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Showing posts from 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)

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 o…

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 …

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 …

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 qui…

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 tellin…



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

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 stuff - vinegars, rapeseed oil, flavoured …

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

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 i…

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 …

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&#…

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 (whic…

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 s…

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

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 no…

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…

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 real…

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…

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 th…

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 &qu…