Thursday, 29 October 2015


After making a real effort with my appearance at the start of the year, the summer has seen a small slide. When the warmer weather arrived I stopped wearing make up, it just slides off my face when it's warm and I haven't got back into the swing of it. I have also been wearing trousers more and I always feel scruffy when I do. 

I only own one pair of jeans and one pair of kind of red canvas legging type things, both were bought to go under a tunic, but I've been wearing them just with a top and I don't think it suits me at all. It's just laziness, I say to myself "oh I'm only doing xyz" so it doesn't really matter. I'm right, it doesn't really matter in any objective sense, but it matters to me so I need to prioritise it.

For the past couple of weeks I've been wearing my proper clothes when I've been at the shop, rather than my charity shop clothes that I bought from my shop to wear at the shop. Funnily enough I have had lots of compliments from customers people in general. I don't think it's a coincidence. I'm not going to stop looking for things at the shop but I'm going to be far more careful about it. 

I'm also on the lookout for a new lipstick and some shoes. I own a lipstick but I did a bit o poking about and it contains beeswax so when I replace it I'll be on the lookout for a different brand. Shoes are another thing entirely - I am suffering from price shock, still once it's done I won't have to think about it again! 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Sweet Suprise

When we went to Southport a couple of weeks ago we treated ourselves to some chocolate from the health food shop. When we got it home it was a bit powdery instead of lovely smooth Plamil. Dan tweeted them, not necessarily to complain as such, we still ate the bar, more just to say that maybe it had been stored at too cool a temperature. 

The owner was exceptionally nice and offered to replace the bar, checked our dietary choice and that was that. Today, as you can see from the photo, not one but four bars plopped through the letterbox. We were amazed at the replacements. I love love love conscious chocolate and these were all flavours I've not yet tried. 

Amazing service from a lovely lady at a great little shop.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Making Room

Just before Christmas last year I had a bit of a breakdown, I think I mentioned it at the time. We were sitting in the car near the Dukes theatre in Lancaster, on our way to see The Puppini Sisters, and I just couldn't go in. So I sat in the car in tears for ages then we went home. Christmas was pretty much over after that. We did put up the ridiculous fabric tree I made, but the rest of the decorations stayed in their boxes and we didn't get round to buying a proper tree. 

Dan raised the subject of decorating for this year and we decided to decorate for winter first to snug the house up then add the Christmas section at the appropriate time. 

This makes sense to me, and will hopefully remove some of the melancholy I feel around that time - I'm not religious although I do get a lot from going to church, I'm not a fan of family get togethers, although I do enjoy being with them. I just find the whole thing very a very pressured time, too many expectations, I suppose that's what lots of people would call tradition. So today we have dug out the decorations and I have started to decorate, blankets, candles, pine cones, a worrying large amount of hedgehogs, hearts and berries, they have all come out and are cheering up the house. 

There are some things we have to just get through, they can't be ignored, so it's all about finding a little space to make it more enjoyable, and what's more enjoyable than being at home?

Friday, 23 October 2015

Do Instead Of Buy

We started the day in mild panic, we'd forgotten to put the bin out, and it was very full. So Dan legged it down the road after the bin lorry, they were very nice and emptied it for us. 

I then ventured into the garage to dig out an old but still hanging in there tub of tile adhesive and grout, Dan "now understands" what I mean about the wobbly tiles as he nearly knocked them off the wall this morning. So he has declared that to be his job for the weekend. 

When I said I wanted/needed some clothes what I really meant was I need to do some ironing. I found a basket in the spare room and ended up with a cardi, two dresses and three tops that had been missing from my wardrobe. Considering I only own about six tops you'd think I'd have noticed sooner. 

After a pretty successful cooking week this week I am going to attempt to make celeriac soup today. I don't know if I've ever discussed by inability to make nice soup before, but it's not a strong point, I feel that celeriac soup might be within my capabilities - onion, celeriac, potato, stock, even I can't go wrong with that can I?

Thursday, 22 October 2015


After the nothing to report report of yesterday the budget has been blown apart by another trip to the out of hours vet. Same bunny, same problem. We'll be collecting her at tea time. She spent the night next to another lop with the same problem, I can't imagine being near another rabbit improved her mood very much.

The very wobbly tiles in the shower are now hanging on by a thread, they had the lightest of touches during cleaning this morning. 

One of my favourite dishes fell off the drainer and is now relegated to garden crock. 

But the sun is out and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Budget Round Up Mid October

There is nothing to report. 

Dan has taken three bags of coins to the bank today £1 of 1p, £1 of 2p and £5 of 5p. An extra £7 into savings, totally pain free. We're close to £10 in 20p too, I think we have saved a tenner many times over but we have used lots of the coins for parking and other small spends. 

The main budget is virtually gone, we have paid for the last few things we can buy ahead for our London trip. Food budget is going well, there's plenty of money to get us to the end of the month and we have lots of food already. I made a really nice lentil bol type thing on Monday using onions we grew, plus garlic, tomatoes and peppers grown by Father, it was very exciting to cook something using so much homegrown stuff. The best thing about the onions is that they have such a strong flavour so I don't have to use too much at all.

We did receive a freebie yesterday but didn't take advantage of it as Dan was worn out after work. We were given tickets to a show in Blackpool - yes, I had the chance to see the one and only David Hasselhoff! The early night did Dan lots of good I think. He fell asleep virtually as his head hit the pillow. 

My good deed for the week was to take a bottle of milk to the shop, my mum has milk in her tea so we had to buy some milk, I didn't want the rest to go to waste, milk will never be wasted there, we love our kettle. I also spent my shift yesterday cleaning the shop, something that needs to be done but no-one else really wants to do. We have the details for our Christmas night out too, it's in the town so no travel costs and it's a buffet which is only costing a fiver, bargain. 

I keep thinking I want/need some clothes, but then I find myself with something to wear every day so I can't need things all that much. I'll soldier on for now.

Monday, 19 October 2015


I'm not usually a gushing, romantic, hippity skippity kind of a person but this weekend was brilliant and I am just overjoyed at all the fantastic and generous people we know. 

This weekend included art (with unexpected Elisabeth Frink), pizza, the sea, funny gallery staff, cranberry tea, freebies galore, compliments on my leeks, roses in bloom, cute bunnies, bumping into friends, chocolates through the post, good news for others, birthday gifts, a meal out, a meal cooked for me, comfy bed, fitting into a skirt for the first time in ages, fluffy socks, the perfect cup of tea, enjoyable football, loads of laughter and a magazine.

Things are going so well I'm going to attempt to make soup today. 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Perfect Match

aka bargain of the week. I don't think I've had any freebies this week, although I have been promised yet more tomatoes next week.

On Tuesday I was tidying the shop when I first arrived when I almost tripped over something, then I noticed what it was and just had to buy it. Luckily for me, all books were 99p this week. It is the perfect thing for Dan, he is a researcher, he loves maps and does lots of work around deprivation and all that kind of thing. So when this falls into your lap you don't let it get away.

To say he was made up with it is a slight understatement, it has been declared "best gift ever". 

I'm not quite sure where it is going to live though, it's a bit big, here it is on a double bed 

I am now a little concerned that Dan might want to use this map as the basis of a walking tour when we go to London next month. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


There's a discussion about work experience on the radio at the minute and it got me thinking. 

I didn't receive any careers advice at school. Everyone else did, so I don't know why I missed out (if missed out is really the term). I did do work experience though, I worked for the parks department of a local authority. Sadly for all of us they thought I was going to be a lad, so I didn't get to use a lot of the heavy machinery. I did have a good time though.

I didn't want to work in the parks department, although I did enjoy the ride-one lawnmowers. I secretly wanted to be a florist (I may have mentioned this before). But being a florist was a daft job and anything other than university would be "wasting my brains" according to my teachers and pretty much everyone else. So I forgot about being a florist until last year. 

Despite all this I rarely have cut flowers in the house, it seems so wasteful, maybe that's why I was attracted to being a florist in the first place.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Done, Not Perfect

When my house was a tip, other than fear, the thing that held me back was perfectionism "when I have x then I'll be able to get organised" "when y situation is in place then it will be easy to be organised" etc. Letting go of that meant I could let go of my junk. 

This week has been like that. For years and years I've been looking for the perfect situation, feeling, time or whatever to start exercising again. I've lifted weights occasionally, I've been on the bike occasionally, I've done an exercise dvd occasionally, the latter went very well until I got a cold then couldn't do it, but did I start again when I was better? Of course not.

For the past few days my lower back has been giving me a bit of pain, have I been doing my stretches? Again, no. So I looked for some very simple yoga videos, and they have really helped. I know there are people out there gasping and thinking I must learn how to do these things properly, well that's what was holding me back. I just did it, maybe not perfectly, but it's done and I feel better for it.

In a similar vein Dan made a cake. He was given some pears and decided to make a cake with them. He just chucked loads of stuff in then put it in the oven. It tastes way too healthy to be a cake, looks a bit brown, but it tastes like a giant pear and cinnamon scone and is delicious with a cup of tea. He just did it and it was all fine.

We decided to watch one of the charity shop dvds we bought for Dan's mum instead of watching the football last night, the one we chose had an IMDB rating of 4.9. It wasn't great, but we enjoyed it and I'm sure it was preferable to watching England. I certainly got 75p worth of entertainment from it, I think Dan did too.

Monday, 12 October 2015

I Need A Lie Down

We had a great weekend, not doing much, but it was still great.

My brother and his family came to visit on Saturday before they went to see the illuminations, it was interesting. It was the first time we'd seen them without my parents being around so it felt different. I mainly talked to my brother (which is weird in itself) and his girlfriend and spent time with the younger children. Dan spent time with the older two, who were very unhappy as they had been told to leave their tablets at home. One of them thought our house was very boring and told us so, the other was confused by it, here are some sample questions

Dan, why do you have a thingy full of toy cars, are you going to sell them on Ebay?

Dan, why is that clock that shape? 

Dan, what's this black thing made of and what is it for?

Dan, why does that thing look like that?

Dan, if it's a vase, what are you going to put in it?

Dan, do any of your books have pictures of people in?

And so on. Holding a four month old was simple by comparison.

Still, we got one thing out of the way, I mentioned that we only wanted to buy gifts for the children for Christmas and it was agreed that it was a good idea. The children want to buy us something (I think they actually want to buy Dan something but I have to have something too) but that's as far as it's going. What a relief. 

It was so quiet when they left!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Freebies and Bargain of the Week

Not much to report this week. I found my brutalist badge, hooray! I'd put it in a safe place when I washed my cardi then forgot where it was. 

The first freebie of the week was another bag of tomatoes from my friend at the shop. The second is this evening when we're going to Harris gallery in Preston to hear a talk ans see the exhibition "Art From Elsewhere". We saw it at MIMA a while ago but it's slightly different here so I'm looking forward to it. I also received a couple of supermarket vouchers, but nothing too exciting.

I haven't bought much this week, so by default almost a Hornsea mug I bought at the charity shop fits the bill, I paid 69p for it. I don't know if I'll keep it or give it to someone as a gift.

It does kind of look like me

Maybe not. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Domestic Perfection

spider added for dramatic effect
This glamour shot of my house is for Kezzie who asked how my door sheet works. High tech indeed.

I decided to make a cake for the bake off at the shop today. Along with the cake ingredients there were thing babies such as a baking tin, I haven't made a cake in living memory so I had no equipment. Anyway, I made brownies using the cake mix and fizzy pop method and would you believe it, it works! I was a bit eager to get it out of the thin though so suffered collapse, totally unsliceable so Dan and I ate some of it, it was pretty nice. 

Amazingly I'm not a professional food stylist
I decided to give it another go and made a lemonade cake. The only thing is it needed a different tin, there was no way I was going to buy another tin so I used the one I had and it didn't help at all. The bits that were cooked were exceptionally nice, the rest was the definition of soggy bottom so it went in the bin. And so after spending nearly ten quid and more time than I'd like in the kitchen I have no money and no cake. 

I understand that people don't want to make quilts - after all it's just cutting up bits of material and sewing them back together again, I'm like that with cakes, very glad that other people see fit to make them, but it's not for me. 

Monday, 5 October 2015


I know it's not properly winter until we see Arsene Wenger wearing that big coat he struggles to zip up but yesterday winterising began here. 

After the launderette success of the other week I swapped the thin duvet to a thicker one, due to his ailments Dan feels the cold very easily so I thought it was for the best, in my world it's not really cold enough but it was very nice to feel the weight of it when I was in bed last night. I also put the door curtain up, it's not actually a curtain, it's an orange sheet I got from the charity shop, but it does enough to just take the edge off the cold coming in from the porch. 

I'm not quite sure what he did but Dan wandered round with a caulking gun and some glue fixing things about the place, we took advantage of the nice weather yesterday and cut the front lawn, did some weeding and general tidying of things that might fly away when it gets windy. 

We also had a chat about our diet, it has not been particularly healthy recently. A few extra bits and bobs have been creeping in, portion sizes have started to grow and we've been eating quite a lot of sugar. So we're clamping down on that too. It's been easy to use being busy, or tired, or stressed or whatever to justify all the sweet treats. That is coming to an end and with a bit of creative deprivation treats will go back to being treats, not a daily thing.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Tenner Week Roundup

This is how my spending went last week when I was doing Tenner Week with Penny Golightly.

Sunday - No spend
Monday - No spend
Tuesday - £2.89 bunny veg, milk and potatoes
Wednesday - No spend
Thursday - £1.79 cauliflower and chestnuts, £5 voucher spent on beer
Friday - no spend
Saturday - no spend (by me, Dan bought coffee)
Sunday - no spend

I did want to get through the week without using my £5 supermarket voucher, but Dan bought some beer with it, I don't mind, it was "free" beer after all. 

This week was a really good week, for my freebie I received a magazine. Someone donated the current (Nov. 2015) edition of Coast to the shop and my friend bought it for me, she has a cake when we go out for coffee and I buy hers even though I don't have cake so it was a gesture for that which was nice. We also bagged some freebies for someone else - although these aren't in the hand yet so they're only very probable freebies. Someone Dan works with is looking to get rid of some old furniture as their parents are downsizing and has offered us some G Plan furniture. It's a little too recent for us as it is early 70's but we have friends who would love it.

My other bargain, and this may be useful to someone else, is that vac-packed chestnuts are back at Home Bargains 99p per 200g pack with a best before date of some time in 2016. We eat a lot of chestnuts during the colder months so I'm going to stock up next week if they are still available.

I planted some onions, some spring bulbs and some seeds during the week and at the weekend we got stuck in and did some proper tidying in the garden, a vast improvement. 

For entertainment at the weekend we went to Blackpool on Saturday early evening. I took some pictures of ghost signs and we walked around the area of the prom we generally only drive past which was good, we especially wanted to see the fluted pylons by Jo Berry (pictured). Each of the discs features designs related to illuminations from the 1930's. We also some some performance art - Bicycle Ballet, which was great fun, had a dance (to West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys) as we walked through Brilliance and watched the new Lightpool light show which is a projection onto the front of the tower building. All for free, all for fun.  

Friday, 2 October 2015

Lazy Sausage

Lately, when Dan suggests walking into the town at the weekend I reply with something along the lines of "harumph, I'm sooooooo bored of doing that walk". And generally I am, so I've employed an approach usually taken with weeding or other tedious housework, I think about something else as I do it. 

Just like putting some music on helps pass the time when tidying up or just doing it makes exercise happen, thinking about something else gets the boring bit of the walk done - although I still have to remember to hold my breath when walking past cat stink house.

Easy peasy.