Thursday, 30 November 2017

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

This covers a couple of things from last week too. My parents came to visit and along with my smallest niece, they brought a pile of stuff for me. Something not pictured was a packet pasta meal, I used to love them when I was a teenager and my mum thought I'd like one for my lunch. I hadn't eaten one for over 20 years but I confess I quite enjoyed it! I also pinched a packet of pom bear style crisps from my niece. 

I received a pile of magazines as always

And a stalk of the nicest sprouts I've ever had

Dan's mum watches a lot of tv so we thought a Now TV box might be good for her as it would offer her channels she doesn't currently have available to her. A work colleague of Dan's has a pile of old boxes as he buys a new box for the offers they have - a £15 box might have a month of the movie channels in with the price, for example. So we've borrowed one.

I've been lucky at the charity shop too. Along with dozens of compliments about the Victorian window (which I'm not tired of seeing and am really looking forward to doing the festive window next week) I bought a couple of books to tide me over the Christmas holiday. 

Although spending is going to be at a minimum from now on as we have a new bathroom guy (I think, we had a little misunderstanding about the job earlier this week, but we'll see, Dan's sorting it out), I treated myself to a new brooch for £1.

Finally, I was chatting with a customer about this and that, and she commented on my necklace, saying she had some earrings in a similar style. On Tuesday my manager handed me an envelope

How lovely!

Monday, 27 November 2017

On Any Given Sunday

Yesterday morning on social media I described the day as "Happy 'be amazing then lose to a 92nd minute penalty' day"* (for those who don't know, a football match is 90 minutes long). We went to watch Burnley v Arsenal, and here's how it went. We'd heard it was going to be a bit chilly, as there had been a smattering of snow the day before, so I wrapped up. 

Thermal vest and leggings, jumper, fully lined skirt, extra socks, hat, mittens and a scarf, plus a big coat obviously.

A wet, misty drive found us in the town, parking is free on Sundays so we treated ourselves to a spot on the car park - and did our good deed by telling some away fans to save their money. Time for a spot of lunch, hot from the flask.

Into town, everyone loves the police horses, they get lots of mints! 

Time for a treat, almond milk chai for me and coconut milk hot chocolate for Dan from the wonderful Little Barista.

How cute are the cups! Now off to the match.

A sign of the times, the club has installed some safety barriers to prevent any vehicle driving through the crowds - the ground is right on the road, people would have nowhere to go. 

There's always a long queue for the real ale bus!

The beautiful view from my seat, snow topped hills and rows of houses. 

At the start of this post I said it was be amazing then lose to a 92nd minute penalty day. I was wrong! It was the 91st minute. I could do nothing more than stare at my feet...

*our last game v Arsenal was 2-1, losing to a 98th minute penalty, the one before that was 0-1 to Arsenal, losing to a 93rd minute goal. I wonder what will happen next time?

Friday, 24 November 2017


Dan is 40 next year, and much as I would love to treat him to all manner of things I don't have the funds, so I am keeping an eye out at the charity shop plus I'm making a few token gifts, one of which I'm plating with today. 

I can't draw. At all. But I really wanted to attempt a fabric collage picture of the house, we keep seeing them about the place, luckily I do have a picture of our style of house in a book, I also have baking paper, so I could trace it!

This is the very basic shape, with no additional stitching, we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The Legacy Of Poor Decision Making

Four years ago I made the error of sticking the wooden cutlery drawer insert thing into the drawer with some sticky pads. I think I knew it was a mistake when I did it, but I did it anyway, it may have been on the same day I hit the kickboard into place because it was wonky. Looking back at the post about these incidents it turns out I did know the sticky pad thing was a bad idea. 

Fast forward to today, inspired by something I read online (yes, I know, I should have left well alone) I decided today was the day to tackle the drawer. It turns out that pound shop sticky pads are very good quality and do not lose their adhesive qualities over time. Still stuck fast. So I thought to myself I could swap some of the kitchen drawers around, use a different cutlery organiser and all would be well. As it turns out not very many of my kitchen drawers are the same size, I swapped the only drawer that would fit only to discover, it didn't fit - 

wonky bonky. 

Back to square one. Well, it would be back to square one if the wonky bonky drawer would fit back into the hole from whence it came, it's a work in not-much progress. So I tackled the drawer containing the tin opener, grater and all that stuff (does that have a proper name?) instead.

I think the bottom one is the after photo, hard to tell really. I did manage to get rid of a few things

Two blue things for who knows what, seals for jars I probably don't own, a rubbish strainer and an even worse tea infuser. I've owned the infuser for about a month, made two completely undrinkable cups of tea with it and now it's off out of the house. I do like the two big scoopy spoon things but I don't think I ever use them, the larger of the two does look like it would be useful in the garden though. 

All in all have things progressed? Not really. Am I glad I did it? Yeah.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Day At The Beach

Well, a quarter of an hour at the beach.

It was not really very cold, just a bit cold, but the wind hit us as soon as we crossed the dunes. My niece refused to put her coat on and we were stared at by dog walkers for allowing a 2 year old to build sandcastles protected only by a hoodie. We splashed in a puddle on the way home then had jelly. 

It was nice to spend time on the sand, and everywhere looked beautiful. 

Monday, 20 November 2017


Other than a trip to the football on Saturday we were at home this weekend, and it was a lazy productive time, if that's a thing. 

Dan filled up the green bin, ready for collection this week, we took stuff to the tip and the charity shop, tidied the understairs cupboard, which was not nearly as scary as we thought, and generally had a putter around sorting things out - just what I wanted to do before I start to get stressed about that December event I'd rather just avoid. Maybe stressed isn't the word, frustrated is more the word, I can't stand to feel obliged to do things and we have to spend time with people who are all about tradition. Enough said about that, I'm not going to mention it again. 

One thing I struggle with is my breakfast, I can't cope with anything milky like cereal or porridge first thing, and having nothing for me to eat is a concern to Dan, so we seem to constantly on the hunt for something for me. Yesterday I was sick of thinking about it (for anyone who doesn't know if I could do away with eating altogether I would, it's a necessary faff to me) at the same time we turned to each other and said "breakfast bars". So I made some. 

I used the Morning Oat Jacks recipe from Keep It Vegan, although I couldn't bring myself to use 100ml each of agave nectar and maple syrup, so I used about 75ml of agave which is plenty sweet enough for me, and as the bars also contain coconut, raisins and dates there was extra oomph anyway. Of course I didn't have the right size tin so my bars were a bit (a lot) crumbly, but they are delicious and the extra bits are in a tub as granola-style sprinkles for Dan's porridge. 

Very tasty and one did actually fill me up which is unusual for a breakfast thing. I will try to get hold of a smaller tin and will make these often. I also got ahead of myself in terms of lunch, I will avoid lunch or grab the easiest thing, I want to avoid too much bread for a while as I do suffer from the aches and pains of "bread belly" so I made a massive bowl of veggie cous cous and washed and chopped lots of salad. Which we then ate so I have to chop some more!

It feels so good to eat lighter foods at the moment, I don't know if it's because it's getting colder and everywhere feels more stuffy with thicker coats, heating on etc, but it's something, as I am somewhat of a salad dodger. 

I also swapped a few decorative bits around to make things a little more wintery. I can't remember why I posted a picture up, probably of one of the buns, but I was ridiculed for having decorative logs in the hole where a fire would normally be. We don't have a fire, and the space behind is not very attractive, so what's the problem? We went from our usual look 

To something more... whatever the word is.

I've just found out that my youngest niece is coming to visit today so I can imagine there will be pinecones all over the floor rather than decorating the fireplace in the next few hours! A brilliant way to lighten up a dark Monday morning.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Freebie and Bargain Of The Week

This week we used more supermarket vouchers, some for bonus points on things we had on the shopping list anyway, such as laundry liquid, and another £3 off £20 these vouchers arrived at the right time as I needed things like rabbit litter, laundry liquid and other non-food items. When we use this final voucher we'll receive another £2.50 voucher to spend at our leisure. All in all this month we will have spent £100 at the supermarket (give or take), received £15 off our shopping and will have another £12.50 in vouchers, that's not too bad at all. 

The main bonus this week is from our internet provider. We were out of contract so Dan phoned to hear what they had to offer, after not too much negotiation we are paying £1 more per month than before, a fair bit less than the original offer, plus we now have super-fast broadband, which is great as we use internet tv now, and we have a few other bits and bobs to do with calls, not all that relevant but it's good to know should we need to use the landline it won't cost us a fortune. Shortly afterwards I received a text saying that as we have the new contract, and my phone is with the same provider, I now have an extra 5Gb data free of charge, great for when I'm out and about. 

At the other end of the spectrum, we had a voucher from the Co-Op for 50p off any of the free from range, so we ended up with a chocolate bar for 10p.

Finally, I bought some flowers from Aldi three Fridays ago and here they are 

Still looking amazing! Great value as they only cost me £2.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

In The Window

After no small amount of blood, sweat, tears and tantrums we have the basic set up for our Victorian window display. My fellow colleague Bee, who won "Volunteer of the Year" last year for our charity for being all round amazing, saved my facon by loaning me a dress she had made. People are falling over themselves to swoon at it!

Look at that dress! Isn't it amazing!

It took about an hour, a saw, hammer, staples, a bra, and half a roll of parcel tape just to fix the head onto the model, never mind the countless pins, staples, padded coat hangers and various other things needed to put everything together. It was absolutely hilarious (probably the only time I've laughed during this whole thing!). I think I'll arrange to be on holiday this time next year though! 

Monday, 13 November 2017

Sneak Peek

 After being more than a little stressed about it I had an idea about how to get started with the Victorian themed window, so I headed to the charity shop this morning to do the groundwork. The volunteer working today was someone I know has been involved with big windows like this before, so we had a chat about it and she offered to loan me a dress she made for a do she attended a few years ago. What a relief, that's the big show stopper we needed. 

My middle of the night idea for the other models (we're having three) was to use the large rolls of fabric we have for sale at the moment to fashion a skirt and use some other things I knew were in the shop plus some things I had a home to create a full outfit. 

The only slight negative about the day was when a manager visiting from another shop made a comment that I shouldn't be hacking all the stock to pieces just for a window. I politely pointed out to her that all items were bought and paid for and I had, in fact, owned them for quite some months. Thankfully my manager stepped in and commented that we are very committed to our roles and often go above and beyond, which was very nice of him. 

The two outfits I put together are hiding in the back room until Wednesday when they will be fluffed and primped properly, these pictures are a sneak peak of a very rough cut. Without further ado - 

The choker is a place holder until I can hopefully find something else. The jacket I think looks great and was for sale in the shop. The blouse is actually a part of the top I've chopped up to use as part of my doodle. 

You can just make out the lace and beading, the collar of the "blouse" is actually one of the sleeves pulled over and pinned in place. Outfit two - 

The beaded collar is made from a broken necklace of mine with a pendant and earrings added as embellishments.

The blouse is a modern one with a ruffle front, covered with a capelet I made from a skirt off the 99p rail (not visible) and finished off with a faux fur stole.

By no means authentic, I don't think it's too bad for a couple of hours in a freezing cold shop! 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Upgrading In The Kitchen

Our kitchen is well past best, but it's going to be a fair old while before we get a new one. I think even the bathroom is going to be second priority (if we can find someone to do the job) as the boiler is playing up again, I had a very cold shower today!

Anyway, and ignoring all the arguments that if we didn't spend money on frippery we'd be able to afford these things more quickly, we headed off to TK Maxx for a look around. We don't buy things from there all that often as I generally can't face all the poking about, but today we crossed a few things off our shopping list. 

Sleepy juice. I am not a great sleeper, never have been but the combination of Tisserand Sweet Dreams oil and sea sounds helps a lot. I paid £4.99 for these two roll ons, at the chemist I pay around £4 for just one, so very happy. I have no idea whether aromatherapy actually works, but I do associate this fragrance with being sleepy so it's the same thing really. 

Earlier in the day we had decluttered four mugs, three to the charity bag and one to the garden crock box as the handle was broken. Two of the charity ones were novelty mugs from MIL a while ago - you know the type "If I had enough coffee I could rule the world". We wanted two mugs to go with the two we already have (mine's the blue one).

The new ones are the same size, they're just far away. £6.99 each, bargain!

We don't own an oven glove after Dan destroyed the one we had in a fit of I've been burned through this rubbish oven glove rage, so we've been using a silicone pot mat thing for the past wee while. These mitts have silicone stripes on them, should do the trick.

Ideal for my little hands, and they have a hangy hole. 

Finally, I had melted one too many of my 19p Ikea plastic utensils so I replaced them, this item was way down the list, but as we spotted a bamboo set for just £3.99 I dragged it to the top. Before - 

After - 

No, not finally! Dan picked up a dustpan and brush. 

It's made from recycled plastic and wood pulp, the jagged edge is to clean the bristles of the brush, genius idea! £3. We spent £33 in total and have something to help us work, rest and play*! Plus it took my mind off the shoddy state of the kitchen, bathroom, boiler, windows, garage, living room ceiling...