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Showing posts from October, 2017

Pantry Tour

There are finally some gaps in the pantry! I like to have a well stocked pantry, I think anyone who has been low on food for any period can have similar feelings. 

Closest to the door are the everyday essentials, tea, herbs and spices, breakfast cereal/oats, nuts and seeds. We have a few empty jars here, they're usually all filled with cereal or oats but at the moment one jar of each is enough. We're also using broken mixed nuts, easier to store together. Dried herbs and spices are one thing I've really cut down own, I used to love having a large assortment of different blends and so on, at the moment our meals are quite simple, so a slimmed down spice rack is fine, there's still a wide enough choice for all manner of flavour combinations. 

Above that are the tins, again a small selection at the moment, I do like to have a variety, but not just now, in the jars are red and green lentils. We tried Branston beans for the first time last week, they got the thumbs up from bo…

Waste Not

The Oxfam shop is one of two charity shops I always visit when we're in Lancaster, I don't always buy something, but when I do it's usually something of great use. The last good purchase from there was a coffee dripper for Dan. 
We don't have a bin in the kitchen, or anywhere in the house other than the bathroom, where we have two - one for rubbish, one for recycling. We have been using a small bucket for quite a while but have had half an eye out for something better, preferably with a lid. We found one on Saturday and both spotted it at the same time.

I think it's supposed to be a compost caddy, but it's our bin, £3.99 and unused by the look of it. The mini dustpan and brush was not part of the deal, that cost an extra £1 and is mainly for sweeping the dining table. I'm a bit too excited about both items. 
We're still working through the contents of the pantry, but I did buy quite a lot of veg this week, I needed an injection of fresh food, we still have…

Seems Like Yesterday

The Rugby League World Cup starts this morning, and it couldn't feel more different than the last time round. This year the tournament is in the southern hemisphere, in 2013 it was in Britain, Ireland and France and it was brilliant! 

Four years ago today we were in Hull to watch Papua New Guinea v France, the first of the games we attended (of which there were many). You can see me above being hugged by Rufus the Robin, Hull KR's mascot. I wore my old university college scarf which is PNG colours and ended up being interviewed by a tv reporter! You can see the original post here.

During this time we visited Hull, Workington, Warrington, Huddersfield, Halifax, Rochdale, Wigan, Leigh, Salford, and Old Trafford, Manchester. We met stars of the game, met some great people, were photographed with a number of fuzzy mascots, were warm, soggy, wet, cold, very cold, and exceptionally cold at times (I'm looking at you Workington). I think I felt every emotion it's possible for a …

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

A few things this week, and a few free/ low cost things booked this week to enjoy in the future. Firstly, a £2 voucher arrived from the supermarket after my complaint/ comment. We also have a refund coming from my phone provider as I'd been overcharged for the past two months. 

The latest magazine arrived from 20th Century society, obviously we pay to be members, but the magazines are a great bonus, we both read the whole thing so its very useful, I doubt we'd pay £7 a time if we weren't members. We're booked in to see a talk by the linguist David Crystal in a couple of weeks, we missed him last time so I'm really happy to see him this time.

We're also going up to Lancaster that same week to watch The Death of Stalin, I may have mentioned a while ago that we went to a talk by comedy writer Ian Martin (Veep, The Thick Of It, In The Loop), he's back in Lancaster to hold a Q&A after the showing of the film, which is brilliant. We thought we'd have to go …

I'm Not Complaining Yet

I know I will, but for the time being I am very happy to be making Dan's quilt. 

Last week I got a very emotional message from Em who was delighted with her birthday present, and even though I do say so myself, it looks great in her house. Dan's bed quilt has been in planning since December, but yesterday something poked me to get on with it. I dug out the sewing machine again and actually quite enjoyed spending the day sorting out the top. 

Using the tea towel made it a little bit tricky as the fabric wanders around a lot, but it will be fine, wonky and wonderful.

When The Meal Plan Works

A volunteer nipped into the shop on Wednesday and said "I thought you were doing the Hallowe'en window", I replied "I did", she said "what happened to it?". I told her it was subtle, and she shrugged. Probably the reaction I expected. 

On Tuesday morning I forgot I was supposed to be making lentil bol, and instead made the cauliflower bake. I tasted it when it came out of the oven. It was not pleasant, so I added a few bits and bobs and turned out fine, in fact Dan has suggested it's added to the menu plan on a regular basis.

It's not a very photogenic meal either! The crust is just a couple of slices of bread, some cooked quinoa and herbs. I know I should think about my photographs before I take them but I'm always too hungry to wait!

On Thursday I got round to preparing the spaghetti squash, using this post to help me. It was really easy to prepare, I was a bit too excited so I cooked the squash in the morning and reheated it later. I had p…

In With The Old

I saw a notice from the Town Council the other day informing me about the Victorian weekend that we, like many towns, have just before the festive period. To go along with this there is a window competition, judged by the Mayor. We do usually enter (although I've never had anything to do with it) I don't know if we'll apply this year as the manager doesn't seem amazingly keen on things like this, but I hope we do (even though the fancy fabric shop always wins these things). 

But it got me thinking about what we might do, and in that way the mind wanders, it reminded me of an unfinished cross stitch I had in the fabric bag. It must be at least 12 years since I last did anything with it, and it was finished other than half of the border. So yesterday, as we drank tea and watched Soccer Saturday I decided to get on with it. Of course I didn't have the same shade of green to finish the border, but thanks to the huge amount of embroidery floss Dan brought over from his g…

I'm On The Phone

Kezzie posted about technology the other day and I realised I felt more strongly about it than I thought. the charging hole (?) on my phone became damaged so I upgraded earlier this year, and ended up with a fancier phone and a larger data allowance for not much more money (I still pay less than £20 per month). I know I am behind the times, my own mother laughs at me for not being on whatsapp, snapchat and instagram, my older niece and nephew roll their eyes at me whenever they ask what games I have too. 

So, I decided to use more of the features on my phone and it has been brilliant so far. I love lists (who doesn't?) but I dislike having paper hanging about the place. So Dan suggested I start using Keep, it's AMAZING! I can keep all my notes, recipe ideas, pantry and grocery lists right there, edit them easily and know I'll never forget to to take them with me. Notes that are active are highlighted in different colours, and notes I want to keep but don't need to stand…

Micro Saving

I can't remember where it was but a little while ago I saw a tip/ comment that saving just under £84 a month would be £1000 over the course of a year, so that has become my aim and my secret mission to help with our many and varied large upcoming purchases. 

Dan kind of knows I'm doing this and is slightly amused by my vagueness when he asks about the shopping budget On his part he's resurrected an old bank account - he was very impressed he could remember the login after not using the account for over three years. He is socking away the change jar money - I was in serious trouble when I spent a 5p coin the other day! £10 is going in this lunchtime, he also pays himself £2 every time he cycles to work, that is going into this account too. It's micro saving really but it's mounting up. 

If I buy any yellow stickers, or buy something that's on offer I'm saving the difference. This helps in two ways - the savings themselves and it means I'm only buying thing…

In The Window - Hallowe'en

As I've mentioned before, I don't like theme windows, and I really don't like novelty ones, which is what we usually have for occasions such as Hallowe'en (although I haven't been in charge of doing the windows on previous occasions). Thankfully for me, the new manager isn't a fan either so we engineered a sightly more subtle approach. We neither have the stock nor the space to save outfits for the window, everything is put together from what we have in the shop on the day, which makes it more fun, even if we're not as professional as some charity shops you see these days. I'm not sure it's going to be popular with the other manager or volunteers but there you go. If someone wants to redo it then they can feel free!

The window we ended up with is not the one we started with, we had a black net bed canopy surrounding the bric a brac table but it was sold within minutes, even though we put a price on it that we thought no-one would pay, but they did so…

Menu Planning - I Take It All Back

As I mentioned last month over the summer I haven't been menu planning and it had worked really well. This month, everything has fallen apart and I haven't had a clue where I am. It started when we had guests at the start of the month, but I can't use that as an excuse, as last week we ended up with a fridge full of half eaten things and I had no idea how long some of it had been there. To be honest, I've been neglecting things at home as I've been at the shop quite a lot. Because I'm rushing to get food on the table I keep forgetting to take pictures, or make a note of what we've been eating so I won't be able to look back for inspiration. 
I've done a plan to cover the rest of this month and hopefully I can start next month without a plan, but for now I need to use up some of the masses of food we have in the fridge and pantry. We have been eating well though 

Here's the plan for the rest of October - 
16. spicy rice 17. lentil bol w. spaghetti sq…

Sunday Morning Power Hour

When we got home from the football yesterday, we noticed that our neighbour has removed the damaged fence panel that backs onto our garden. We also noticed that we have a lot of food that needs to be eaten (I am seeing the downside of not menu planning). So we decided to split up and deal with each of these.

Dan went out with the clippers to clear our area of plant jumble to allow the new panel to fit in, and I did a menu plan. Luckily, our neighbour came out to speak to Dan and they had a good chat, all parties were left assured of good garden relations!

I wrote a menu plan, largely pantry based for the rest of the month, and while I was it is sorted out my recipe file, so I now have not bits of paper scattered around and I know where to find my favourite recipes. 

A good way to spend a Sunday morning.

Freebie And Bargain of the Week

It's that time again already. 

There hasn't been much to tempt me recently at the charity shop - other than the chocolates my manager bought for me, isn't she lovely. However, as I was carrying a donation through to the workroom I spotted something

a nice Pyrex bowl. Smashed my small mixing bowl a while ago and a replacement has been on my list so this is ideal, what makes it more exciting is that this one was made in the USA rather than all my other dishes which are from J A Joblings in Sunderland. Hooray! At £1.99 it was a nice price too. 

Oh, we got the car back, and the bill was just over £90, far less than we thought, and that was mainly to pay for the tow truck. The mechanic doesn't actually know what caused the problem but we're good for now and we can take it back at any time. 

We also won £25 on the lottery. I know people have strong feelings about the lottery, we have our reasons for paying in to it and that's that. 

That's about it for this week, I…

In The Fridge

A month ago we replaced our fridge freezer with an undercounter fridge so I thought I'd let you know how we're getting on with it. 

We love it!

The main reason is that the fridge is now in the main part of the kitchen, rather than the dining area. This makes getting stuff in and out of the fridge far easier, although I do occasionally still walk to where the fridge freezer used to stand. It also looks better, it's not a lovely integrated device but it makes the dining area (which is not huge) feel more spacious. We put our shelving unit in there and I'm getting used to it, at first I thought it was a bit wood upon wood upon wood in there but it's not too bad now.

We are also really enjoying not having a freezer in general, the fridge has a small icebox, and we had agreed that if the need arose we could buy a small chest freezer for the garage, but it's been fine so far. 

When I emptied the old freezer I noticed there was a lot of stash and dash items in there, meal…


Do you complain to shops and businesses when the need arises?

Last night we went to the supermarket (turns out I do need to buy food after all) and I bought a squash. The cashier couldn't locate the exact item on the till so asked me how much it was, told her and she typed it in. When I got home I thought Id been overcharged so I weighed the squash and I believe I have been.

I decided to let it go. 

But then I decided not to let it go and, despite all my cringing and discomfort, wrote an email to the store about it. But instead of just saying "I was overcharged" I turned it into an email about hard to find items on the till. Oh my word, I think I was blushing as I typed. The thing is, had I dealt with it in the store I would have had no issue being blunt face-to-face. I think it's because it's such a small thing it seems more petty to deal with it after the fact that right there and then (when for various reasons I didn't pay enough attention). 

To make it clear,…


I am an overbuyer in the food department. It stems from that summer I had nothing to eat but frozen peas, rice and popcorn. Although I can now happily eat rice again I can't (or probably more likely won't) let my stocks run low. 
In the past when we've had people coming to stay I've been far too prepared. I've tried to have assorted things on hand so if our guests wanted anything to eat or drink we would have something in that ballpark. This time I didn't, we just bought some pastries, a cake, salads, dips and things to dip into the dips, it was still too much. When I thought about it later, I want to be a good host but my guests also want be be good guests, so they stopped somewhere for a snack before they arrived so I didn't have to run round after them, which is what I would have done, having eaten my actual car snacks about 30 minutes into the journey.

Over the course of the weekend we ate the cake, sent the pastries home with our guests so they didn'…

Freebie and Bargain of the Week

I can't pretend that this week was thrifty, we were out and about at the start of the week, and I had a clothes shopping spree - at real shops, not charity shops. The car was taken away on the back of a truck yesterday afternoon so this weekend is one at home. Thankfully we'd started the holiday with the things we wanted to do - visiting Abbot Hall in Kendal for the Painting Pop exhibition, and of course the trip to Hull. So other than the large garage bill we'll be receiving soon it's a good weekend to be at home. 

We still have access to sports channels due to our cut price two month offer thingamy, perfect for the Super League Grand Final this evening. I also had a reminder this morning that I have a voucher or a 99p movie rental via Google Play, as I still have credit left over from a giftcard I received last Christmas I think we'll go for it. We might even watch Blade Runner as it's a hot topic at the moment and we have been toying with the idea of seeing t…


We're at home for the rest of the holiday, the car is in need of professional help, on the motorway last night something happened to the clutch which meant the whole way home we couldn't change gear. Thankfully Dan jammed it into 3rd and we trundled home, I would imagine annoying a great many people on the assorted motorways between there and here but what can you do? The only real trouble was arriving back in the town and having to negotiate traffic lights, but we got home eventually and for that I am grateful. 

We went to Hull, primarily to see the Turner Prize exhibition at Ferens Art Gallery, but also to stuff our faces at Blondes in nearby Cottingham and generally have a poke around the Old Town. I've spoken about how much we love Hull before so will just share a couple of pictures of our beautiful day. 

I haven't quite got used to my new phone so my finger appears on many photographs, like in the olden days. 

It's actually quite a good thing that we're at ho…