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Showing posts from February, 2014

February Shopping Week Four

Week four, February 21 - 28, it has been a long month! We've been off plan again this week. It's been a weird week, Dan went to London on Tuesday so wasn't around for food, so I just had some soup. Last night he attended an evening meeting so we were eating at different times again, tonight we're going to watch Widnes v Huddersfield so it'll be a case of grab and go. 

On Wednesday I roasted the remaining veg -  squash, cauli, red onion, chestnut mushrooms and celeriac. Then rolled out half a sheet of puff pastry and filled it with one of the puy lentil pouches we had in the emergency winter stash. To add a bit of moisture we had a dollop of Mr Vikkis tamarind chipotle chutney on the side which is delicious. Puy lentils are my new favourite thing. On Monday we had chilli from the freezer served with giant cous cous, that is not my new favourite thing! I'll probably use the rest of the cous cous with some puy lentils in a salad rather than eating it hot. Speaking …


Being honest with myself and everyone about my feeling about volunteering turned out to be the best thing. 

I gave myself time to think about what it was I didn't like about it, it's not the manager or the other folk working there, it's not the shop, it's not the customers, it's not the time of day, it's not what it takes from my week. There was nothing I really disliked. It was just different from what I'd done before. When it comes down to it, the fact is I'm not the best at it. I'm ok, but that's good. I don't need to be the best salesman ever I need to be a body behind a till to take payment for things and put them in a bag.

I went in yesterday with no feelings on the matter, not unhappy about it, not full of enthusiasm, just going. Then when I got there I had the feeling of freedom. Telling myself that I didn't have to like it, I didn't even have to be good at it, I just had to do it was great. I stopped taking myself seriously an…

Bad Decisions

I know this won't come as a huge shock to anyone who has been around for a while as I've mentioned the feeling of not feeling settled, I really don't like working at the charity shop. 

But, it's good for me to do it, to meet people, have a change of scenery, do something different blah blah. It would be really easy to walk away because there's no reason why I can't. But it's so boring, it makes me believe the phrase "time flies when you're having fun" to be true. 

I took the Costanza approach and did the opposite, I normally like to process stock but agreed to work in the shop. I've done that for 3 months and I do not enjoy it one little bit. The weird thing is, in this shop working in the back room seems to be something people want to do, not avoid as has been the case in all the other places I've been. Maybe there's something I don't know!

When I started I had a feeling I'd reach this point, I've been at this point since…

Edible Garden

I spoke to Father about the garden, he nodded and picked up a tape measure so I think he may already have some thoughts on the matter. 

The past few days have been fairly productive in terms of the garden. We went out for a bit on Friday and cleared away some of the leaves covering the whole thing. There are many many bulbs showing their faces, I don't remember planting that many so I am more than happy with what I can see so far. All the other plants appear to have survived the wind and wet too. When Dan was tidying the garage so he could fit the car in during the storm he came across a treasure trove of seeds and bulbs. How long they've been there it's impossible to say, so the viability is uncertain, but they have no chance of growing if they stay in their packets and envelopes. We shoved some freesia bulbs in on Friday and there are two packets of wild flower seeds, I seem to remember we only bought them last year, envelopes of cornflowers and something else from my par…

Failing To Not Shop, Volume 87.

We experienced two new and exciting places this weekend. The first was on Friday when we visited Blackpool Catholic Club to watch John Hegley. It was a performance to tie in with Dance Swine Dance at the Grundy Art Gallery. The club was a great venue, everyone was very nice, the drinks flowed, the poetry and songs were great and we had the opportunity to channel our inner guillemot. Fun all round.

The second new, to us, place was in St Anne's itself. This trip started midweek when we'd been to drop a few dozen jigsaws off at the charity shop and took a different route home. "STOP!" I shouted. We reversed down St Andrew's Road South and there it was - The Second Hand Rose. What? A Mid Century furniture shop here in the town, since October and I didn't know? Blimey, I wander through this life with my eyes welded together. The shop is open on Friday and Saturday only, so we had to wait. 

We made the somewhat dubious decision to go in the car even though we were ju…

Shocker - February Shopping Week Three

A ridiculous shopping week covering February 14th - 20th. After my slop strop we went a bit bonkers. Having gone through the two cookbooks we have a list of ingredients we want to buy and I bought a few of them this week. 

£26.10 f&v potatoes, leeks, onions, chillies, mushrooms, cauli, celeriac, kale, grapes, lemons, salad, squash, olives, basil etc.
£ 6.46 dairy and non-dairy
£5.56 lentils and things rte lentils (emergency stash), tinned beans
£17.25 pantry sandwich stuff, sundried tomatoes, passata,oil, herbs and spices
£ 5.41 bread
£ 7.20 drinks coffee, ovaltine
£ 0.20 non-food cost of newspaper after loyalty card voucher
£ 1.20 junk Fishermans Friends.

£69.38 minus £5 voucher = £64.38

Bringing the total so far to a rather large £130.50.

That's a crazy amount for one week but a big bag of spuds was £5, the coffee was £4 for Dan to take to work, we have a big tub of chillies and sliced lemons in the freezer and two of the three freezer drawers are filled with bread. It is what it is, a…



where am I? in the living room watching a squirrel in the garden (this is exciting for me as it's only the second squirrel I've seen in this town)

what's the sky like? grey with threats of blue and sun

what am I wearing? grey and purple striped jumper, purple skirt

what's motivating me? squirrel, removing whatever that thing is that's causing the iron to be weird, clean and organised kitchen, scones, tea


where am I? the charity shop, behind the counter

what's the sky like? blue-grey

what am I wearing? as 9 am plus grey converse

what's motivating me? joy at the roof being fixed, busy busy busy busy busy shop, waaaaaay too much noise


where am I? in the car

what's the sky like? grey, pale blue and white

what am I wearing? as 2pm but with an orange coat

what's motivating me? lentil stuffed peppers, Dan's new glasses (no more taped up specs), sumac berries, Oystercatchers, horlicks


Firstly,my apologies, some comments yesterday have disappeared, don't know what happened, I'm not ignoring anyone.

Now, another post about how I don't really like cooking.

I hit the wall last week. maybe it's more that I'm fed up with the pretty much endless rain, wind and general yuck in terms of this rubbish winter than the food itself. But I was just so fed up of eating sloppy, lentilly gunk that I couldn't face it any longer. I had a mini strop. 

That's why and how I ended up with the River Cottage Veg book, I thought that even though I'm not a massive fan of HFW he would probably represent a good change. I wasn't wrong, there are some very simple but exciting looking ideas in there (I know everyone already knows about this and I'm the straggler). I also decided to take a look at a couple of the other books I still own, I took a massive stack of them to the charity shop last year. My Mum is obsessed with The Book People and reads the booklet to…

New Season

Yesterday was the start of the new season for us. Yes, it has come round quickly. Instead of the mooching around the house doing nothing in particular we decided to go to Southport beforehand. It's kind of on the way and we can generally see Southport from our beach. It seems so close and yet so far away. So we went. It was a gorgeous day, we managed to grab some free parking and off we headed. 

We pretty much ran to the beach as I was sure I'd seen water. For those of you who aren't familiar with Southport it's a "well known fact" that the tide is always out. I think last year was the first time I'd ever experienced the tide being in. Amazing. We didn't venture onto the pier as it was a bit windy and I've had enough of that for the time being. So we wandered along and came across an outdoor gym! Lovelygrey had spoken about them a little while ago. I'd never seen one before so I had to have a go, it was brilliant! I wish we had one in LSA, I…

February Shopping Week Two

It turns out I'd built up enough cash to receive a voucher, so that's £5 to go into savings. Of course last week I spent £41 not £51, got a bit cash happy when writing! Week two (7th - 13th) seemed very strange as all the stuff was bought in dribs and drabs. By Wednesday we were running out of lunch stuff, thankfully Dan was at an event in Hull where lunch was provided. 

I ended up making some bread from a mix I bought at Aldi the other week. I don't enjoy making bread so I'm not sure why I bought it, but I'm glad I did as it was a lifesaver. So that helped me get through Wednesday. By Thursday we were out of milk, bread, sandwich filling, tomatoes and all the other fall back foods. So I made some pasties with mince and veg, they were ok, nothing more than that but they filled the gap and I didn't have to nip to the shop so it was a win-win. 

£10.27 fruit and veg lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, apples, pakchoi, melon
£ 0.00 bread
£ 2.72 dairy and non-dairy
£ 2.10 lenti…


While I'm not officially following Dreamer's 52 projects plan, the idea of it has been swimming round in my mind and a few unfinished or long forgotten plans are in my thoughts - especially where the garden is concerned. Plus the rest of this month and next are going to be fairly subdued as we stumped up the best part of £600 on Dan's new glasses and suit over the weekend. It will impact on the savings but needs must. 

Three years ago or so I decided I wanted to do something creative, to make a seasidey thing. I started what I thought was going to be a wallhanging for the bedroom. However, it all went horribly wrong and after months of work I realised that the painting I'd done had ruined the stitching so it was, in the current form, unusable. So two years later it's still in a cupboard waiting for me to chop it up and frame the small bits. 

Inspired by this post from modflowers I decided I wanted to do a bit of embroidery, so I went to the library yesterday to look …

The Garden

Everyone in my family loves gardening which means I've never really been interested in it, and there's the thing that until I was 35 I didn't have a garden to look after. I'm pretty late to the party. Father keeps bringing tubs of lettuce and strawberries but I fail to look after them, the blackbirds ate the strawberries, so at least they grew!
When we moved here the garden was overgrown. Father, assisted by Dan, evened out the sunken patio and cut half the garden back one year and half the next. Each time the stuff removed was as high and wide as the garage. We have a spongey mass of moss and clover where a lawn should be (I don't mind that too much as bees and goldfinches seem to like it). I don't wish to discuss the brambles. The area that would normally be soil is sand with small amounts of brown stuff. It's all held together by dandelions, thousands of them, everywhere! Again, they are useful as the buns love love love them so it's a free treat. 
In …


A little while ago someone mentioned on their blog that the town I live in looked a bit down at heel. I replied saying we were fine. And the town is ok, it's one of those things, it's a small town with the same issues as other places, it just happens to be at the seaside. 

Dan has a day off today so we decided to stay local, have a walk on the beach and a look around. I even decided to have a poke in some of the charity shops, I had really got out of the habit over the past few years but decided to see how other shops were compared to "mine". We went to my town's more jaunty sister first and I ended up buying a copy of the River Cottage Veg book, it cost a fiver, seems like a good buy. 

We ventured back up into the town as Dan broke his glasses on Friday so is having his eyes tested. He's a dear do at the minute as he needed a suit, we ended up with two suits and just had to not think about the cost too much. Anyway, I think Sarah was right. Visiting the town f…

Dealing With Little Bits

More mundane fun.

I've started to amass quite a few scraps from quilting and things and they turn up everywhere. I've tried lots of different ways to contain them and none have done the trick. Yesterday I was in the pantry admiring the trolleys yet again when I saw the empty jars sitting there. "Hang on" I thought to myself, so now I have a jar of scraps. Then I thought about it and realised that Dan's Asterix figures live in the jelly bean dispenser, the candles live in a spaghetti jar and I have a memory jar in the spare room full of trinkets - badges, paperweight of Pope John Paul II, keyrings, pictures of Phil Jagielka, wedding favours etc, not to mention food in the pantry and pins stored in jam jars. The answer has been staring me in the face! Why and how have I never thought of it before? It is true, I walk through this life with my glasses off. I think in some sense that's how my house came to be such a tip in the first place, I just stopped seeing wha…

The Junk Drawer

More mundane fun. 

I like to think I'm reasonably tidy and organised these days, and I know I've spoken of my junk drawer before - the time I trapped £20 inside, but I'm at it again. It was beyond a joke. 

When I first got myself and the house (our old house) organised I didn't have a junk drawer, everything had a place, but I decided here it might be nice to have a rummage place to stash stuff. Not to mention the fact that the toolbox etc lives in the garage and occasionally it's just too much faff to go out there just to return one item. 

The drawer is small, measuring 42 x 31.5 x 8cm. But it still holds a lot of stuff. Stuff including 2 RLWC 2013 tickets, 15 batteries, a clock needing a battery but not one of the 15 I have, 4 receipts (less than I thought there would be), 3 appointment cards for my haircut, but not the one for my next appointment, 7 expired vouchers, 18 keys, 2 torches, a 12 year old tin of vaseline (we've lived here for just under 4 years), 5 …

A Bit of Freezer Cooking

This is part of my life audit, a really mundane example of it but it's a nice (for me) illustration of how things are being put into practice. I have still only chosen two of my important words but they're already helping me to focus on things in small ways. It seems to be easier and easier to just do that one extra thing or one little primp which is brilliant for me.

I don't really batch cook, I don't have pans big enough to cook more than about 3 meals worth of anything but I do cook for the freezer. I spent quite a lot at the supermarket on Monday so it looks like today is going to be a cooking day. 

Before we went shopping I needed to make something with what we had left so I made a ... thing. I roasted half a shallot, a green pepper, some mushrooms and a few bits of broccoli with sundried tomatoes in oil, paprika and sage. Then added a tin of butterbeans, a big squeeze of veg puree and some veg stock and shoved it back in the oven. It was very nice, even with the gr…

February Shopping Week One

First order of business this month was to get to the bank to replace the money I spent on the charity shop stuff last week. Dan has posted a cheque with our savings for this month, boosted by the Council Tax money, so that's an extra hundred and fifty odd quid without even having to think about it. There was £1.80 in my purse from last month so that went into the Q pot. I don't know how much we'll have in the sealed Q pot by the end of the year, I'd be delighted if it was anywhere close to £100 though. Not that I'm going to force it when there are so many other savings pots to be filled. 

I'm still feeling stodgy and yuck so I'm going to eat slightly differently in the morning and at lunch time, hopefully that will help. We went shopping on Monday this week and here's how it worked out. 

£14.95 f&v melon, kiwi fruit, bananas, tomatoes, cucumber, shallots, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, red cabbage, carrots, mushrooms
£ 6.08 lentils and things chestnuts,…

In Every Kind Of Weather

We've decided not to take to much notice of the weather forecast from now on. We kept an eye on things all week, put off by the threat of super high tides, overtopping, rain and 70mph winds we decided to keep Dan's birthday low key and stay at home. So I built a blanket fort, stocked up on treats and planned nothing.

Then we got up on Saturday and it wasn't that bad. So we went to Liverpool to see the final weekend of Art Turning Left, well worth the visit, so we were exceptionally glad we didn't allow ourselves to be put off. The level of the river was very high, very grey and very wobbly, gorgeous. Of the many great things in the exhibition was a participation section where we were invited to stitch anything we liked onto a length of golden fabric, so I did!

We had some financial success at the Tate too, our Art Pass meant paid half price to get in to the exhibition, saving £4 each. Dan had also read about a parking deal so we saved £3 on parking by using the Liverpool…