Saturday, 31 January 2015

Eat well for less programme...

I knew this programme was going to irritate me - and not just because of Gregg Wallace who is like an exuberant school boy!  Shopping seems to be the latest must have accessory for many people who, if this first programme is anything to go by, have their own money printing machines at home. No matter how much they print (spend) it is never enough and out they go again.

The amount of food wastage in this country is abominable, not just households but shops, restaurants, café's as well. Meal proportions have increased and often, when we do have a meal out on our walk, we are hard pushed to finish it, and that is only a sandwich most of the time! Most weeks we really don't have to put out our weekly food bin but do it when it contains either bones or onion/citrus bits which we don't put on our compost heap. Our compost heap gets everything else (raw peelings etc) which probably amounts to one of those food bins a week. We don't have anything off to throw away and any food leftover from one meal, gets used in another but that also rarely happens unless planned.

It was great that the family finally saw the light and managed to save £70 for the week but am sure they could save far more if they really try investigating their whole concept of shopping. It isn't just about swapping food brands and menu planning, it is also about changing the way you think and questioning yourself as to why you keep going shopping. Don't even get me started on non-food shopping!

The husband kept adding items in the trolley just because they sound/look interesting but hadn't a clue how to use them. If that applies to you, why don't you make a note of it, look it up and find a recipe, then buy what you need not just buy it and shove it into the nightmare of your cupboards.
Cooking from scratch saves even more money. If you don't know how to cook, learn. Yes you will make some horrendous mistakes but will eventually get the hang of it. Never be afraid to try:)

There were a few eye openers in the programme for those who were not aware of such practices. We already knew about mass produced food and what is classified as 'meat'. It was quite telling about the differences in the sausages when they were grilled as to how much fatty liquid came out of the cheaper brand and that was just one sausage. If you were being good and actually grilling a load for a meal you would at least be rid of it. If however you like to fry and then use the gunk to make your gravy, gosh, how much stuff are you putting into your body!

The tea trial was also interesting and we are doing that ourselves at the moment. We normally use Yorkshire loose leaf tea (hate tea bags) but loose leaf tea is not in fashion at the moment and substitutes are very difficult to find. We are currently drinking Sainsburys Red Label and don't like it at all, but will finish the pack. Next we are going to use PG Tips. My MinL used to buy big square packets of those, now we could only find a rather small oblong one. The differences in price in the trial were also interesting. Maybe they will do a coffee one later in the series.

I found the bread talk with the nutritionist very interesting. Bread is not the big bad wolf that it is purported to be but we shall stick with making our own. Using the cheaper brand flour and yeast, our two loaves that we bake each week (not including electricity) work out at 54p for both. We have had Aldi own cheap wholemeal brand (45p per loaf I believe) whilst visiting and it was fine.

DB didn't want to watch mainly because he knew I would be chuntering all the way through, so he put on his head-phones and listened to some music!

Friday, 30 January 2015

Welcome, weather and food

First of all, a warm welcome to Heather Burrell, Jill Akers and Catherine Robinson via Bloglovin and L.J. Lilley via here.

Isn't it cold now that the northerly wind is bringing air down from the Arctic! I had my monthly massage yesterday, we came home for a lunch of soup:
Then decided to go back and do our shopping for next week as the forecast wasn't very good. It started to rain, sleet and snow as we came out of the shop but had nearly stopped by the time we got home:

Just a light covering but it was already lying on the garden and roads and is still there this morning. More to come methinks!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Days 2 and 3 of the food challenge have passed and we are fine so far although the vegetables have nearly run out! Tea for Monday was courgette pasta and last night we had the second roast chicken dinner plus pudding.

Today we were out for our walk so had lunch out (which is our main meal), therefore we shall only have toast for tea.

DS had his stag do last weekend and they all had a really good time. They did 4 x 4 blind driving around a course, followed by paintball. Evening was out at a venue and a few drinks, staying in a hotel overnight. The next morning they all went ( FDiL as well I believe) to do clay shooting.

That seems so much more enjoyable than just getting drunk as a skunk!

Unfortunately early the following morning he became ill with Norovirus so has had to have a few days off work. Ah well, some you win etc.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Food Challenge Day 1 and stomach investigations!

Welcome to Suzanne via Bloglovin.

Yesterday was the first day on the food challenge and it went quite well. We had cheese on toast for lunch, then (a very small) roast chicken followed by bread and butter pudding with yoghurt and honey:

It was a tad boring having just one vegetable, especially as I have leeks in the garden, but needs must. I made 4 bread and butter puddings (4 slices bread, 2 eggs plus milk made up to 600ml, a little sugar and a few sultana's), in our mini pudding tins:
The 2 tins on the right had sage and onion stuffing in them. We served up 4 dinners and 4 puddings, the last two of which we shall have for tea Tuesday night.

The bones from the chicken were picked clean, which gave us a small handful of chicken towards soup, the bones were boiled and the stock kept. It is now being turned into a big saucepan full of chicken and vegetable soup for several lunches this week.

We got hungry around 9.00pm (after my normal cut off time of 8.00pm to help avoid feeling sick during the night) so had one slice of bread and jam which filled us up.

All our evening meals will appear on the menu tab above as per normal. As the oven has to be on tonight to roast some vegetables for tea, I shall take the opportunity to bake us a small cake of some kind as well.

Forgot to let you all know that all my stomach investigations gave me the all clear, both on investigative procedures and biopsies. I have neither GERD (link here) or ulcers, or stomach cancer (the early symptoms of which mimic GERD), or any inflammation at all, for which I am most grateful. The day time nausea has gone away and the night time one is less annoying, since stopping eating after 8pm and drinking after 9pm (3 hours before bed time as recommended).

Sunday, 25 January 2015


Well, I never thought I would say this, this early in the year but both yesterday and today, have dawned sunny but cold:

These look like con trains from aircraft but are in fact clouds (con trails go in the other direction over us). The pictures don't do them justice but they were so ethereal and pretty.

Yesterday I finally got the manure on all the fruit, both soft and trees. I have saved some to put under the roses but as they are covered with gravel, need another dry day to scoop it back, lay the manure then re-cover with the gravel. In the mean time, I have begun to cut back things in the front garden that didn't get done in the Autumn. I have only done 1/2 an hour but filled one large container. A tea break is being taken now, then the roast chicken to go on for the start of the food challenge.

Once both those things are done, I shall return for another 1/2 hour of pruning. Won't do any more than that as my fingers get too cold.

I have updated the menu tab with last weeks (6 rather than the normal 7) meals as the challenge is beginning today.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bread, yogurt making and stuff

Although I post pictures of our weekly bread which we normally slice into 16 slices each, I thought I would let you know what is in the ones I made today:

4oz rye flour, 2 lb of strong white, 1 sachet only of yeast, 2 tablespoons oil, water to mix, 2 teaspoons salt, good 2 tablespoons of golden linseed, same of sesame seeds and a good handful of combined sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

The loaf on the right was baked in my silicone loaf tin Christmas present from DS and FDiL, leftover dough in a normal tin. The silicone baked one may not fit our slicer, if not, we shall keep it for cake making instead. It was allowed to prove inside the silicon one inside a tin but once out of captivity spread a little too wide. Ah well, maybe it should have stayed inside the tin whilst baking. Answers gratefully received!

Although my recipe tab at the top shows us making yoghurt using the cooker, we now have a yogurt maker. However we don't follow its instructions as we found the end result too thin. We mix 2 tablespoons of dried milk with some of the 1 litre of milk we will be using. The the rest is added to the jug. The jug of milk is heated in our microwave for 8 minutes until hot but not boiling. The jug then gets put into a bowl of cold water for 13 minutes until the milk is cooled to 40 C, leftover yogurt is stirred in, then it goes into the electric maker for 6 hours. Once done, the inner part holding the yogurt goes straight into the fridge to get cold. This does us both for 3 - 4 puddings and leaves enough left for the next batch:

The gap at the top is space rather than liquid!

DB sent this link to me, which we both found interesting and thought you might as well read it here
We don't have anywhere near that number of items so some people must have loads. This is what we have done with some of our 1000 items for moving on, so far this month:

Cushions x 5


Flip Flops

Matchbox Cars x 25


Matchbox Car Yes

Little Tray


Next Sofa




Rusty Camping Stove


Friday, 23 January 2015


Gee that was a cold night, actually had 2 quilts on the bed! The temperature when we got up this morning was -5.9C so it must have been colder during the night. Local weather forecast said -2C and we have learnt to put 3C less for where we live.

Spent another 45p on Aldi P. flour for baking, leaving us 29p! Also, if I do this for a second week, it will help towards the remaining strong flour for that week's bread making. Got to think ahead on this.

Having thought long and hard about the food challenge, we reckon £25 a week would be a better figure. That would help replace tea, coffee, sugar, spices etc as well as buy in what we need to make laundry liquid, cleaning products etc. Plus, that would allow us to eat well, healthily and not always to have to go for the cheaper option. Leaving us a bit more freedom to choose our normal things.

However, we may well do this for longer, as mentioned yesterday, to help boost our savings. Where we live you need a car. Whilst we can walk around our area, everywhere is too far away to do shopping of any kind. We have a good local food shop but its prices are high, so is used for emergencies only. The only other way of travelling is by very infrequent bus journeys.

Yesterday we changed our car. It is always a difficult choice as to how long you leave it. Do you run it into the ground and pay for all its increasing servicing and breakdown needs? When can you change to get a good deal on a car that will be newer therefore require less spending on it for a few years? Anyway the deed was done but unfortunately, we got home only to remember we had left all the food challenge shopping in the boot of our old car. DB duly returned to the garage!

I have been asked in the past why are we frugal if we don't really need to be? Well that depends from what angle you are looking from, why would you say we don't need to be frugal if you don't know us?

When DB retired we used a good bit of his pension to pay off the mortgage. Such a decision did not come lightly as it left us on a considerably reduced monthly amount to live on. We could only manage our bills by eating wartime rations hence the war diary on the tab above.

We had to live like that for 5 almost 6 years with bills rising annually which we found more and more difficult to cope with. Now he also has his government pension, but even with both, money is still relatively tight. I use the word relatively tight by some people's lives compared to our own. I don't get my pension for years yet so we still have to be careful on the day to day side, keep all bills as low as possible to maintain a savings account.

Living our frugal life enables us to save for what we really need, such as the car, the odd holiday etc. Whilst we had been saving for it, it was still a little more than anticipated despite getting a very good deal. We have enough left for emergencies but this car will only last a few years and will then need replacing. Still I will not have my pension, so we need to continue our way of living to save for the next one. Besides, living a more simple life also reduces our carbon footprint a little. Simples!

We love how we live and can't see ourselves changing. It is now ingrained in us. If what we do on our food front, style of living etc, helps others, then that delights us.

Each to their own.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Food Challenge - shopping

Off we went to do the shopping, it feels mighty strange walking around checking the prices against the list, to see what had changed from the on-line prices yesterday.

They didn't have the oats we wanted but as the last ones we normally buy were buy one, get one free, it made the price 10p more to use it (also missing from the photograph below as I forgot to get them out the pantry!).

Overall, allowing for charges that were more/less, plus buying some sultana's, it gave us another £1.28 to spend. We bought a packet of sultana's for 84p, leaving us 74p to spend to make up the original £20 start price! Want to see what this 'small' amount of weekly shopping looks like?
We bought a smaller pack of potatoes as not many meals for this week needs them. They are in the material bag on the right. The oats are missing as I forgot to put them in.

There you have it, enough to give 2 people a hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner, the odd snack or two and even some baking if we wish, which was why I was glad to be able to buy the sultana's. We also like a spoon of them in our porridge, so extra all around, can't be bad!

According to the rules, I can use the odd stock cube, seasoning, tea, coffee, sugar from my cupboard.

As per normal, I will post our evening meals on my menu tab but the previous post, lists what we shall be eating. If I do pudding or baking I will show it in a daily post.

Making sure to use up all my veg from this week, I made us a Hungarian type vegetable soup for lunch today and tomorrow:
We will begin on Sunday breakfast. At the end of the week, I shall photograph what food is left which would count towards the next week.

I quite like this challenge though I rarely do them. DB doesn't mind at all, I simply said this is what we are doing for next week, check out the meals, any alterations? No says he and we are in agreement.

I think it would be an excellent way to cut our monthly food bill by even more, helping our rather depleted savings account to gather momentum once again. Not every week, just every now and then.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Food Challenge - updated

Welcome to Louise Tomlinson and Claire Jessica Miller via Bloglovin.

Sue, over at Our Quiet Life in Suffolk has posed the question, "can you eat well for £20 a week for 2 people". There are quite a few limits such as no yellow sticker food, nothing from your garden etc. Not quite sure why as in reality, if you were living on a low income, yellow sticker food would probably be in your equation. Also, if you had a garden, and had the sense to garden, it would feed you handsomely as the lovely Scarlet shows often enough on her blog The Finished Article

Despite having things already in my cupboards, I shall buy everything I need without going over the £20 limit. The main shop will be in either Aldi or Lidl, anything not bought there will come from one supermarket.

Breakfasts - Monday to Saturday - porridge oats for 6 days = 46p (price includes oats, milk, water, sugar and salt for both of us). Whilst we normally use organic rolled whole oats which would cost £1.25 for the 6 days mentioned, it would be far cheaper to use the cheapest oats. I'll let you know what we do for after shopping. Sunday - toast and jam - 15p (price reflects 4 slices home made bread 10p plus home made jam 5p)

Lunches - Home made vegetable soup - 2 meals, Home made Chicken & Mushroom Soup - 2 meals,
Beans on Toast, Cheese on Toast, Eggs on Toast.

Evening Meals - Roast chicken for 2 nights (bones & skin towards soup), roast pepper & courgette pasta, impossible quiche for 2 nights, egg, chips & beans, toast - (we eat out on our walking day so only have toast for tea).

As our home made bread is so cheap and we shall have eggs and milk to spare, maybe a bread and butter pudding will be made to feed us over 2 nights. We don't often have pudding but it would be a nice treat after the roast chicken dinner. We could also have toast if hungry and I will be budgeting for butter as opposed to spread. I also make a litre of yoghurt each week, so again, that plus some wild fruit from the freezer, could be eaten.

Herewith things I need to buy and have already roughly costed, but of course it might be different on the day we shop. I shall add revised prices then:

1 small chicken 2.85,
4 litres of milk 1.78, 
500g pasta 45p
potatoes 1.89, 0.99p, 0.90p
carrots 49p,
courgettes 89p,
peppers 95p,
onions 59p,
1/2 white cabbage 35p,
mushrooms 89p,
sage & onion stuffing 37p,
300ml crème fraiche 79p,
12 eggs 1.58p, 1.55p, 0.03p
1 x Butter 89p,
porridge oats 75p, 85p, .10p
cheese 350g 1.75p, 1.30p, 0.45p
2 tins baked beans 48p,
2 tins chopped tomatoes 62p,
1.5kg bread flour 75p,
yeast 59p,
sultana's added, 84p

Total = £19.70 now £19.26 leaves us 74p still to spend!

I do still have fresh fruit in the fridge such as apples and pears so I shall cost those out if and when we use them so they don't get wasted. It will be interesting to see how it goes but we are always careful with shopping, would normally bulk buy when applicable, but not for this week.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Suits and needlepoint

First of all, a warm welcome to Jan Bird via Bloglovin.

We were away this weekend having the final fitting on the wedding suits. None required any more adjustment so the final payment was made. Suits, ties, shirts all done. FDiL has bought matching socks but we didn't get to see them as she was away on her relaxing spa hen party!

Although there was a smattering of snow as we drove over the hills, the road was clear. Yesterday not so, as can be seen by this photograph from DS on his way to work, 2" of ice and more snow than the other day:

The weekend was spent with DS and the dogs. I brought up all the ingredients to make us chicken in a tomatillo sauce. DS cooked us a reduced calorie Macaroni Cheese which was delicious and we had a quick snack out on Sunday after doing D.I.Y jobs around the house.

I woke up with a sore throat Saturday morning after a horrid night, got worse during the day and developed a cold on the way home yesterday. It is so long since I had one, I had forgotten how horrible you feel! I am typing this drinking hot water, lemon, honey, brandy and ginger syrup - lovely!

One of the Christmas presents we gave DS and FDiL was this:
The blank corners are where their initials are. DB created it as he is the needlepoint person. I chose the pattern and the thread colours. The whole thing apart from the aida background material is recycled.

The menu tab for our meals last week has been updated.

Monday, 19 January 2015

On-line privacy

I value my on-line privacy, not to a detrimental effect but certainly, take care with passwords, virus protection etc. How many of you have computers, tablets, hudl's, phones that have camera's. Most of you, probably. Do you think about virus's or other malware that can invade your computer/web camera, then watch you through those camera's or in general with people you speak to using them using Skype of Facetime etc?

No! Perhaps you should at least think about it then decide what to do, especially if you read the following which deals with an extreme type of cyber bullying, a film related to which was aired on Thursday 15th on Channel 4.

Whilst the gist of it relates to teenagers and younger children, it can and does happen to anybody. Just be careful about what you do on-line, especially if using your camera! You only need to read troll comments on some blog's to realise it does happen from a written point of view.

Whilst such comments can be deleted or you can adjust your settings to not allow anonymous postings, it can eat into you if you are that way inclined.

From a visual point of view, if you don't need to use the camera cover it up:
This is the one on my computer and our tablet is likewise protected with a simple sticky dot. If you rarely use your mobile phone camera (and we hardly ever do), cover it up with something that can be easily removed and replaced and make sure you do replace it at the end of photographing or talking face to face.

It is such a simple thing to do and could save you and yours a lot of heartache.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Black Forest Trifle

One of the puddings I did for us over our delayed Christmas, was Black Forest Trifle. Personally I prefer jelly in a trifle and next time we do this, we all agreed it needed some to hold the soaked sponge together.

We bought a cheap chocolate cake (I ran out of time to bake one), sliced it and after putting it on the bottom of the dish, added some of our home made Damson vodka and some juice from a jar of Aldi pitted cherries:
Then a pint of chocolate sauce was made, allowed to go almost cold before being put on top of the cold sponge and cherries:
Then whisked cream was added but I forgot to photograph it before tucking in. It was very nice.

The jar of pitted cherries had been drained and gave 1/2 pint of juice only a few tablespoons of which went on the chocolate cake base.

The rest was added to normal raspberry jelly to give FDiL some pudding with ice cream as she is not keen on trifle. It gave it a wonderful flavour but again, forgot to take a picture.

Finally, ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you whether eating out or in, if anything is wrong, it will be mine. I'm the one that gets a rare bone in fish fingers/cakes, whose meal is under done etc. On this occasion, I was the only one to get a pip, on three separate occasions - weird isn't it!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and keep safe in the next batch of rain, wind, sleet and snow.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Update, welcome and just can't help myself!

First of all, the menu page has been updated with our latest round of meals. Our total meat spend was in total, £1 over (for us both) on what is normally allowed, but it was our delayed Christmas week and we reckon that all in all, it wasn't too much!

Welcome to A Few Pennies and S R via here and Marie Barlow via Bloglovin.

Despite wanting to eat from our freezer, fridge and stores, when it comes to stretching and making more meals, I just can't help myself. For our Christmas dinner, we had slow roast belly pork and ate 1/2 of it. Four more slices were eaten cold with salad stuff and the rest, roughly 4" in length, were diced into small cubes to make two meals:
On the left of the bowl is 2 chestnut mushrooms diced in a similar size to the pork.  Then a can of baked beans, pepper and a good squirt of red sauce plus several dashes of Worcestershire were added:
Mixed together and divided between 2 enamel tins:
Topped with mashed potato:
One was cooked and served with peas for our tea:
The other frozen for another day. All in all, the joint of belly pork did 4 very generous roast dinners, 2 snacks and 2 dinners. As it shrunk so much during cooking, I don't think I could have done much more with it.

I do however still have the bones which I shall roast when the oven is next on then use to make soup. That will probably give us 4 - 6 bowls of soup, which makes the overall cost of all the meals more palatable!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

How to make... updated to include link to Beechgrove Garden Factsheet!

Vegetable bags for your fridge!

I didn't take as many photographs as I meant to but this is an easy project to do. Now that everyone has received theirs as presents I can show you how they were made.

We change our tea towels either every year or every 18 months, depending on how good they were to begin with. I normally cut them up for rags but this year, they were still quite good so I made these bags.

Having watched my favourite gardening programme Beechgrove Garden (back in the Spring), they did a slot on how to keep your vegetables and fruit that you store in the fridge, as good as possible. The link to the page can be found HERE

Things stored in the bags they come in, even with slits for breathing, often end up with slime in the bottom that makes the food go off, not so with these little bags.

I use quite thick tea towels (terry towelling), if yours are a little sparse, rather than cut them in half, fold them in half then proceed as per the rest of the instructions.

First, take your tea towel, fold then cut in half across its shortest bit, the top of the picture in this case:

Then fold each half from left to right and sew around one short and one long seam to create a longish bag. After doing a few I found sewing the double thick ends and making them the bottom of the bag worked best:
Fold back the top, about 3/4" and sew around it but leave a 1" gap to pull through your string (shiny works best), tie a knot in the string to stop it getting lost:
Fill with your chosen vegetables, in this case peppers and pull the draw string:
Store in the bottom section of your fridge:
You can store all vegetables and fruit, except strong smelling ones such as leeks. I don't put cabbage or swede in as the bags aren't wide enough. When the bag is empty dry it out and re-use or wash if something has gone 'off' inside. I wash mine properly, every other use.

By the way, if you like celery, if you take it out of its bag and wrap it tightly in foil, put in the fridge and it will last far longer than normal!

Hope you can make sense of this:)

Monday, 12 January 2015


Welcome to Crystal via Bloglovin.

We have had a few lovely days with DS and FDiL but they left earlier today. Long walks in forests and by the seaside have kept us from hibernating indoors. Here is DB and myself plus 2 of the 3 grand-dogs, trying to stay upright in the very strong wind:
A couple more shots of the dogs (little Miss M. was missed out as she stayed by her mama who was taking the photographs). Herewith Master L (the fox red lab) and Miss S. the boss:
Yikes says he, this is cold!

Another lot of cold weather seems to be heading towards the UK, so we shall return to our normal 'post Christmas' mode and get back to our fully frugal ways.

The garden still has not fully shut down so weather permitting, we shall just have to grin and bear it and get on with things. Can't keep waiting. Then there is the house to return to normal, piles of washing to do, house work etc. I think we shall be kept nicely busy over the next few days.

Later there is hopefully, the final suit fitting to do, the ordered shirt is lovely and fits DB very well. Special offer via FDiL's father thank goodness so only a quarter of the normal price.

Right, lets get this show on the road, onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 10 January 2015


Was our delayed Christmas Eve with DS and FDiL and time to open our '50p' presents. This is a tradition I inherited from DB and his family where the value was 1/- (one old shilling). For every person present, you have to buy them, anonymously, two presents each to the value of £1 or less. When I first married DB the value was 50p each, then 75p each and it is now £1 each, where hopefully, it will stay for a long time!

One person, usually me, then writes all the labels out with just a capital initial for their name. That way, it is harder to guess who they are from.

People think you can't buy anything for less than £1 but we do and enjoy the hunt for them. The present must be useful, either personal or for the home, car etc. It cannot be food, sweets or drinks as that quite frankly is a cop out.

For those who doubt it can be done, here is what we all received:

We had a lovely tea of ham, egg and chips. Then decided to open all our normal presents. We settled down to watch a film then went to bed.

Today is our Christmas Day (minus the presents of course). We shall be having slow roast pork with vegetable and roast potatoes, followed by Vodka soaked damson sponge puddings, custard and for FDiL, mango ice cream. I'll post a picture later today or tomorrow.

We plan on having a nice bottle of wine and then shall play games later on.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

I am beginning to hate...

Self service checkouts with a passion. I had been looking forward to today, as all being well, DS and FDiL plus grand dogs are coming late tonight, if not, tomorrow morning. We shall then be able to celebrate our delayed Christmas.

I awoke with a blazing headache which normally is quickly brought under control, not this morning. We needed to go for some fresh food and having duly shopped, arrived at said style of till.

On went the bag then every bit of shopping we added called for the assistant! Turns out their own bags are a little too long for the scale bit. Presumably it thought we were shoplifting.

I vented steam by emptying what shopping was in it onto the scales, where it promptly slid off. Now stop it! I know you are laughing!

Steam by now was venting all by itself and DB was getting a tad embarrassed and asked me to calm down, bless him, he knew it was the wrong thing to say as soon as the words left his lips.

I continued to stack the scales picking up the odd thing as it slipped off barely able to keep myself from exploding. Eventually the torture was over but when the robotic voice thanked us for shopping with them I told it to get knotted!

It can't just be me, can it?

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


I hate gardening this time of the year it is just too cold!

However needs must and as such, a very small amount of time was spent outside yesterday trying to do this very much delayed Autumn job:
The tub of grease was so solid with the cold it was a nightmare to put on. After two attempts and my fingers going blue in the cold I gave up.

This morning, I have been out again this time doing this:
Managed to get 9 trees done in the time it took to do the two yesterday. I've now run out of the grease band so with only 3 plum and one pear remaining, will try warming the grease up just a tad and seeing it it will apply better. That is for another day though!

My garden as you can see, will just not shut down. We got hold of some manure yesterday, ready to use luckily, which I want to put down but it will be so fiddly if the greenery doesn't stop growing.

Ah well, you win some, you lose some, such is the merry go round of life!

DB has been chopping some still too big logs into smaller pieces. We reckon we have another weeks worth then that will be one of our 3 nearly 4 storage areas gone. Should be enough until the end of April hopefully.

Monday, 5 January 2015


First of all, a welcome to Pam Monks via here, sorry about your news but what a wonderful thing to write about it.

I have just updated and begun a new page of our War Diary, see tabs above and the link to Years V and VI. Hope you enjoy reading it.

Also, our first weeks menu for mostly this new year has also been added. See Menu tab.

Sunday, 4 January 2015


That was a cold night, -4C. I awoke twice feeling cold. There was a hard frost everywhere making everything glisten white.

Yesterday I thawed the Christmas ham and it will be roasted this evening for our main meal. Then tomorrow I shall slice and freeze as well as cube and add other things to form pie filling before freezing those as well.

On my needles at the moment is the front of the WWII sleeveless pullover I am knitting, 4" so far. Goodness I might actually get it finished ahead of time, unless of course I have just jinxed it!

I'm also starting to bed in my daytime shoes for the big day next month. It seems to be approaching at a fair old pace.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Food and welcome

First of all, welcome to Sherry Simpson and Christine via Bloglovin. Glad to have you both aboard the old Norfolk Express.

Like Scarlet, yesterday was a bread making day. I don't have a set day, just doing it the day before we run out. I used a total of 2lb 4oz of flour, plus various seeds depending on what I feel like. This bread was mostly wholemeal with a little white for a lift. It also had sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in it:

For our evening meal we had wartime lobscouse (meatless):
It is one of our treat meals. It tastes beautiful but as you can see, is potato based so we try not to have it too often.

Today for lunch, we had our final (3rd) bowl of pea soup. This time, the dregs of our Christmas Boursin cheese and some ham were done as a toasted sandwich to accompany it:
When DS came for a couple of days in-between Christmas and New Year, he brought with him, our gifts from FDiL's parents. This was addressed to me but is for both of us I suspect:
How wonderful is that? We shall have a go when January has advanced a little and we can dedicate some time to it. I will of course post pictures!

Friday, 2 January 2015

The year of stuff...

We normally do quite well now that we are older, to realise that a lot of what we think we hold dear, is just stuff and what we might love and collect, probably will not have any interest to those that follow. I showed DS the large cabinet he will inherit full of family history things, it made him open his eyes quite wide:)

Mind you, we also intend to sift that as well, keeping only the items that cannot easily be replaced or those that have cost money such as certificates. He has promised us that he will keep it - somewhere safe - to pass down to anyone who needs it. Maybe his own children or himself as being interested in your family history seems to happen more as we age. Everything else, not of great monetary value, can go or be kept at his/their discretion.

That aside, to anyone who has had to sort out the property or belongings from a deceased parent, it is not only heart breaking and full of memories but difficult, as you realise you are getting rid of things that they found interesting but which are not interesting to you. There is only so much stuff you can keep, before it adds to your own stuff and if you are not careful, becomes a mountain of stuff, in cupboards, drawers, up in the attic etc.

Our stuff seems to be breeding despite it leaving the house continually. Someone on blogland mentioned about getting rid of 1000 items in a year. I have no idea if we could do that but have already made a start by taking 5 barely used cushions to our favourite and local charity shop.

Anything made of cotton that is okay for quilting or rag rugging, will go in the appropriate box. All old but still usable craft stuff from my degree course, will be offered to local schools etc.

We do have one simple rule that we abide by in this household, 'if it is not a thing of beauty, if it has no great value, if you haven't used it for a year - get rid of it'

When we de-clutter the kitchen, we photograph what we are not sure of, it goes up in the attic, and if it hasn't been used for a year, it goes! DB is a great collector of empty boxes. Some we need to post things that have sold on eBay, or to send parcels at certain times of the year, others though, need to go. So empty boxes will also count, by going to the recycling bin and leaving our house.

We hope to throw little away, as we don't like the idea of filling in landfill any more than absolutely necessary. Mugs are often a bane. We have loads up in the attic that have been given us over the years that are no longer in use. I have decided to smash those and used them in the bottom of pots in the garden - hopefully I won't cut myself when I accidentally find them again!

Watch this space, although I am not planning on showing you what I give away, I am going to keep a tally.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Welcome and back to normal, for now...

Welcome to Victoria Peel via here and Frugal Wench via Bloglovin.

Well, we managed to stay up long enough to see in the New Year. Church bells rang, a fantastic firework display was watched from our conservatory. We sent and received messages from DS, then missed others as we went to bed around 12:20 am.

Back to normal for a while until visitors arrive in a week. Soaked a whole packet of dried peas to make soup for lunch. Didn't have any ham stock or bacon so made it as a basic pea soup then added vegetables, frankfurter, stock cubes, and a chunk of garlic and herb Boursin cheese:
After more chores we went for a brisk walk around the village, came home and made mushroom risotto for tea followed by the last dregs of leftover home made ice cream.

Onwards and upwards we go into the new year, not knowing what it will hold (except DS and FDiL's wedding) but hoping for good health, happiness and contentment!