Monday, 27 January 2014

Monday Challenge

I am trying to focus on a few things each day in order to get things done as sometimes I get overloaded and then I get burned out.  The negative side of this is it then has a knock on effect with my confidence and self worth. I thought this might be a good way of managing things in bite sized chunks and then hopefully reducing the "low days and lack of confidence
  •  Walk to Work
  • Work
  • Walk home
  • Cook Tea  -something quick when I get in Monday is traditionally Scratch Tea
  • Ironing (we have an ironing mountain here which I hope to reduce and then control)
  • Some more of my longstitch (yet again trying to do a little and often)
Will see how it goes - anyone else going to join in and what sort of things do you hope to achieve.   Love to hear from you.

Catch you soon



Sunday, 26 January 2014

Patchwork Research / Planning

I mentioned in a recent post that I wanted to get to grips with Patchwork and indeed this is on my list of 52 things to do in a year. I knew somewhere I had some patchwork templates and equipment and so I went looking last night for exactly what I do have. I located circle, heart, diamonds, strip patchwork, hexies and shell templates together with a stock of fat quarters that I had forgotten about.   I am sure I have some more somewhere along the line but at the time of writing cannot put my hand on them.  What I need is a big box in which to stash all templates and patchwork designated fabric to store said consumables in so that I can find things when I am looking for them. I think this is a job that will be done a little at a time when funds allow.

 I  recently mentioned about the Dresden plate pattern for a quilt and that I was looking for a template, preferably free.  I had looked at several links last night and not found anything and then I found the tutorial here from Sew Mama Sew

I then found the Mccalls site here 

 Its a lovely little site with patterns,  blocks and tutorials. I typed in Dresden plate which led me to which is just one of the patterns using Dresden Plate. 

 I particularly like this design:

What attracted me to the Dresden Quilt was this article from Cluck Cluck Sew. I love the colourways and after reading the tutorial at Missour Quilts on You Tube -  I think it might be able to manage this.  I did find a pdf template for this online and have saved it to my computer as a pdf but unfortunately I did not save the link.

 I then  looked for a double wedding ring pattern which  took me to a quilt pattern here with instructions and I found a pdf to print off of the template from.
I also found one for the Dresden Plate design.  One thing I have noticed though is that there are two types of Dresden Plate design the pointed and the rounded.  The Tutorial I came across at Missouri Quilt Company is for the pointed Dresden.

I have been advised that perhaps they are not the easiest patterns to start with but they are the patterns that are speaking to me at present and I am going to do things at my own pace and in an organised fashion.

Now I have my templates and patterns I am in one sense ready as I can now start either of these quilts when I have a few moments to spare. 

As a matter of habit I therefore save patterns wherever I can solely for this purpose and if the patterns are free then all the more reason to save them.  So part of the preparation work is ready now I have to find some time to start the cutting and the piecing.  However I need to get a few more UFOs to get out of the way.

Catch you soon

Pattypan xx

52 Projects Challenge

I am taking part in the 52 Projects challenge 

I am a little slow off the old starting blocks - mostly due to time constraints but I have in the last week  managed to complete a UFO long stitch kit by Sue Daykin entitled Brotherswater which had been lying doormant for some time.  I felt very chuffed that I was able to complete this and it bucked me up a bit. I tend to be a bit slow in finishing things.   That picture has been popped up in the finished box as I want to get this set of kits completed and then framed properly but in sympathetic frames.   As far as I can remember I have had the kits over 15 years.   They were bought during regular holidays up in the Lake District and indeed i may have had them for a lot longer. I had purchased five or six kits in the range and started a couple of them and then got distracted.  I have taken photographs of what the picture should look like and where I started and how the completed picture looks on my new phone.  I have fathomed out how to take the photographs but not how to send them to get them on to my computer.   So these will follow once that little problem has been solved.  So these will be to follow.  I am not a real techie when it comes to computers etc I just need to be shown how to drive them!

However that's not all.  I have started one of the sister kits from scratch and this is about a third done and I have ran out of wool, some white and a slate colour. It is the stranded wool not the DMC or Anchor wools and I do not think it is Appletons  (there is no name on the kit) and I think I know what I am after but cannot remember the name.  Lewis' used to do some stranded wools as well so if any of you are able to assist information would be gratefully received.

I had looked online to see if I could locate some pictures of the kits that I have but strangely cannot locate anything.

So that is 51 1/2  Projects left to do.  I am hoping that I will be able to catch up with everyone else eventually as I have quite a few UFOS on the go.  I am also spotting new ones for the future.  Hands off I can bookmark but not start.

And this week is not going to be as good as last week due to commitments but I am hoping to get some other things turned round very quickly.

So thats 50 1/2 projects to go.

Take care catch up soon




I have managed to find an image on line of the kit I am working at the moment i.e. Loweswater by Sue Daking but have been unable to find any of the other kits I have.  Here is the one I am working at the moment.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Simple Things - Parsley Sauce

In the run up to Christmas at my local veg stall they had some large bunches of fresh parsley so I snaffled some as you do and hung it off my dresser to dry.  Result after taking the dried leaves off the stems and disposing of the dried stem I now have a full jar of home dried parsley which smells wonderful.  I am thinking here something simple like parsley sauce to go with a piece of fresh fish.  I shall have a look later in the week to see if I can find a nice piece of cod or fresh haddock(or perhaps something that we do not have to ring the changes) to have for tea one night.  I like to include fish in our diets every so often as it is easy for my system to process and will help with the arthritis.  We prefer fresh fish as buying it already frozen seems to lose something in the flavour and the texture.  There is nothing nicer than going to the fish Cellars at Port Isaac and choosing the fish fresh; when we go down to Cornwall (we go self catering) we always head this way at least once.

Parsley sauce is easy to make in any event and I think home made has a better fuller flavour. And its another ingredient that has no nasties on - I know where it came from and I have dried it myself.   Here is the recipe I use:

The beauty of this recipe is that it gives you options for fresh, dried or freeze dried parsley. I have fresh growing in the garden as well.

Parsley sauce though is not restricted to fish.  It is just as nice with a piece of cooked gammon.

Right have to go

Catch you later



Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday Night Round up

Its been a busy day and I have got all the washing done - do not like doing it on a Sunday but sometimes you have to deal with things when you have the time.  That means ironing tomorrow night.

I have spent most of the afternoon cooking.  I started off with making carrot and swede crush from scratch to go with tonight's tea. (I have some in the freezer but I had some carrots to use up and another swede so in the spirit of waste not want not I used them up.

I do get cross with the supermarkets though selling carrots in polythene bags and they go off after a few days which is rather hypocritical as most of the carrots we buy have been stored in clamps for quite some time.  Perhaps they sell them in polythene bags so they go off quicker and we have to buy more. I am a tad cynical.

 Then I had some tomatoes which I had got for 50 pence a bag to cook up with some Sofrito and fresh herbs and I have roasted them up in the oven to use during the week as one night we are going to be having home made Lasagne for tea using some of the Aberdeen Angus mince I bought the other week.

We have had a roast leg of lamb for tea which I managed to get on offer at Christmas.  I studded it with garlic and fresh Rosemary out of the garden and then dribbled some mint jelly over it to give it a nice glaze.  I cooked it over a bed of Sofrito to keep the lamb moist (I cook it low under a foil with a little water in to keep it moist. Halfway through the cooking I take the tent off to allow the meat to brown and this is when I put the mint glaze on (you could use redcurrant jelly for a change). So all the meat juices go into the vegetables and then when the veggies are cooked I press through a sieve and then make the gravy from the pureed veggies.  It gives it a much tastier flavour and a good gravy is always the making of a meal.Its a lot of work but we do like our food to be full of flavour.

I then roasted some par boiled potatoes and roasted them in some of the Pork dripping from last week and they were also very tasty.  We then had the carrot and swede crush, mashed potatoes, minted peas, cauliflower and broccoli as accompaniment with lashings of gravy and it was extremely tasty and enjoyable.

There is loads left so we will be having that tomorrow night with the remnants of the mashed potato, carrot and swede crush and the gravy.

This week I also cooked pudding.  I had some stale bread to use up and rather than waste it I decided to make marmalade bread and butter pudding.I used one of my jars of home made Seville Orange marmalade, but you could use chocolate spread with banana slices to ring changes.  I was intending to serve it with some tinned mandarin oranges, but unfortunately I could not locate the tin opener, so we just had it as it was (I had cooked it in a bain marie) so the custard was lovely and light

So I have had a busy but enjoyable Sunday afternoon doing what I love to do best - cooking and feeding everyone.  I am one of those that really do enjoy cooking.

Catch you all soon




Sounds exotic but its just a posh name for three vegetables finely chopped a trinity of flavours consisting of celery, onion and carrot.  Waitrose sell little bags of it freshly prepared for about 66p a bag - I have bought it from there before and used it as a basis for Roast Chicken,  stews, soups, casseroles, for roasting the veggies on so you get a beautiful fragrant gravy if you mash and sieve the vegetables off. I pop it into pies, cottage and shepherds pies and it always adds a lovely flavour.

Therefore I was very pleased to learn that you can make and prepare this yourself and store it in the freezer.  That to me means fresh veggies, I know where they have come from and you get oh so much more flavour as a result.  What you freeze them raw - no they are cooked. I found the recipe in one of my new book acquisitions that I bought last year entitled "The Gentle Art of Preserving" by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi.  The book was on sale for about £25 originally but I managed to get it for £14 which included postage.  Then went into the Works one day and found it for £6,.99 - that is how the cookie crumbles but the book is worth the buy.

The Caldesi's apparently make it from their home grown veggies.  The quantity makes enough for a Ragu mix or a chicken casserole to serve six.


150ml extra virgin oil
1 1/2 Red or white onions (or a mixture of both)
2 celery sticks finely chopped
1 medium carrot finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper
2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
3 Bay leaves
2 garlic cloves left whole and crushed with a knife


Heat the oil in the pan and add onion, celery and carrot and the seasoning then add the fresh herbs and garlic.  Cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes stirring and coating the veggies well until the onion is nice and soft and sweet.  Remove the herbs. Cool the mixture and freeze in small containers or vaccuum bags.

Bring out during the week when you are rushed for time at least you have saved the preparation time which enables you to get on quickly with a proper home made meal during these winter months.  Today quite a bit of Sofrito has been made as I have been busy in the kitchen but none of it frozen.  However what it has been used for I will post about later on - its going to be a late tea tonight.

Catch you later


I have been taking photos but unfortunately have not worked out how to get them from my new phone to my lap top.  Will update the posts when I fathom it out.


Pasta Something

Its getting towards the end of the month again and the proverbial cupboard to all intents and purposes is looking a bit bare; well perhaps that is not strictly true I had ingredients but on the face of it they just did not appear to go together,but we needed something to eat something that would make us feel full.  OH had been at work all day so we needed something substantial.

One thing I do tend to keep in store is lots of different pastas  Its a good way of getting a nice filling meal and I had bought some fusilli when it was on offer recently.

I had plenty of cheese, milk, pasta, some chorizo, yellow pepper, onions and broccoli, a pack of Philly cheese with chives so I threw these items together.  Strong flavours with the cheese and chorizo so I started by cooking the pasta in boiling water.  Whilst this was on I fried a couple of onions in oil with a dash of butter until golden and then drained them on some kitchen paper and set them to one side.  I then chopped up the chorizo, yellow pepper, broccoli up into slices and small florets of broccoli (so they would cook quickly and add  bit of colour to the dish).  Once the pasta was cooked I popped in the philly cheese until it was melted.  You do have to keep stirring continuously at this juncture otherwise the pasta could burn and stir through  you can always add a little milk to thin it down if it gets too thick and then added the rest of the ingredients.  I then melted some cheddar in some milk in the microwave together and then when melted added some cornflour to thicken up the cheese sauce and then distributed it through the pan and then served in pasta dishes with hunks of thick bred.  The result was not a conventional pasta dish but we enjoyed it and it was filling. It also made use of what I had to hand without going and spending anything.  In fact OH has just finished off the leftovers for a snack so that should keep him going until Sunday lunch later on.

Catch you later on



Wednesday, 15 January 2014


I am suffering at the moment with Januaryitis - it is always a long month and the days seem particularly grey and extremely long at the moment.  Neverending.  I am waiting for Spring but we have  couple of months to wait until then. 

 I have also been struggling this week with the arthritis playing up and having not much energy and constant discomfort - that in itself can get you down (especially when there is so much to do).   I do not think it helps as OH is suffering with SAD and another dicky patch with regard to bipolar disorder.  Never mind we will get there eventually.  We are so lucky compared to some.  Must think positive nil desperandum and all that.  On the few occasions this week we have seen the sun it has been bitterly cold but at least it has been out to play.  But come night all I want to do is shut the door, close the curtains keep in the warm  and close the world out and make it go away.  Each day though I come back with a clean crisp page to write and a different perspective from the day before.  Cussed am I not!

Tomorrow I have to sort out what I am wearing to the party on Friday night and I a hopefully meeting a very dear friend for lunch.

Right I am off for some shut eye and some much needed rest until the alarm goes off (or not) tomorrow morning - (it failed this morning)!

Catch up soon



Mum's Quick Pasta Lunch

When I went to mum's the other week she did a really quick lunch for me consisting of pasta, home made cheese sauce a tin of salmon, and it normally has sweetcorn in as well.  You can change the basis to whatever you have. I understand that mum makes it with Tuna as well.  I was not too keen on the idea to start with but after the first mouthful which was warming and filling you could say I was hooked - please excuse the pun.  It was a lovely light lunch that was filling but it did not make you feel uncomfortably stuffed which is the kind of meal I love.

Basically mum cooked some pasta (on this occasion Penne)  until it was al dente (there are no measurements just enough pasta for how many bodies you have to feed.  If more than four use two tins of Tuna or salmon or add additionalveggies in like cooked broccoli, kale, etc. Mum then made the cheese sauce using a roux sauce as a basis and then adding grated cheese to taste with a little mustard to bring out the cheesy flavour.  She then drained a tin of Salmon and drained and flaked it and mixed it through the pasta and then added the cheese sauce.  This was then served simply with some nice fresh bread and butter and it went down well.

I am home alone this Saturday so I may well do this for myself.  I hope to do some cooking on Saturday. I have some pumpkin left and quite fancy making some soup and maybe a pumpkin and goats cheese risotto to use up some ingredients I have to hand. OH is working so he will need something nice and filling for when he gets in.  I also hope to do some pastry baking.  We will have to see how things go as I am out on Friday evening for the works Christmas/New Years do.

Hope everyone is well

Love and light



Sunday, 12 January 2014

52 Projects in 52 Weeks

I am going to follow Dreamer at Living a Slow and Simple Life here is the link to her blog
 in this little project based over 52 weeks.  In my case this is to try and focus and get rid of some of the UFOs completed as well as hopefully starting some new projects with materials I already have to hand. Under normal circumstances I tend to prevaricate get distracted and end up doing things I had not planned.  Its the free spirit in me. Well that's my excuse and I am sticking to it.   This in turn  will hopefully help me to de-clutter some of my craft stash as well.  Well that's the plan.  I am also going to add in here making some pressies for Christmas next year to save the panic and unnecessary pressure doing everything last minute

I am also popping projects and kits I have had for some time but not got around to starting. If I can get to them I will but if I do not then there is always next year, but the aim is to try and focus.

Here is the start of my list:


Things to do:

Get the door knob fixed on the Dining Room Door it is currently without its handles.

Get a new lock to the back door.

Paint the kitchen, and stencil. 

Lay new flooring and make gingham curtains to cover the sink doors which do not match the kitchen units and the washing machine.  

Get a curtain track fitted and get curtain hung for back door.  Make an inner fleece curtain to keep any draughts at bay.

Make Door Sausage to keep drafts at bay.

Get curtain track fitted above window and take blind down and clean and reinstate then hang the curtains.

Get curtain track put up in the dining room.

Get curtain hung.

Hang inner blind.

  • Finish off the jumpers and knitting I have started.
  •  The various crotchet blankets I have on the go  - fulfilling these really would clear up some valuable space.
  • Some of the long stitch kits I have of the Lake District need completing then I will be able to get them all framed in similar frames and mounts and Display them.
  • Some of the cross stitch kits including Indian Samplers. other samplers and other cross stitch kits including a reproduction of an American Sampler started over 34 years ago.
  • Start the clippie rug I have already cut the bits for out of old jeans.
  • Finish off the Needlepoint cushion covers
  • Finish off the embroidered tea table cloths.
  • Finish knitting that Tea cosy.
  • Finish off that blanket I had knitted in lilac, whites and purples (its more of a cuddle throw really) - its still not all sewn together (I should really do that first but I am not sure where it is at the moment will have to go on the hunt for it.  It would be a good one to get rid of first.  Any wool left over could then go into a remnant blanket to use up all the odds and ends - the blanket of many colours.
  • The yellow and green crotchet blanket part finished and stitched up still half to go and then to get the wool to work a boundary deep edge around.  This blanket is the finishing piece to some bedding I have in green and yellow for a single bed.
  • I need to purchase more wool by mail order once the pennies are saved to finish off the crotchet blanket I started last year, the navy, tourquoise, pink, lilac blanket for my bed.
  • Make some small pressies for giving at Christmas for next year.
  • Knit some presents
  • Make some Christmas Decorations.
  • Make up the Christmas panels for wreaths, tablemats, tablecloths, advent calendars and Christmas Stockings and hand quilt where necessary.
  • I also have a number of Bucilla kits for Christmas stockings, tree skirts, door knob embellishments in felt embellished with beadwork and sequins. I have also had these for quite a few years but have not got to start them yet.
  • Start a lap quilt made from shirts - have most of the fabric to hand already.
  • Make a Dresden Plate Table Runner  - I thought for the table for Easter - we will have to see no promises on this one.
  • Start a Dresden Plate Quilt.
  • Start a Double Wedding Ring Quilt.
  • Make some beaded baubles for the Christmas Tree.

Well that's made a start.  No doubt I will add other things as they come to me or as I locate them.  Will just do what I can in no particular order.

Are you going to join in too - its a good way of getting things going again especially when they have become stuck or you have been taken off elsewhere.

Catch up soon.


Amended to include:

Introduce a batch baking day for the freezer

Introduce a baking day each week

Experiment with recipes,for bread, pastry and cakes

Start the veggie garden off early

Carrot and Swede Crush

I seem to have a 20 pence theme running at the moment more out of coincidence rather than anything else, but I keep coming across reduced swedes at about 20pence or a little more a shot.   They are in the reduced section because of their date stamp a lot of the time but there is nothing wrong with them.  If stored properly they will keep for quite a little time afterwards. I refuse to pay a lot for swedes unless I absolutely have to especially when I seem to find them reduced on a regular basis especially when recently the price has been about 80 pence to £1.00.

As a child I absolutely hated swede but now I love it on its own or combined with carrots crushed down and served with a lovely hot meal such as some good sausages cooked as toad in the hole or served with  a meat pie or even as a side dish together with mashed potato with a stew.  Pure good food that fills a spot fills you and does you good.  Put simply good home cooking.

I like the next person am busy but when it comes to food I find a way to make the most of what comes my way and do what I can as cheaply as I can without impacting on taste or flavour but always with an eye as to getting the best quality ingredients that I can.  So I have  bit of a conundrum.  I want to eat just as well during the week as I do at the weekends; I do not want to pay £2 per tub of said Carrot and Swede Crush from Marks and Spencer, and I do not have time to mess around much during the week as I work full time.  So what do I do?

My reaction to this is to bulk buy and bulk cook where I can.  So it involves me during my leisure time putting some effort in but us ladies as Housekeepers have a choice - to put in the effort and look after our families and feed them well or not to cook at all.  I choose to cook and I also encourage non-cooks at the moment to have a go - you might find a skill you did not realise you had. It is not as complicated as you think it is.

I hate the disposable culture that we have int today's society and as a result  I do not mind sourcing containers to hold said foodstuffs in as long as I can re-use them, so I hit the Pound shop on Thursday and sourced three little plastic containers with lids for £1 per three  - I bought three sets so nine boxes.  The same size as the containers that Marks and Spencers sell their product in, which I will be able to re-use for some time to come so my initial investment will more than double its return.  I am tight on certain things too.

So I batch cook.  One week it might be Carrot and Swede crush that I prepare another roast parsnips, prepared so that they can be roasted quickly.  Its a good way of taking advantage of cheap ingredients on a waste not want not mentality and allows me to fill the freezer with what I can and make sure that for a little stash of food so that if I am on the run we can still eat well as this veggie side is cooked in about 3 1/2 minutes in the microwave.  That cooking time is precious midweek or when you are on the run.

You can put down big batches or small batches the basic ingredients you need are:

Same weight of carrots to swede so if you have 1kg swede use 1kg carrots

Prepare swede and carrots peeling off outer skin and chop into dice.  Be careful with the swede it can be hard to chop.  Pop into a saucepan (with a lid on) and cook until well done.  Add to a food processor with the butter and seasoning and pulse until smooth you want texture but not lumps.  Allow to cool and then pack into suitable containers.  Freeze and then enjoy with other meals.

We have some with Sunday tea tonight.

Catch you soon



I only spent 20pence

At the charity shop today honest me lord!

For 20 pence I came away with:

  • A long chest/table runner preprinted with a flower pattern part worked that will go with a tray cloth in the same pattern I bought and worked some time ago. The threads were missing but I think I will be able to match them up.
  • A metre of pink bias binding.
  • Some trimmings in gold and cream the sort of braids to trim cushions light shades there is about a metre of the gold and about 4 metres of the cream.
  • 1 yard curved skirt petersham with skirt fasteners.
  • And a sealed brand new never been used brother buttonhole cutter.
  • And last but not least - a thimble.
Not bad some little extras for the sewing box.

On the sewing front I have spotted a very lovely Dresden plate quilt.  See here  Another one for the ideas  list to have a go at projects. I am thinking that this would be a good pick up put down project for when I only have a few moments and might be a good way of using up some fabric that I have closeted away upstairs.  I have never done much on the patchwork front.  That might be about to change.

I am quite chuffed with the finds  - and only 20 pence.

It is normally more dangerous than that when I go in a charity shop or antiques/bric a brac centres.

Must behave

Catch  you soon


P.S.  With regard to the Dresden Plate Patchwork I have found this very straightforward tutorial from the Missouri Patchwork company.

Now I need to locate a template preferably free otherwise it will have to wait until the end of the month.


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Topping up the Pantry

Christmas is all paid for done and dusted  for this year - gone are the days where it all got popped on the credit cards and then we had to pay it off.  Ever since OH was out of work we have got into better habits and are more sensible all round and we pay by cash and are not storing up any lurking problems for ourselves.

 I did a big shop in the run up to Christmas on quite a lot of basic ingredients that you need to cook from scratch whether that be a starter main meal or pudding or even cake, cookies and bread.  The areas that are not stocked to optimum level are the freezer  - I need a new one my large chest freezer failed over a year ago and the upright is on its way out so I do not prepare too much at the moment to pop in the freezer.  Hopefully in the weeks to come that will get remedied as I rely heavily on my freezer and am missing the flexibility and just being able to get something out of there the day before (we call it shopping in the freezer) in order to have a decent meal the following day.  The jam and pickle store is packed but the tinned store needed some topping up.  

I had no intention of actually shopping for the tinned store until the end of the month but a couple of items have been on offer and it would be a shame not to take advantage and I tend to  do a major stock up when the items are cheaper in any event.

It started at Waitrose where they have an offer on for Cirio chopped tinned tomatoes and also plum tomatoes at £2 per pack = £4.00.  I have bought both the chopped and the whole tomatoes as I use a lot of them. So I was quite pleased with that offer.  I also came away with two packs of 500g Aberdeen Angus mince at £2.50 per pack  = £5 and two  dried chorizos at £2 each = £4.00.  We use this on home made pizza but also use it on a cheese and meat antipasti platter.  I also bought two tins of Princes Strawberries in syrup and two tins of Raspberries in syrup on offer at two tins for £1.50. = £3.00 for the four tins.  Mind you I shall look into going to a local grow your own farm for Raspberries and Strawberries during the summer and bottling my own strawberries and raspberries in syrup for the pantry shelf.
This little lot should last a good six weeks maybe more.

I also picked up from M & S two jars of Quince and Damson paste reduced to 99p per jar = £1.98.

I popped into my local Coop this evening and noticed that the had an offer on of Napolina Fusilli, Penne and Spaghetti in kg bags at £1.19 a bag.  As pasta is a staple that I keep in and use on a regular basis I bought two bags of each total £6.14 which should last quite a little while. Pasta is quite versatile and makes a quick, cheap filling meal.

 I also acquired two jars of Tomato and Chilli Chutney reduced down to 40 pence a jar.  That will come in handy for packups.

I also bought 4 tins of Harry Ramsdens Mushy peas to have with home made fish and chips and they are very tasty at 65 pence per tin = £2.60

I then bought 2 packs 4 tins of Branston Baked beans which were on offer at £1.49 per pack = £2.98It all helps pad the Pantry out.

I keep a sack of potatoes in, as well as a net of red onion and white onions, as well as garlic and I always have a tray of eggs, milk and cheese and fresh veggies readily to hand as there is so much you can cook from basic ingredients such as these and when you have children in the house they need permanent feeding.  Buying a tray of eggs also gives you the option to bake as well as providing good tasty uncomplicated food to feed the whole family sensibly so that in these cold winter months they have the correct fuel and plenty of it. If you cannot afford a lot of meat make  your own vegetable home made soups as a starter, cook what meat you can afford the mince I bought today will make a cottage pie and also a lasagne or a home made chilli which you can serve with vegetables or simply with bread and butter or in wraps with salad.  Pudding can be something as simple as a jelly with custard and evaporated milk, plain yogurt or cream.

I still need to top up on the tinned fruit but at least the Pantry is looking a little healthier and a bit fuller than it did.  Still a work in progress.

Catch you soon.



Monday, 6 January 2014

Cheap Books from The Book People

On a regular basis have very good offers on books and over Christmas and I had some Christmas present money to use up and I ordered a couple of collections of books plus some extra books.

I have sent for the River Cottage collection for £17.00.  Here is the link

The package consists of the following titles

  • Mushrooms
  • Preserves
  • Bread
  • Veg Patch
  • Edible Seashore
  • Sea Fishing
  • Hedgerow
  • Cakes
  • Fruit
  • Herbs 
I am still awaiting delivery of this collection of ten books which works out at £1.70 per book.

I also ordered a self sufficiency collection of books for £7 the set of 12 books an even greater saving.

That collection consists of the following titles:

 Grow Your Own
  • Preserving
  • Spinning, Dyeing and Weaving
  • Household Cleaning
  • Foraging
  • Hen Keeping
  • Beekeeping
  • Soap Making
  • Home Brewing
  • Natural Remedies
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Cheese Making
I received these yesterday and there is quite some considerable bedtime reading to plough through but that should keep me out of mischief or get me into it one way or another.

I have ordered some other books as well on the theme of self sufficiency and/or food.

I am very interested in making things at home as you know and intend to do some experimentation this year with having a go at making my own salami and other meat preserves.  I have a recipe for pastrami which I am quite keen to have a go at also.  I have ventured into making home made terrines, pork pie and savoury turkey banqueting pies in the past so I am not a complete stranger but cured meats is something new to me altogether and something I want to get to grips with also.

I am also interested in experimenting with home made cheeses of different sorts and one of the books deals with cheese making in general.  

I am also interested in home smoking items as you can smoke both meat and cheese.  So the projects will hopefully roll into one another.

So it looks as though I am going to be busy!

Catch you all again soon



Getting myself Organised

In view of the kerfuffle when my phone fried and me not having contact numbers I sourced a couple of cheap diaries (a page a day) one for OH and one for myself and I have added contact numbers and appointments so far this year in an effort to get myself sorted so that I know where I am at and so that I can plan to do things and/or make arrangements.  There are a couple of things that I want to achieve this year concerning nearest and dearest relatives including some visits to extended family.  I also want to get into the habit of having birthday cards in house at least a month before the event whether they be bought or home made. I am trying to eradicate last minute panics or incidents where I have actually forgotten someone's birthday.  I am aiming to be sorted in plenty of time so that I can eradicate unnecessary stress and hassle in the process.  Well that's the plan. Birthday dates have also been registered.

I am so glad that I put a few things up in the Christmas Stockpile from September last year week by week and I intend to do the same later on in this New Year of ours.  Getting organised is like using building bricks as a child we identify and find out what our requirements are going to be and then little by little we start to build up things a bit at a time;often we learn the most by making mistakes but then we make mental notes of not what to do so that we get things just how we want them.  I intend to do the same with Christmas presents buying and/or making items through the year instead of being a last minute merchant due to a lack of cash. 

I have also sourced a weekly planning pad on which to plan and track things and once dealt with they can be popped into a Lever Arch file as a record as to what I have and have not done to date some of which items will be yearly so it will be an aide memoire too.  Tomorrow's entry is something along the lines of erect hanging rail and sort clothes onto.

I also have a large page a day home diary which plots when I make marmalade strawberry jam etc or items to sew or birthday cakes to make christmas cake and other information of that ilk so that I can make the most of the seasons and the food available.  Each year I add extra items and the more I do the more I add and its a good way of plotting the to dos.

In view of the new items that are needed as well I am going to prepare a budget so that we can save as much as possible for  a new to us car and other items a  chest freezer being top of the listIt will all come together in the end with a little bit of effort and keeping my eye on things and buying when it is to my advantage. In other words getting back to basics.

Will let you know how I get on.



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Quote for the New Year

Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

I think this is an apt phrase in my case.  Truth is I prevaricate too much  (especially around things I am not ready to deal with or do not know quite how to handle and to add to that I sometimes get distracted as well which frequently compounds matters.

So I am going into the New Year with this phrase firmly lodged in my mind I only hope I manage to keep to the sentiment.

Well here it goes!

Hello Everyone

Hello everyone I hope you all had a good Christmas and  a Happy New Year.

I am in the land of the living and thank you for your emails enquiring if I was okay.  I am,  although in the run up to Christmas things were a bit fraught around here for several reasons. My partner suffers from Bipolar (more commonly known as manic depression).  He was dreadful and extremely difficult in the run up to Christmas and Bah Humbug was the phrase most associated with him at this point in time.  Wouldn't do anything didn't want to celebrate was not interested in anything (not helped by the fact that at that point he thought he had taken his medication and it turned out he hadn't. When he has these spells he is very difficult to live with and it is not much fun.  I had manged to get him in a better frame of mind by Christmas Eve and then matters went downhill a bit slightly after that.  Please see below for further details.

The downward slide all started where I had two wardrobe rails collapse on me and I ordered a replacement (I have a lot of clothes) which I ordered from Ebay and which item was to be delivered in my last full week of holiday so that I could get said clothes hung up out of the way.  In the interim they had been hung up around the house in doorways which was driving me scranny whilst I was waiting for delivery of said item.  Talk about incompetence the delivery company tried to deliver whilst I was not here and that evening having found a card through the door I went on their website using their redelivery programme and reorganising delivery for the following Monday.  Waited in all day on the Monday no delivery. (It turned out that they had tried to redeliver on the Friday but I only found this out from their computer system the following Tuesday.  they only make two attempts at delivery. Lots of tooing and froing and waiting in five days on the trot even after making a complaint and being assured by the customer advisor that it would be redelivered - and it was not.  In desperation I then contacted the provider making a complaint through Ebay and the upshot was I did not get it for Christmas but received it yesterday.  Something small but not a good start and I had planned to play so much in that last week before the holiday itself which did not materialise at all.

I then fried my phone lost every single number - the software had been corrupted on the phone and the numbers had not stored to the sim so I ended up getting a new phone.  Even my brother's number and family numbers all gone and I have slowly been restoring the same ever since but this time I am writing them down as well as a safety precaution.  At the time this did not seem too much of a problem but later on it did become so especially when trying to get in touch with my mum who was at my brother's Christmas day.

Christmas Eve we were doing the last of the shopping other half took me to Sainsburys in the car and then was taking me back into town and the car died on us - major gear box trouble which will cost over £1,200 to repair - the car is not worth that so we are currently car less.  Fortunately OH has recovery service as part of his insurance so the car was brought home.  However early evening on Christmas Eve we normally do a present run which did not happen either.

Boxing day my mum was supposed to be coming for dinner.  Arrangements were made via mum to my brother who kindly agreed to help out and deliver my mum so that she could have her Christmas with us. 

Christmas Day night I developed an upset stomach migraine and chucking up and because of my mum's medical condition if any of us are unwell we keep clear so as not to make her ill. Could not find a number for my brother or my my mum's mobile number and eventually contacted my newphews by email apologising for cancelling and mum rang us when she got home and we arranged  follow up day for her to have her Christmas with us.  By this I was extremely upset as I so felt that I was letting her down and spoiling her Christmas and with everything else that had gone on as well I was more than a little frustrated.

But hey ho these things happen we have to put matters in the right context and in the greater scheme of things, we had a Christmas of sorts (not as planned) but we had a nice hot dinner and were in a warm house.  Because of the horrific weather conditions others were not so lucky, so despite everything I do feel very blessed and very lucky despite the hiccups.

We are carless at the moment I am having to walk everywhere.  OH is being transported to work by his son and daughter in law.  There may be a chance that the car might be able to be kept going but we will not know about that until the end of the month when we can afford to have the engineer have another look at it but we are not hopeful so will be carless until we can afford to buy another for which we will have to save hard.  

We seem to have hit a spate in the household where everything is wearing out, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, freezers, fridges. I need a new three piece suite and lounge carpet etc. etc. A list has been made and we are going to do what we can working through item by item. I also need new bed linen and towels but we can only do what we can a little at a time and in priority order.

So I am hoping that things get better from hereon in. Fingers crossed toes plaited.

Catch you all soon.



Meet the Moggies

  • Merlin (approx 18 months)
  • Squeak (approx 2 years)
  • Poppy (approx 16 years)
  • Tyson (approx 17 years)
  • Tinky (official name Clover approx 18 years)