Friday, January 10, 2020

Frugal Friday

So here we are. A new year, a new decade.  
I have plans for this year. A holiday in Cumbria. House improvements. Overpaying the mortgage. These things all have one thing in common, yep, you guessed it. 

In the spirit of looking after the pennies so the pounds will look after themselves, here are a few frugal wins from this week. 

I  l.o.v.e. our kettle. It boils really fast (essential, I get bored waiting), and is quiet, and also pretty (shiny silver with a copper stripe). A while ago the filter disintegrated and I've had trouble finding another, but I managed to find them on ebay this week!  I can't be doing with fur, ick. (the best descaler is vinegar, I have found. Few inches of vinegar and rather more water - about a third to a half full, boil then stand for a couple of hours. Magic, and a lot cheaper than commercial descalers). The kettle lid is also getting temperamental, the light doesn't always come on and it's altogether not looking as good as it used to, so I'd been considering buying a new one (£40) but my £8 expenditure for a new filter makes me a lot happier with it, and I think we should get at least another year or so from it. 

We had a leftover medley for lunch today. Small bits of vegetable tikka masala and sag aloo from last night's Indian takeaway, half a tin of baked beans that was lurking in the fridge and a pack of instant noodles made the two of us a slightly odd but very acceptable meal. 

I've cancelled the Radio Times. Some weeks we barely look at it. The subscription is due at the beginning of March, cancelling now saves us almost £70 a year. We usually buy the newspaper on Saturday for the general knowledge crossword and it has a basic TV guide in it, we'll use that one or we'll just check the listings on the TV or online.

I did a survey that came through the door, and Philip is also going to do it. We will each receive a £5 gift voucher.

And lastly...... I preordered a book from Amazon recently, the price went down after I paid and Amazon have emailed to say I am getting a refund of 2p!  

Friday, February 08, 2019

making and reading

I took this photo for January's Yarn Along and I'm only just getting around to writing this in time for February's. We read the Secret Garden for my WI book group. I thought I still had my childhood copy somewhere, and I did. I have a shelf of childhood favourites, one day I'll show you. I loved the Secret Garden when I was  a girl and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. The wonder of the garden awakening in the spring is just as magical to me now as it was forty-odd years ago. It made me feel eager for spring too. There is one little narcissus by the front door which is showing a little bit of yellow bud, and my rosemary is flowering but other than that things are still decidedly bare. Every year around this time I wish I had snowdrops in the garden. Maybe this year I will remember to plant some. I'm buying daffodils for the kitchen windowsill every time I shop, they are so cheery and definitely worth the £1 outlay. I get much more than a pound's worth of pleasure from them. I am keen to get my sweet peas planted, as I do most years, but it's a bit early yet. I can't decide whether to take the frugal option and buy seeds or to order seedlings which already have a head start. 

Talking of sweet peas, I'm crocheting a Sweet Pea blanket, which is a crochet-along at Lucy's blog, Attic24. Lots of people are making it at the same time, though as I am a fairly new crocheter and slow,  I'm poodling along a couple of weeks behind. I'll get there! 

I've also just finished a knitted scarf, here's an impromptu photo of it that I just took sitting on my laptop (the scarf, not me). If I'm going to start blogging again, and I just might, I really miss it!, I should get my decent camera out instead of my phone. 

I enjoyed knitting the scarf, it was a simple Old Shale/Feather and Fan type pattern, three rows garter stitch and then the fourth row a simple pattern. I got the variegated yarn in suffragette colours from etsy, and finished it in time to wear it the other evening when our speaker at WI was Helen Pankhurst, great granddaughter of Emmeline. 

Joining Ginny and others for Yarn Along 

Thursday, November 01, 2018


This is my reading pile for the next few weeks. 

I am intrigued by the title 'Your Second Life Begins When You Realise You Only Have One', so I treated myself on our recent holiday. 

Gillian McAllister is someone whose blog I read for years, who then became a bestselling author a couple of years ago. This is her third book. I really enjoyed the first two, so I'm looking forward to reading this one. 

I'm hoping the Mindful Walking book might motivate me to go for a daily walk. I've also discovered the Health app on my iphone (that I've had for three years, and never noticed it before!), which apparently can count my steps. I'm always planning to go for a walk and never do. I find it difficult to motivate myself to walk without a destination, and the cake shop kind of defeats the object.....

I love this time of year. Dark evenings, curtains drawn and lights on early, cosy blankets on the sofa, hot chocolate and piles of books. Bliss. What could be better than Christmas books? 

I'm looking for different ways with vegetables, as I'm vegetarian and I want to try a low carb diet. Without meat and carbs, those veggies have got to work hard to be interesting! The Lisa Riley book was a bargain buy from the Oxfam book shop, it looks ok at first glance so we'll see. I was so looking forward to the Veggiestan book arriving. I ordered it used from Amazon so it was cheap, and having already borrowed it from the library I know it has some recipes in it that I'd like to make. Guess who ordered the wrong version? I need to either send it back or learn German. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


While I'm waiting for the kettle to boil for my coffee in the mornings, I often look out at the bird table to see if we've any little visitors. Today I saw an almost empty bird table, despite the huge amount of seed/mealworms/suet I put out last night. We have to do something to stop the pigeons hogging everything before the little birds get a look in! Modifications to the bird table coming up, I think. 

One visitor I do enjoy welcoming to the garden is this little chap. We put nuts out for him, but when they are gone he pinches them from the bird feeder and is gradually ruining it, it will fall to pieces soon. I'm thinking of getting a squirrel-proof feeder for the birds' nuts and a squirrel feeder for Cyril.  

You may notice the coconut shell filled with suet is tied on with an elastic band. I have to do this and twist it around the hooks to secure it or the whole shell gets taken. I'm not sure who the thief is! 

Monday, September 03, 2018

Parade of Adventures for September

Autumn is here! Well, officially I think autumn starts on 23rd September, but we're definitely heading that way. 

Here's a quick round up of how I did with August's Parade of Adventures. 

Organise the kitchen. I threw out some out of date things, filled up a couple of bags for the food bank, and rearranged things. I now know what's we've got and where it is.

Make curry buns. Not yet...

Finish my book club book. I finished it when I was halfway through, does that count? Now passed on to my friend.  

Work on a Christmas project. I did, but I now think I might keep it. 

Declutter 30 things. 18 things decluttered. 
I'm so glad it's September! I'm looking forward to all things autumnal, except Halloween.

September's Parade of Adventures, in lovely autumnal colours.

Walk through fallen leaves. Unless they don't fall until October, I'm not sure about these things!

Collect conkers. Apparently they deter spiders. 

Have a great day out in Ely for my Dad's birthday.

Take more photographs. Might even bust out the nice camera. Since I first got my iphone I am lazy and just use that mostly, as it takes a pretty good picture, but I would like to use my good camera more.

Declutter 50 things. Forever a work in progress. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018


Looking out my window....two doves and two pigeons sitting on the fence and eyeing the bird table laden with treats. The big birds eat so much! I'm going to start making a note of how much we spend on bird stuff, they go through it so quickly! I wish I knew a way to stop the big birds hogging at all. Maybe Philip can customise the bird table a bit so only the little ones fit. 

I am thinking a tomato sandwich would be nice for lunch. Philip just got back from the farm with some lovely organic bits and pieces. 

I am thankful for things to look forward to. A new volunteering opportunity, a family barbecue, a visit to an exhibition, a holiday.

One of my favourite things Coffee with cream, currently in my mug.

I am creating a cross stitched Christmas present, and just about to start a new knitting project. 

I am wearing My nightdress. Gotta love a pyjama day. Bare feet isn't working for me though, it's a bit chilly. Time to get the fluffy socks and slippers out. 

I am reading I've just given up on Keep the Home Fires Burning, that carries on where the series Home Fires left off. I got about halfway through, and lost interest. I think I'd have preferred it if it was shorter, it seems to take a very long time to tell the story. Up next, Paula Hawkins' Into the Water.

I am watching I'm working my way through Gavin and Stacey again, always funny. Last night we watched the first of Rites of Passage, an interesting series presented by Grayson Perry. I'm also loving the third series of This is Us. Oh, and I'm enjoying Fear the Walking Dead. Now there's an eclectic list.  

I am hoping that the heatwave is finally over.

In my kitchen Cold meat for Philip, something else for me, mashed potato, peas, pickle. Keeping it simple today.

In my garden My volunteer tomato plant is doing fantastically. it's full of fruit, though none are red yet. 

Board room I'm liking prayer flags and flower girl wands

goodies from the farm today. 

Linking up with the Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, August 23, 2018


How lovely is my day going to be? I came downstairs this morning to find this little pile of treasure waiting for me in various places - including thrown over the back fence by the postman, fortunately nothing is damaged! 

Jack Monroe's latest cookbook, Cooking on a Bootstrap, which I pre-ordered months ago. I love her first, A Girl Called Jack, which is currently lost in the depths of the house somewhere. It'll turn up. In the meantime, I have this one to peruse. 

I succumbed to ordering some White Hot hair products again. For a long time I used Touch of Silver by Pro:Voke, which I can buy in the shops a lot cheaper than White Hot. Touch of Silver gives a nice slightly darker grey/purple tone to my hair, but I've gone back to White Hot now, which seems to keep the tone lighter, and that's what I'm preferring at the moment. I'd recommend either to fellow crones! That's when I've not got the temporary lavender hair colour on, obviously. Then I use banana shampoo and conditioner from the Body Shop, which smells amazing. I use the shower gel too. If you're in the east London area and a woman walks past smelling strongly of bananas, it's me. 

Philip visited our son and outlaw daughter (soon to be inlaw daughter) last night to watch a film. He came back with The Greatest Showman for me to borrow and a grow-your-own-cucumber kit! I will give that a go in the Spring. 

The local adult education department sent me their Wellbeing prospectus, so I'll have a look at that over a cup of coffee, as well as a lovely little card from my friend Gail in Lancashire and a letter from my penpal. 

What a lovely pile of goodies on a grey Thursday.