Sunday 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to one and all.  May 2018 bring you health and happiness in everything you do.

I'll be back very soon x

Sunday 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas From Worcestershire

Firstly another warm welcome to two new followers; Cherie and AKM, lovely to 'meet' you :)

I'll be signing off for a couple of days for our full-on family Christmas, but I want to wish everyone a very happy Christmas.  I know that people in Australia, New Zealand etc will begin festivities long before us so I wanted to get my greeting in early.  May your Christmas be everything you wanted but above all may it be happy.

Thanks so much for popping in wherever in the world you happen to be.  See you in a couple of days x

Thursday 21 December 2017

Cheap, Delicious & a Warm Welcome

Firstly, a warm welcome to my new follower Chris.  I think I have another too but can't work out who it is.  Hello anyway!

After drizzly rain during the night we awoke to a damp and dismal December 21st.  I realised, as I lay there trying to come to, that today is the shortest day of the year!  Hooray! Tomorrow we will be on the right path to Spring with a couple of minutes of extra light each and every day. Yes, I know there's a long way to go as we are only just entering Winter proper but we have turned a corner. Yay!!

We fancied a walk so drove to town and parked in the car park where you can have 3 hours free parking.  It's further away from the centre of town but within easy walking distance.  A re-furbished Mc Donalds re-opened recently...

  It has all the new technology. You can order and pay at a machine and your food will be handed over in no time....

We tried to order 2 coffees as they are only 99p each, hot and tasty.  What? We can't pay with cash? Why not? Oh the till can't accept cash at the moment and we need to use our cards?  No thanks....(cue: hasty exit, muttering about the world's going mad)

Next stop was Halfords.  O2 Priority Moments is offering a free set of AA/AAA batteries at Halfords and we decided to claim a set.  No problem! 4 x AAA batteries for FREE. Excellent!  Then I spotted this....

All drinks were just £1 per cup.  OH had coffee and I decided on hot chocolate.  The drinks were piping hot and delicious and there was a quiet seating area in which to drink them....

At the bar-type seating there was a row of electric sockets so you could charge a phone, tablet or laptop whilst you drank too.....

I think we'll be using this facility again.  Top marks Halfords!

Now we are back home in the warm and I think it's time for a pre- Christmas drink, just to get us into the spirit of course :)  Just a small one, mind you, it is only 3pm :)

Enjoy your day everyone, no stressing! x

Tuesday 19 December 2017

I Have It Nailed (I hope!)

We had to go into town today to go to the bank and I happened to pop into m & s.  All items in a big section right by the door were half price! I got some super pyjamas for my friend's January birthday for £12.50 instead of £25 plus a lovely bag of toiletries for £8.  I was well pleased.  Loads of little bitty things were on at £3 or £4 pounds  each so I nabbed a couple to put in the 'emergency gift' drawer.

The freezer is full to bursting, the cupboard is full of tins and packets and I have £10 left to buy the fresh salad stuff at the weekend.  Phew! The budget worked well this year ;). All bills have been settled right up to the end of the year.  The LPG has been topped up and paid for too so we can now relax into the festivities.

Our Christmas will run like this (all being well)

Christmas day: a lazy start and a cooked breakfast, no turkey dinner for us, we don't want one.  Afternoon over to DD who will have cooked and eaten their own turkey dinner.  I will be taking something for dessert at teatime.  We will arrive before the Queen's speech so that we can listen / watch it together, then games, laughter, a glass of wine and a buffet tea at around 6pm with lots of nibbles and salad.  Home latish (for us) Cue: a good night's sleep;)

Boxing day: DD and family to us mid morning, pub lunch in the village (our treat) so that we can all have a good walk there and back. Home for coffee, more wine, mince pies and whatever else takes our fancy.  Buffet tea at 6pm ish with more laughter and high jinx! 6.30pm the two tiddlers and the two 'big boys' can watch Jurrassic Park on TV whilst DD and I wash up.  Relax......and BREATHE

 I will let you know if it all goes according to plan !

Are you ready yet?  Stressed or de-stressing?

We are going to the church carol service on Thursday evening and I'm looking forward to it very much.

Take care everyone x

Monday 11 December 2017

More Snow & A Power Cut

The snow continued to fall yesterday, we had a brief respite and then it began again.  OH managed to get home from work but he said that the main roads had still not been gritted.  Now it's exceptionally cold and the temperature is forecast to drop as low as -12C tonight. Aarrgghh!

I had just prepared the cottage pie and popped it in the oven about 4.30pm yesterday when the lights went out (as well as the cooker) A frantic scrabble revealed a good torch plus several tealight candles so that I could at least see what I was doing...phew. After literally a couple of minutes the power came back on...double phew! And the pie carried on cooking.  As I was dishing up the meal at 5.15pm poof! the power went off again so I re-lit the candles and we ate our meal in a romantic candlelit glow :) Talk about good timing.... The power was back before bedtime, luckily.

Today it was a steady trek to the Post Office where I bought some fresh rolls and lovely freshly sliced ham for OH, then it was back home to make some warming vegetable soup for lunch.  There is more left for tomorrow.  I foresee lots of staying at home and pottering on the horizon.  What a wonderful excuse to do some crafting! ;)

Take care everyone, wherever you happen to be x

Sunday 10 December 2017

A Winter Wonderland!

A heavy snowfall overnight meant that I awoke to a Winter wonderland yesterday.  I needed potatoes so decided to clear the car of snow and pop into town.  No way!  Beneath the snow was a heavy layer of impenetrable frost....

Instead, I trecked (very slowly and gingerly) into the village to buy some (overpriced) spuds and spent the day pottering, cleaning and watching some Stargate SG-1 I had recorded :) (I LOVE that series!)  By 3pm the sun had melted the snow on the paths so I went back to the car which was, by now, also pretty clear and decided on the spur of the moment to pop into town after all.  The main roads had been gritted and were clear so I managed to get to Mr M easily.   I bought lots of fresh veg and salad stuff as well as a few staples like butter, flour, milk and bottled water.

I'm so glad I did because the snow began to fall again in the early hours of this morning and it's sticking.  OH has gone to work as you can see from the footprints....

Heaven knows when he will get back.  He's just texted to say that the main roads are ungritted and pretty ropey.  I just hope the gritters will be out later on or OH could be sleeping at 'You Can Do It'

There will be no usual 'big shop' tomorrow by the look of it but I have the makings of several meals.  Tonight will be Quorn cottage pie & veg (4 servings) then we can have:

Quorn Lasagne (4 servings),
Fish, chips and peas
Vegetable soup
Jacket potatoes (with cheese or beans)
Beans on toast
Egg on toast etc
So we won't starve.

This afternoon I will make a large fruit cake and maybe some more of the golden syrup cookies I made yesterday. The recipe is from The Hairy Bikers 'mother knows best' cookbook page 201. They are really quick and easy to make and no more than 10 minutes in the oven. 

We are due an LPG top up but I have checked the gauge and the tank is 45% full so we can last up to 3 weeks if we have to, although I really, really want the tank full before Christmas in case we have more snow later.  That's one disadvantage of not being on mains gas.  You can live on a knife edge in Winter in case the gas runs out, then no heating and no hot water! We have an electric fire in the living room so I can turn down the heating and stay in one room until this evening.  Baking will warm the kitchen up nicely and the oven is electric so no LPG wasted there.

Do you have snow? Are you well prepared?

Take care and thanks so much for popping in x

Friday 8 December 2017

Christmas Bonus...Yay!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post.  It seems I am not alone in being organised this year.  Many of you are too, as well as being uber-frugal. It really does reduce stress levels when you begin early because you are spreading the cost as well as giving you time to seek out reductions in price.

I wanted to add to the GC's gift bags ( I like to give a well stuffed one!) so made these....

The fairy one is much prettier than it appears in the photo as the images were die cut from purple mirri card.  I have attached a sticker on the back with a special message of love for each child.

Our December pensions have been paid into the bank along with the Government Christmas bonus of £10 each...Yay!  Now what to spend it on?  OH was desperate for a warm top so his has gone on this Slazenger fleece @ £9.50   I just rang him to see where he is (he went to the village for some bread over an hour ago) and he was in the pub.  No surprise where his 50p change has gone then :)

My £10 is still in my purse.  I intend to ponder awhile before I treat myself and just enjoy knowing it's in there.  The Christmas bonus has remained unchanged for decades, I can remember my mum & dad getting £10 each years ago. My dad passed away in 1989! The actual buying power of the bonus has dropped dramatically but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth :)

When I woke up this morning the world had changed to a very pretty white one.  It's still snowing heavily but I feel so lucky to be nice and warm and with fairly full cupboards.  Many people are not so lucky.  If I can get out tomorrow I intend to add a bit extra to the food bank box.

Thanks so much for popping in everyone.  Take care x

Tuesday 5 December 2017

December Preparations

December already! The shops are full of lights, Christmas music and lovely Christmassy gifts.  The weather is just the opposite; dull, dismal and moist this morning, but I don't care.  Colourful flashing lights are on our Forsythia bush just outside the study window, cards have started to arrive and I have put up minimal decorations in the living room.  We gave up having a tree when we moved to the bungalow.  I can't stand the dust it creates (or dropped needles if it's real) and you can't clean properly for weeks but I do need a bit of bling and lights!

My cards have been written.  Some have been posted (to friends who'll be away in Spain for Christmas) and my gifts have been wrapped (in paper bought with Nectar points and using labels and bows left from last year).  I totted up what has been spent on gifts this year.  The total value of bought gifts (if bought at marked prices) is £273.50 but the actual cash spent was £128.50 I'm really pleased with all the savings.  I counted gifts bought with Boots and Nectar points as being free.  In addition, cash popped into children's cards came to £30 therefore a total outlay of £158.50 has been made (which I saved for all year)  I must admit, I've made a few gifts too but I think everyone has something they will like and we will begin the new year without having anything on a credit card!

I have begun to fill the freezer with goodies, am stockpiling tinned stuff (buying a little extra each week within budget) and it goes without saying that I am dropping stuff into the Food Bank trolley too.  I am READY!!

How are you all doing? Any more early birds out there?

Have a lovely day and thanks everso for popping in x

It's OK.....

  Angie 💓 xx