Sunday, 2 October 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 7

Saturday meals:

Breakfast: Porridge oats with cinnamon (1/4 point)

Lunch :

Lunch was a bit of a cheat.  I saw this little pot of Red Thai style curry in the reduced section and decided to buy it for lunch....



....it contains wild rice (a grain), yellow split peas, edamame beans and baby spinach (plus rice and carrot, neither of which count for the challenge)  After just 4 minutes in the microwave, and with a glass of orange juice, I could add 5 points to my total.  It was healthy and very tasty 👍



Evening meal:

Another bargain spotted was this delicious quiche.  I've eaten it before and it's really nice.  I wouldn't pay full price for it but at £2.15 it will make 4 decent portions @ 54p each.......


Served with a good handful of  Bistro Salad (Nectar price 90p) containing beetroot, lamb's lettuce and mixed chard .... 3 points.....



.... plus couscous and spring onion from the allotment... 2 points.

Uncannily, that adds 10.25 points to my total, making 30.5 for the week.
Success? or cheat?  I'm not sure 😨



One thing I do know is that I seem to have more energy this weekend.  Coincidence? or the result of eating more variety over the last week?  I really don't know but I have learned that planning is the key and I need to introduce more herbs to my cooking, even if it's just a sprig of mint for garnish. Next week we will be eating even more different veg;  swede, cabbage, & broccoli, for instance, but I won't be logging it all! Phew 😆

Thank you so much for following me with the challenge.  Stay safe everyone x

Saturday, 1 October 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 6

 Friday meals:

Breakfast: Muesli with half a tinned pear (in juice) & spoonful of live yogurt

Lunch: Sandwich made with wholemeal bread, tinned salmon and cucumber slices 

Evening meal: Spicy beanburger on a bread bap with salad 

We weren't very hungry for our evening meal so a beanburger just hit the spot. It only added 1 point to my total though, for the mixed bean content, as the salad stuff had already been ticked off.  This challenge is even harder than I thought it would be 😏

The total stands at 20.25 this morning and there is no way I will eat 9.75 portions of fruit and veg today.  It looks very much like a fail..... 


It poured with rain yesterday as soon as we ventured out, so we didn't stay out very long.  Driving rain forced us to eat our sandwiches in the car then we bought the grease bands and came home.  The heating was turned on for about an hour to warm us up and dry our coats. Later on I went outside to read and photograph the gas and electricity meters in case the smart meters fail to submit a reading tonight.  It would have been a bit daft to try and do it in the dark tonight so I might take another reading in the morning so that we get the cheaper rate for as long as possible if the Smart fails. What a palaver...

Stay safe everyone and have a great day x

Friday, 30 September 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 5

 Thursday meals:

Breakfast: Wholemeal toast with marmalade

Lunch: Baked potato with cheese, cherry tomatoes

Evening meal:

There was a portion of beef stew in the freezer for G so he had that with the veg but I just fancied a plate of steamed veg and gravy served in a pasta bowl. Sprouts and sweetcorn added 2 points to the challenge 👍


 This was followed by some more fresh raspberries with hot, thick custard.... Delicious


Snack: iced ring donut (cue guilty look 😉 )



That takes the total to 17.25, still some way short of the 30 required 👀

Today I am thankful for:

DD's visit and a lovely catch-up chat yesterday

Good food

A warm home on a chilly day


Today is the last day before the price increases, when the energy cap changes to Energy Price Guarantee.  I will be reading the gas & electricity meters later today.  Even though we have a smart meter, I will read and photograph the readings in case of a problem later.  The energy provider has asked me to increase the DD by £38 which is probably about right but I will wait a wee while to see how the Government £66 grant will be paid.  If it goes into the energy account it should cover the increase in costs.

Do you know how yours will be paid in the UK?

It's really chilly this morning so we plan to make some sandwiches and pay a visit to the local plant nursery where we can buy the lawn dressing and grease band which we need for our apple trees at the allotment.  Some exercise and fresh air will do us good 👍

Thanks so much for popping in.  Have a lovely day and stay safe x

Thursday, 29 September 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 4

 Wednesday meals:

Breakfast: muesli with homegrown raspberries and spoonful of yogurt 

Lunch: Cheese on seeded bread grilled in the microwave, cherry tomatoes

Evening Meal: Oven baked fish, oven chips and baked beans followed by apple pie and ice cream.... 


Unfortunately, I can only add baked beans to the challenge list for Wednesday, as raspberries, tomatoes and apple have already been ticked off, but G has come home from the allotment with some YS sprouts @ 10p!  and a gifted cucumber from one of our allotment neighbours.  That will be another 2 points sometime this week 😃




The allotment produce is winding down but we are still harvesting raspberries and cherry tomatoes.  Spring onions are ready now too (another one for my food list) and there's a bit of lettuce too. 

Stay safe everyone x

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 3

 Tuesday meals:

Breakfast: Porridge 

Lunch:


My back was hurting yesterday morning, so G offered to buy me lunch out. A local pub has just begun lunchtime carveries, so we decided to help them out 😊  The choice was turkey or gammon, roast potatoes and 3 kinds of veg for £6.95 per person. I don't usually eat meat, but the turkey looked delicious and I was hungry so that's what I had. It was piping hot and delicious. I could only add green beans to my challenge list though as carrots and peas have already been crossed off 🤔

Evening meal: Cheese bap with baby tomatoes followed by raspberries with a spoonful of yogurt.

Snack: homemade flapjack (containing oats and sultanas)

The total so far....



It's getting harder to add things to the list now.  I'm definitely flagging 👀  

I have a Sainsburys food delivery this afternoon and there are an awful lot of substitutions this week but I do have a free loaf of bread to look forward to 👍  If you click on the 'Discover' link on the website then 'Free samples and competitions' you will find the offer.  There are other things as well like flavoured milk for free.  My usual skimmed milk has been substituted for Organic milk, my bio washing powder for non-bio, and a few other things which will be refused at the door. My back still hurts so I'm grateful for the delivery.

Any idea how many different fruits and veg you consume in a week?

Today I'm thankful for:

Food delivery services

A lovely, bright & sunny day

DD called to say she is visiting tomorrow 😍


Thanks so much for popping in. Stay safe everyone x


Tuesday, 27 September 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 2

Meals on Monday:

Breakfast:  Banana & toasted crumpet ( needed eating up)

Lunch:


Red pepper and 4 cheese quiche with side salad eaten in our favourite plant nursery coffee shop. 

 Day 2 of the challenge and already I'm not sure how to record what I've eaten for my lunch shown above!  The side salad would be one of my 5 a day but the tiny amounts eg one slice of cucumber, sliver of onion etc are hardly portion sizes for the 30 a week challenge 😕 Maybe count cress?

Dinner: Poached eggs on seeded wholemeal toast (the toast counts as 1 point)

Snack: an apple

The total so far... 12.25 points... so far so good 👍



On the weather front, it's rained heavily all night so the garden and allotment have had a jolly good drink and the water butt is full. I didn't sleep well last night so today will be a gentle day. Nothing planned. 

Have a lovely day/evening (depending on where you are. Stay safe x


Monday, 26 September 2022

30 a Week Challenge Day 1


photo from Country Living magazine

After a bit of research, I found out exactly which fruit or vegetable counts in the daily target.  See below....



In the usual 5 a day way of eating, potatoes don't count as they are carbs, but in the 30 a week they do as well as wholemeal bread, nuts, seeds, brown rice and wholewheat pasta.  Herbs & spices count too.  They count as 1/4 portion each.  Now it's sounding more achievable!



You can only count each type once in each week.  It should be fairly easy to get off to good start but I have the feeling that I might flag as the week wears on.


Meals on Sunday:

Breakfast: Muesli with homegrown raspberries and a dollop of yogurt.
Lunch: Jacket potato with grated cheese (half the usual amount 😇)  homegrown lettuce, tomatoes, grated carrot
Dinner:  grilled salmon, mashed potato, cauliflower, peas and hollandaise sauce
Snack : a handful of  mixed black & green grapes

A good start! I've just realised that I can add potato to the list now too 👍  Oh, and the muesli probably counts as it contains oats, but I haven't bothered to add it yet because I will eat porridge at some point this week anyway and can count it then.



I'm sure I will make mistakes in this challenge as I've begun this on a whim but I'll give it my best shot anyway.

Stay safe everyone and thanks so much for popping in x 


Sunday, 25 September 2022

30 Portions a Week Challenge & Finances Reviewed

I read during the week that we can forget trying to fit in our 5 a day portions of fruit and veg if we concentrate on eating 30 different types each week instead.  I don't even know if I can name 30 let alone eat them, so I'm making a list this week to see how close we can get to the target.  I've started off with breakfast today which was homegrown raspberries on top of muesli containing dried fruit with a dollop of live yogurt.  There probably isn't enough dried fruit to make a portion but eating a similar breakfast for 4 days this week should equal one portion I think.  We will have grilled salmon with mash and veg for tea tonight so let's see how we go....





From the allotment we are still harvesting raspberries, runner beans, cherry tomatoes and spring onions and soon there will be baby beetroot and more lettuce.  We have cleared the spent French bean plants away and G will dig them into the ground next week.  The runner beans are almost finished and we are hoping some of the big ones we left on purposely will now dry sufficiently well to store for next year's seed.  The weather is getting to be a bit damp now though so only time will tell.

On a different matter, a news feed popped up on my phone this morning.  It seems we could be in for 10 hour long power cuts in the UK this Winter 😏
 



Why, oh why does the media latch onto this sort of story and report it with so much relish!
Yes....we know we have an energy crisis....yes....we know things could be tricky when demand for power is higher BUT the media bombarded us for weeks with stories of energy prices doubling with the lifting of the price cap to the extent that people were so worried they had sleepless nights ( me included) Now (thank God) we have the new Energy Price Guarantee from October 1st which is fixed for 2 years and will help poorer households to cope.  The price rise will be more like 27%  instead.  It still won't be easy for a good many families but, hopefully, G and I will be able to cope financially and not have to resort to selling G's car.....yet!

If we do have long power cuts I'll be worrying about all the produce stored in garage freezer 😔 but I suppose it will be cold enough in the garage during Winter to stay frozen for some time, especially if it's quite full and left unopened. 
 I REFUSE TO WORRY UNTIL IT HAPPENS.

Today the sun is shining, G is at work until teatime and I have a whole day to myself.  Bliss!

Today I am thankful for:

A beautiful, cold but sunny day
The announcement of the Energy Price Guarantee
A whole day to myself to knit, craft & read


How is your weekend going?  What's the weather like in your part of the world?


Stay safe everyone and thanks so much for popping in x



Friday, 16 September 2022

A Celebration and a Roundup of the Week

 It seems to have been an absolute age since I last posted but my cold really drained my energy and I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to write anything.  I do feel marginally better today apart from my head feeling as if it's full of cotton wool.


Last weekend our Granddaughter was 18 and had requested a family party with just a few friends from school and dance class.  It was lovely, a real mix of ages, and I saw a friend who I worked with in the past and whom I hadn't seen for 27 years! There was a lot of catching up to do.  The food was delicious but there was so much left at the end of the evening that had to be binned as it had been out of the fridge for too long.  Being me I managed to save some cake though!  It was boxed and frozen for another day and DD did the same thing too.  But the rest was such a waste of good food.



Later that week I had a very sad day watching the live funeral webcast of my great, great nephew who died aged 19 days.  He was a beautiful baby boy, born by C section, who had a congenital heart condition and nothing could be done to save him. The sight of his tiny basket was heartbreaking and I simply can't imagine how his parents must be feeling.  I feel devastated for them.

The rest of the time has flown by in a flurry of tidying the garden for Autumn & picking bits from the allotment.  We still have:  runner beans (few and far between) raspberries (lots and lots) cherry tomatoes, tons of sweetcorn cobs and Bramley apples.  We managed to get our Grandson up the stepladder to harvest the apples for us as we couldn't manage it.  He was like a monkey, even on the shed roof at one point! Talk about elf and safety 👀  We shared the apples around the family and with a lovely neighbour and I have been popping boxes of stewed apple in the newly defrosted freezer in the garage in readiness for Winter puddings.  Lots of green beans have been frozen too.  Later on we should have purple sprouting broccolli, salad crops of beetroot, spring onion and lettuce (frost permitting) and Christmas new potatoes.

I love this time of year.  G hates it but I was born in November and love battening down the hatches for Winter.

Stay safe everyone x


Sunday, 11 September 2022

Sadness & the End of an Era

 What a week this has been, culminating in the death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II

She looked so frail when appointing our new PM on Tuesday that G & I were worried for her health, so the news of her passing wasn't totally unexpected.  She has given her life to our country and the Commonwealth and now deserves to rest in peace.  King Charles III has a lot to live up to but I think he is perfectly capable.  Long Live the King.

I feel very rough this morning.  I have a heavy cold with headache, aches, cough and dry throat.  I've done 2 covid tests 2 days apart and both are negative so I just need to rest.  I'll make this a very short post today.

Today I am thankful for:

A Monarchy coming together as they should to comfort each other and the people.

Being able to rest up today.

A sunny day after lots of rain this week to help the parched garden and allotment, and now to dry the washing.

The promise of help with energy bills in the form of a Price Guarantee.  

I know it will still not be easy for so many people but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.......

Stay safe everyone x




Friday, 2 September 2022

Cholesterol Confusion and Maths Testing

 Thank you for all the soup suggestions on my last post. It's certainly given me some ideas to try 😊

Regarding my cholesterol levels: my total is 6.2 which sounds frighteningly high. The nurse weighed me (under 10st so not overweight), my BMI is 23 (within the normal range) heart age 73 (I will be 73 on November 1st) , blood pressure is low and my diet is basically ok. I drink very little alcohol and have never smoked. She concluded that I'm only at moderate risk for heart attacks and strokes 😳 She also explained that everyone is different and due to my lower risk anyway she wasn't recommending statins at this point.

All my other tests; thyroid, diabetes, liver, kidneys, B12 and iron levels, full blood count etc were fine. Why I feel so awful on some days is a mystery both to me and the medical profession 🤔🙄 

I AM AN ENIGMA 😱😂

Old age is a definite factor so I am redoubling my efforts to reduce fat in my diet still further (without making my life a misery) and pushing myself to walk a bit more each day.  Que sera sera as Doris Day sang! 

A few years ago I completed the Numeracy Challenge online and enjoyed it so, when the invitation email came through, I did it again. 





I scored 89% so my brain, at least, is functioning! I even beat my last score slightly. Power to the Pensioners!!

Stay safe everyone and thank you for popping in x

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Further Thoughts & High Cholesterol

 Firstly a big thank you to all who left comments on my last post along with tips and some great ideas for staying warm this Winter.  A warm welcome too to Suzanne 😊

Since then I have been mulling over how not to spend actual money on food shopping as well as spending a little as possible when I do.  I have postponed our online food shop this week until Thursday 4th September and am stretching what we have in already.  And I will be looking for more YS bargains.  I have redoubled my efforts at snapping up online survey opportunities with trusted companies and have earned a £10 voucher with M & S once again which will buy food for this weekend.  G has this weekend off so he won't need sandwiches with cooked ham to take to work ( his favourite choice of filling).  I have longlife milk stored in the garage and the bread maker is kneading away right now for a fresh loaf this afternoon.

If you remember, I bought this YS lettuce on 28th and next day I refreshed it by running cold water over it in a colander,  patted it dry.....

                                               

....and served it with eggs for lunch.  The eggs were 79p for 6 (with the Sainsburys App), the tomatoes, cucumber and onion were all home grown at the allotment.  I picked out bits of sliced red cabbage & carrot from the remainder of the bag of stir fry veg and added them so lunch cost 58p for 2 ie 29p per portion plus a slice of  bread each..........

I think this sort of meal will be the norm for the foreseeable future with soups added during the colder months.  The slow cooker will definitely come into it's own too.  After all tomorrow, September 1st, is officially the first day of meteorological Autumn 👀  I think I need to find some more soup recipes.  My repertoire is very limited, mainly potato & leek or country veg! I'm always a bit scared of adding garlic granules or curry powder to soup even though I have a little jar of each.  

Do you have a favourite easy recipe with minimal ingredients that you would be happy to share please?

This afternoon I have an appointment with the nurse at the GP surgery to discuss my blood test results.  It seems I have a high cholesterol count despite cutting down drastically on my cheese consumption 😕

I honestly don't know what I can cut out.  I don't smoke, drink a minimal amount of wine (maybe 2 small glasses a week, rarely drink coffee & have just one mug of tea in a morning. I eat fish, Quorn and eggs for protein, drink skimmed milk, eat lots of fruit and veg from the allotment etc, etc  I honestly don't understand the figures quoted to me so hope she can explain it all!

That's all for now,

Stay safe x

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Energy Woes and Another Foodie Post

As everyone in the UK already knows, the energy price cap is being lifted on October 1st.  On Friday came the shocking announcement that it will increase by a massive 80%  As they always quote the 'average' annual figure, in this case £3549 or something similar, it's hard to know exactly how much it will affect us as a household.  Are we 'average'?  I searched the MSE website and found this chart showing the changes in actual unit rates which is much more useful to me. ....

 
taken from MSE.com

 The rates vary slightly from region to region but ours is this one ....


The bills will pretty much feel like double what we are paying now as the Autumn approaches and cool weather sets in.  It's horrifying for us but must be devastating news for struggling families.  We will need to find at least another £100 per month just for gas & electricity which pretty much wipes out my monthly pocket money, leaving just G's earnings from his part time job (12hrs on minimum wage) for any extras and treats.  I'm so grateful for the help the government had already announced for during the coming months but I know it's simply a drop in the ocean for many families including our DD.  I have no idea what will happen when the new Prime Minister takes over.  At this rate people's savings will be wiped out before the end of next year.  

G & I had a big discussion on Friday evening after the announcement was made.  We intend to:

  1. Shop even more carefully using YS bargains and eating simple food like when we were kids as there is still a bit of 'wriggle room' in the food budget.  If we can reduce it still further to save maybe £10 per week that will give us £40 per month for heating.
  2. Use the main car less to reduce spending on fuel although G does need it to get to work (12 miles away and no bus link)
  3. Request a hot water bottle each for Christmas (if DD asks what we would like that is!) to 'heat the human not the house' 
  4. Intensify our efforts to be frugal in all areas as much as we can.
We have also agreed a contingency plan to sell the main car if our savings become depleted.  We will still have my 12 year old Fox to take us to our daughter's house (no buses in that direction either) and it costs very little in the way of insurance and running costs so is the obvious one to keep.  It's value is also very low at around £1000 so a bit pointless to sell it....yet.....

I took my trusty Fox to the shopping centre this morning because I needed a few birthday cards, wrapping paper and stuff, only to find CHRISTMAS cards and gifts already on the shelves.  Crikey, talk about being prepared 👀

On the way home I popped into Morrisons for some YS bargains for dinner tonight.  I found this bag of veg for a stir fry reduced to 33p.  It's meant to serve 4 people but we will just have the veg with some black bean stir fry sauce I already have in.  Think of all that lovely fibre!
EDIT: there was a LOT of veg so we had 1/4 of the bag each and I added a few prawns to G's portion. This leaves 1/2 bag for either another stir fry or some soup 👍


We have run out of lettuce at the allotment and it's so expensive at the moment so I snapped up this little bag of shredded iceberg for just 18p We can have an egg salad tomorrow with the lettuce, homegrown tomatoes and cucumber......


How will the increase in energy costs affect you?  Are you making contingency plans too?  Are you already cutting down in readiness for Oct 1st?

Stay safe everyone x

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Delicious Food Box and Rain at Last!

 Wow, this week has been so much cooler and more comfortable.  There has been a little rain too, mainly overnight, which has refilled the water butt in the garden, thankfully.  The house has kept in the heat so we have been throwing open doors and windows as soon as we wake to let the fresh, cooling air in.  Delicious after the oppressive heat.

Even though we don't have a hosepipe ban in our area, we are still using grey water on the garden and using rain water for lime hating plants and shrubs like the Acer.  At the allotment we are, at last, picking a few ripe tomatoes and more French climbing beans.  Those little plants have been super-productive and I'm freezing lots in small stackable boxes (re-used from DD's take away meals) to get us through the Autumn and Winter months.  Our lovely neighbours, whom we share our produce with, gave us a bag of foraged plums the other day so I'm hoping to freeze some of those..  I've never frozen plums before.  Should I cook them first or freeze whole/minus stones do you think??  Any tips very welcome!

On Tuesday I was extremely lucky to snag a Morrisons Too Good To Go Box once more.  I often reserve one only for it to be cancelled by the store the next morning.  This time I got.....



Sorry about my finger in the shot, I was so excited 😂 lots of the produce wasn't even out of date. 

I have steamed and frozen the sliced cabbage (I would never buy a pack of sliced cabbage but won't waste it), The plums in the second photo were not out of date and, as I already had the foraged plums, I gave them to another neighbour with two small children.  I froze the sliced bread and we ate the bloomer bread over the next 2 days in sandwiches and with soup. We ate a doughnut each and I froze the other three (now defrosted and eaten 👍)  The grapes and little pot of fruit were delicious too.  And there is lots of veg left for the weekend meals and all for £3.09

As the TGTG bag was so good we didn't have a food delivery this week saving up to £50.  This morning I will need to go to Sainsburys to buy: Greek-style yogurt, sugar, either chicken or sausages for G, and teabags.  I'm hoping £10 will cover it and the remaining £40 can go into the savings towards the energy bills.  I really can't believe our luck.

Before I sign off I would like to offer a warm welcome to my three newest followers:  David, Jeanette and Deborah.  It would be very rude of me not to say hello!

Today I am thankful for:

Delicious food costing so little

Delightful neighbours

Cool weather and a drop of rain


Stay safe everyone and have a great weekend x 

Friday, 12 August 2022

Energy Campaign Good Idea ? or Plain Daft?



 I really don't understand the current urge for people to cancel their Direct Debits for energy bills in protest at the rising cost of Gas and Electricity.  I can see 3 major flaws in this:

1)  As soon as you cancel your DD you will be placed on an even  higher cost tariff,

2) Imagine the worry as the unpaid bill grows and grows (not just the extra amount you can't afford but the full amount)

3) Steps will be taken to recover the money eventually and this will surely affect your credit rating?  What if your circumstances change for the better at some time in the future and it has affected your chances of getting a mortgage?

A certain Ms Hopkins has taken to tiktok to add fuel to the fire (pardon the pun)  I suggest you Google her net worth before taking any notice of her opinions 😏

What do you think about this campaign?  I must admit that it's made me very uneasy for the welfare of vulnerable people.  Is it a good idea? ❌Or plain daft? ✅

I didn't really want to comment on the hot weather again but I can't help it.

 It's Too Bloomin' Hot 😝

Hopefully, if we can survive the next 48 hours it will begin to cool off and we might get some much needed rain next week.  Our garden and allotment are suffering badly and we have lost a lot of vegetables in the heat.  The only thing we have been harvesting is climbing French beans.  The runner beans, tomatoes and raspberries have stopped growing.  How is your garden doing?

Stay safe everyone x


Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Surviving The Heatwave

Oh boy it's been hot again today and we're only at the beginning of our second heatwave of the Summer.  The temperature is forecast to be in the mid 30's from tomorrow and over the next 4 days, and we are getting close to a hosepipe ban, not that we use one for watering anyway, we use a watering can.  But, in order to save water anyway, we bought a bucket from B & Q for just £1 so that we can save water from handwashing, running the water before the hot comes through for washing up, washing faces etc  This gets cooled and poured onto plants in the garden because we have spent a fair bit of money on them and need to keep them alive. 

Even as I type this though I can hear our next door neighbour filling her hot tub in the garden 😏




The bungalow seems to hold the heat.  This shows the temperature at 11am this morning (yes, I know the time has been set to 11pm instead of 11am but I can't be bothered to change it right now 😂 )


It will be good to retain heat in the Winter but Summer.... not so good.

Well, the boiler man turned up on time, bless him, and serviced the boiler without hassle.  The guttering man was a 'no show' and we've heard nothing whatsoever from him 😡  But the eBay buyer also turned up on time and paid me £100 cash for the 2 Duvalay sleeping bags.  We were both pleased with the transaction.  I guess 2 out of 3 is not bad 😁 and we now have money for our Granddaughter's birthday gift and a bit over which will go towards heating bills this Winter 👍

Thanks for popping in and stay safe x


Monday, 8 August 2022

On Oat Milk & Potato Bargain

When I did the online food shop last week I was offered a voucher for a free carton of Alpro oat milk and, as I am cutting back on dairy produce, I took up the offer.  It tastes beautifully creamy and doesn't curdle in a cup of coffee but I'm not sure I can justify the cost on a regular basis.  FREE I can cope with 😅  It was a good chance to try it though......

                                                

On Sunday G was at work and I had a craving for a baked potato.  We had no homegrown ones suitable so I popped to Sainsburys to buy one and to buy a few other things which were on offer on the Nectar app.   My spud cost just 16p but when I got home I realised that I had been given 40 points worth 20p for buying it!  A bargain!


This afternoon we are awaiting an engineer to service the boiler, a man to check the guttering and another man this evening to collect (and pay for) the sleeping bags he bought from me on eBay.  I hope they all turn up as we have had to stay in all day 😕 I'll keep you posted.....

Stay safe x



Saturday, 6 August 2022

A Busy Week

 We have had quite a busy week.  It began with our Grandson's 15th birthday when we all met up for a lovely pub lunch, after which they all came back to ours.  Around teatime we fired up a disposable barbecue and let our GS be in charge of cooking the sausages for hot dogs.  Luckily I had a couple of packs of rolls in the freezer which I had the foresight to defrost in the morning 😇  The family shared the dozen sausages (I had a vegetarian one) and lots of salad followed by ice creams. Fab! GS said he had had a fab birthday.

I haven't been feeling well so tried to get a GP appointment on Monday.  After dialling 132 times from 8am onwards, I finally got to speak to a receptionist who offered me an appointment at 11.30am the same day. Wow!  It turned out to be with a Nurse Practitioner but she was lovely.  She gave me some tablets to reduce stomach acid and booked me in for blood tests on......16th August...more than 2 weeks away.  It will be at least a week after that before the results come in.  The NHS is seriously broken.

On Thursday, after weeks of being woken at the crack of dawn (or so it felt) by workmen using pneumatic drills right outside my bedroom window, we had a note pushed through the door informing us that they were, at last, finishing the tarmac surfacing on the roads in the development over 3 days Thursday to Saturday inclusive, and therefore we would not be able to get the cars on or off the driveway during the hours of 8am to 4.30pm.  We also had massive road closures for the Commonwealth games cycling trials so I prepared sandwiches and cold drinks and we drove the short distance to the local plant nursery via the back roads.  We made sure we spent a good few hours there until the allotted time of 4.30pm when we could return home, driving gingerly over the new tarmac!  On the way back we topped the car up with diesel, a staggering £70 just to top up to 3/4 tank 😓

On Friday we took a walk  to the village just to get some exercise.  I must admit it was a big pull getting back up the hill.  I am so unfit I am ashamed to admit it.

Today, Saturday, G has managed to take the car to the allotment which is badly in need of watering whilst I do some ironing and potter with jobs here and there.  Cushion covers are washed and on the line outside and there will be a load of towels to follow.  Post has just arrived with my car tax renewal form so I might as well pay it now before I forget.  That will be another £165 making almost £1,000 in total which has been taken from the joint account by Direct Debit within the last 6 days.  That doesn't include food or the diesel either 👀

My driving licence needs to be renewed by the end of October so I need to investigate how to do that.  I can't do it online as I don't have a passport so I will need a form to complete, I expect.

The annual service on the boiler is booked for Monday but it's under contract so won't cost us anything, thankfully.  I can't believe we have been in our new bungalow for almost 11 months 👀

Anyway, off to pay my road tax now.

Stay safe x

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Frugal Year on a Tight Budget.... Update

£?


Are we still on track with our Frugal Year on a Tight Budget? 

Spending:

No choice but to get the PC repaired last month.  It was either spend £73 on a repair or several hundred pounds on a new computer.  It had to be the former...

We chose to buy an annual pass for the Black Country Living Museum costing £35.90 for the two of us.  We can go as often as we like over the next 12 months and it will only cost us £3.50 each time to park the car (what a rip off price 👀)

A tall oscillating fan was purchased for my bedroom so that I didn't melt away during the heat wave.  It was on offer at £58 instead of £89.  A lot pricier than the simple desk fans, I know, but it has a timer so that I can set it to switch itself off an hour after I go to bed (up to 8 hours actually) It was worth it's weight in gold a couple of weeks ago and I think it will be used again soon.




There have been several birthdays over the last few weeks so scratchcards have been popped into the envelopes in lieu of a gift and our lovely Grandson, who had his 15th on Friday, was given cash and a gift wrapped box of his favourite cookies. He was well pleased 😀

£24.99 has been invested in a plastic water butt so that we can catch any rainwater and resist using tap water for watering the garden. DD shopped around for us and collected it from B & M.  It was around half the price of one from B & Q.  It's already proved itself by catching the rain overnight last night and the hydrangea has had a lovely drink.

Savings:

We are still well within our weekly food budget and I have moved small amounts of savings to the account twice over the last couple of months whilst still keeping the fridge and freezers stocked with emergency supplies.

I applied online for free Bus Passes for both of us so that we can ride the bus instead of taking the car.  It was a relatively easy thing to do until I came to take G's photo for the pass.  Due to his Cervical Torticollis he is absolutely unable to keep his head still in order for me to take his photo on my tablet.  It was a case of keep trying until I struck lucky.  It took around 20 attempts but I finally got a recognisable shot!  The passes arrived after just a week.  Hats off to South Staffordshire council!

I have resisted buying any new clothes, shoes or underwear at all this year apart from my shacket and one pack of 3 Sloggis but it's our Granddaughter's 18th birthday party in September and I have literally not a clue what I can wear to it.  I might have to try to buy a cheap top to wear.  I don't think T shirt and jeans will hack it somehow....

We wanted to buy her a special gift so I have been selling bits and pieces on eBay.  I received another £3.31 for a small item today and have this afternoon listed our sleeping bags which we used to use in the caravan.  They have been sitting in their bags under the bed getting dusty so I need the space anyway.  Fingers crossed for a sale 🤞

Today I am thankful for:

2 lovely Grandchildren who still want to spend time with us oldies

A beautiful daughter who helps us all she possibly can

A gorgeous sunny day which has dried all my washing outside

A lovely neighbour who knocked the door and handed me a bag of local plums as a thank you for sharing our allotment produce with her and her daughter. 

How has your weekend been?

Stay safe everyone x

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

Tomato Taste Test

Our first few (and I mean few 🙄) tomatoes are ripening. There were 3 ready yesterday so we picked them for a taste test..... 

 
They are all Gardeners Delight and although quite juicy they don't taste as nice as the ones we grew last year. The skins are a wee bit tough.  Perhaps the later ones will be better.... 


Our poor cucumber plant survived the heatwave only to collapse when the weather turned cooler. I am gutted as there were quite a few more cucumbers developing.... 


We'll try again next year. 

From the allotment we are picking :

Runner beans, French beans, lettuce, beetroot, carrots, the first few raspberries and potatoes. 
Our lovely allotment neighbour, Eric, has given us 2 punnets of juicy blackberries, and another gentleman handed me 2 decent sized yellow courgettes which I'm not sure what to do with;  Mediterranean roast veg perhaps? Any suggestions gratefully received. 

Despite having given the Bramley apple tree a good pruning, we seem to have lots of good sized apples on there.... 




.... and we are starting to get a lot of windfalls, a bit early in my view, but I saved a couple of unblemished ones and stewed them for dessert last night with custard and a handful of the gifted blackberries.  Tart but definitely delicious 👍 I'm hoping the others will cling on for a few more weeks in order to ripen a bit more.

Thank you for your comments on my last post.  I appreciated all your commiserations, empathy and suggestions.

Stay safe x

30 a Week Challenge Day 7

Saturday meals: Breakfast: Porridge oats with cinnamon (1/4 point) Lunch : Lunch was a bit of a cheat.  I saw this little pot of Red Thai st...