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Showing posts from September, 2014

Looking Out

More domesticity.


The garden is a bit of a mess at the minute. I haven't done anything out there for months. There are strawberry runners everywhere, things to be pulled out, and as you can see from the front of the picture, a new pile of mystery plants given to me yesterday by Father. 

Most of them are mystery plants, there are some bulbs, a pot of bare twigs, something quite bushy. There's something that may be a hellebore (please let it be so), a mock orange and a bushy thing that even I know to be a hebe. Clearing must be done in order to fit them in. Where they will go is anyone's guess.  I have to clear the strawberry bed as Father had no success with his this year so I'm donating my runners to him - they love strawberries, I'm not that bothered and Dan can't eat them. 

The garden is one of those things, I really want it to look nice, I really want to putter in it, but at the weekend Dan doesn't really want to do it and he won't sit out in the sun so…

Having A Sort Out

The week of domesticity continues
I always enjoy reading about Project 333 and all that kind of thing, but it turns out today something really clicked with me. I hadn't really thought about the "think about it" pile. I'd just considered that the "ignore" pile really, but then I read something by Courtney Carver today that made the penny drop. this pile is for the stuff I feel I want to keep hold of but I don't know why. 
Makes complete sense. I shot upstairs to take another look at the wardrobe. Everything was separated out, one or two things went into the rag bag immediately. Then I followed another tip, to photograph all the think about it items. Sadly, it's really grey and dark here today so the photographs aren't great. But here we go (everything looks very creased as I'm not domesticated enough to iron everything before it goes to the charity shop)

Why was it hanging around? T-shirt top left, because I love it even though I rarely wear it…

Bargain Of The Week.

Bargain of the week is this book for 49p. We do have a wild flower identification book, we keep that in the car. But when I saw this I thought it might be nice to have a puttery book too. Very pleased with it, it's very thick and in hardback so won't be complaining about the price. 

Also, if you haven't seen it already Simple Ways To Be More With Less by Courtney Carver is currently free for Kindle. 

Where The Chopping Happens

My kitchen is not a thing of great beauty, but as the amount of worktop space I have was mentioned yesterday I thought I'd show you. Excitement. 


As I said in the comments yesterday, there are a couple of sections of worktop, either side of the sink that are pretty much useless for cooking, just for washing up to sit. I try to not let washing up sit there as the kitchen is at the front of the house and looks horrible from outside. We don't have a dishwasher. 

The long length of worktop is 4 feet/120-odd cms. I mainly chop over near the cooker though.


The hob covering chopping board is fairly new and I love it, it gives me loads more space (it was about £10 from Ikea). so that's all that lives on my surfaces - coffee machine, this has only just come out as Dan drinks more coffee in the Autumn and Winter, the kettle, chopping board, salt and pepper shakers, spoon rest and utensils. It's a bit more than I'd like, but I use these things every day. 

The fridge freezer, if a…

Important Domestic Business

Thank you for all your comments yesterday. I feel lots better now. Funnily enough I also feel better after watching the Derren Brown show on tv last night. He spoke about thought becoming huge in our minds, when really we can change how we think about them and they can become smaller. It was timely and it made me smile. 

Anyway, after talking about it here I decided to focus on something more important to me currently, so I set about doing some very important domestic business. The house is now pretty shiny. I also got rid of the bread bin. Well, that was really Dan's idea, he mentioned it on Sunday.  I looked in the pantry and decided he was right, so out it went. We tend to keep bread in the freezer anyway, so the bin was taking up a lot of space for something that really just held things as they defrosted!

Although it looks like I haven't used any of the herbs and spices, the pantry looks pretty different to the way it did when I first spoke about it here.



Yes, we use kitchen …

October Menu Plan

I'm really glad we had our walk to Lytham yesterday. We will walk there again throughout the Autumn and Winter but yesterday may have been the final time this year we could do it with light shoes and no coat. It was a bit chilly thins morning, the sun is out but my toes are cold with just my flip flops on. An ideal day to get stuck into the October menu plan. 

1. tacos2. rogan mushrooms w. naan3. easy lentil curry4. soup and toasties
5. roast6. leek and butterbean crumble7. puy lentil pasta8. jambalaya9. green lentil hot pot10 singapore noodles11 pizza
12 roast13 pearl barley broth14 shepherdess pie15 shepherdess pie16 bean pasties w. patatas bravas17 dhal18 chilli
19 roast20 roast veg pasta w. v-pud21 sausage and mash22 plaki w. bubble and squeak23 stirfry24 chickpea curry25 soup and sandwich
26 out27 porotos granados28 chestnut pie29 chestnut and sage risotto30 lentil bol31 curry

It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know

I'm a bit woe is me today! I know people are generally very poetic when it comes to the end of a friendship and can drum up lots of beautiful words and all that caper, but that's not me on this day. 

I've just found out via a bit of a weird route that one of my best friends has moved to another country. I mean, I knew they were planning to go and that it would be some time this year. But they've gone and they didn't tell me. 

I know moving house is stressful and moving abroad must be crazy stressful, but just to not say anything, obviously I overestimated how important our friendship was. The last few times we spoke they did mention that one of the great things about moving so far away is that they could burn bridges, and let go of relationships they no longer needed or were a drain on them. To be honest, with them saying that to me, I didn't think I was going to be on the list. Maybe, looking back they were giving me a hint that our time was up and I just didn&#…

Weekend Stuff

The view from the James Hargreaves stand at Turf Moor in Burnley is one of my favourite views. We were a little low down to see the full thing, but in Autumn or Winter, looking out over the houses and old mills to the East Lancs hills there is little better for me (in the town, but looking at the countryside you see). 

We decided to get to Burnley early so we could have a poke around, normally when we're walking along yorkshire St/Harry Potts way it's pretty crowded so yesterday I saw lots of details I'd never seen before. 



Firstly a detail of the Yorkshire Street Aqueduct aka The Culvert. 



A couple of quick snaps of the pubs. there's a lot of lovely carving all down the street - all you have to do is look up, some of the carved street names are still on the sides of the buildings too. They add a lovely character. 



I realise I've made this look like it says "Odmorde" instead of Todmorden, I assure you it was accidental! This way marker is built into a wall at…

Decisions

No, nothing to do with Scotland. It's to do with my quilt. I needed a break from the wonky 9 patch so decided to work a bit more on my lap quilt. I know I on;y bought the fabric in January but it feels like I've been working on it forever, and yet here we are -


Really? That's all I have to show for it? That's no good. I have the wading through treacle feeling with it. So to boost morale I've decided to add a couple of rows of squares, as you can see from the picture. I'll make me feel like I'm getting somewhere, even if it's not what I thought I'd be doing with it. 

I'm sure it will be worth it in the end. 

Cooking v Preparing Food

I've prepared a bit of food recently, but I can't remember the last time I cooked anything. You know, normal cooking where you start off with a pile of ingredients and end up with something nice to eat. 

Now I'm out of the swing of it, as I've mentioned before cooking is neither my strong point nor my greatest interest, so after not cooking for a while starting to cook again is difficult! My mind is blank, other than lentil hot pot I can't think of a thing to make. Dan was in charge of choosing things this week so we're very very rooty - parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, leeks, plus some mushrooms, even though it's warm I think he's ready for Autumn.

For the next week I'm thinking of making lentil hot pot, maybe a roast, soup, leek and butterbean stew/crumble, something to do with roast veg, shepherdess pie aaaand something else. Dan has been dropping some not so subtle hints about risotto, so maybe that if I can't avoid it. 

Rip It Up And Start Again

This was going to be about the garden, but the garden is just another illustration of what started with the floor. It turns out that when people ask me what I do all day and I answer "whatever I want" that's not really true. Dan and I have had a weekend of discussing how much we do things we think we should do (for whatever reason) rather than what we really want to do. We almost ended up with laminate flooring because we thought it was the sensible thing to do as we couldn't afford wood and we could probably never have what we really wanted. At the last second Dan piped up that he would rather continue without the floor than have laminate, I was relieved. Turns out Polyflor was within reach after all. We just needed to be honest. Anyway.
I think it's kind of an obligation for us to grow some veg as it's a bit selfish of us to have this amount of space and to not grow something edible. At the start of the year Father kindly gave us some runner beans, spring on…

Wonderful World, Beautiful People

Yesterday we went to the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, to the very beautiful Empress Ballroom.



I took the opportunity to get some photographs. I love this space, but I've only ever been here in the evening before so snapping away hasn't been too successful. 



Anyway, as you can tell, I wasn't alone, it was time for the Northern Vegan Festival. You may or may not recall we went to Lancaster earlier in the year, so I was looking forward to visiting some of the same stalls and eating some of the same cakes!

The first surprise was that we had to queue to get in! The final surprise was for the people coming in to see the matinee of Mamma Mia, I don't think they were expecting quite what they saw (the theatre is next to the ballroom). There were also some freebies to be had, mainly edible, *hooray* and lots and lots of literature in the foyer, I was very sorry not to be able to attend London Vegfest at the end of the month, it looks amazing. This was more than made up for by seei…

Another Hard Worker

This is a very new thing, I've had it less than a week, but I'm growing to love it. It's a steam cleaner. I've been talking about getting one for ages, in fact I say it every single time I clean out the bunny pen, finally I prioritised it and here we are. I went for this one as there were some decent reviews and it wasn't too expensive. It's mainly to clean the bunny pen, as I'm always wary about using too many chemicals with them around, but I do intend to use it for other things.

Conveniently there are all manner of nozzles and accessories for things like grout cleaning, a pointy thing to direct the steam, a window thing, a small thing for fabric and coloured brushes so you can use a specific brush for a specific job - great if you have something like a pet area to clean. 

So far I have done the worktops, sink and draining board in the kitchen, the bathroom sink and a bit of the grout, the blinds and window frames in the bedroom, the mattress topper in the …

Wednesday

9am

where am I? in the garden

what am I wearing? blue sun dress *yay*, sandals

what's the sky like? blue with big fluffy clouds

what's motivating me? laundry, fresh air, ignoring the state of the garden, a nice cup of tea, sweeping

2pm

where am I? in the workroom at the charity shop

what am I wearing? blue dress, leggings, black pumps

what's the sky like? blue, seen through safety glass.

what's motivating me? tea and ginger biscuits, learning about prison life and the history of coca-cola, receiving compliments!

5pm

where am I? at home

what am I wearing? as 2pm but with no shoes

what's the sky like? really very blue

what's motivating me? two minute tidy, being thankful for freezer cooking, writing a shopping list, flopping out on the sofa. 

Sticker Shock

I have lots of skirts but not many tops, so tops are on my shopping list. 
On Monday I bought a very nice black and white top, from a real shop, not a charity shop. Yikes, those places are expensive! I also bought a top from the sale rail of my shop for £2.29, so that redressed the balance a little bit. 
We have a new manager at the shop, one of the deputy managers has been promoted, so that's good. The biscuits have certainly improved recently. 

Best Laid Floors

When the Rabbit Welfare Association talk about "A Hutch Is Not Enough" for rabbits, I think I now have a sense of what they mean. On Thursday and Friday I was squidged in the dining room all day while the floor was fitted. It was sooooo boring! I managed to escape the house for half an hour in order to nip to Second Hand Rose for some beautiful pine filing drawers I'd seen on Facebook. I was too late, had the floor been down ten minutes sooner I'd have had them but someone beat me to it. 

Anyway. On Thursday morning the screed layer was smoothed on like a big layer of grey Angel Delight. When it dried it looked like a slightly nicer version of what we already had. Friday was the fun part. The guy (who was very nice indeed) sanded over the surface then did a bit of patching (the dark grey bit in the top picture). he dried this with a big hairdryer, well it looked more like one of those embossing tools cardmakers use. Then he did all the measuring with his handy chalk l…

Best Laid Plans

We planned as much as we could for the bunny holiday while we have the floor done. We went over to visited them and Dan's mum last night. Just as we were leaving, Big Grey Bunny decided to show signs of GI stasis. Couldn't get hold of the emergency vet over there so had to drive the poor thing all the way back over here to our vet (which I was happier about as she's a rabbit specialist). 

The vet was amazing as ever, she was really nice about everything and was fine with Big Grey staying there until late this afternoon when the floor is finished. She was even surprised we didn't bring the other rabbit over as they would have looked after them both! I know we're paying, but even so. Dan spoke to her (the vet, not the bun) this morning, she is eating everything, jumping around and generally hating everyone, we recognise this as "feeling better". So she'll be home later. 

Dan's mum, poor lass, feels awful about the whole thing, even though there's …

Wednesday

9am
where am I? on the landing
what am I wearing? animal print dress, flip flops
what's the sky like? very blue
what's motivating me? clearing the living room, headache
2pm
where am I? at the charity shop
what am I wearing? animal print dress, leggings, black shoes
what's the sky like? still blue, very sunny!
what's motivating me? romance! a lovely couple came in and were disappointed to see we had no wedding dresses for sale, poked around in the back and found three of which one fitted. Gorgeous dress, £35, everyone was happy. 
5pm
where am I? in the garage
what am I wearing? as 2pm
what's the sky like? not visible but seconds earlier it was grey
what's motivating me? squeezing the sofa into the garage, transporting the rabbits to East Lancs for theit holiday.
Spend? £4.99 on a smart winter dress. 

Freebie and Bargains of the Week

Freebie was this pins and thread book that just hadn't shifted at the shop. I love these, we had a couple when I was little, a steam engine and Concorde! I don't know if I will make one but if I do, I'll know how. 


Not the best picture, but this Accessorize summer dress was on the 99p rail (I'd been watching it since it was £6). 


I'd been after a fan for a while as I saw some people with them when we were at the theatre and thought it was a good idea. I especially like this as it's wood. I paid £2.27 for the lot!


Monday - Planning

I've decided to add a couple of categories, especially for the next little while as we're trying to save some cash after all the spending on the house. The spend/no spend is from our discretionary & grocery budget and won't include regulars like petrol, bills etc. 

9am

what am I wearing? pink trousers, purple top, sandals

where am I? In the kitchen, making tea 

what's the sky like? overcast, grey

what's motivating me? master shopping list, no menu plan (erratic month), clearing the worktops, deep cleaning, new bedding, laundry backlog, hungry bunnies, fresh and light, donating not dousing. 

2pm

what am I wearing? as 9am

where am I? in the garden

what's the sky like? blue, hot sun

what's motivating me? more laundry, books, reorganising the kitchen cupboards, odd quilt block sizes, orange nail polish

5pm

what am I wearing? as 9am

where am I? in the kitchen

what's the sky like? beautiful blue

what's motivating me? the requested roast, ironing (again), to do list,…

Sunday - Start of a Big Week

9am 

What am I wearing? Blue spots and stripes pyjamas

Where am I? under a quilt on the sofa

What's the sky like? grey with promise of blue

What's motivating me? buying a dog crate, match of the day, second cup of tea, relaxation, nicely shaped lightbulbs, dusting, a new month

2pm

What am I wearing? purple glittery tunic (scratchy), black leggings, sandals

Where am I? in the kitchen

What's the sky like? blue with huge clouds

What's motivating me? using up some spinach, a week of reheating not cooking, wrapping ornaments, clearing the downstairs rooms, a fresh start, space, putty

5pm

What am I wearing? as 2pm

Where am I? in the dining area , at the ironing board

What's the sky like? kind of grey

What's motivating me? ironing, quilting, four more days of tile dodging, filing drawers for sale, cook books, cupboard organisation, the weird smell of the food mixer, jammie dodgers.