Saturday 31 December 2022

Happy New Year!

 Well, I attended my appointment with the optician yesterday afternoon and it seems that I have a Chalazion which is a stye on the inside of my lower eyelid near the tear gland.  It's made me look as if I have a black eye and has given me a daily headache as well as a painful eye.  The optician did the puffer eye pressure test, as well as looking into both eyes through the machine.  He then dropped orange dye into both eyes for a closer look and pressed into the area around both eyes to feel for any more lumps, thankfully none.  He also turned my upper lids inside out to look at them.  This was not an easy job as I am extremely squeamish about eyes!  👀 I had to keep apologising for pulling back!  He said I can use Golden Eye Ointment, which has a bit of anti-biotic in, to reduce infection but that hot compresses will help.  He also said that if it worsens dramatically to go straight to A & E.  I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that 😨  All in all, I felt I had had a thorough examination and he didn't charge me although he mentioned on the way out that they do NHS eye tests...hint, hint!  When I got home I realised that I had orange Panda eyes from the dye!! Luckily I didn't have to use the bus....😏

I can't believe it's the last day of the year.... although good riddance to 2022, I say....

Happy New Year to you all

May it be happy, healthy, and safe 

God Bless


Friday 30 December 2022

NHS failures and More Covid....

 Yesterday I took down all the Christmas decorations apart from the door wreath and the cards.  I usually leave the wreath until 12th night anyway but the rest could go.  It's not been a good festive season for any of us this year and a video call with our Son in Australia on Christmas day (which was his 50th birthday too) revealed that his wife had contracted covid for the second time this year and our 7 year old Granddaughter had caught it and now P has it too.  Our GD was ill for just a day and then perked up but our Son didn't look well at all.  His big birthday bash was cancelled and I felt so sorry for him. 

DD has now got a sore throat and cough too....

My visit to the GP was not successful either.  I spoke to the receptionist, explaining the eye problem which began on Christmas eve and she just said " we have nothing to do with eyes". What??..... She gave me an optician's phone number to call for an appointment.  I asked if they would charge me and she said " I dont think so" so I got back to my car and rang them. It turned out that they were miles away and didn't even have an available appointment for several days.  Luckily, the kind lady I was speaking to arranged an appointment for me this afternoon in my own village.  I had to suffer for yet another day though......

To be perfectly honest I can't wait to see the end of this year. Let's hope 2023 will be better for everyone. 

Stay safe and well x

Thursday 29 December 2022

Christmas, a Non-event and a Sore Eye

Well.... Christmas didn't exactly go as planned.  We went to our Daughter's house on Christmas day to find that our Granddaughter had a severe sore throat and cough.  We had been forewarned that morning by DD but covid tests had come back negative so we risked it anyway.  Our daughter cooked a lovely turkey lunch but GD barely ate anything then fell asleep in the chair.  After lunch our son-in-law also declared he didn't feel 100% and went to bed 😕 We did suggest we went home early but DD was glad of the company, I think, so the TV was turned on and we, and our Grandson, relaxed watching a daft film (Hocus Pocus 2)  After a tasty buffet tea we left around 8pm.

For obvious reasons, our Boxing day get together was cancelled leaving me with lots of food we were never going to eat so I froze what I could and we've been eating up the rest as best we can 😋

One of the nicest presents I received was made for me by a little girl who lives across the road.  It was very special and will be kept in my treasures box and brought out every year.....

On Christmas Eve I noticed that my right eye was feeling sore and it seems to have developed into what Google says is an internal stye. it painful?...yes!!  We managed to find a pharmacy open on Boxing day afternoon but all they would sell me was a box of moisturizing eye drops, of the sort used by contact lens wearers, at a cost of £15.  I am very squeamish regarding eyes so it's been a real struggle to get them in and they haven't helped in the slightest.  I might try a walk-in to the surgery today to ask advice.

New Year 2023 will spur me on to a new challenge, especially as we have all this food left over from Christmas.

A low spend/no spend January is calling, especially as energy bills are so very high and with a small increase due in January.  I have vouchers which I won, G has a Morrisons voucher from work and I have accumulated Nectar points to use, so I'm hoping to spend very little actual cash in January.  I'll post details in a few days.

My heart goes out to everyone affected by the storms in Canada and the US.  Praying that it will resolve very soon.

Thanks for popping in, I hope your Christmas was a good 'un. 

Take care x  

Saturday 24 December 2022

Happy Christmas To One And All !


Wishing you all a very happy, safe and peaceful Christmas.

God Bless

I'll be back in a few days.


Friday 23 December 2022

News Catch Up! Good and Bad....

Thanks so much all of you who left kind and considerate comments on my last post.  I still feel heavy of heart but you are all so very kind.  I do need to pull myself together so here's a roundup of the last couple of weeks......

A week ago we woke up to no hot water. Not cold water running from the hot tap but NO water AT ALL from the hot tap yet plenty from the cold tap 🤔 It was a real mystery.  Everything was fine the night before and, thankfully, we had heating. I spent 40 minutes in a queue on the phone to the boiler insurance company and a repair was booked for 5 days hence 🥶 You don't realise how much you depend on hot water on tap until its not there!  Carrying hot kettles about at my age is not a great idea either.  We were so lucky that I received a text informing me that the appointment had been brought forward a couple of days to Sunday last, although even 3 days without a shower was too much! Anyway, back to normal at last 🙂

In other news:

TV licence renewed for another year £159

Christmas haircut in the village £16 (much cheaper than the £32 my last hairdresser charged)

(Daughter says I look miserable in the photo but my excuse is that I was really tired  😂 I'm not sleeping well right now)


Gifts are all wrapped and labelled, ready to be taken to DD on the day.

Sainsburys food delivery arrived this afternoon.  There were a couple of substitutions which were not suitable so we popped to the local Sainsburys to try to get the items. It was manic, hard to find a parking space, and the store full to bursting at 2pm.  Apparently, a queue had formed by 5.40am with the store opening at 6am!  There was not a single egg to be seen 👀  I'll have to make do with the half dozen I already have.  That's the very last shopping trip this side of the big day.

Are you receiving cards through the post this year?  I posted mine really early due to the postal strikes and most have arrived (although not all) but I've only had 1 card through the post.  Postal workers are striking again today and tomorrow so nothing else will be delivered until well after Christmas.  There are at least 4 cards in transit to us.  It's so sad to think that some lonely, housebound people might not get the cheer of a card this year.

In addition to that, the NHS workers have been striking.  Firstly nurses and then Paramedics/ambulance drivers.  The Government response has been " Don't do anything risky whilst the strike is on! " In some areas they won't even attend women in late stages of labour or stroke victims.  Our NHS is definitely broken....

Happier notes:

This little penguin group has appeared in the village 😀 So cheerful!

I took a big tin of Heroes chocolates and a Christmas card to the staff and volunteers at the Hospice charity shop in the village.  I have donated 127 handmade cards over the year and last week I also took in 5 little knitted stockings with a wrapped chocolate biscuit inside for them to sell. I must do much more next year if I can....

I was stunned to receive an email a few days ago saying I had won an Iceland gift voucher with Topcashback.  I excitedly picked it up from the post office on Wednesday and...YAY!!...2 x £50 vouchers were inside 😀 

 As I've finished my Christmas food shop, I can feel a 2023 challenge coming on.  It will be the usual low spend/ no spend January but I want to extend it to February as well and record it on my blog for posterity.  Anyone interested in the nitty gritty of what I buy?  You might be thoroughly sick of reading about these things so:

Vote NOW!!


Reasons to be thankful:

The weather is very wet but much milder so the heating is not on so much

For DD who is cooking for us on Christmas day

For a well stocked fridge & freezer

For the good fortune to win £100 in vouchers

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

Thursday 8 December 2022

Crying Quietly

 I had some really sad news yesterday.  My best friend's sister, whom I've known for many years, lost her eldest son on Saturday.  He was in hospital and must have been known to be seriously ill because they arranged the wedding to his fiancee last Friday at the hospital.  He passed away the next day.  My friend is too upset to tell me any more details and I'm upset because Matthew was at the same school as my own children.  He's just a little older than my daughter.  His mum is just recovering from an operation herself, and having radiotherapy.  Once gain, I can't believe how cruel life can be.  It has knocked me for six so I will be taking a break from blogging.  I'll still be reading and commenting but not posting until I feel stronger.

Take care of yourself and enjoy Christmas just as you like it my bloggy friends.  You've earned it.

Big hugs,



Saturday 3 December 2022

Village Affairs at the Weekend

After a pretty boring week, during which the highlight was a visit from DD on Thursday, I was quite looking forward to going into the village today as there was a craft fair going on at the council Chambers from 11am.  I slept badly again last night. I fell asleep easily at 11pm only to wake at 3am and be unable to drop off again. I made a mug of tea at 5.30am and took it back to bed with a book, then turned out the light to get another hour or so before finally getting dressed and starting the day. 

By 10am it was bright and sunny so I took the opportunity to load my shopping bag with Christmas cards to post, library books to return, and a big tin of chocolates for the girls working in the charity shop where I donate the cards I make. Once my bag was empty, I went off to browse the craft fair stalls. There were some beautiful makes; glass tree decorations, felt animals, fabric table mats, cards, calendars etc but I had to resist and limit myself to £1 worth of tombola tickets (none a winner) It was lovely and warm in the building. All that was missing was the chance to buy a coffee ☕

Outside, in the high street, the local care home had a stall selling soft toys and homemade biscuits. They were just 50p each so I bought 2....

I also splashed out £1 for a homemade cake raffle. All in all a very cheering couple of hours out of the house and my purse only £3 lighter 👍

We're only 3 days into December and my pocket money is already dwindling. However, I think I have bought all the Christmas gifts I need to, money is put aside for the GC, and food is being paid for from a different budget allowance.  This leaves me with £53 to last until January 😱 I need to buy petrol for my car out of that, maybe £25 worth, so £28 left for incidentals. Its a jolly good job I have no parties to attend!

Tomorrow evening our Granddaughter is performing in a dance extravaganza at school and I'm really looking forward to seeing it. She's very talented and DD is picking me up in her car so I don't have to worry about driving in the dark.

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

Sunday 27 November 2022

Feeling the Festive Spirit

Our little street has suddenly begun to fill with sparkling lights, baubles and glitter. It's almost as though everyone has decided to bring forward the Christmas festivities to enjoy a bit of warmth and cheer before the Winter power cuts set in. It all looks so lovely that I splashed out on a fresh door wreath this morning, just £18.99 from our favourite nursery.  The decorations have been dug out from the boxes in the cupboard for a display on the sideboard too. It has cheered me up immensely 😊🌲 ⛄🎅

I'm not sure we will be putting up lights this year,  but candles will certainly become a regular feature.

Are you putting up decorations yet?

Stay safe everyone wherever in the world you happen to be x 

Sunday 20 November 2022

Feeling Overwhelmed

 Gosh, it's been more than two weeks since I last posted on here.  During that time, I have been feeling quite overwhelmed by life and fit for nothing.  The news depresses me with constant footage of the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and talk of strikes. Even nurses are now threatening to strike before Christmas.  On the news was a couple with a small child complaining that they are worried about affording things now that they will pay more tax after April 2023 due to the Autumn statement.  She is a nurse and her partner a 'health care worker'.  They have a joint income of over £80,000....WTF 😏  The people I feel sorry for are simply not in that income bracket.  I still worry about the people of Ukraine, about worldwide disasters, climate change, abused children, people not being able to eat healthily or warm their homes, the homeless.  The list goes on and I feel so helpless.

On the home front, my Sister is struggling to look after her husband on her own at home.  He has had several strokes, is now incontinent, on loads of medication and keeps falling down.  She lives in Suffolk so is too far away for me to help her.  She is desperate for respite and can't get it. They are both 83 years old.

On a personal level, I feel that our social lives have just withered away.  Each day is more or less the same.  The highlight of our week is either a trip to the supermarket for a forgotten item or a visit to the garden centre, taking sandwiches and eating them in the car as it's now so cold!  I can't get G to plan anything as he's in constant pain with his neck and shoulders and he can't drive for more that 30 minutes without making the pain unbearable.  Even as a passenger, he doesn't travel without more pain setting in. I can't see us having a holiday again, ever, and I feel our lives are over.

OK whinge finished...sorry.... 😌

One miserable, rainy day last week, I drove us to the garden centre and I treated myself to a lovely, planted arrangement for my table.  For just £14.99 it will give me pleasure to look at it every morning whilst eating my breakfast.

Frugal Things:

The central heating thermostat has been set to a default 15 degrees C so it will only click on if the temperature drops very cold during the night.  We are so lucky to have a well insulated bungalow so that it usually stays above that even during the coldest months.  Whoever gets up first in the morning can then turn it up if needed.  At the moment, the lowest the temperature has been on rising is 17 degrees.  We have been putting the heating on for a short time (maybe half an hour) during the evening whilst sitting watching TV but it warms up quickly and retains the heat until bedtime.

In order to do our bit for the country and to stave off potential power cuts, I'm avoiding the use of appliances during peak times of 4pm to 7pm, even though our supplier is not one of those paying consumers to do so.   I use the washing machine in a morning after 10am, dishwasher at the same time, only when absolutely full and the oven at lunchtime rather than evening, although I try to use the microwave instead whenever possible.

Reasons to be thankful:

We have already received two Government payments of £66 towards energy costs

My little 12 year old car passed it's MOT with flying colours so the cost was just £48. Yay!

The sun is shining this morning!

Thanks so much for popping in and listening to me moaning.  Stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Friday 4 November 2022

On Pootling and Ordering Ahead for Christmas

 Crikey, already into November!  The past couple of weeks have been spent doing mundane things like attending a dental appointment, sorting out finances & budgets, and generally pootling around doing nothing much.  The highlight of the week was my birthday on 1st of the month when G took me for a pub lunch.  It was a reasonable £12 for 2 courses and my Vegan lentil bake was piping hot and totally delicious.  G had roast pork with lots of veg so I was spared cooking for the day, a birthday gift in itself  😀  DD and the Grandchildren bought me warm fluffy PJ's, slippers and a hot water bottle which will all come in very handy in the coming weeks as the temperature was down to 4 degrees during last night. 

 She also bought me 4 small bottles of wine including my favourite red.  I find a normal size bottle far too much even for the 2 of us lately.  They'll last me a while......

She rang this morning to say that she had decided to pre-order the Christmas turkey early this year but that M & S were already sold out of the smaller turkey crowns we normally have on the day 😱 However, she's managed to locate one at Morrisons instead so has placed an order to be on the safe side. won't be a total disaster if Avian Flu causes supply problems when the time comes, as we'll just eat something else, but fingers crossed that the worst won't happen.  Who a worst case scenario, there could be no electricity on the big day to cook with, but we'll cope somehow 😏  We're going to DD's on Christmas Day and they are coming to us on Boxing Day.  I'm planning to cook salmon en croute, fingers crossed.

Are you ordering your festive fare early this year?  Do you have a backup plan if things go awry?

Budgeting health check:

All the Direct Debits for the month of November have been paid, including the increased one for energy (increased from £120 to £159 per month) plus the half yearly water bill of £254.  The food budget is still being squeezed as much as possible, but I am buying a few extra tins and paper goods like toilet rolls and tissues to cover any future shortages.  Eggs are still in short supply, although I did get half a dozen in the shopping order on Wednesday.  Now I want to get a few toiletries in stock too for when the weather turns and we can't get out.

I topped up my car with petrol yesterday (£25 worth) and it's still 161.7 per litre.  My MOT is booked for the middle of the month.  It will cost around £45 so I pray it will pass as I really can't afford a repair. 

I need a haircut this month too and I'm booked in for next Tuesday at one of the cheaper salons.

Nothing is coming down in price is it?

How is your budget coping with the increases in costs?

Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe wherever in the world you happen to be x

Sunday 23 October 2022

Christmas Comes Early, A Conflict & Avian Flu

Just in case anyone in the UK doesn't know yet... Sainsbury's are releasing Christmas delivery slots from tomorrow onwards.  I can hardly believe it's so early on, but I'll be booking mine if I can, to help with delivery of the heavy stuff and kitchen staples if nothing else.  I'll just fill a basket and check out then adjust it closer to the time.  Hope it helps .....

On Monday we spent much of the day trimming back our poor apple tree in order to comply with the rules of the allotment.  It used to be a recommendation that trees must be below 3 mtrs high but some bright spark on the committee has decided it must be mandatory and, as we inherited the tree (which was over 3 mtrs to begin with) and which has been pruned each year we've been there, it's particularly galling.  It will need another light haircut later on once the leaves have dropped and we can see what we are actually doing to it 😕

The compost heap will need a little help to break all this dry stuff down....

Afterwards we both ached like billy-o but went to the annual allotment meeting on Tuesday evening anyway.  There, one old chap, a right job's worth, drew us into a 'discussion' he was having with another couple who had received a warning that they had too many weeds on their plot.  He was laying down the law in no uncertain terms and commented that G & I  have too many bark chippings on our paths between raised beds and are 'ruining the soil'.  Once again, I couldn't keep my mouth shut and told him politely that he could have weeds as well on our plot if he wanted but the bark is laid on membrane to suppress them and WE ARE NOT RUINING THE SOIL!  Even if the bark was laid directly on the soil, it would take up Nitrogen and then release it back to the soil as it breaks down.  G said nothing 😟

A buffet of sandwiches had been laid on but I was so incensed on G's behalf, because he is so inoffensive and has worked hard on the plot despite being in constant pain with his neck and back, that I walked out at the end of the meeting.  I hate confrontation and my digestive system does too so I didn't sleep well on Tuesday night. The allotment has been our refuge during the last 3 years of Covid (and a horrible neighbour) and I refuse to let anyone spoil it 😡 

Changing the subject, thank you for all your comments on my last 2 posts, I really do appreciate your input.  I'm sure there was a comment on my last post from Sue Hall but it's disappeared 👀  I have no idea what happened to it.  Did I delete it in error? Not sorry Sue.  I did read it on my phone before it disappeared into the ether!

Avian flu has been found in our local area.  This is potentially devastating as we have a high number of ponds and wildlife preservation sites around here.  G and I were only recently commenting that we have seen no small birds in our garden, despite cleaning and re-stocking the bird feeders.  It's very worrying. Could this be why we have an egg shortage, I wonder?

PS: I had my Covid booster yesterday afternoon.  I went to bed with a slight headache last night but, apart from a sore arm this morning, I feel ok 👍

Have a lovely day everyone. Stay safe x

Thursday 20 October 2022

44 Day Laughing Stock Alert

 Sorry folks, but I can't keep my mouth closed yet again.  For anyone who doesn't yet know I'll shout it out loud....

Liz Truss Has Resigned as PM !

Bl**dy hell,  our country has absolutely NO dignity left.  After just 44 days as Prime Minister, in which time she and her Chancellor wreaked havoc on our economy, she is calling it a day.  I don't normally swear but FFS get a grip! Now I hear that Boris might be putting himself forward as her replacement.  Words fail me.....

It's been a miserable, dark, wet and windy day so the announcement is the absolute icing on the proverbial cake.  I feel utterly as miserable as the weather. I need to find reasons to be thankful:

For a happy phone call from our Daughter this morning.  Her husband is still Covid positive but she is cheerful, bless her 😊

For the WhatsApp video from our Son in Australia showing our 6 year old Granddaughter asking for sweets for the umpteenth time (she was not allowed any more that day) She spelled it out because her parents threatened to deduct 10c from her pocket money every time she said the word SNACK! 😂

Don't you just love kids 😂😂

Ok...I'm smiling now...

Take care and stay safe everyone x

Sunday 16 October 2022

What a Farce & Shortages Continue

I don't usually bother to comment on political goings on but, I ask you, how did our government become such a joke? Firstly, Boris is forced to resign and is replaced by Liz Truss (voted in by the party and not the people) who seems to have her own agenda for running our country, said agenda bearing no resemblance at all to sanity! Plans to reward the rich with tax reductions, and kick the poor and disabled in the teeth by not increasing benefits by the rate of the cost of living. I won't even mention pensioners and families already struggling. The Chancellor had, it seems, become power hungry by his sudden promotion to office and initiated sweeping changes which instantly rocked the finance sector on it's foundations.  I don't even pretend to understand finance on such a grand scale, but warning bells rang as soon as the announcement of the 'mini budget' was made.  Now Truss has sacked the Chancellor after just 38 days in office and there has been a massive u-turn in the plans.  Jeremy Hunt has taken over as Chancellor and is talking of spending cuts in public services.  He was a former Health Secretary who did nothing to help the NHS so...... God help us.

Meanwhile food shortages continue.  Our Son-in-Law tested positive for Covid yesterday so I went to buy some paracetamol for us and Lemsip drinks for him.  There were just 2 packs of Lemsips left on the shelves so I just took one, and about a dozen packs of paracetamol (I took 2)

Eggs were missing apart from a few boxes of the expensive Happy Egg ones....

Tea bags in the smaller packs were gone....

 Also missing were: 

 Small tins of the pineapple pieces we like,  G's favourite cornflakes (shop's own brand) and small tins of baked beans (own brand.... and I refuse to pay double the price for branded)

Ok....I'll descend from my soap box now! I'm sorry for the rant but I didn't sleep well last night so am not at my absolute best today 😒

Today is our 51st wedding anniversary.  G is working and, with SiL so ill, I can't see the family.  Today will be spent alone, probably ironing, which isn't my favourite thing to do.  I must find things to be thankful for.....

For being able to have a power nap this afternoon
For 51 years of marriage and 2 lovely children
For a lovely bright, sunny day

Have a lovely day everyone. Stay safe x

Friday 14 October 2022

Autumn Cooking & a Drastic Trim

Now that the weather has turned colder and darker in the late afternoon and evening, I want to start 'cooking once and eating twice' so last night I made a shepherd's pie using 300g quorn mince, a handful of split red lentils and an onion, along with a packet of shepherd's pie spice mix I found in the cupboard, 300ml cold water, tomato puree to taste and a bit of black pepper.  It actually made 5 decent portions so 2 eaten last night with homegrown french beans from the freezer,  2 will be eaten tonight with peas (heated in the microwave) and the odd portion has been boxed and frozen for one of G 's quick meals after work sometime.

While the oven was on, I made crumble with homegrown stewed apple from the freezer and some homegrown fresh raspberries, served hot with a scoop of ice cream. There's more left for tonight to eat with hot custard 👍

G has gone to the allotment this morning and I'm just finishing off here then will join him.  We have been informed that the council visited the allotment last week and decided that we need to reduce the height of the Bramley apple tree to below 3 mtrs.  It's at least 4 so has to be trimmed and it's a job I simply can't help with.  G's neck problem makes it hard for him too so we're hoping that the family will help during half term week.  The poor tree's fruit production is bound to suffer next year with such drastic trimming but we have no choice.  As the tree was inherited with the plot and already well established, it's particularly galling. 

Anyway, must be off, weeding is calling me 😁

Stay safe everyone x

Wednesday 12 October 2022

What I'm Reading Now

When we moved to the bungalow a year ago (blimey, a year already 😳) I had to sell or donate a high proportion of my books to make the move easier, so I felt justified in treating myself to the new Richard Osman one, the third in the series. I had a £3 Amazon voucher towards the cost so not too bad really 👍 I'm really enjoying it too.... 

I had to visit the village library at the weekend because my log in wouldn't work and I was unable to reserve any books. Apparently, I became 'lost' in the new American system the council has adopted and had to re-register 🙄 Anyway, whilst I was there I browsed the books for sale and bought this one for the princely sum of 10p. Its a collection of short stories which will be lovely when I don't have much time to read..... 


On Tuesday, G offered to buy me lunch (when have I ever refused? 😁) and carvery was the order of the day at our local pub.  I didn't have meat as I only eat a little poultry and the day's choice was gammon or beef, so a plate of veg was my choice. Piping hot and delicious for £5.45 and very filling with all the carbs!..... 

It meant no cooking and just a simple tea later on.  And it helped support the new landlord too, so win win 👍 We still want to eat out occasionally if we can, otherwise life is a bit boring, isn't it. 

Are you still finding affordable places to eat out?

BTW we had our flu jabs yesterday with no issues so far other than a 'heavy' arm feeling. One down, Covid to go. 

Stay safe everyone x

Saturday 8 October 2022

Look No Hands! Backs and Jabs...


After my challenge last week, I felt more energised than I have felt in weeks so carried on trying to get more variety into our diet.  I baulked at posting more shots of our meals so just kept a list for my own records.  By today, I have reached 21 points and intend having a veg curry or something for lunch which will add a few more points to the total.  I really need to keep eating more healthily!

Having said that, I was cleaning my teeth at the sink on Wednesday, leaned over to rinse my mouth and my back 'gave out' 😖  There was a sharp 'electric shock' of a pain and since then I have been unable to bend without pain and more twinges.  I do get this every few months, and... yes.... I know it gets better, but it's so debilitating not to be able to pick things up from below knee level, or even load the washing machine or dishwasher easily.  This morning, I have stripped my bed and loaded it into the machine with my foot.  Now all I need is to be able to get it out again to dry it.  G is at work until 6pm so can't help me.  I'll try the foot trick again....

We have our flu jabs booked for Tuesday afternoon.  We are both eligible for yet another Covid booster but I want to wait a while until I feel I can cope with any after effects.  We've already had 3 shots.

Are you having another booster this Winter?

Take care everyone x

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.... 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 


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)


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. 

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

It's OK.....

  Angie 💓 xx