Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I'm turning into my mother!

Firstly, a big welcome to Sue H, my new follower :)
I realised yesterday that I am turning into my mother!  She used to read everything she laid eyes on, junk mail, free newspapers, packaging etc  She always knew way before I did when the contents of packs of things like washing powder were reduced or chocolate bars got smaller (and usually cost the same as before)  Now I'm at it.  During a bored moment I decided to make myself a cuppa and began to read the sugar packaging.  Oooh, it's a British product .....

It's grown in East Anglia and travels only 28 miles from farm to factory, a definite plus in my book and the packaging is made from paper and can be recycled. OMG I've been putting them in the normal waste (smack on the hand), that will have to change.  This one will go in the recycle bin....

Cor...there's even a recipe for lemonade on the side....

Yes, I know I ought to get out more but I've certainly learned something new.  And before anyone asks, I haven't been sponsored to comment, I just lead a quiet life! :)

This morning we decided (ok, I decided but dragged OH with me) to the Silver Cinema at the local Odeon to see Our Kind of Traitor with Ewan McGregor and the big Swedish actor who's name I can never remember or pronounce.  It was gripping and well worth the bargainacious price of £3 each including tea and biccies.  There was no extra charge for the premiere seating either so we had lots of room and comfy chairs.  It seemed a pity that only 13 people were in there.  Perhaps the weather was too sunny to sit in the cinema?

It's beautifully sunny at the moment and OH is mowing the grass leaving me to relax and surf the 'net.
Take care wherever you are and thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Great British Bake Off...NOT...Bugs and Books

There was a decided nip in the air first thing this morning and the rain very quickly rolled in.  It has alternately drizzled and poured down all day with a bit of thunder to boot.  Thinking of Autumn, I had seen some bug hotels in garden centres selling for anything from £15 to £20 and upwards but I didn't fancy paying that so I asked OH to see if he could make something similar.  He came up with this.....

It cost less than £2 and we have mesh left over for another project.  I like it's rustic look. Now...where to site it... does it have to be ground level, shady, damp, dry, does anyone know please?

I had to go into town this afternoon for something and popped into the Acorn Children's Hospice CS just for a browse.  Promising myself  NO MORE BOOKS was to no avail as they had a huge table covered in lovely, pristine, once-read, non-taxing to read, fiction, all at 99p each :/  I had to come home with these three.  I have read a couple of Erica James which I enjoyed and many Katie Fforde.  Debbie Macomber is a new to me author but I'll give her a go as the book looks unread; the spine is perfect.  The two books on the left will be kept back until November as they have a Christmas theme, but I do like an easy Christmassy read in the run up to the big day.

As it was still pouring with rain when I got back I fancied a bit of baking.  There was some ready made shortcrust pastry in the fridge so I decided on cheese and onion quiche with jam tarts made from the re-rolled bits.  Heaven help me I am useless when it comes to pastry.  I can make nice fluffy, moist cakes but anything involving pastry inevitably sticks to the tin and can only generally be prised away with a chisel.  Take a look. Go on, you can laugh, I won't be offended!  It tasted ok but both pieces broke up, presentation failed completely.....

My tarts stuck too but, as you can probably tell,  OH is eating them.  He keeps coming out of the kitchen unable to speak because his mouth is full.  How on earth do I stop things sticking?  I have tried greasing the tin, not greasing the tin, flouring it, not flouring!

There was a bit of good news today, however, I had previously bought a scratchcard which I had put in my bag and forgotten about. Oooh....scratch it off quick.....

Yippee! Five whole pounds... £5 !!

When I was out this morning I took some more of my handmade cards to the local Hospice shop and my ego was given a terrific boost.  Apparently, they fly out as soon as I drop a batch off so I have promised more, a bigger batch this time as they can sell them for £1 each which is a very useful sum for the Hospice.  That will be my task for any spare time next week.....

Thanks everso for popping in, have a lovely evening whatever you are doing x

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Skinny dipping and checking receipts

Skinny dipping? Not really.....the time is 7.30pm and I have just spent a blissful 15 minutes lying in a warm bath whilst listening to the rain beating down, cold and heavy, on the roof and windows.  Yesterday was so very hot and the night time sultry and still, so that I slept badly.  Today has been the total opposite; cool, wet and welcome respite from the heat of the last couple of days.  I just can't take the heat and cannot understand how our Son has managed to stay sane having spent the last 14 years in Australia :/  I much prefer moderate conditions and, in fact, get great pleasure from walking in a gentle rain as dusk is falling.  When I was in my teens I loved  getting the bus home from school (and then work) and then slowly walking the last half a mile home in the rain under the shelter of my umbrella, dawdling if I thought I could get away with it.  Simple pleasures :)

Oh yes, checking receipts.... I always check any receipts before leaving a store and it was a good job I did this week.  I had been over-charged by 68p on two punnets of soft fruit.  The ticketing was debated by the staff and a supervisor decided the multi-buy offer was wrong but refunded me anyway.  68p is a useful sum of money and better in my pocket than Mr M's!

Does anyone else often find errors?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Shopping Review

I have been reviewing our purchases from the 'big' Monday shop this week. The non-food items came to £10.49 but that included a big pack of washing powder which was on offer at £6 instead of £9 plus.  I didn't need any yet but it seemed silly to leave it on the shelf until it was back to full price.  We also bought alcohol ( which doesn't come out of the food budget) as we will have family visiting this weekend so a further £16 to come off the receipt total.  The coffee was on offer at £5 so, again, not needed but put into the store cupboard and the caster sugar for baking was a whole kilo for £1 so that came home with us too (that was another £6 I needn't have spent really but they are savings in the long run)

Hmm....I'm afraid these treats found their way into the trolley too but at £1.50 for 4 Magnums and £1 for the tub of ice cream....well it was a no-brainer really, as they say :)  It is Summer after all....

That brings the food shopping (anything that goes into our mouths including coffee and ice cream) to £28.34   I've prepared a food plan and I think we can manage the week even though I didn't buy any meat other than bacon. I will be making vegetable soup for lunches and using eggs in sandwiches for protein, we have some fish and I have some quorn mince in the freezer with which to make chilli and rice tonight.  No prizes for guessing it's ice cream for dessert!

I really want to increase my intake of fruit. OH eats apples and oranges but I'm not that keen apart from the odd banana and, of course, the luscious soft summer fruit including our homegrown strawberries. I have started buying this broken grapefruit.  It costs just 35p per can and it keeps well in a box in the fridge once opened....

and tastes lovely on my morning muesli topped with plain yogurt and will give me 4 or 5 small servings.....

All I need for the weekend now will be bread £1 and a fresh pot of Greek yogurt £1

The sun is shining, I have 2 loads of washing flapping away outdoors and another load whizzing around in the machine.  A productive day....

Take care of yourselves and enjoy the sunshine x

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Makeshift Library and Fund-raising Total

Just a quick update today as the weather is so sunny and garden worthy :)
On Saturday we raised an amazing  £323.48
Earlier today I went to our little on site library of donated books to see what I could find to read next.   It's a basic shed type storage place which gets a bit damp in the Winter so now is the time to get a book before they spoil.  I hate reading dog-eared books :/   Someone has taken the time to sort them all out and file them into rough alphabetical order....

There are hundreds of books in there. I just wish we had a damp free place to store them all.....

I couldn't find any Jenny Colgan in there and I'm saving my new (purchased) book to take on our next holiday but I found a Katie Fforde that I haven't read yet....

That one came home with me and I'll begin reading it tonight :)
Now...time to think about what to cook for tea......
Have a lovely evening everyone.  Thanks everso for popping in x

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Wind in the Willows!

Well, actually, wind everywhere today.  Thank you all for the lovely encouraging comments on yesterday's post, they did help :)  As you can see from the welcoming flag, the wind was in full fettle this morning and the flag was erected under glowering skies....

We began assembling the gazebos around 10am this morning and it quickly became evident that we had a problem as one awning took off into the air and landed in the hedge, smashing a vital piece of the structure, without which the gazebo simply had no integrity.  A fine had to be quickly dismantled and put away leaving us with only one.  We used all the tent pegs on that one and, just to be on the safe side also tied it to the wire within the hedge.  Hey ho it still looked welcoming with 'Big Ted', the raffle prize, sitting on meet and greet duty.....

The refreshments had to make do with trestle tables (you can just see them in top left of the photo)and pray that it didn't rain....

The party was due to start at 2pm and at 2.05pm we didn't have a single guest.  We, the helpers,  looked at each other in panic then a dribble of guests turned to a flood. Phew!

We had some wonderful prizes donated so used those for the 'Pluck a Duck' stall which I was given charge of......( just look at the gold cloth billowing in the wind)

Dope that I am, I forgot to photograph the wooden duck, but for the uninitiated it was a big board in the shape of a duck with tiny holes drilled into it into which were placed tiny rolls of raffle ticket numbers.  For the princely sum of £1 you could choose 6 tickets from the duck's wooden body and any ticket ending in a zero or a 5 won the correspondingly numbered prize. 

It was great fun! At one point people were queuing up to pay me!  There was lots of fun and laughter and much drinking of tea and coffee and eating of cake.  After all a cup of tea/coffee and a cake for 50p were not to be sniffed at, a whole cream tea was £1 and strawberries and cream £1 too.  Any cake left at the end was sold off at £1 per plate of 4 cakes/slices.  By 6pm I was ready for a shower, a cuppa and a quiet half hour.  At least it hadn't rained....  :)

We don't yet know how much money we took as it was all put into the sealed collection bucket which will be taken to Air Ambulance next week for emptying.  I know I put several £10 and £5 notes in during the course of the afternoon, including my card sale money.  It will be exciting when the total is revealed.....

Thanks everso for popping in x

Friday, 12 August 2016

Fund-raising in the sunshine

Tomorrow we are having a garden party to celebrate our Queen's 90th birthday and to try to raise some money for the local Air Ambulance at the same time.  Neighbours are donating both time and cakes to sell, raffle prizes have been donated and I have made almost 60 cards to sell.  At this stage I get scared in case I don't sell a single one.  How embarrassing that would be.  We have no idea even how many residents will show up.  Fingers and toes crossed, please wish us luck and a whole heap of sunshine.  I'll report back tomorrow.


Thanks ever so for popping in x

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Necessities and Treats

In my last post I said I had decided to keep track of the spending on food/non-food items to see where savings could be made.  As we were away most of last week I began with my 'big' Monday shop yesterday (it's often the quietest day). Out of a total of £39.08 spent, non-food items were £9.00 so  quite a chunk, eh? OH gave me the money for the printer paper as it was his turn to buy it :) so I have popped that into the savings tin for shhhh...Christmas....

One bargain was this pack of 16 sausages which were £2, the same price as for a pack of 8, with a use by date of 16th August.  We will eat hot dogs tomorrow when DD and the GC come for the day (mine will be veggie ones) and I have opened the second pack and frozen them in a box so that they are easy to separate for meals at a later date. I have written a food plan so have all I need for the rest of the week bar toilet rolls, milk and a TV guide. It seems I need to control spending on the non-food stuff :/

I had forgotten to buy handwash, and we are running really low, so I got these this morning FREE using my Boots loyalty points. The handwash on the left had been reduced to 40p to clear.  I would have had more but it was the last one.  They would have cost £2.19 had I paid in cash.  I still have £1.33 left in points to use next month....

As I have dry skin I like a good moisturiser after a bath or shower and this one suits me.  In Superdrug I found it on offer at half price £2.19 but used my points there too reducing it to £1.19.  That will last until the end of  next month too.

I popped into the pound shop for some toilet rolls (much cheaper than a supermarket) and spotted this lovely soft baby yarn.  It was on 3 for 2 but, sadly, was the last one :(   I simply couldn't resist it as it will make something lovely for the Hospice Shop to sell.

I also treated myself to a Jenny Colgan paperback.  I have only just found her and really love her style of writing.  This one has recipes in to try too :)  I had a Book Token for £5 so this cost me just £3.99.  Is anyone else out there a fan? Any recommendations please?

Hope I haven't bored you too much.  Have a lovely day wherever you are x