Thursday 31 December 2015

Happy New Year to The World

May 2016 bring Peace, Health and Happiness to everyone reading this message no matter where in the world you happen to be.......

Sunday 27 December 2015

Yellow Stickers and Budget 2016

I hope you have all had a lovely couple of days.  We spent Christmas day at our DD's being looked after and fed lovely healthy Christmassy food!  Unlike other years, I didn't fill myself to bursting point though but ate a reasonable amount of nut roast, lovely veggies and roasties followed by a small portion of Christmas pud and custard.  I did, however manage to drink 4 flutes of Prosecco throughout the day as I wasn't driving :)

On Boxing Day they all came to us and I did salmon en croute with baby boiled potatoes and peas.  Tea was warm baguettes with cheeses and ham and lots of salad as we were sitting again :/  this time playing a game of monopoly which lasted around 3 hours! My GD hated spending her money even though it was monopoly money, I wonder who she takes

I had a good sound sleep last night for once and felt refreshed and in need of a walk of some sort this morning so, as we needed fresh bread for tomorrow anyway,  I went into town and decided to pop into Mr M's for it.  I really didn't expect there to be any yellow stickered food so was very surprised to see these.....

The trays of prepared carrot and parsnip normally retail at £2 per tray (HOW much?) so at 29p each I couldn't resist them.  One will be cooked tonight and served with the leftover pork for OH and veggie sausage for me, the other 2 are frozen for another day.  The trays will be washed and re-used for roasting veggies another time too.  The carrot and peas assortment was down to 29p from £1 and will be used tomorrow, the casserole veg down to 19p from 70p will be used to make a pot of soup.
Total original cost : £7.70 ....price paid £1.35 ! Yay!  I hope this is a sign of things to come in 2016.

When I came home I felt a bit peckish and suddenly realised it was almost 2 o'clock, so lunch next....a HM pizza base topped with leftover baby tomatoes and grated cheese served with a bit of leftover salad...tasty....

Someone had bought me a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon for Christmas so I felt a bit naughty and opened it but only had a small glass to go with lunch....  :)

Actually, it was lucky I restrained myself as I decided to tot up the bills for 2015 and work out a new budget for 2016.  We have come within budget for 2015 so I have only put a small uplift on the figures for next year.  I have added a figure for dental bills this time as OH always seems to breaking a tooth or a filling lately.  3 o'clock on Christmas Eve saw me driving desperately to get him to the emergency dentist before they closed at 3.30pm for the holiday.  Our regular one was closed until 4th January and OH had a gaping hole in a back tooth after his filling fell out....again... paying £51.30 at the 11th hour was no joke :(  It might need taking out altogether in the new year so funds will be needed.....

Dear FiL is not so well today.  He was really tired on Christmas day although he did come to DD's with us but he declined an offer to go out yesterday and he sounds exhausted again today.  He has plenty of ready meals in the fridge and freezer so is ok for food.  93 is a big age, isn't it....

Enjoy your day and thanks everso for popping in x

Thursday 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

I am DONE! All the food is packed away ready for the next 2 days (and well beyond) and anything I have forgotten will stay in the shops. Our LPG tank has been topped up so we are ready for the celebrations to begin....

Wishing all my readers a happy, peaceful Christmas wherever you may be x


Wednesday 23 December 2015

A Quickie

Just a quick post today...

Advent update

Day 21 book to CS
Day 22 man's winter coat to CS
Day 23  a promise to feed neighbour's cat for the whole of February while she is on holiday

Day 24 will be paid forward today....more items to the food bank.  They will be needed more than ever at the moment.

I feel that my reverse Advent this year has been very bland and dull, for which I apologise. It could and should have been much more inspired. Must try harder next year....

Oh, and my letter arrived from the hospital to say that my mammogram was clear so the boob squashing has been worth it.  I was amazed the letter arrived so quickly, well done Worcester NHS !!  

Have a great day everyone x

Sunday 20 December 2015

Christmas Choir, Lazy Days and Bargain Socks

We had a fabulous time at the carol concert last night.  There was a good turnout and although the choir consists of locals of varying vocal abilities :?  it was wonderful.  The congregation (if you can call us that) was called upon to join in with several carols and during the interval we were given a small glass of wine (included in the £5 ticket price) and mince pies and cookies were distributed (sadly my friends and I never got a sniff of those!) It's a lovely little church and the church bells were ringing as we arrived. If you look closely the bell ringers can be seen in the tower.....

The sound system was brilliant and we had a local violinist, flautist and drummer adding their own pieces to the music. 

Two hours simply flew by and we then walked to the pub en mass in order to continue the feeling of festive spirit ;)  This is what village life is all about!

OH is working again today (I know it seems like he's always at work but it's just every weekend, honestly ...) and to my shame I didn't wake until 9.40am.  I stripped the bedding and put it into the machine so that it looked like I had done something, did a bit of dusting, tidying and ate an early lunch of leftover veggie hotpot from yesterday. I like to eat it from a pasta dish so that no stock is wasted.....

Then I set to with making mini pizza bases for the freezer along with some banana pancakes (really drop scones) using Jack Monroe's recipe but adding mixed spice and vanilla essence. These have also been packed into boxes, labelled and frozen just keeping back 2 each to eat with ice cream for dessert tonight.  Dinner will be HM quorn lasagne with roasties and sprouts. After all it is almost Christmas :)
I just thought I'd show you my bargain of the week.  I have a Debenhams store card which I have held for years. I use it occasionally when it offers a discount on something I need.  Out of the blue I had a letter from them with a £5 voucher in it to spend in store if I used my account card.  I bought these socks which cost £6 therefore they only actually cost me £1.... 5 pairs in the pack so 20p a pair....bargain!  They will go in the underbed drawer until I need them or perhaps they'll be a gift for someone.....

Well I was going to take the recycling and the rubbish to the bins but it has begun to rain so instead, as it's almost 3 o'clock, I will make a cup of coffee, pour in a drop of Bailey's Irish Cream and find something Christmassy to watch on the box :)

Anyone else having a lazy day?

Have a brilliant day whatever you are doing and thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday 19 December 2015

Life Update, Budget and Carols Galore

Crumbs! Where has the week gone?  Tuesday afternoon saw me sitting on a tiny wee chair at school watching the Nativity production called 'Hosanna Rock'.  It was fab.  It brought a song to my heart and a tear to my eye watching these juniors put their all into their own special part.  It's a multi-cultural school and all of the children took part.....wonderful!

Wednesday was a 'chores' day:  housework, online bill paying (a whole year's BT line rental paid in advance & TV license renewed) so that just leaves a top up of the LPG tank before Christmas and then I can review the year's expenditure and make a new budget for 2016.  I have just £9 in my purse and £11 in my bank account to last until the end of the month.  I do, however, have my (separate) food budget under control so there is enough left in there to buy what we need until the new year.

On Thursday we took dear FiL shopping and then to the local carvery for lunch.  He enjoyed it but seems to get more tired and frail each week.  He'll be 94 in April 2016......

On Friday OH and I  felt desperately in need of some exercise so we drove to Himley Park and had a good brisk walk right around the lake.  The weather was chilly but incredibly good for December and with our walking boots on we were muddy but exhilarated afterwards.  It cost just £1.20 for 2 hours parking, a bargain!

Photos from Himley Park website

Last night we were invited to a neighbour's house for a get-together.  It was lovely and we had a little sing song once we had downed a couple of glasses of wine buffet food too (licks lips...)  I slept like a log for once.....

This afternoon will be spent making a big veggie hotpot, enough for 2 days, as I am off to church tonight to the carol concert to hear the community choir.  OH is working late so will have to reheat some for his dinner, then he can take a portion to microwave at work tomorrow for lunch.  I'm really looking forward to tonight.  I can't sing very well but love to try....

Advent update

Day 16  A book to CS
Day 17 A handbag to CS
Day 18 Bottle of wine given to neighbour
Day 19 Bought the lovely CS staff a tin of chocs and took it with a Christmas card

Day 20 will be paid forward tonight by a donation to the church

At the moment (2pm) it's so very dark here that I am struggling to see properly :/  I don't want to put the lights on yet but I will have to soon.  Roll on 22nd December as it will be the shortest day and then the crawl towards Spring will begin...Yay!

Have a lovely day everyone.
And thanks everso for popping in x

Tuesday 15 December 2015

A Christmas Bonus

My Christmas bonus courtesy of the Government reached our account last week. After due consideration and, like a child with her pocket money, I carefully mulled over what to spend this bounty on.  A whole £10 was mine to spend!  I finally decided on a half bottle of brandy priced on special offer at £11.  I could have had a cheaper version but this will taste better and last me all winter with just a tiny drop in coffee when I need warming up or a small glass after my evening meal on a cold, dark winter night.  OH doesn't drink it so it's mine...all ;)  and if you look closely the seal is already broken...oops!

I had a lovely surprise yesterday afternoon.  I was sitting cosily knitting when there was a knock at the door and the courier handed me this.....

A gift from my lovely Niece and her family who live in Suffolk. I am very lucky, isn't it gorgeous!

Later today I am off to DD's to see the GC in their school production.  I simply love to see the children strut their stuff on stage, it never fails to bring a lump to my throat or to bring back memories of both of my own children in their school plays and my own schooldays when I was usually picked for speaking parts or for bible readings.  I remember being at Junior school and wearing my Sunday School Anniversary dress (my one good dress) when I was playing the Angel Gabriel and having a pair of wings tied to my back over the top of it! I remember desperately trying to spot my mum in the audience so that she would be proud of me. Oh happy days :)  It's such a shame that you are not allowed to take photo's of the children anymore.  I have lots of photo's of my own children in their productions and they bring such lovely memories.  What a pity I can't do the same with my GC.  It's a sad indictment of the world we live in.

Advent day 15

There is usually a monetary collection at the end in aid of third world countries, as well as a 'programme' (a one sheet photocopied guide) costing £1 so my Advent donation today will be money to the school.

Stay safe everyone and thanks everso for popping in x

Monday 14 December 2015

I Should Be So Lucky!

I am heartily sick of being bombarded by rubbish spam emails offering bogus goodies.  This morning, for example, my emails say I have won the following:

A MacBook, ipad, iwatch and iPhone
An Apple bundle worth £2000
Aldi voucher
£3,500 Asda voucher
£1000 Tesco giftcard
An Asda voucher for an unspecified amount
Samsung Galaxy S6

and  I can test and keep an iPhone 6S

At this rate of wins I will be a millionaire within weeks!  I delete these things immediately but there must be some people who, perhaps out of desperation or boredom, will actually click on the links and give away their personal details to a stranger who is often in another country, it seems.  If you scroll to the bottom of the email the details are there regarding country of origin.  My advice is DO NOT CLICK !  Genuine winning emails will address you by name and you will have some inkling about entering the draw in the first place.....

Does anyone else get these kinds of things each and every day? Or do you know how to block them perhaps?

For some reason yesterday I felt unusually energetic so instead of doing the ironing (any old excuse!) I decided to empty my kitchen wall cupboards which hold all my crystal as well as my drinking glasses.  I don't want to be caught out at Christmas by fetching out dusty glasses when I offer guests a drink so the 3 cupboards were emptied, thoroughly cleaned, all the glass washed and put away tidily. 
Advent day 13 

Some really nice glassware, which I never use, has been wrapped and boxed for the CS
We did the big food shop today and the Trussell Trust had a collection trolley in Mr M's so... 
 Advent day 14
Another 6 items were added to the food bank collection

I also had a word with the nice lady guarding the trolley and they are short of volunteers so I might try to pluck up the courage to visit them at the church and offer some help (insert a scared face smilie)

Have a lovely day everyone and thanks everso for popping in x

Sunday 13 December 2015

Free Stuff and Sleepless Nights

Last night was another of those miserable nights when I go to bed tired but end up awake for hours.  I dropped off in the early hours only to be woken by OH banging about in the kitchen cooking his bacon breakfast and switching appliances on and off as noisily as possible, well that's what it sounds like anyway.  The kitchen is right next to the bedroom and my head is close to the dividing wall so I hear everything. He works every Sunday so feels he needs to wake me up too :(  Thank heavens he has tootled off and I can come to a bit more slowly.

After braving the rain yesterday (it was very cold having been spoilt with the mild weather so far) I decided that I might as well get a few more bits for the Christmas food store whilst I was out.  I dipped into my savings pot....

....and bought a couple of bottles of wine for the rack, some frozen scampi tails (on offer) and stocked up on enough pickles and sauces to last until new year and beyond.  That's another few things crossed off my list.  I am trying to stockpile as many non-food essentials as I can (within my normal budget, of course, otherwise it would be a pointless exercise) so that I can spend a minimal amount each week out of the food budget in 2016 and save the rest towards our holidays.  There is still so much of the British Isles to explore and now we have the caravan we want to go away as much as possible whilst we are fit enough to do it.  Each year brings more aches, pains and stiffness and we need to get a wriggle on!

I remembered that I had some loyalty points to spend on my Boots card so got these. I love the smell of the Aussie shower stuff but it's quite expensive, over £3 even on offer so will enjoy using this one.  Talc seems to have gone out of fashion but I do like a little sprinkled here and there after a shower :) The tiny hand gel is useful to keep in my handbag for when out and about with the GC. 
Total cost: FREE ! 

The afternoon was spent knitting in front of a warm fire and I managed to finish the second front of my cardigan, just the sleeves to go.  Somehow a hot chocolate found it's way into my tummy at the same time ;) the order of the day is: get off  the PC, shower, dress, do the ironing (groan...) then I can do some more knitting (yay!)

Stay warm and safe everyone and thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday 12 December 2015

Advent Day 12 and Rain, Rain, Rain

Just a quick post today....

Advent day 12

I have been experimenting with bits of felt and making brooches. They were quite easy to do and should fetch a bit of cash for the CS.  If you click to enlarge the first photo you will see the little knitted baby bootees at the back too.  By putting a tiny bit of stuffing inside they made nice little brooches too.  The clasps can be bought quite cheaply off the internet....

It's pouring with rain yet again this morning so I'm dragging my feet getting ready to go out and do the weekend top-up shop :/   We are running out of milk and I need to bake some cake so I simply have to bite the bullet and go out.  OH is at work until 7pm today so I will be climbing the walls by then if I don't go out this morning.  I can then come back into the warmth of the house and settle down with my knitting :)

Stay safe everyone x

Friday 11 December 2015

A Winner Is Announced! Congratulations!

The names were put into a bag, shaken about and one pulled out. The winner of the notebooks is .... SOOZE!  Could you send me a message with your address please Sooze and I'll post them off to you. My email addy should be in my profile but any problems just speak up :)

My Christmas cards are written and I have posted the few that need posting.  We will be seeing friends on Monday so will take their gifts with us as that's the last time we will see them before January.  The husband has been quite ill so they are going to Spain for a couple of weeks over the Christmas period, and I can't say I blame them.  They are both in their 60's, have planned for a happy retirement and have had nothing but bad luck healthwise since he retired 3 years ago.  My best friend is being forced to retire at 66 to look after him.  Life can really throw a curved ball sometimes....

Stay safe everyone x

Thursday 10 December 2015

Reverse Advent & Do More Good!

I never make new year resolutions as a rule because I know I will be doomed to failure.  As soon as I put pressure on myself to lose weight or something I fail at the first fence.  I do, however, have a new mantra for 2016 which will be

Do More Good!
I am again taking part in the Reverse Advent challenge.  I enjoyed taking part last December and intended blogging about it this year but another blogger mentioned that she thought it 'show offy' so it put me off.  Now I find she is putting up photos of her items anyway.  Oh bug*er, I should have gone ahead and been 'show offy'.  Anyway, 6 items so far have been dispatched to the CS and I have given extra to the local food bank. Another bag of items will go to the CS today.

To 'Do More Good' I needed to find a recipient for my handmade goods and I have found a lovely lady at the local Hospice CS who is delighted to accept my baby knitting.  One of her volunteers gathers all the new hand knits and sells them at craft stalls throughout the year as they can get more money for them that way.  I took in a bag of baby tops and hats and she was very pleased with them.  More will be knitted for them once I finish my new winter cardigan...I have lots of small balls in my stash which I need to sort out... and I have a quantity of my handmade cards to donate today too.

Is anyone else doing the Reverse Advent?

Changing the subject completely, I can hear the rain lashing down so I expect there to be some flooding on the local roads again :/  I have to go out to take dear FiL shopping but that's nothing compared to what some people are facing  My heart aches for the people in Cumbria who have lost all their possessions yet again in the terrible floods. The TV footage shows the sheer devastation caused by the water breaching the flood defences. It makes me feel so helpless for them....

Stay safe everyone x

PS I'll make the draw for the notebook giveaway first thing tomorrow so if you're interested, get your comment in quickly :)

Monday 7 December 2015

Rain, Boobs and a Giveaway.

The rain here has stopped at last.  Heavy driving rain all Friday night turned into drizzle which persisted on and off all over the weekend. Consequently everywhere feels damp and dismal but we are so much luckier than in other areas where the flooding has been horrendous, and is still not over.  I have been told that the flood defences in Bewdley have been put into place and the river is rising scarily fast.  Recent high winds have brought down trees and branches which are now in the river and travelling downstream where they will end up stuck at bridges making the angry water rise even higher in places.  What a nightmare....

On Friday I had my triennial boob squashing session at the local hospital.  I dread it.  I know some women aren't bothered by it but I find it quite painful when they do the 'side to side' image.  Even now, 3 days later, I have an ache on one side which kept waking me up last night.  I know it's absolutely necessary, so do attend every 3 years. My mum survived breast cancer, my cousin didn't so I really do need to be checked regularly.  I can't heave a sigh of relief yet as the results take about 3 weeks but I must put it out of my mind until the letter plops onto the mat.

A Giveaway

I promised a giveaway and here it is; a set of 3 notebooks with lovely suede feel covers.  The largest A5 size has plain paper, the middle one squared paper and the small one lined paper.

If you would like them for yourself or to give as a gift just leave a comment to that effect and I'll make the draw on Friday next (11th Dec) then they should arrive before Christmas.

I still can't get my camera app to work on the PC so I uploaded the photo above from a tablet.  It has to be Windows 10 which is the problem...

Have a lovely day everyone x

Sunday 6 December 2015

Sincere Apologies

Hi everyone,

My sincere apologies for the sudden disappearance of my blog.  I wanted to change it around and refresh the whole thing but messed it up so had to take it down instead, then I couldn't get it to work properly in order to put it back.  OH has upgraded to Windows 10 and now my camera app refuses to work and I simply cannot download any photos :(   I despair at technology sometimes...

I can continue to read other blogs but my posts will be dull in the extreme if I can't use photos.
Please bear with me....

Thanks so much for popping in x

It's OK.....

  Angie 💓 xx