                                           ---------------------
                                                            £826          £609
 
SAVED a WHOPPING   £217
 
In addition, I checked the bi-annual electricity bill and we had been overcharged by £90  I very quickly queried it before I paid the bill.  This is why I try not to set up DD s for some things unless it gives us a big saving.  It's easier than trying to get our money back once the DD has been paid. 
 
The first 3 months of the year are heavy on bills as most things seem to be due at once;
ground rent, rates, water & sewage charges, caravan parking spot, home insurance, LPG top up etc 
Thankfully, the money has been put aside week on week so although our account is pretty much depleted there is still a small balance in there.  The amount saved by haggling and shopping around will be left in the account towards the next round of bills.  Council tax has been pretty much frozen again this year, an increase of just £23 which isn't bad considering how strapped for cash the council seems to be.  We DO have a DD for that as we know in advance how much we will be charged.
 
I am so relieved to get it all sorted at last and to know exactly where we stand.  We have had loads of  birthdays to buy for too so I have been eBaying like a maniac and on Thursday last I sold a couple of pieces of scrap gold jewellery to a lovely dealer chap we know for £50, which was a bit more than I was expecting.  That has been put aside for emergencies. 
 
I'm now debating whether or not to suggest to friends and family that we cut down on gifts a bit more this year.  Already I tend to send the adults a handmade card with a scratchcard in for luck and the children get money to spend as they (or their parents) wish but we have 2 extra small children to buy for now so thinking ahead to Christmas do I suggest we don't buy for the adults at all ??  DD and her family will be the exception of course.  I stick to a budget but I enjoy choosing something special for them :)
 
Do you intend cutting down this year? And have you haggled to reduce your bills in any way?
 
The food budget will remain at £50 a week and will have to cover non-food items like loo rolls, cleaning stuff, toiletries, washing powder etc as well as feeding visitors at the weekend.  I am hoping for a small weekly surplus which will be saved in a pot for Christmas 2017.  Can I do it, I wonder?
 
A warm welcome to my new follower Pauline Williams, it's lovely to have you aboard :)
 
Have a wonderful weekend everyone x
 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Happy Mother's Day to Mums Everywhere



I just want to wish all Mums, wherever in the world you happen to be,  a very

Happy Mothering Sunday
 
Enjoy your day x

Thursday, 23 March 2017

God Bless



I was going to write an upbeat post about financial matters but the events at Westminster yesterday have to take priority.  I am heartbroken for the innocent victims; the mother with small children, the policeman simply doing his job, the two people who ended up injured in the Thames, the tourists caught up in the wicked act which caused such carnage, the people with life changing injuries and all their families. 

It would be too trivial to write about mundane matters today....

Oh, and I don't normally swear but I say to Katie Hopkins " Shut your mouth! You only speak for yourself!  People are NOT cowed, simply in shock. The terrorists WILL NOT WIN "

God Bless you all my friends and keep you safe xx

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Manic March and I'm Home!

Where on earth is the month disappearing to?  I'm sure there's a malevolent being which gobbles up days in great chunks so that the month has barely begun before it's halfway through.   Anyway, I digress.  We spent the whole month of February based in Bridgnorth despite previous plans to decamp to Cornwall halfway through.  The weather forecast was not good and high winds were predicted which is a nightmare when planning on towing a caravan nearly 200 miles!  So....we stayed put.  The site, Stanmore Hall, was very nice.  We had a lovely view of the lake with it's ducks, geese and a resident Heron which I was never quick enough with my camera to snap a photo of.  We were warm and cosy.......



The caravan shower room contained all my favourite toiletries which I had saved up for the very purpose and we were attached to the mains water tap and drainage so that I could shower without leaving the warm environment of our vehicle......


There was an abundance of wildlife the whole time including two peacocks, well strictly speaking one peacock and one peahen which were mother and son.  The poor father got attacked by a dog and died. 



We walked and rested and walked again.  We visited Bridgnorth town where there were some fantastic charity shops (I picked up a few bargains too) and The Old Mill antiques centre where I could browse for hours and had to be dragged away on more than one occasion!

There was an M & S Simply Food and we bought a meal deal consisting of a large pie, mash and fresh cream roulade which cost just £6 the lot.  It could easily have fed 4 but we were a bit greedy and ate the pie, mash and half the dessert in one sitting (insert a shamed, blushing face icon) :/


On another occasion we went in to buy milk at exactly the right time for YS bargains.  We couldn't resist all the sweet treats for just pennies, it was too good to miss.  These lasted us for several days and we eked out the fruit bread by toasting the last few stale slices.  It was delicious.


Our normal food budget was just enough each week to keep us ticking over and we ate out twice a week using our saved cash of £68 plus hubby chipped in by paying for one of those meals from his own cash.  There was a super pub a short drive away, The Bandon Arms, with 2 meals for the price of one.  Two meals plus 2 soft drinks came to less than £20 and we ate there twice.  Breakfast was usually cereal, fruit and yogurt or toast or croissants.  If we went out for the day we took sandwiches or a banana and I always carried a bottle of water to drink.  A small bottle from a multi-pack cost 12.5p instead of paying up to £1 a bottle in a shop.

As we didn't make the trip to Cornwall, we had £20 left from the diesel fund which has gone back into the piggy bank for our next trip.  I have no idea when that will be but I sincerely hope it will be to Cornwall this time.  With that in mind we will be adding to our £2 coins in the piggy bank in the weeks to come.

I am happy to report that my health is slowly picking up.  My vertigo lasted a good 2 weeks followed by a tummy upset which I put down to a re-emergence of the IBS I suffered from a few years ago.  To cap it all I hurt my neck the first weekend we were home!  I was struggling to remove the soap dispenser from the washing machine when I felt the bones in my neck crunch followed by a shooting pain down the side of my neck.  Good grief, when will it all end ?

The blog title Manic March is how I feel about the last couple of weeks.  I don't feel my feet have yet touched the ground.  We have so many bills to pay including insurances, car services etc that I seem to have spent all my waking hours chasing up quotes and looking at comparison websites.  I'll tell you more about that in my next post.

For now my painful, stiff neck and I wish you well.  Thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

February Freeze

Just a quickie today, I'm afraid.  February Freeze refers not only to the potential weather conditions but the condition of my blog.   I will be taking a blog break during February.

I managed to see the GP yesterday and I have something called Episodic something or other  :?  I had never heard of it but it is basically Vertigo which comes and goes....it's to do with the inner ear.  I am no wiser now except that the condition usually resolves itself in about 4 weeks apparently. One down, 3 to go then.  My swollen thumb and painful arm are...guess what... arthritis and it ....guess what....comes with age.  Great, in other words put up and shut up!!

Our last bit of shopping for January came to £8.59 making a total for the month of £98.23 which is fantastic.  Target achieved :)

The piggy bank of £2 coins saved throughout the year spewed forth a respectable £80 for diesel.

During the next month we will draw the usual food budget cash every Monday but also have £68 in the kitty for our 'eat out' fund so are all set to go. 

Thanks so much for the replies on my last post (and for the sympathy, I am very grateful). Internet access will be sporadic during February so I might be able to read some blogs but not comment.  Rest assured I will still be with you all in spirit :)

Have a lovely month and we'll catch up in March.

Stay warm and safe x

PS forgot to say we have WATER! The main is still not mended but they are pumping water in to the system so that we can at least wash and cook.  Hurray!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

A Precious Commodity

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  It seems the GP service in some areas is great but in others pretty dire.  I still feel rough this morning, quite light headed and wobbly but I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon at least.  To cap it all my right thumb has swollen up for no apparent reason.  The pain extends up my hand into my arm right up to the elbow and it's difficult to carry anything.  I'm a walking disaster at the mo!

Speaking of disasters...we have a broken water main in the village.  It has been spewing precious water for several days....






We had no water at all yesterday from sometime after 9.30am  The family came to visit in the afternoon and with 6 of us using the loo it became a bit of a logistical nightmare :/  When we realised there was a potential to have the water cut off we filled the kettle and a large bucket (for flushing the loo).  Boy did we need them!  Luckily, I already had some bottled water to drink and DD brought some large potatoes (already washed at home) and a tin of baked beans, I had beans and some grated cheese so we had a scrumptious tea of crispy baked potatoes with cheese and beans...yummy....The washing up was a bit trickier.  We waited to see if the water came back on but, no, I had to heat bottled water in the kettle.  This is noooo good for our food budget!!  OH managed to buy some water on his way home from work but I don't think I will include the cost in the challenge as OH paid for it and it was a necessary spend.
 
When there is a problem with mains water it often comes back on quite discoloured and gritty and I'm loathe to let it flow through the combi boiler until it has cleared.  Repairing/replacing the boiler would be horrendously expensive. To avoid this we don't use the hot taps for several hours after restoration of supply.  I know I'm likely to absentmindedly turn them on so I turn the tap handle to the cold setting instead of tidily in the middle where I like it to be :)



We don't flush the loo for a while either....



And I have refilled the bucket just in case....


DD brought me some HM leek and potato soup yesterday so I'll have some of that for lunch today with a wholemeal roll....


At the moment we have water, albeit a bit discoloured and smelling strongly of chlorine, but we have a slow flow.

We are so lucky in this country to have clean water at the turn of a tap and don't realise it until it's taken away.  Any tips on coping without water in an emergency?  What do you do?

Thanks everso for popping in.  Stay safe and warm x