Monday 30 December 2013


A Minion hat & a stripy pink hat with a flower on & a matching scarf 

Friday 27 December 2013

What would you do if?

I've just read this article in the Daily Wail & funnily enough the same subject came up when we went out for a drink with my L&M's work colleagues, one of my L&M's colleagues was musing on what he would do with a lottery win & trying to work out how much he'd need to win to enable him & his wife not to have to work again. It is a subject he often talks about, I think he sees it as his only way of escaping a boring job.
Obviously my L&M & I wouldn't need as much as they would, we are in our late 50's/60's, they are in their 20's, but my L&M was explaining how to work it out. Unfortunately my L&M's colleague has no hobbies & no interests apart from retail therapy, so he'd need to win a huge amount of money to enable him not to work ever again. Whereas we could retire in the mortgage was paid off as our our pensions would cover our other bills, it wouldn't be an exciting life, but then we aren't really looking for excitement.
There have been a few people in the news recently who marriages collapsed after a big lottery win, were their marriages struggling anyway, did they argue over what to do with the money, who knows.
Money can often cause more problems than it solves, I'm sure that at least one relative of ours would die quicker the more money he had as he would drink himself to death or kill himself in an drink driving accident.
Until recently I always said I'd continue to work if I won a lot of money as I don't believe doing nothing is good for anyone, now I'd have to do voluntary work as I am past retirement age.
So how much would you want to win & what would you do with your winnings?

Thursday 26 December 2013

How little can I spend this month

We were paid on 20th December so we have 5 weeks until we are paid again, I'm not expecting this to be a big problem as we haven't gone mad & spent much on Christmas gifts. We both made a transfer to our bills account the day we got paid & it will sit there until it pays the bills..
We haven't rushed off to the sales as there is nothing we need, but I may go for a mooch around the local charity shops on Saturday.
We have plenty of meat left from our meat hamper, plus 8 pork chops, lots of cheese & butter in the fridge, lots of fruit & my larder cupboard is full of all the basics such as flour, sugar, tea bags etc.

I have 20 eggs in the fridge & another 20 will be delivered on 4th & 18th, they will cost £8, I will need milk, probably another £8. A loaf of white bread a week for my L&M and half a loaf of wholemeal for me, £7. We still have veg growing in the garden & a big bag of frozen peas. I'm going to aim to spend no more than £30 until the end of the month.
The leftover beef will be sliced & frozen in gravy.
The turkey breast will also be sliced & frozen in gravy.
Half the ham will be frozen to be used to make sandwiches, the other half will be made into pie filling with the dark turkey meat and a few mushrooms., this pie filling can also be served as a pasta sauce.
I shall make a batch of soup with the left over broccoli & cauliflower & some Stilton, this we do for some of my lunches when I return to work on 6th January.
My L&M was given 20 bottles of assorted lagers so he won't need any more for a while. If I need to spend more I will do so but the less I spend, the more money will go into the savings account & from there into the mortgage account.
I've also found 2 more books to sell on Amazon, so I'll list those tomorrow.

Stuff to do

All I've done today is 2 loads of washing, I didn't manage anything else, I've spent most of the day on the sofa, snoozing, even knitting feels like too much effort.
I'm beginning to feel better now so hopefully I'll get more done tomorrow, I'd like to get the ironing done soon, so everything is ready for when we go back to work.
My L&M has been pottering in the garden, and has drawn up his planting plan for the coming year, I like to see him busy & cheerful.
DD, Lizzie may visit tomorrow with the children, it will be nice to see them & give them their gifts. 
I have ordered some thumb stones, amethyst, lapis lazuli & rose quartz, I'm trying to concentrate on aspects of my life other than work & the negativity involved.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Lovely day

We've had a lovely day today, usually it's just my L&M & I on Christmas day, but today both my son's came for lunch along with Tom's girlfriend, Tom looked very dashing as he was wearing a hat, he was most impressed when I recognised it as a fedora, most people think its a trilby, but a fedora has a wider brim.
We had dinner & lots of chat & laughter, especially when my L&M's phone rang, he answered it to be greeted with a list of complaints about someone suspicious hanging around outside a building. He listened patiently until the caller ran out of steam & then said 'I'm very sorry to hear about the problems you are having, but I'm a school caretaker, I'm not the police, it seems one of the local PCSO has a similar number.
Apart from cooking & eating lunch with the family I've also managed to fit in watching a couple of different versions of 'A Christmas Carol' it's a story I've loved since I was a child, it also reminds of my ex & makes me appreciate my L&M even more.
My sons were both delighted with their gifts, a chess set for Tom & a mug with an offensive saying on it for John. I also bought both of them a fleece snood/hood, John had been meaning to buy one for his forthcoming ski trip & Tom wanted one to keep his ears warm when walking to work.
Tomorrow it will just be the 2 of us & I will spend some time making room in the spare room for my L&M to erect 2 plastic green houses & start his planting. I'm not cooking tomorrow as we lots of leftovers to use up, so I will also spent some time sitting with my feet up & having a rest.

Monday 23 December 2013


We had our Yule celebration on Sunday today as my L&M was working Saturday.

We had turkey with all the trimmings, I didn't do a starter or pudding. 

My L&M is at work again Monday & Tuesday, we have family visiting on Christmas day so we will have another celebratory meal then & I will do a pudding to go with that meal.

After dropping my L&M at work, I treated myself to ten new tea towels, mine are all grotty from being used as extra oven gloves, I also bought a new pinny.
I received this lovely wind chime from the Secret Santa at work, I think it is too nice to hang outside except on special summer days.

This my Yule decoration this year, we have reorganised the room and there is nowhere much to put anything so this is all I have.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Solstice Blessing

Solstice Blessing

May you know peace, joy & love.
May you experience wonder and magic even in the simplest
May you delight in your life and all its intricacies.
May laughter be the balm that heals all wounds.

Friday 20 December 2013

End of term

I'm so tired that I'm shaking, but term is over & I don't go back 'til 6th January, I shall be off to bed fairly soon as hubby has to be at work about 7:30 tomorrow. 
I need to get some wrapping paper tomorrow, collect a parcel from the local sorting office & have the gas topped up in my car's AC. When I get home I shall spread all the presents out on the floor tomorrow & work out who's getting what & start wrapping.
We received an email at work yesterday stating that any mugs left in the kitchen after lunch today would be disposed off, I'm not sure how many people will have read the email so I collected 6 boxes of mugs & bought them home, I've put them through the dishwasher & I'll stack them in my spare room for a couple of weeks, if they are allowed to be returned to work I'll take them back, if we are not allowed to keep mugs at work, I'll take them to a local charity shop.
I was given a huge bag of Lego today, one of my DGS's has a lot of Lego, the other loves Lego, but only has a small quantity so he is going to be delighted when Santa delivers the bag to him. I was also given 3 boxes of chocolates that I will re-gift. I've already given my DD Lizzie the Christmas Jumper I wore today, so she has it to wear on Christmas day.

Wednesday 18 December 2013


My L&M and I have decided to throw all our spare pennies at our mortgage next year. We have reduced it fairly well so far as we took out a 25 year mortgage 10 years ago & we only have 9 years 2 month left of the term.
Unfortunately we had a few years when I was the only one in regular employment & for a while we had an interest only mortgage,otherwise we'd have paid off even more.
Now we are going to make a concerted effort to pay off as much as we can, as soon as we can.
We have £67.703.19 left to pay!

We have upped our payments by £100 per month from our joint account & I'm also going to try to pay an extra  £39.97 out of my account each month. At the end of each month, any money left in our joint account will be moved to our savings account & then transferred to the mortgage every 6 months. No doubt something expensive will now break down & scupper all our plans, so we can but try.

Aren't I lucky

A gift from a new colleague who has felt somewhat overwhelmed occasionally.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Hair today, gone tomorrow

My hair is driving me mad, it's now so fine & flyaway. I'm suffering from regular bedhead, in fact I'm suffering from bedhead, snoozing on the sofa head, windy weather head, lets be honest I'm even suffering from OMG I sneezed head & my hair's sticking up in all directions

Saturday 14 December 2013


Having spent the last 10 years repeating things twice, three times and sometimes even more to my beloved L&M, who refused to accept that he was deaf. I finally persuaded him to go to the Drs, who referred him to the hearing unit at the hospital, who fitted him with hearing aids. I am now dealing with someone who speaks very quietly and who gets annoyed when I don't hear him & ask him to repeat things!

Another visit

This morning DGD Eileen visited, she was very keen to come & see us and had her coat & boots on ready when I went to collect her. She was, as usual hysterically funny at times.
I now realise why the menopause is a good idea, I stopped at the little Tesco's to buy a loaf of bread, cheese & some fruit and to let Eileen choose some sweets, it took 40 minutes. I came out with the fruit but no bread, sweets for Eileen & her siblings & no cheese, we also left most of the customers & staff laughing, especially as Eileen insisted on paying with plastic money & the assistant obliged even though it made counting the change somewhat challenging! When I was younger I shopped with 4 children and managed just fine, now I find it a lot more difficult even with just one child.
We made biscuits with icing & sprinkles, more sprinkles went in her mouth than on the biscuits but she had fun making them & they tasted nice.
Eileen's visit was just the antidote I needed to cheer me up after a depressing  appraisal at work.

Thursday 12 December 2013

I need to get sorted

I'm worn out, I'm grumpy & I look like shit. I'm not sleeping well, I'm getting woken up by a neighbour & my L&M's shift pattern doesn't help. One more day left of this week but I've a lot to do at the weekend, including defrosting one of my freezers. Then one more week to get through, am I going to make it? I can but try.
I shall try to rest at the weekend, I need to take DGD Norah to gym club on Friday at 4:30 for an hour & DGD Eileen is visiting for a couple of hours on Saturday, I don't want to give up these visits as they are a treat for me & my L&M.
So onwards & upwards, all I can do is keep slogging away & try my best.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Frugal living is nothing new

In the mid 1970's when I was first married I had a copy of the Pauper's Cook Book by Jocasta Innes & Delia Smith's Frugal Food. I still had both the books 25 years later but lost them when I moved house 4 times in 10 months during my divorce. 
In 1986 Shirley Goode was on TV in The Goode Kitchen Shirley still writes a blog today, I have 2 of her books and I think there was a third. In 1989 Bernadine Lawrence released The Benefit Book or How to feed your family for £4 a day.

I don't use the books so much now, not because they aren't useful, but because after 20 odd years I make the dishes without referring to the recipe books. I still regularly make the Bacon, onion & potato hotpot from The Paupers Cook Book & I still cook a lamb & cabbage dish from Delia's book.  I'm not convinced that all the recipes in The Benefit Book had been tested, some were not successful, but then most of the Jamie Oliver recipes I've tried have failed.
I always found Shirley Goode's recipes very successful & I found her chapters on how to price meals to be invaluable.

 For an assortment of reasons I've been poor or frugal for long periods of time since I moved into a bedsit at 15 in the 1960's. It has made me grateful that now I am warm as I was cold & went hungry in my first bedsit! I couldn't afford to put money in the meter to run the electric fire or to buy covers for my bed or enough food for a week, I eventually realised that it was cheaper to put the gas oven on to cook something & sit beside the oven. I took to making a huge bread pudding every Saturday that lasted most of the week when a friends mum gave me a huge drum of dried fruit.

Monday 9 December 2013


I've sold both the books I put on eBay, I've not made a fortune, but every little helps. I shall have a look for some more I think, but I don't have many left as I had a book purge a while ago.
I'm worn out & it's only Monday, all rush, rush, rush at work, we have 3 team members out sick & one on Jury service

Sunday 8 December 2013

Busy Day

We had visitors today, they were supposed to be here at 12 for lunch, but they were running late. I did pork chops in cider on a bed of sliced onion & red peppers from the garden, I added some sage from the garden too.
I served the chops with mash, HG leeks, sprouts & carrots, I made brownies for pudding & had cream & ice cream to go with them. 
Tomorrow I'm collecting the DGC & bringing them here to see the lights at the end of the road, that way Lizzie can walk the dog in peace. 
I don't put up a tree any more, we gave our tree to Lizzie last year as there isn't room in the living room now we have a different sofa. I have a couple of illuminated houses, a snow globe & some ornaments, I shall also pick some greenery & bring that inside to go with a lovely poinsettia our guests bought over.
The downstairs is all tidy, so a lazy week for me next week I also have enough leftovers to make meals up to Wednesday & a batch of soup for my lunches.
I listed 2 recipe books on Amazon this morning & have sold one already, £6 in the coffers.

Saturday 7 December 2013

There is always room for another one

DGD Norah is fast asleep in the spare bed, she is in the middle, surrounded by teddies, snuggled under the duvet & there is a fluffy blanket on top of the duvet & her beloved Arsenal blanket (fleece) is around her shoulders. She hasn't slept without the blanket since she was a babe, it is huge, big enough for a single bed & a strange shape as a large square has been cut from one corner & was used when she was in the buggy.
I took her to gym club last night, we then came home to drop her overnight bag off & went out again to look at a neighbours house as it is covered in Christmas lights. The garden is full of strings of lights, Santa's, snowmen & reindeer. We returned home, had tea & played a very complicated game with the seven teddies where Norah was running the gym club & some of the teddies were very naughty. Later we drove to work to pick up my L&M, Norah had a wash, cleaned her teeth, I read her a story & she fell asleep almost instantly.
When I collected her yesterday her little sister Eileen said, 'I like your house Nana, me come too?' I promised her she could come next time, she was upset but eventually agreed to wait as long as she could have the photo I keep of my L&M on my key ring. When I drop Norah home I'll see if Eileen wants to come back with me, if she's changed her mind about an immediate visit, she can visit next Saturday.
I have to go to the local sorting office this morning as there are 5 parcels waiting for me, I have no idea what they can be as I only have one parcel outstanding.
I'm still waiting to find out if we have visitors for lunch tomorrow or nor, I'm going to cook Moroccan lamb or pork & leeks in cider, if they are coming over, if not I will do a pork chop with roasties for my L&M

Thursday 5 December 2013

Soggy start to the day

I reached for my phone in the early hours this morning to see what the time was & I managed to knock my glass of water over, it went in my knicker drawer, in my shoes & all over the floor! I threw a towel on the floor to mop up the worst of the water, the glass didn't break but even though I scrabbled around but I couldn't find the glass anywhere, I didn't want to turn the light on as my L&M was still asleep.
I couldn't get back to sleep so I was up & in the shower by 5:30, fortunately I had dry underwear on the airer as the everything in my drawers was wet, I also had to stuff kitchen roll in my shoes to dry them out. Not the best start to the day, but at least I got to work in plenty of time

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

We're pagan, so we celebrate Yule rather than Christmas but I love both of them, I love lights & sparkle, music & feasting, all the things that make Yule special. I love Christmas music, everything from Slade to carols.

There really is no reason to spend lots of money to have a lovely Christmas, you don't need new furniture & you don't need to buy in every foodstuff known to man.

I once had a neighbour who spent a fortune on his daughter every Christmas & had the bailiffs in every new year.

Here are a few tips for a frugal Christmas

Buy an artificial tree it will last for years. If you cannot afford a tree, hang some baubles on twigs in a vase.
Don't follow fashion & change the colours scheme on your tree every year, that way you can use the same lights & decorations year after year.
Tell you children when they are small that Santa fills their stocking, everything else has to be paid for, this will cut down on too many unreasonable requests.
Take a walk with your children  round your neighbourhood to look at the houses decorated on the outside.
Start some free/cheap Christmas traditions of your own such as watching a Christmas film on TV with popcorn & hot chocolate.
Bringing in the Green, go out around your garden/local area & cut some greenery to decorate your home, I have cottoneaster & rosemary in my garden & use these.
Popcorn garlands, thread popcorn on to strands of cotton & drape on your tree.
Make paper snowflakes & snowmen

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Chop chop chop

Slight cockup on the shopping front, I received an email from the local butcher with their special offers. They had 12 pieces of sirloin steak for £12 & one item that really caught my eye, pork chops. My L&M loves pork chops & they had some lovely large thick ones, they were a bit expensive so I ummed & ahhd for a while. Eventually I decided to by him 4 pork chops, I don't eat pork so I only got four.
Yesterday I collected my order from the butchers, I thought the box containing my order was rather large & when I got home & started to unpack I realised why. The price was for a pack of four pork chops, I have 16 pork chops in the freezer, my L&M is in pork chop heaven!

Filling up the oven

I fill the oven up to save money on my electric bill, on Sunday I cooked 2 pork joints, top shelf. 4 jacket potatoes, middle shelf, rice pudding & fruit crumble, bottom shelf. I also cooked beef in beer & a fruit cake. The oven was full all the time it was on, don't waste money on buying crappy frozen jacket potatoes & ready made crumble thinking you will save money on your fuel bills

A failure & a success

I'll admit it, I've failed, I've tried but I couldn't do it, I've had to give up on the free porridge, yesterday it was like concrete and nobody ate it. Today's was yesterday's with extra water added, so it was runny with lumps in. I will eat most things but even I cannot stomach the porridge on a daily basis, this puts paid to saving a few pennies every day, I'll have to think of something else to cut back on.

On the other hand, I've spoken to our mortgage company today & arranged to pay an extra £100 a month to bring the term down. The chap I spoke to was a bit bemused, this close to Christmas I expect more people are taking a mortgage holiday of falling into arrears. 

Helen went for another scan yesterday & both babes are coming along nicely.
Lizzie went for an interview yesterday & was offered the job on the spot, she starts in the new year when the current incumbent leaves

Sunday 1 December 2013

On a winning streak

I think I'll rush out & buy a lottery ticket as I seem to be on a winning streak.
Firstly I won a £20 Amazon voucher by entering a competition on here
Secondly I did an online shop at Asda & when I did the price compare Morrisons were cheaper, so I have a voucher for £6.57.

My morning spent with DFGS was a success, I was a bit worried as he is shy & usually when I ask him a question he whispers the answer to Helen who then tells me what he has said. I need not have worried, he chattered away happily whilst he was here. We made a Christmas decoration, a felt star to hang on the tree, we went to the shops to buy sweeties & we made biscuits. He's a real boy, wanting to know how everything works, twiddling & pushing any & all buttons & switches he can see, he managed to put my L&M's umbrella up in the kitchen, but as I'm not superstitious I didn't mind. A delivery from Amazon arrived during his visit, he asked what was in the box & I replied that I didn't know, he then asked why I wasn't opening the box to find out. I explained that it might be his birthday present & I didn't want to spoil the surprise. He beamed as he realised that we'd bought him a present & didn't try to look in the box. We've bought him Booms, Bangs & Fizzes, I hope he likes it.

I've shrunk.

I've always been short, 4'11 in my youth and I've shrunk as I've aged. I met up with my oldest grandson on Thursday, he was ...