Thursday, 28 February 2013



where am I? Bed

what's the sky like? not visible

what am I wearing? large t-shirt

what's motivating me? wanting to avoid that cold bit between bed and shower


where am I? in the garden

what's the sky like? exceptionally blue

what am I wearing? grey knitted leggings, black dress, grey cardi, sandals

what's motivating me? sunny day, fragrant laundry, noisy workmen, tea


where am I? in the kitchen

what's the sky like? a bit more cloudy but still beautiful blue

what am I wearing? as 2pm

what's motivating me? quilting, tacos, traffic jams, 20kg of hay clogging up the room, very unstyled hair (mine)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Totting Up February

Well, it was another spendy month!

We started off with DH's birthday and took ourselves off to Shrewsbury, a place we both fell head over heels in love with. And we bought things... We went to a gig, we went to the pub, the rugby season began, I bought some very vivid trousers, we went to Ulverston, we also loved it there and we bought a few choice items. Then we took big grey bunny to the vet and that kaboomed the rest of the budget. 

So we are at savings +0. Grocery budget is -£3.31

I still have the cash in my purse to get my hair chopped tomorrow, thank goodness, I look like a scarecrow. The money is hanging in the usual spt to pay the window cleaner too. Essentials in this house.

Next month has the potential to be tricky, one of my school friends is coming over on Friday, rugby on Saturday evening (but that's paid for), night out with a university friend the following weekend and 7 days off work for DH. We have made a very serious pact with ourselves that we'll only have one "big" day out a month and spend the other days doing inexpensive things like visiting museums and clomping up hills. 

I have high hopes for the grocery budget. I have no haircut next month, no large bunny expenses, we don't need much to plump up the pantry, so even though we need some toiletries it feels as though we could get a lot for our money. Can't wait to see how it goes.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Things I'm Wrong About

I take back all I said about the Kindle. 

I decided to have a peep at DH's, as he never uses it as I said last week, it's great! I've almost doubled the amount of books I read last year (which was one, "The Night Circus"). Well, I looked at a lot of books last year but they were art books with lots of pictures so that's not the same is it? Anyway, I can read my Kindle when I'm cooking, when I'm in bed, at the beach, if I have 5 minutes, if I have 2 hours. A great thing. Of course the problem is that now I've displayed how fantastic it is to DH he wants it back! How dare he.

Another thing I'm almost certainly wrong about is sewing machines. I don't own one but I do sew a lot. My reasoning is that I like to sew while watching the telly or chatting to DH and I couldn't do that using a machine as I'd be tucked away in the kitchen rather than in the living room where all the fun happens. Yesterday I made a cushion, it would have taken me about 45 minutes using a machine but it took me 10 hours. Last year I lined the curtains in the living room, took me all week. But the way I see it is that by the time I'd saved up to buy a machine I could have done all the jobs I want to use it for so why bother? I mean, it only took me 7 months to make my first quilt and that was by hand so that's not too bad. I do like the smell of a sewing machine though. And if I had a sewing machine I would have unpicked the bit I did wrong (I sewed the envelope flappy bit the wrong way round). But I haven't, so I won't.

Here's a think people think I'm wrong about - people with pets, do you go on holiday without them?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

More Thoughts About Shoes

I added a pair of boots to the charity bag this morning. These boots have been in and out of the bag many times. I'd had them for over 10 years, didn't pay that much for them, they didn't go with anything else in my wardrobe and I wasn't all that bothered about the style any more. So why was it so hard to part with them? 

They're leather.

It's been hard to get rid of the leather because I know once it's gone it'll never come back. As I said the other day I'm having trouble getting hold of shoes but these boots have been on my mind. In order to keep them in my wardrobe for the past 6 or 7 years I've used the reasoning that I bought them when I was a meat eater and to chuck them away would be ridiculous. And to chuck them away would be ridiculous, as is keeping them in the wardrobe and never wearing them because they're so obviously leather!

I'm not totally leather free, I have one pair of "occasion" shoes that are part leather and some walking shoes that have an amount of suede on them. I'm not in a place where I can get rid of them at the minute and I don't know if I will. But I feel better about letting the boots go, someone else will get good wear out of them and there will be a few quid in the charity shop till too.

March Menu Plan

There are a lot of holes in my March menu plan. DH hasn't been able to use much of his holiday allowance this year so he's cramming in days where he can to use them up before April. That's where the gaps come in, we don't know where we're going or what we're doing (no change there then). We might eat something out, we might have a bowl of cereal we might have nothing at all. I'll very probably do a mini batch cook of curry, chilli and pasties to shove in the freezer. That, along with the sack of potatoes and bread in the pantry should sort us out with cheap easy meals when we get home. I'm a cheap date and rarely turn my nose up at a jacket with beans or a chip butty.

So here it is - 

1. ? my friend is coming over and has a tendency to stay a loooooong time, it could be every man for himself!
2. fully loaded falafel baguette (rugby)

3. roast. We're trying to get into a Sunday roast routine when we're not going to watch rugby that day
4. roast veg quinoa "risotto"
5. sweet potato and chickpea stew
6. fajitas
7. OFF
8. toasties (rugby)
9. OUT

10 pasta bake
11 stirfry
12 bean burgers
13 OFF
14 lentil bol
15 curry
16 some kind of noodles

17 roast
18 jambalaya
19 stuffed peppers
20 chilli
21 OFF
22 curry
23 pizza

24 roast
25 rendang curry
26 peri peri veg pie w potatoes
27 OFF
28 OFF
29 curry (from the freezer, rugby in the afternoon)
30 tacos

31 roast (Easter)

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Release Valve

When we were paying off our debts we went bonkers occasionally. It culminated in the Scotch Egg incident - I discovered a Scotch Egg wrapper in the car, DH had had a deprived moment, impulse bought the item and ate it secretly hoping I'd never find out. It was a watershed moment for us weirdly. I took it to heart thinking I wasn't feeding us well enough and DH felt guilty because he'd "wasted" a quid.

Of course it was neither of those things, it was just a spur of the moment thing to release a bit of pressure after months of having no frills. 

So we added a release valve. We shared a Twix (well, Lidl's version) in the evening. It was amazing, cost less than a quid a week, we didn't have one every night but it was good to have a little treat and a little choice. Yes I could have baked a cake but this was the point, it was a break from doing everything ourselves. It was just a daft thing "just because" and it kept us on track. We did a lot of telling ourselves "no" during that period, but sometimes a little sweetness helped to keep us working. 

It's different when you're frugal through choice. When you've set a goal and you're going for it I think it's easier to say no to yourself because when it comes down to it, you have options. You could ease up for a month and buy that whatever-it-is you want/need. It almost certainly wouldn't happen because you know that £100 spent now wouldn't be as pleasing as leaving that money to do what it needs to do to work towards your goal. But it's a choice. When there's no spare cash because there just isn't the psychology is different. 

Now we are kind of frugal by choice but we still have our safety valve. We have £10 a week to spend as we wish. That's £10 between us, not £10 each, what craziness would that be? It's a great amount for us, just enough to keep us pushing to save more but knowing we have a little wiggle room. Again, we don't spend it every week and when we don't it goes into the change jar. But it means we can have a paper if we choose - sometimes it's nice to have a real paper not just to read online. It pays for any books we've reserved at the library (they cost 60p), we might get a cuppa when we're out, or a couple of drinks at the pub, or a bag of chips, or an eyeshadow for me or something from the charity shop or a couple of music downloads. There's a lot you can get for a tenner. It's cheap and cheerful and makes us appreciate living now, not just saving for the future. 

I know some folk would disagree and tell us to act like grown ups and tell ourselves "no". If we reach a point where we have no income or need to really save that extra each week then we will. But at the minute things are good so we're choosing to live well. A tenner a week gives us choices and that's a good thing.

Thursday, 21 February 2013



What am I wearing? purple tights, striped dress, grey cardi

Where am I? on the sofa

What's the sky like? white

What's motivating me? writing


What am I wearing? as 9am

Where am I? at the ironing board

What's the sky like? not visible

What's motivating me? banging, banging, banging, banging, banging


What am I wearing? as 9am, plus slippers

Where am I? at the dining table

What's the sky like? grey

What's motivating me? silence

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Pantry Inventory

Here it is! It's typical of what we have, although we are pretty heavy on noodles at the minute due to an Udon frenzy at the health food shop at the weekend.

Dried Stuff - spaghetti, pasta, Udon noodles (2 fat, 2 not), rice noodles, long grain rice, paella rice, quinoa, red lentils, green lentils, porcini mushrooms, tomatoes, spelt ready meal, sage & onion stuffing, lentil roast mix

Tins and jars - baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, butterbeans, black eyed beans, passata, stirfry sauce, coconut milk, marmite, jam, peanut butter, almond butter *yum*, treacle, manuka honey, vegetable puree

Seasonings - soy sauce, salt, pepper, lime leaves, chilli flakes, curry powder, smoked mixed herbs, peri-peri blend, Zanzibar curry, Thai seasoning, smoked garlic, whole chipotle chillies, sabzi ghormeh, Cajun blend, sweet paprike, smoked paprika, sage, oregano, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, herbes de provence, berbere, ras-el hanout, Bombay masala

Other stuffvinegars, rapeseed oil, flavoured oils cashews, krisprolls, bbq glaze, worcester sauce glaze enchilada kit, tacos, mini wraps, pitta, stock powder, instant gravy, chestnuts, flour

We have a breakfast cupboard too with porridge oats, instant porridge, spelt flakes, museli, dates, brazil nuts, mixed seeds, tea, coffee and hot chocolate. The fridge and freezer have useful stuff in too, just the usual I think. We usually have sugar, popping corn and a few other things that I can't think of at the minute but we don't have in. 

Nine To Five

I called this "nine to five" because the most frequent question I am asked is "what do you do all day?". A couple of years ago I had a different blog that was eaten by wordpress and I'd been recording what I did at 9am, 2pm and 5pm each day. I think I'm going to go back to that. Here's yesterday - 


Where am I? in the car, on my way to the vet

What am I wearing? grey leggings, striped tunic, black poloneck, brown boots, winter coat 

What's the sky like? a bit of everything, grey, blue and cloudy

What's motivating me? the rabbit, getting the all clear, work, sweeping, mints


Where am I? In the bedroom

What am I wearing? fluffy socks, grey leggings, striped tunic, grey cardi

What's the sky like? beautiful blue

What's motivating me? Fresh air, laundry, quilting


Where am I? in the kitchen

What am I wearing? as 2pm

What's the sky like? beautiful blue

What's motivating me? hunger! Pasta, giving the rabbit Zantac, relaxing with a cup of tea

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Poking About In The Pantry

I love reading blog posts about what folk keep in their pantry, inventive places to store a stockpile and the dangers of chest freezers so here's mine!

It's not that easy to photograph, long and narrow as it is. but it is one of the things that attracted me to this house. 
 As you might be able to tell it's tucked in under the stairs, it also has to work pretty hard as it houses my cookery books and magazine, laundry basket, bunny food, cool box, shopping bags and a few other bits and bobs along with the food. The bookcase holds my table cloths, recipes, files and folders, magazines, puzzle books, pens and when it's not out on the coffee table as it is today it holds my WIP craft box. That's a lot for one little cupboard.
This is probably the most useful part, the spices *yum*. I buy spice blends as they work out to be good value for money for us. Plus when DH cooks he doesn't need to be intimidated by a recipe, all he needs is a spoonful of whatever mixture and it's guaranteed to work! We have blends for curries, stir fry, North African things, roasted garlic, chillies, rice blends. Delicious and we always use them up before they smell of nothing but dust!

I think my pantry might seem a bit...wasteful, there's not much in the way of own brands or value ranges (we do like Basics rice at 44p a kilo). But I cost our evening meals and they're usually well below £1 a person, usually about 50p or thereabouts. We don't eat meat or dairy, well, I'm currently weaning myself off milk, DH has already managed it, that saves a fortune so takes the sting out of coughing up for things like quinoa and nut butter. 

I do an inventory before the end of each month so we can write the next menu plan. We're very full this month as we had a field day at the health food shop in Ulverston at the weekend. I'll post up the list when it's done.

Monday, 18 February 2013

What I Won't Save Money On, Two


I've never been a fan of the hairdresser so when we were paying off our debts and needed to save wherever we could I was happy to give up trips to get my hair cut. For about 4 years, maybe a little longer, we cut our own hair. We had a set of clippers for DH, I cut my own fringe and every so often Dh would trim a bit off the back. We both hated it, it looked like we didn't go to the salon, we didn't like doing it and it was a big symbol of having no money. I don't have the long thick beautiful hair that so many people do so long hair really doesn't suit me, but long hair was what I had.

When we became debt free there was no huge parade or even feeling of excitement and joy, it was just there... We said we'd ease up for a month and have a celebration but after such a long time it was hard to spend money or even to think about things we wanted. By this point I had lost 3 stone so I replaced the size 12 jeans that were falling off (I was the forerunner of the teenage lads who like to show their undergarments) and I went to get my wig chopped. My hair was half way round my back and I told them I wanted it short - such a big change that the hairdresser didn't want to do it. But I insisted and she did and everyone was amazed at how "brave" I was!

So now my super-fine hair is short, I have it cut every 8 weeks and it is worth the money. I have found a nice hairdresser near to my house and I even quite enjoy going there for a coffee and a chat. It's a lovely local business in a tough market so I'm happy to support her and she does an amazing job. It looks so nice that even my brother compliments me. It's expensive compared to what I'll pay for other things but more than worth it. I spent so much of my 20's and early 30's looking like I didn't care about myself that it's worth £12.50 a month to look neat and lovely. If I had to give it up I would but it's not worth it to me to give it up now. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Menu Planning

Lots of people seem to go through the same process with menu planning and we all seem to think we're the only one. It's kind of a split personality thing, on the one hand we want to be/seem organised but then on the other hand want to come across as the rebel/bohemian type who couldn't possibly be restrained by planning. "I'm an all or nothing person" is probably the one phrase I've heard more when hearing about menu planning, weight loss and getting organised than anything else. We all are, that's why we dream but don't do. 

I think I've probably fallen into all the traps when it comes to menu planning - being too repetitive, being too idealistic, planning for a perfect week when everything will go according to Plan A, planning too much and not taking into account late nights at work, illness, large lunch, tiredness, it being Friday etc. The biggest key to success for me is flexibility, if it says stir fry but that's not what I want that's ok, as long as I use up the ingredients I have to make what I want then that's fine. Easier to do that than to stand in the pantry at 4 o'clock and have no clue what to make. 

I have a list of the meals we eat over and over, some of them we'll only eat at certain times of the year, others are tweaked to be lighter in the summer and more dense and delicious in the winter. We do have other things too, but the basic list provides more than enough variety and excitement for us. Not every meal has to be something new and fresh.

rice/spelt/quinoa/bulghur - jambalaya, risotto (various types), fried rice/nasi goreng, veg "paella", pilaf

stirfries - satay, sweet and sour, teriyaki etc, could be with noodles instead, veg and tofu or veg and nut, crispy tofu etc. 

pasta - using assorted veg and beans, whatever we have in, changes throughout the year - pasta bake, lasagne, lentil bol, "stir in" style, spicy spaghetti w garlic mushrooms/tofu

chilli - spicy/smoky chilli, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, chilli bean bake (taco/fajita/breadcrumb topping). Served with rice, potato skins, jackets, wedges

curry - biryani, coconut based/Thai, tomato based (chickpea/veg/lentil), dhal served with rice, noodles, onion bhajis, socca, naan, flatbreads, pitta crisps

pies/bakes,stews etc - forester's pie, potato strudel, shepherdess pie (mash or rosti), Thanksgiving pot pie, chilli/curried pasties/empanadas. chestnut and sage cobbler, winter warmer casserole, winter veg crumble, mustardy leek and bean crumble, goulash, (winter veg) ratatouille, Italian bean stew, chickpeas w paprika, berbere, thick lentil stew w garlic bread topping, chickpeas stuffed squash, dhal/rice/ratatouille stuffed peppers

other - pizza, bean/veg burgers,patatas bravas, galette, bubble and squeak, roast veg, stuffing, v-pud etc. 

Keeping it simple and using a list like this makes it easy for me, I'm not naturally drawn to cooking and I certainly don't look forward to doing it every day, it's a labour saving device!

What I Won't Do To Save Money

Eat porridge.

There are lots of things I will, and have, done to save money but make and eat porridge is not one. In the past we've taken on extra work, taken the car off the road, given up eating meat, sold things, given up alcohol, avoided socialising, missed full seasons watching our team, shared a chocolate bar rather than having one each! Lots of things big and small. Some have stuck, like not eating meat, some have not, like not having a car. 

I've always struggled with breakfast and must have tried everything in the book, but nothing sticks. At the end of last year we bought some instant porridge sachets as they were on offer. I really like it, it doesn't fill me up for as long as some other things I've eaten and certainly doesn't fill me up until lunch, despite what everyone says. I'm in the swing of it. So I decided in the spirit of money saving to use oats and some frozen fruit and make porridge as you're meant to. It's more than/less than (whichever is better) half the price of the processed stuff. 

So I made it today, wow it was not pleasant. I understand what people mean by "wallpaper paste" now. It went in the bin along with 4 blackberries. The oats and the fruit will be used so no waste there but it's back to expensive breakfasts for me.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

It Doesn't Work For Me

I've been reading about Simple Living, penny pinching and decluttering and love hearing what everybody's up to and it's really interesting to see the same items heading out of the house time after time (I've never been to a car boot so I'm probably behind everyone else in this regard). Have I mentioned how cluttered and untidy my house used to be yet? Well it was, really bad and it took months to clear everything out, discover that the hoover works better if you switch it on and move it about and to stop recreationally shopping and do something more fun instead. 

But there's still stuff. There's the stuff in the cupboard above the oven - flasks and binoculars, yes I am obsessed with it. Then there's the stuff that just doesn't work for me, I can kind of understand why it might work for other folk but for me, no - 

George Foreman grill. Given to us by someone else who thought it was useless

Kindle. Given to us by the same person who gave us the grill

A smartphone for me. I've owned two and they both drowned in tragic circumstances. One was taken by the sea and one was hit by a thunderstorm in my coat pocket. I read something the other day, I apologise I can't remember where I read it and it said something like "if you're checking emails, blog posts and social networking sites on your phone but waiting until you're on a computer/tablet to reply then you're working too hard". That struck a chord. DH is desperate for me to get a new phone (the last one drowned at the end of July) but other than the cost I can't see a point to it for me.

The Wii. We used to love the wii but now, 5 years down the line it just sits there to fill a gap on the tv unit. I occasionally pretend I'm going to use it but then discover I've used the batteries for something better.

The TV unit. We keep it because it cost a lot of money and is nice but looks terrible in this house, but it has some surface (rabbit) damage so it probably wouldn't sell...

The weirdest stuff is the part physical-part mental stuff that just never quite leaves. I really want to make the decision and let it go but it never quite works out that way, it kind of represents failure or something to let it go. I mean things like formal exercise, rigid routines, pictures and articles ripped out of magazines, internet bookmarks, things that make it look like you're doing something but aren't actually action of any sort. You know, like Pinterest (which was really easy to let go of and never think of again)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What You'd Know

I may not be my stuff but there must be things a stranger would learn if they were allowed to poke around my house. Here are a few things I think they'd discover - 

I have no children
I love love love love love rabbits
I like tidy cupboards
I like the colour orange
Being cosy is of utmost importance
I like honey oak
Decorating is an area where I am enthusiastic if not expert
I am slapdash when it comes to the garden 
Little My is my spirit animal
I sew
I like striped socks
I love my home

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Worst First

First after a cup of tea that is.

I have a pile of stuff that I call my necessary evils, things I have to keep - either because we use them or just want to keep them and they seem to be the hardest to house. Team that up with lots of cupboards but not necessarily in the right place and things can be a bit... not disorganised but not organised either. This leads me to frequent annoyance. A lot like the wrapping paper curse but without the obvious solution. 

Inspired by tidier people than me I tackled the non-paper wrapping paper today. The large and previously unused cupboard above the oven now holds the main sources of my anger - the citrus thing and other blades from the food processor, various things that only exist so we can pretend we're going to have a picnic, assorted making equipment and, you know, all that stuff. 

The scales, stove top coffee thing and food processor are at the front and they're easy to get out and put away (I did it 12 times each to make sure), I need not fret about being clonked on the head by plugs or lids. The pantry now has a free shelf and the drawer that is meant to hold placemats, coasters and napkins holds those items and nothing else. 

Next is the wrestle with the porch cupboard. home of walking shoes, far too many jute bags and hopefully soon the home of Henry hoover. If I do it without resorting to sweary words I'll treat myself to a piece of toast with greengage jam, I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Small and Beautiful

Out of the blue I received an email from a kind of friend this week. I say kind of friend as they're one of those people I know but I'm never quite sure how it happened and I never really know who I'm going to get. On the surface we have nothing in common but in another sense (a sense I don't think they always like but is occasionally a source of comfort) we have a lot in common indeed. I get the distinct impression they thought of me to contact as they were feeling bad and I (in their view) have a very mundane, uneventful life so I leave them feeling good. I think we could get along well if we stopped this crazy dance and just had an honest chat. 

"So, how are things with you?" 

Well, that's an interesting question isn't it? Things are great with me, the bulbs I bought from Home Bargains are starting to peep out, I saw a chaffinch in the garden, the bunnies are having a great time fighting over a Lego box, I have finally mastered making a really really really nice lentil chilli and I'm part way through a new quilt. And I don't want to show off but I did open a new bottle of laundry liquid last week. Delicious.  I'm not jetting off all over the world, attending gallery openings or meeting new and influential people, but these small things are good enough for me and aren't they good enough for everyone really? When it comes down to it the scale might be different but it's all about learning, comfort, beauty and joy.

Surely even the busiest person about town would be happy to turn up at my house, flop down into an armchair, have a pot of tea or coffee and a jam bun and just not have to do anything or be anyone other than themselves for a little bit. Or not?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Junk Drawer

I love my junk drawer.

I used to be really disorganised, the house was a tip, other than the bits that only DH used and it was awful. Then I threw lots of things away and cleaned up. A lot. I was a top notch Flybaby. Then we moved house and life changed, the old rules didn't seem to apply any longer. But that was fine because we're here now in our "tidy by design"* house. Things look after themselves because we don't have many things and that's fine. 

But what we do have is a garage. We didn't have a garage before, we had an understairs cupboard. So that was fine, it played to all my rules about things being easier to put away than they were to get out. This isn't true of the garage. The garage involves keys and going outside. So we picked an empty drawer in the kitchen to be the junk drawer. It has all the things that I use quite a lot but can never be bothered to go into the garage just to get something for a two minute job. So the junk drawer is really an action drawer as it stops procrastination. It has candles and matches, a couple of screwdrivers, hooks, sticky pads, masking tape and a sharpie - so important for batch cooking and labels of all kinds. It holds post-it notes and a calculator, tape measure, emergency wind up torch, scissors, a nail file and pencils. Everything I might need but never put away again. 

I have a satellite junk drawer in my bedside table too and from tomorrow it will hold a spare battery for the smoke alarm that only ever loses power at 4 in the flipping morning thank you so very flipping much beeping item. 

*other than when I'm quilting.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Downside

I knew there must be a downside to being veg*n and that I'd find it at some point. It's shoes. I have three choices as far as I can see - spend a load of money, look like an old lady/small child or go for the hippy look. Can't decide which I'm going to go for yet. I'm thinking hippy, I did wear a lot of tie dye in the early 90's, I could pull that off again.

I missed that lesson at school where girls learned how to walk in high heeled or slip on shoes, just can't do it. I like my shoes to be strapped onto my stupidly narrow feet. How do people teeter around on those big spiked shoes and those wedges that have no heel at all? I watch in fascination as my mother runs down the street in silly heeled shoes. How does the magic happen?

I'm trying to sort my summer capsule wardrobe and I am lacking in the footwear department. DH thinks I'm asking too much from one pair of shoes because I want a pair that I can walk to the beach in, wear on the beach then not look like an oddity if we detour via the shops or the pub on our way home. Is that too much to ask? Maybe it's my summer clothes that are wrong rather than the shoes - am I looking at things the wrong way round, or maybe just overthinking? Do the fancy ladies have multiple pairs of shoes in their giant bags for days like this? There are too many questions and I have no clue where to find the answers. Maybe the men in my life are right when they remind me that no-one cares, including me usually.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Oldies but goodies.

This is probably cheating of the highest order but I'm going to share something I've been enjoying this morning. A wee while ago when we were all starting to get used to social networking and all that fun stuff a forum I used set up a social network of its own called "connect". And I had a blog. I've been reading some of my old entries and here's an example (for context it was when I'd just lost 3 stone and was getting into exercise, we'd just become debt free and were super frugal). Much of the rest of the blog is overly serious stuff about being frugal, tips, talk of vinegar and things like that. Or match reports from the 2007 rugby league season. But some make me ashamed of myself and laugh in equal measure - 

Have you ever seen yourself?

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007, 10:51 am GMT [the people]

We saw ourselves last night... Which means I have less than 24 hours to live if the rumour is true.
But they saw themselves too, we had a bit of a laugh about it then cringed uncontrollably. There we were doing the Friday big shop in Booths and I saw myself. Actually I heard him first but I knew it was us. So I slowly turned around, hardly daring to look but by the time we were loitering by the rye bread they'd caught up. And the four of us looked into each others eyes and we knew we had seen our dopplegangers.
If that had been that we might have all got away safe and sound, but no... because of course they were buying all the same things as us... I steered the real DH left at the organic eggs and headed towards the Ecover. "There's no eggs, will free range do?" said faux DH. Aaaargh, a twin couple and no organic eggs, things are going from bad to worse. The assault continued while I dallied between aloe vera and chamomile washing up liquid, faux me swooped in. I decided to leave it til next week.
Even at the checkout it continued, each spying on the other's stuff on the adjacent conveyor belts, granary bread, green&blacks, bogof crespo olives, organic milk. Oh hang on, they've no bags are they really going to use carrier bags..? No, asked for spare cardboard boxes, who will take the moral high ground? They even freeze their bread, same as us, Will I manage leave the shop with the right DH, please don't let them drive a Toyota... Must dig out that Alain de Botton book later, sort out my status anxiety... can settle down with my peach beer, just like the other me.
The only thing to choose between us was the organic sirloin steak... vegetarianism is our saviour... maybe we'll all live to fight another day, although we'll probably live longer if they carry on eating all that red meat. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


I was being a nice rabbit owner, thinking of them when it's cold when I bought an earthenware footwarmer on Friday. They hate it, so now it's mine!

I love regifting. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

This Isn't About Sport

It's the most wonderful time of the year. The Rugby League Superleague started on Friday night and my team play their first game today. 

Last season we were promoted to the top division, it was what I believe they call "a steep learning curve", we finished bottom and will very probably finish bottom this year too. 

Watching Widnes in 2012 was everything that makes sport great. There was the agony of missing out on a win by seconds, there was the pain and despair of being beaten by 40+ points again and again. But there was the joy, the absolute lose-the-plot joy of a rare win. For every Aussie bad boy sent home in disgrace there was a Rhys Hanbury try v Catalan. For every half time of grumbling and threatening to cut up the Stronghold ticket there was the "Thank You Mr. O'Connor" banner from Bradford fans to our owner for donating cash to help them stay afloat. And for every opposition chant of "Superleague, you're having a laugh" there was a "WIDNES, WIIDNES, WIIIDNES". Even on the day of the downpour at Odsal that killed my phone and iPod there was the joy of seeing a sopping wet bloke dressed head to toe in "Superdry" gear and the massive cheer that went up when the announcer informed us that Andy Murray had won gold at the Olympics.

My mum always told me to never date a man who didn't like sport, they don't have the same sense of commitment, passion and the will to stay the course no matter what. Hats off to the sport lovers, we take it far too seriously, far too personally and certainly would be better off setting fire to the cash than going to some games, but where else would you get to dance in public, kiss total strangers, chuck a torn up copy of The Runcorn Weekly News up into the air or see a teenager wrapped up in toilet paper like a mummy?

And the day you start a chant. Priceless (me, Batley March 2008)