Tuesday, 26 January 2016

On Sugar, Bargain Specs & Wonky Veg

Did anyone see the programme The Truth About Sugar?  I was stunned by the amount of sugar in our food especially cereal and pre-prepared food.  Our consumption should, it seems, be no more than 6 teaspoons a day (a teaspoon being 4g) I imagine that most of us exceed that amount easily, especially if we take sugar in tea and coffee.  I don't take sugar in coffee but take one spoonful in a mug of tea.  Crikey, it makes me more determined than ever to prepare food from scratch this year....

Since buying my new glasses recently, I have discovered that I could do with a new pair of sunglasses too because the new prescription is so different to my old one and the sunspecs I have are so old that they are several prescriptions behind IYSWIM.  I suddenly remembered that I could get a second pair of prescription specs at half price if I bought them within 3 months of the first ones.  Ooh, quick.....so I got these for the sum of £45 minus a £10 gift voucher which I had for my birthday in November so now £35 !!

They are large enough to protect my eyes whilst driving and have thicker sides to stop the low sun at this time of year from creeping through.  By the way, please try to ignore the double chin in the photo :/  I look more like my mother with every passing day !

After using up my last two pensioner onions on Sunday I needed to buy a fresh supply to put in some soup later this week.  In Morrisons I came across something cutely labelled Wonky Onions.  A whole kg was priced at just 60p while a 500g pack of 'normal' onions was priced at 50p.  It was a 'no brainer' as they say, Wonky Onions it is.....

They were grown in the UK and look fine to me, perhaps a bit on the small side but who cares? The pack says they are beautiful on the inside (a bit like me perhaps?....tongue in cheek comment, of course!)  I must look out for more Wonky Veg. Has anyone come across such a thing in other supermercados? Do tell!

Anyway, thanks for popping in and have a super day wherever you are x

Monday, 25 January 2016

Budget Eating & Leftovers

In the interests of economy I am going to be using up oddments to make meals and therefore squeeze the food budget until it squeaks.  Yesterday lunchtime, with OH at work, I had a cupboard rummage and found these: about 170g mature cheese, two onions, a tiny bit of pasta and about a third of a bottle of red wine....

The onions came out of this packet...best before 24th October 2015 :/ 

But they were perfectly ok when sliced up......

So I immediately thought of this recipe from Jack Monroe's very first book.....

 I just softened the onions in a little olive oil, added a drop (about half a small glass) of the red wine and cooked it until the wine was absorbed.  Cooked pasta was stirred in and served with some grated cheese.  Yummy!

I only wanted a small portion so the bit leftover has been put into a plastic box and will be eaten cold with salad another day....

The remaining cheese has been grated and will be used to make cheese and potato pie for our dinner tonight.....

Dinner last night was roasties, this YS'd pack of veg from the freezer, some sprouts and two delicious sausages for OH from the local butcher.  The sausages were £1.70 for 8 so 21p each.  I was happy with just veg, I won't starve in a day :)
2 sausages 42p
Potatoes    14p
YS'd veg   29p
Sprouts     36p
Gravy        05p  (guess)
 TOTAL £1.26 for 2 people

Economy here we come!
PS we drank the last drop of wine too, carefully shared ;)
Have a lovely day, whatever you have planned x

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Re-jigging Finances & Planning Ahead

The start of the new year is always a time for re-jigging the household finances . Lots of contracts come up for renewal in the first three months like car insurance, home insurance, BT line rental etc and we have numerous birthdays and anniversaries to cater for too.  Every penny saved on each bill helps enormously and we've made a good start by bringing home insurance down from £253 to £227, shaving a healthy £26 off as well as getting more for our money because the new cover includes accidental damage which we didn't have before. Brilliant! I've paid for a year upfront with BT for the line rental as that works out cheaper but the broadband contract ends in March so I need to be prepared to negotiate or change provider for that ( I hate changing broadband though as it never goes smoothly)  The next item for scrutiny will be the car insurance which is due in the middle of March. Now I know the prices are due for a hike this year so I'm expecting the worst.  Has anyone found comparison websites useful or are they biased?

In the next two months we have six birthdays coming up, the most expensive of which will be DD's so I'm searching the house for things to sell on eBay.  I want to raise about £50 to buy her something special as she had a rough year last year with both her and her hubby losing their jobs at the same time.

Donations taken to the CS yesterday:

2 knitted baby hats
11 handmade cards
2 unwanted items (not suitable for eBay)

It will soon be time for me to feed Puss once more. Her owner will be away for the month of February so I will need to get my ar*e into gear and get up earlier than usual to let her in for her breakfast! It's a surefire way of waking myself up......going out into the frosty air before I've even had a cuppa ;)

When I was shopping yesterday I found these in the pound shop....

They are Pentland Javelin and if I sow them into my big tub next month I should reap a few nice spuds in June/July.  That's the theory anyway, although regular readers will know that my gardening skills are pants!

Thinking of food, my stockpiling strategy at the end of last year is paying dividends.  My freezer is still full and I have enough tea, coffee, washing powder etc to last me at least another month leaving me cash from the weekly food budget to put aside for later in the year.  I could shop monthly, I suppose, but I find I spend more that way.  If I make a list each week and stick to it (in the main, at least) then I spend less. 

Do you find it easier to shop monthly, weekly or just when you need something?

Cor, today is so dark that I need to put the light on to find my cereal :/   Have a lovely day wherever you are x

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Winter Begins, Removing Damp and a Grumble

Firstly, a warm welcome to Debbie :)

We came home yesterday after our few days of luxury in Hereford rested, energised and a bit plumper :/  Never mind a few good walks will soon sort that out.  OH was out of the house for 6.30am to go to work but I had the luxury of a warm lie-in until 9am...bliss....
I opened the curtains to see our first frost of the year. It definitely feels chillier this morning so I am letting the streets air before I venture out for a bit of food shopping.  We don't need a great deal as we do our 'main' shop on Monday but we do need milk and some fresh veg. I will need to wrap up warmly.....

In our last house we had wooden window frames which I loved but here we have the dreaded UPVC which seem to gather moisture like wicks.  I needed my water sucking gadget to dry them off this morning.  It takes just seconds to dry them off with this....

And look what it sucked up from just 3 big windows, the water level is one mark below maximum capacity......

We also keep one of these in the kitchen. The blue liquid is moisture sucked from the air over a few weeks.  The refills are not particularly cheap to buy (about £6 for a pack of two) but I try to locate special offers and that gives 6 months of moisture removal from the kitchen.  It's much cheaper that dealing with damp in the home at a later date....

I have tried all kinds of damp removal devices over the years but these are my favourites so far.  What do you use, my friends?

I have tried to download a few holiday photos from my phone this morning but Windows 10 has decided not to play, yet again, I'm sure it hates me!  The feeling is rapidly becoming mutual ....grrr...

On the day we went away, Monday, I decided to post my BiL's birthday card as it's his birthday today. I only had a first class stamp so used that knowing he would get his card (and scratchcard) in plenty of time for his birthday.  I always put a return address on the back of the envelope too.  I was amazed and quite cross to find it lying, fully franked, on our mat when we got back yesterday.  I double checked that I had addressed it correctly, the stamp was still in place etc and took it to the local Post Office where the postmaster shook his head in disbelief at the failure of the system. Now dear BiL will not get his card in time and will think he's been forgotten. Good grief.....am I turning into a grumpy old woman?

Have a great day all, whatever you are doing x

Monday, 11 January 2016

A Birthday Treat

Good morning all & a warm welcome to Justine :)

Just a quick post today as we are away for a few days to celebrate Santa's little helper's (aka OH) birthday.  Nowhere exotic just Hereford, but no cooking, no washing up and no housework...yay!

Play nicely whilst I'm away :) and I'll be back on Friday...Take care everyone....

Thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Stash Busting & Doing More Good

Happy Saturday, my friends!  2016 is well and truly upon us and, although I don't make new year resolutions as such, this is my year of  'Doing More Good'.  I woke this morning refreshed and raring to go which is quite a novelty of late.  I had slept fairly soundly too...hooray!

Today is OH's birthday and he is 66 (he's just caught me up ...lol...) but he's working.... boo! so the day has been all mine and will be right up to 6.30pm....hooray!.  I've got him his favourite meal for tonight, beef in black bean sauce ( though not for me, of course) and so I began a guilt-free sort out after a quick breakfast of cereal and yogurt.  A bag of tatty clothing has been recycled, so has a great pile of old magazines and newspapers.

The next major task will be stash busting. This 6 drawer stack sits in the corner of the lounge and is full to bursting with crafting goodies.....

My knitting and my sewing basket is in another corner....

And I haven't mentioned yet the stuff in the wardrobe in the spare room....  :/

I therefore intend to resist even reading emails with special offers of craft related stuff, absolutely NOT watching any craft channels on TV and NO WAY will I be browsing any craft shops in the near future!
My spare time will be spent utilising what I have in making lots of stuff to be given to charity. The local hospice shop will be getting cards and knitted items as well as any other kind of handmade item I can think of .  Over Christmas I made the little hats shown below and found out how to make the little knitted bows from the internet.  I'm not sure what to do with them yet. I could make them into brooches or just sew them onto some project or other.  Any other ideas will be most welcome.....

The time here is 3.38pm and it's really dark and still drizzling, of course.  On Thursday the main road was quite badly flooded and very tricky to negotiate but my heart goes out to the people all over the UK whose homes and businesses have been flooded.  When will this rain cease?

I'd like to leave you with a smile.  Here is Santa's Little Helper getting ready for work on the last weekend before Christmas.  He is usually so 'Bah Humbug'  :o)

Thanks for popping in x

Just when I thought it was safe to surface....

Just when I thought it was safe to put my head above the parapet and drag myself from the dark pit of anxiety, Covid has taken a pop.  Both ...