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Showing posts from August, 2013

Retrospective August Menu Plan

I didn't write a menu plan for August beforehand due to hot weather and the not-holiday but here's a list of what we had without the plan - 

1. biriyani 2. baked beans and wedges *yum* 3. pizza
4. fry up 5. biriyani (it was so nice on Thursday) and falafel 6. harissa spiced sausage pasta 7. white bean chilli w. bulghur 8. plaki with roast potatoes 9. out 10. leftover picnic
11 stiry fry w noodles 12 out 13 out 14 out 15 out 16 falafel sandwich w leftover picnic 17 baked beans and wedges *mmmm*
18 out 19 enchiladas 20 jacket potatoes w roast veg and spinach grill 21 sandwiches
22 nothing! 23 no idea, must have been a classic 24 bottom of the fridge surprise. 
25 yucky pie 26 pasta 27 tagine 28 lentil soup 29 nut roast, pepper sauce, veg 30 stirfry
31 chickpea curry

What we can learn from this is that we didn't eat particularly well without the plan! Ah well, we're still here.

Good Mundane

If you like insights into a very ordinary person's life, you have come to the right place.

Had a little look at Facebook this morning and there was good, even great, news! The Caravan Gallery is back, back for the SAS Music and Arts Festival (7th - 14th September). Hooray! Better still the evening before funtivities begin is the book launch. We knew the book was coming and now here we are, days away from seeing it. I can't wait! All manner of Lytham St Anne's based treats in print form.

This week I did a zero cost makeover on a soon-to-be-dumped horrible grey Billy bookcase to make a living-in-the-house different shade of grey Billy bookcase. Now we don't have to double stack our books on the shelves upstairs and I don't have to leave my stuff strewn all over the coffee table when I don't want to put it away. Hooray! Big grey bunny believes it to be a ladder though in slightly less positive news so until a Lego solution is built there's a laundry basket provi…

September Menu Plan

Hooray, September, start of lovely food time. Summer is not the most exciting food time to me, I'm not really a salad person and so much of summer food is meat or cheese based it's can be a bit of a strain to think of exciting stuff to eat when it's warm and you are a lazy person. A pet hate of mine is when I look online for vegetarian summer recipes and the top ten are all puddings. Hmmm.

But if it offends you then I'm giving out the warning, it's in here. Conveniently September 1st is a Sunday. For ease of brain power we're going back to having curry on Fridays. 
1. nut roast with veg and tons of potatoes 2. italian bean casserole 3. dhal stuffed peppers 4. stirfry 5. lentil potato layer bake 6. curry 7. bean burgers w. wedges
8. roast 9. garlic and butterbean stew 10 risotto 11 chilli 12 l/o 13 curry 14 pizza
15 chicken and mushroom pie (not chicken, probably butterbeans, maybe chestnuts but it must have that chicken and mushroom pie vibe apparently). 16 enchiladas 17 ratatou…


It really does feel like summer is drawing to an end and we keep having fresh thoughts and ideas for the future, what to stop, what to start and what to continue (yes, I know I sound like a corporate team bonding session).

One thing that has really stood out for me is the amount of constraints we put upon ourselves. In the past it was important for us to rationale think things so we didn't feel deprived when we couldn't do things. Now these rules don't apply in quite the same way. This isn't just about clothes but clothing is a good example.

We are constrained by things like money - we only have a certain amount and that won't move, we're constrained by the fact I won't buy silk or leather, that won't move. But I don't have to constrain myself (as I usually do) by thinking I won't buy something just because of where it's from or how much costs, I can be open minded about it. 
8 or 9 years ago I started sorting our house out, it was a tip. I kep…

First Week Back

My first week back has not gone well. I am so tired I can hardly wake up, I keep telling Dan it must be Lyme Disease or something exotic but he claims it's more to do with getting up early after a week of lounging. I was super excited to be back as I had so many plans but now I am just jumping for joy (or the sleepy equivalent) because it's a long weekend off. 

In an attempt to jump start myself I have done some stuff, I often find it does the trick. I ventured into the garden and removed some of the many weeds and discovered that the Astilbe I thought had died is indeed doing well and is flowering. Everything has grown a lot and birds make a right old racket when you're in the garden and they want to be.

I can see the bottom of both of the laundry baskets, everywhere is scarily tidy despite the fact that Big Grey Bunny insists on digging in her litter tray. I have even dug out the beast, my sofa quilt. I love it but I just can't get it finished, it's a battle and th…



where am I? in the kitchen

what's the sky like? grey

what am I wearing? mini dress, owl socks

what's motivating me? post not-holiday house rescue


where am I? in the spare room cupboard

what's the sky like? still grey

what am I wearing? as 9am

what's motivating me? cushions and getting a bit of colour into the bedroom, post not-holiday the monochrome isn't as exciting.


where am I? back in the kitchen

what's the sky like? more grey

what am I wearing? as 9am

what's motivating me? a very dubious looking evening meal, sleep, being propped up with sugar, funny bunnies.


When I was having a break I had a lot of very good ideas about how I was going to do things when I was back to it. It is now Tuesday and I can see the resolutions running away and into the sea. But I am having more good ideas, the laundry is nearly done and we had a no-spend day, that must count for something.

One More Thing

I'd almost forgotten. We had a break from social media too, Dan was better at that than I was. I felt the need soak up the Warrington v Widnes excitement on Thursday so I got involved with that and afterwards it was a slippery slope. 

Something we learned was when you don't use technology for a while it can be so frustrating! The largest amount of stress was when we put the laptop or phone on to try to find something. We would almost certainly have been better off without all of it other than the untappd app which lead us to a great real ale pub in Liverpool (The Dispensary on Renshaw St, looks a bit... you know, but it's great and everyone is very kind).

Not- Holiday Lessons


We learned many things on the not-holiday. We learned all about the dangers of the brown tailed moth on Spurn Point which was probably the most important and scary thing but we learned lots of other things too - 

The things we did well - 

The budget, we had £150 for petrol and £500 for everything else. That's a lot for a week, there's £21.95 left. What we learned is that we need an emergency fund even when on not-holiday. Day one we spent £25 on a new headlight bulb and a fix on a tyre slow puncture. Day six we spent £42 on socks and underwear. 

The vast majority of the cash was spent on food and drink. No surprises there and it was well worth it. We took a picnic to Spurn, Bowes Museum and somewhere else I can't remember and that worked really well. We ate out in Glasgow, Clitheroe and Liverpool and that was the right choice. The most expensive day out was Glasgow, the cheapest was a soggy but brilliant afternoon in Arnside. 

What's certain and what's flexible.


I wouldn't ordinarily interrupt a not-holiday but something happened. I haven't mentioned Widnes for a wee while, it's because we've been terrible. We did our best to miss the game last night but there we were, ready when kick off arrived.

We were what is known in the trade as "shellaced" by Hull FC away. It was a disgrace. We snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last Sunday at home to Castleford (we were 10 points up with 15 to play). Thankfully Dan and I decided not to attend as it had the potential to ruin our time off so we went to Arnside instead. We got soaked but at least we were happy.

Last night was the return leg of the Derby, away at Warrington. Somehow, some way we will never really understand over the Easter weekend Widnes beat Warrington at home, what a day that was. Happy as larapin all the way home. After some heavy defeats and shipping points like water no-one was all that confident about last night. Warrington had the chance to go top of t…

Peace and Quiet

That's what I am looking forward to, just 9 hours to go until we have 10 days of fun and that trip to Spurn Point we've been waiting 11 years to take. No screens, no alarms, no shops, no rushing. Just relaxing (even though the time is broken up by two Widnes games, but we're only going to one to save our sanity). See you soon. 

Thingbabies and the Wrapping Paper Curse

I dislike thingbabies. Those little things that you need to have in order to facilitate the big thing that you really want. They are the bedfellow of the wrapping paper curse - those things you buy in order to be prepared/ grab a bargain but in fact clutter up your house and do everything they can to get on your nerves. Unless they're for quilting in which case the thingbabies are almost as good as the quilt.

Yesterday it was tin foil. We do not, as a rule, buy foil. I just don't need it, I won't wash it and reuse it and I don't want to buy something just to chuck it away. But Dan bought a reduced haggis and to cook the haggis it needed to be wrapped in foil. So he bought some and ate the haggis. Fine.

Not fine because now there's 87% of a roll of foil in the kitchen. We don't have a huge kitchen and it's set up the way I want it (within the constraints of the kitchen provided). So to have a roll of foil to house is very very annoying. I spent 20 minutes tryi…

Food and Drink

So after yesterday I was feeling on the fence about some of the things we said we'd do about the not-holiday. Last year I didn't feel like it was a holiday as there was still a ton of housework for me to do - like washing up. I dislike washing up a lot. So this year we agreed to buy some ready made salads from M&S - you know those small but quite nice looking ones with beans and things. We said we'd get a tray of veg for roasting and a few other things like that. 
I thought about it yesterday and came to the conclusion that just because we have a budget for it doesn't mean it's a good idea. 
So Dan is taking Friday off work and that's going to be our prep day - cut the grass, clean the car, change the sheets and all that stuff, we don't need to pack but we do need to get ready. We're adding to that domestic bliss list - prepare some food. So we're going to get into the kitchen and wash and chop salad, roast some veg, make salad dressing and that k…

Happy Thrift

Train voucher update - Dan contacted the company to tell them the voucher wasn't included in the letter and they're sending another out today. A two minute chat, very impressive customer service. It can also be used on any train so that's even better.


We're really fortunate at the minute that we don't have to scrimp and save. Well, we need to save but we are not currently worrying where the next meal will come from or whether we'll have enough money for bills. This year we have burned our way through a lot of money though and so I find myself on this beautiful, rainy morning thinking about making some savings around the house and looking to spend less rather than just make the cash do more. Of course that means deciding to do more, some of my more will be very small. 

First thing is water. I'm not a huge fan of the flask, we have two and despite trying to keep one for water and one for hot drinks they both stink of coffee. Last year we went for a tram…

Free Passes

Dan contacted the train company after his not much fun train and bus slog to Nottingham the other week. On Friday a letter plopped onto the doormat from them. There was a nice letter of apology and an explanation of the length of delay he had and the travel voucher that covered that level of delay. That's a good thing. Only there was no voucher included. All sorted out with a simple phone call but it caused more eye rolling than necessary. 

We decided to do something on the spur of the moment on Saturday so we went out then decided to hop onto the train to visit a couple of bars in the next town. Our station office was closed, no conductor on the train and no station office at the other end, so nowhere to pay! Not wanting to push our luck we walked the 4 miles home so we felt a bit better about the unplanned freebie. 

A while ago we talked about getting a pass to get us into various museums in Lancashire, we decided against it and have bought a National Art Pass instead. It's no…

Judged At The Supermarket (plus bargains)

The perils of buying junk food, this never happens when we buy our usual cook from scratch stuff. 

We went to the supermarket last night and did very well for bargains - things that were on our shopping list anyway so no waste. What did we get? 3 packs of cauldron sausages for the price of one, socked away in the freezer, we don't eat them very often but they were a total bargain and good for a not-holiday fry up, reduced salad, mushrooms, potato cakes (Dan's secret treat spread with marmite), root beer, cereal bars and some other stuff that's in the freezer so I can't remember what it is. 

Anyway, Dan wanted some nut cutlets for a change/ a bit of retro joy so we picked up a pack. When we got to the checkout the assistant started a running commentary on our shopping! She looked at the almond milk as though it was an alien baby then when she scanned the nut cutlets and declared "I wouldn't fancy eating them, is it some kind of vegetarian thing?". Erm, ok, t…

The Hunt For Coconut Ice Cream

We went to Frederick's in Chorley yesterday for a payday ice cream treat. This teeny, yummy venue is about 25 miles away so it is a trek. Found a parking space, ran through the rain to the shop and had a look at the menu outside. 

No coconut.

I know they do coconut but there was none to be had. So I got my nutty cone with cinder toffee and hazelnut swirl, Dan went for a honeycomb cone with honeycomb and stracciatella. Then Dan spotted a poster suggesting that if a particular flavour wasn't out in the fridge we should ask *tap nose and look a bit shifty* so he did. The bloke behind the counter didn't think so but ventured off into the back to have a look in the big freezer. "We only have a tub to take away" he said upon his return. Tub beats cone doesn't it so after parting with possibly too much money I am the proud owner of a tub of coconut icecream. Hooray! (yes, that plant does look unhealthy doesn't it!)