Friday, 28 February 2020

Not So Lucky Today...

The weather today is back to the same old, same old:  RAIN.    After a lovely sunny (but bitterly cold)  day yesterday when I drove us into town to run our errands and do a bit of food shopping, G announced that he would visit the allotment today so that I could seize the day and do some papercrafting.  I was really looking forward to it but the day dawned wet and wild again.  G put on his coat and shoes, opened the front door, stepped out... and stepped back in again, announcing that it was far too wet to venture out!  He has been under my feet all day.  I made 2 toppers then packed my stuff away again.  I just can't relax and enjoy it when I keep getting interrupted :(
Perhaps I can manage a bit more tomorrow when G is at work, although the family might be descending on me around 3pm which will stop my gallop.

I have, however, managed to catch up with the washing but resorted to the tumble dryer to get it out of the way quickly.  I can't wait for the better weather when I can buy a whirly washing line and dry things outside in the fresh air.

I've had a bit of a struggle to get my car insurance price down this year.  G is normally added as an extra driver despite having his own vehicle but I decided to take him off this year due to him having an accident last year when a van drove into him ( totally NOT his fault but it has to be declared) as well as the fact that his neck problem is not getting any better. It would be too much hassle. He never drives mine anyway so I tried the comparison websites and found that the price varies so much right up to £305.28  Last year I paid £163 and the best new price has come in at £225.56 and that's after deducting the cost of protected no claims discount which I had on the last policy.  Bu**er….  but it can't be helped....

Why does it cost more to be insured as a sole driver?

Anyway, it's been so miserable today that we will be having chip shop fish and chips for tea as a treat. Now THAT will cheer me up!  Bu**er the cholesterol ;)

Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

We Have Sun!

Nothing much has happened over the last week, hence my lack of posts.  There are only so many times I can report wet and windy weather before everyone starts yawning with boredom. Today is SUNNY!
 and my little pot of daffodils is in full and glorious flower...

I treated myself to a couple of bright sunny cushion for the sofa too.  They have little bees embroidered on them...


Stay safe everyone wherever you happen to be x

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Financial Review 2020

Thanks so much for your lovely, helpful comments on my last post.  The cake has been eaten with custard as well as ice cream so nothing wasted :)

Last March my car was due for a service but because I do so few miles and also knew we were moving and would need every spare penny I let things slide.  It's now time to get it done.  VW wants £349 for a major service so we shopped around and tried a local garage (which I used to use until we moved 10 years ago)  The chap checked on the computer and declared that on my car they did exactly the same work whether it was a major or minor service so they can do it for £167.59 including VAT this also includes checking my brakes.  Booked for tomorrow!  My car insurance is due around the middle of next month so I will need to check the comparison websites soon.  According to Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert  the optimum time to check is 21 days before it's due, so that will be a task for next week....

Although we are still unsure exactly how much our council tax will be yet, I have made a list of realistic estimates for the bills.  If I'm about right, then the total of £3288 compares very favourably with the (fairly accurate) estimate of  still living in the park home.  If you look closely, top left corner, you can see the figure of £6329 so a potential saving of a whopping £3000 plus.  I was amazed at the total and G quite shocked.  I just hope I haven't forgotten anything major....

Food bills would be the same wherever we live and, of course, the cost of running the cars wouldn't be any different.  I'll work out any savings made by shopping around on those later on. I know we could sell one car but I value my independence and I would hate trying to drive the big Volvo anyway.  It's automatic (which I've never driven) and doesn't have a proper handbrake either.  Quite frankly it scares me.  There might come a time in the not too distant future when G feels he can't drive anymore so we might have to rely on my little 10 year old Fox to get us around.  I'm hanging on to the little fella ;)

That's all for now.  Stay safe everyone and thanks so much for popping in x

Saturday, 15 February 2020

On Disasters Domestic & Dennis

I had some lovely comments left on my last post.  Thank you so much!  I'm sorry I can't always find the time to reply individually but I really do appreciate your input x

Now you all know that yesterday was St Valentine's Day, right?  My vase was ready for the red roses which most supermarkets were selling for just £5.  It stayed empty all day, as usual.  After more than 52 years together, 49 of them married, I ought to know better.  But a girl can live in hope can't she?...

So this morning I bought myself some tulips, bright yellow and sunny, a bargain at £1.79 from Lidl ;)

The rest of this morning has been an absolute disaster.  I wasn't sure whether or not the family were coming at teatime so I made a lemon drizzle cake from the Hairy Bikers cookbook  I've made it numerous times before but never in my new oven.  It's just as well that the family are NOT coming.  It's not even worth putting on the lemon drizzle sugar topping :(  It didn't help that I took a phone call just as the timer went off either...... wail, sob.....

A couple of weeks ago I treated myself to this new cookery book (half price) with a view to trying some new budget recipes and keeping the food bills down.  It has had some encouraging reviews so I thought it worthwhile.

I tried the mini crustless quiches this morning, which were easy to make but a total disaster trying to get them out of the muffin tin.  I don't have a silicone muffin tray so did as advised and greased & floured the tin.  USELESS!!  They all stuck and broke up while trying to prise them out and I have resorted to throwing my metal tin into the bin.  Hardly budget friendly nor environmentally sound either.

Lots of the recipes in the book are meaty ones ( no good for me) and there are lots of soup recipes (nice) but the biggest stumbling block for me is that the book features an 8 week meal plan.  In order to get the budget on target at £20 per week I would have to spend £160 in one go.  Buying ingredients weekly puts up the cost by a fair bit.  

Has anyone else got this book? Anyone actually achieved £20 per week from following the plans?  Any recommended recipes from it? Please, I would be really happy for some help here :)

At the moment, the wind is getting up and icy rain is lashing against the panes.  Dennis is on his way!

Do stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be.  Thanks everso for popping in too x

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Charity Shopping Day

When we moved I had to sell or give away almost my whole book collection due to lack of space so today I felt justified in buying a few books from the CS.  They will be read and then taken back for resale.  The Miss Read ones were just 50p each and Erica James £1  I haven't read any Miss Read ones before but I have read comments about them being a gentle read, which is what I need for a while.

I also found this recipe folder which was still sealed in it's original wrapping.  It must be ancient because it's the St Michael brand which was Marks & Spencer's brand name donkey's years ago. Anyone remember it?  It contains a few recipe sheets and some blank sheets of paper which I can use to write my own recipes on.  Even though the pen was useless I feel it was well worth £1 :)

I can't remember where I got this quote from but I LOVE it!  It says it all for me...….

By the way, thank you for your comments on my last post.  Luckily, we didn't lose power but it seems many of you are very well prepared just in case.  Some sound advice there.  Were you in the Girl Guides at all? lol....

Thanks for popping in and stay safe everyone x

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Weathering Storm Ciara

Last night was horrendous with extremely strong winds and lashings of icy rain thanks to Storm Ciara.  I had folded down the patio chairs and laid them flat on the grass and upended the table too in readiness for the storm.  I moved pots to the shelter of the fence, along with the bin and recycling bags but the wind still got to the heaviest pot and turned it over.  I don't think it's broken but it's much too nasty to stay outside to check.  A quick look at the roof tiles (all intact so far) and I was back in the warmth of the house.  I'm praying that the electricity doesn't go off because we have no back up heating. If the power fails the central heating will go off and I won't be able to cook either so I think I had better go and fill a flask with hot water so that I will be able to, at least, have a hot drink.

G has had to go into work and he texted to say that there is chaos all along the route with flooding and police cars attending incidents.
Have you been badly affected by the storm?

Do stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday, 8 February 2020

A New Allotment!

Firstly, a warm welcome to Liana...Hi!

Thank you to everyone for all your positive comments and warm wishes left on my last two posts.  We are starting to feel more at home now after almost 9 weeks in our new home.  Now I want to inject a bit of colour in each room, perhaps new bright cushions on the sofa?  I want to keep my bedroom fairly neutral with some pastel colours of pale pink and green because I feel more relaxed if bright colour doesn't smack me in the eye as soon as I open the door!  The garden needs work, of course, but we can do that gradually.

G has a new allotment....yay! a half plot, which is much closer than our last one.  I was quite sad to leave the old one behind, especially as there were still sprouts, leeks and spinach ready to be picked but we told the young family man in the next but one plot to just help himself to whatever he wanted until new people take it over.  The new plot is very overgrown but G has already made a start on clearing and tidying up.  The big bonus is that we have a couple of apple trees :)  I'll post photos as soon as I can.....

This morning we have some beautiful sunshine when the sun manages to peep out from behind the clouds, but very strong winds are forecast for this evening so I will need to make sure that everything in the garden is battened down well before it gets dark :/

Anyway, must dash.  I have shopping to do this morning before the family descend this afternoon!

Thanks for popping in and stay safe, wherever in the world you happen to be x

Monday, 3 February 2020

Sneak Peek No 3... Bedrooms

As promised, the upstairs of our new nest!

At the top of the stairs is our functional bathroom with a heated towel rail/radiator behind the door to the left....

The best way to show my bedroom is through the big mirrored wardrobe.  It's a lovely sized room :)  Son in Law put up the glossy white shelf above my bed and I have two windows to look out of ....

This is my girlie corner with all my handy bits in a basket for ease of use and the chest of drawers contains my undies, PJ's & socks.  The bottom drawer: my hairdryer, brushes etc  I forgot to photograph it but I have a bedside table with a lamp and room for my night time book too.

The ledge on the second window holds one of my very favourite possessions;  a plate hand painted for me by my GD.  I love it....

Just behind the bedroom door is another "secret" door ….

EEk! Obviously a useful space but one which needs sorting out too.  A lot of my craft stuff is in boxes in there and, once I get stuck into my craft again, I can tidy and organise it better...

G's bedroom houses the computer desk but he has much bigger wardrobes to tidy stuff away in...

Having separate larger rooms means that we both get adequate sleep by not disturbing each other when we have a bad night.

That's all for now.

Thanks for popping in and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Sneak Peak 2...The Kitchen

Firstly, a big welcome to my new follower, Catherine.  I do hope you enjoy the house tour!

As you enter the front door:  kitchen to the left, cloakroom and stairs to the right....

The downstairs loo is a real boon when you have visitors.  The sink is tiny but quite deep and there is a fixed widow which you can just about see in the top right hand corner of the photo.  I didn't photograph the loo because one is much like another

Turn left into the tiny kitchen.  This is the one room that I have really struggled to organise and it's still work in progress really.....

The biggest cupboard houses the boiler and there is just one small cupboard next to it....

Then comes the cooker.  We paid extra to have the ceramic hob fitted because they are much easier to clean.  There is an extractor hood above it and one small cupboard to the right....

In the corner there's a bit of wasted space where the fitters have just placed a filler to hide the shaped corner.  This little cupboard next to it was a bit awkward too, with the door seeming to open the wrong way and only opening 90 degrees which meant that I had to hike myself into a sitting position on the worktop to put anything in or to get it out again.....

We resolved this by replacing the hinges with fold-flat ones, costing the princely sum of £2 in the B & Q sale! so that now the cupboard is much easier for me to reach....

I have a base cupboard which currently houses my crockery, saucepans and slow cooker and 3 drawers for cutlery (top drawer), tea towels, cling film, foil, plastic storage boxes etc  On the day we moved in I kind of stuffed things into the drawers for want of a better place to put them so I really hope to re-organise in a more useful fashion at some stage....

The family are visiting this afternoon so I managed to snaffle some cut price brownies this morning to save me having to bake before they come :)  

Tea will be crispy oven baked potatoes (microwaved first for about 7 minutes per 3 potatoes) then popped into a hot oven for 30 minutes.  They will be served with cheese and lots of healthy salad.  I have been resisting cheese all week so will allow myself a small portion with my potato but definitely no butter!

I hope you enjoyed the brief house tour, I'll post photos of the upstairs next time.

Thanks for popping in and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be  x

PS has anyone noticed how Blogger changes fonts at will??

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