Saturday, 11 January 2020

Keeping My Spirits Up

Christmas is very nice but all the excesses can leave me feeling a little BLAH. And despite feeling optimistic about the new year I am prone to a bout of the doldrums, especially when the days are dark, damp and cold. Keeping active is one of the ways I ward this off. 

Having my beautiful 4 legged friend Bertie is my reason to get out and about every single day. I do try to mix up our walking experiences as much as possible, afterall he is basically a sniffing machine! New walks, new smells....happy chappie. Plus we are trying to socialise him in numerous situations. 

We recently did a couple of shoreline walks and he was very good. The views are of  Shotley and Felixstowe across the river Stour. 

Wrabness is a lovely public woodland that runs alongside almost deserted beach. It can be very muddy but more and more grass/plant matter is growing along the shoreline. As its quite a trek to get to it can be very quiet which suited us. 

The problem with having woodland and the sea so close to each other is that tree roots eventually become exposed due to the erosion of the soil at the base. Over time the tree becomes unstable and topples onto the beach, where the wind, rain and tides transform it into an amazing work of art. Bertie adores having things to climb and loves being king of all he surveys. An old outlet pipe  lays semi buried in the sand, most of the metal sides have eroded but the end flanges remain intact. 

Despite being a relatively dull day, it wasn't cold and we all enjoyed the walk. I have a lovely bit of video but when I upload it,  it doesn't play. The instructions make it sound so simple........but it isn't! Any suggestions. Bye for now. Tx 

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Lower Spend New Year

My freezer is relatively full with all sorts of things, so I'm going to make use of what I have in there. When I batch cook I freeze excess meals so there is a lovely assortment ready to be eaten, so much so I've completely run out of my plastic food containers. So by eating some of the prepared meals I make room in freezer and have empty food containers ready to undertake more batch cooking, with the ingredients I have stowed in there. It's like one of those Tile puzzles. You make a space and then fill it! 

As I'm trying increase the number of vegetarian meals we have I've made a start with a large pot of slow cooker vegetable curry. I believe there is enough in each container to have with rice and as a topping for baked potatoes. My yellow sticker shopping should help with my quest, as I invariably bring home punnets of mushrooms for 30p and we really love mushroom stroganoff. I've been stockpiling a variety of tinned beans ready to make a bean chili. I think the key to some of the veggie meals is to slow cook them and wait for all the flavours to mature. I'll dice and freeze any additional YS mushrooms and  peppers and use this in savoury rice. Another slow cooker meal will be chunky vegetable stew, this can be served in a large Yorkshire pudding as the stew wont contain potatoes. The left over  Christmas cheese has been grated ready to make crust less quiches, they are so simple to make and really tasty. 

Although I'm trying to keep costs down in January I will be buying fish and vegetarian burgers. I've been told Linda McCartney's quarter pounders are good so I'm giving them  a go while they're on offer (£1).  I've also taken advantage of Lidl's weekend low fat mature cheese offer at £1.19 instead of £1.99. 

Far too much chocolate has been consumed over Christmas and we still have some left but its gone to a cupboard far, far away LOL.
I did buy some bargain choc in Asda which has been squirreled away for presents. Elizabeth Shaw Mint Crisps 63p, Benedicts mint creams 50p and Cadbury assortment bags £1.50. They were all really good dates and the Cadbury bags were so full of chocolate (Freddo's, buttons and fudge) I've split them into 4 piles and bagged them for the grandchildren for Easter. My grandchildren love what's in the egg but not the egg itself!! Bye for now. Tx 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020


The first day of a new year and a new decade. We tend to look at the New Year as a fresh start, new beginnings etc. 2019 wasn't a great year in many ways.  It saw the end of a 38 year friendship which caused a lot of nastiness in my life and tension in my marriage. I said a sad goodbye to some friends and ex colleagues, but life goes on.  I'm not going to make any huge life changing predictions or resolutions, I just want to do the best I can in everything I do. I've already said previously I'm going to try my hardest to reduce the amount of plastic I bring home. I'm also committed toducing our meat intake and getting my cholesterol level down.  I  walk everyday with my Bertie and this will continue come rain or shine and if I manage to lose half a stone I'll be chuffed. 
The contract is signed and I'm hoping the house sale will be done and dusted by the end of January, which means we enjoy more financial security and some treats. I'm looking at some coastal cottages to hire, ones that are pet friendly as I want to get Bertie used to travelling and staying away. 

I'll continue to live and shop using all my frugal skills because I hate waste and if I can get a bargain then it makes good sense. In fact I'm heading to the shops this week, armed with a list  to see what I can pick up for Birthday presents throughout the year. I'm going to attempt a new hobby and I'll let you know how I get on.

I'm only going to post a couple of times a week as I believe this is more realistic with Bertie being so young. He is time consuming but I'm totally in love and he's enriched my life in so many ways.  He on the other hand found Christmas  totally exhausting.😂

Happy New Year to one and all. X 

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Keeping Fit with Bertie

My Welsh Terrier puppy Bertie is almost 17 weeks old and his walking distance is getting greater all the time. He would just keep going and going but  it's not good for him.
From tarmac to dirt
Tree lined lane
I'm blessed that I live in a semi rural location, surrounded by fields with public footpaths and public bridleways. The road I live in was actually the entrance to a large  farm many years ago, all the homes are different styles and ages. A few doors away from my bungalow that was built in 2000  are what I believe to be workers cottages built in 1914. The farm has been broken up and sold off over the last 25-30 years. One of the fields is now a stable block and can only be accessed via a dirt track in my road. The owners dont live on site but they have 2 large horses, hens, geese and ducks.
Another part of the field  has been given over to a couple of small workshops that aren't currently used, I think because access is pretty awful due to the dirt track. Behind our bungalow is what's left of another farm. I understand that  one farmer now runs what's remaining  of both farms from a base  half a mile away.

Down the lane there are mushrooms, sloe berries and all sorts of great foliage that I hope to use next year on a wreath. 

Bertie loves checking out what the farmer is growing. The only downside is I feel our lovely walks have been spoiled by the constant wet weather. Quite frankly I've never known Essex so wet as it is this year. Poor Bertie, all he's known is rain, rain and more rain...not that he minds,  but I do. I'm praying for a dry month. 

We have been doing some recall training with him, whereby we had a 15mtr training lead and a tub of sausage tit bits. Everytime the lead was fully extended  we would call him back and if he did what we asked he was rewarded.  Last week we let him off the lead for the first time  and he came back every time. Yeah!! I'm so proud. 

I'm feeling a little better and getting out and about is certainly helping. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, back in the New Year. Bye for now. Tx

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Its starting to feel a lot like Christmas

Despite not feeling 100% over the last 2 weeks I agreed to meet up with some friends. There was a small window of opportunity as Jane was only visiting Essex  for 3 days prior to returning to Newcastle. Amazingly all 5 of us could make it the date suggested. 

Our Christmas get together always involves a meal, were we swap our token presents and have a good old chin wag. I made each person a Christmas card a while back using brown card and a brown  envelope . When it came to wrapping their presents I decided to go with brown paper to match. In fact that's what I'm going to use each year from now on, I'm even going to try string instead of sellotape in future.  My new years resolutions are:  reduce  plastic,  recycle more and reduce our meat intake. However I  have a couple of rolls of wrapping paper to use up first.  

Simple brown paper is a better alternative  to the highly shiny or foiled type of wrapping paper that can't be recycled. Each present was  dressed with a piece of wired mock berry foliage.
I bought the foliage last year in a shop called Tiger that has lots of unusual bits. I was originally going to use it on Christmas cards but never got round to it. I loved the effect and told my girlfriends to reuse it by twisting it into circles to make mini wreaths that could go on their trees. 

Tesco have started their cheap Christmas veg deal. Parsnips, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower and sprouts all 29p per pack. Absolutely great value. I've already blanched and frozen one lot. I got a huge beautiful white cauliflower my absolute favourite vegetable and made half into cauliflower cheese and the other was served with chicken casserole. I'm going to research some recipes for root veg and take advantage of the deal. Do you have any? 

I'm trying Aldi tomorrow as their veg is 19p and they have swede and red cabbage in their offer. I feeling a little better but still have some off days. Early night me thinks. Bye for now Tx

Monday, 16 December 2019

I only went in for milk!

I expect most of us have done it.....gone into a shop for one thing and come out with far more. I've even gone into a shop and come out with everything bar the thing I actually went in for! However I must confess I have reined in this practice considerably over the last 4 years. I have a list and stick to it rigidly  but as I'm trying to save by getting  'yellow sticker shopping' I have to leave myself flexible. 

As I approached the vegetable section I could see the assistants were just coming out with the trollies of discounted items.  Another assistant came through the door with a cage full of green boxes with quite an assortment of items in it.  I picked out loads. A large Cadbury's  Wholenut bar for 60p instead of £2. A tub of Randoms for £1.50 instead of £5 ideal as I have family that prefer this type of sweet to chocolate. I got a Tesco candle for 45p instead of £1.50, a large Bold liquid £1.20 instead of £4, which I decanted as the lid was broken. A triple pack of Mcvitie Jaffa Cakes for 38p instead £2.50. Total savings on my shop came to £18.32. 

I also got a large Rhubarb Pie for 62p instead of £1.25, coleslaw, mushroom, peppers, apples and lots more. My total shop came to £13.63 and £6.50 of that was a tray of canned Pepsi Max £5 and £1.50 for the 6pts milk I actually went in for. 

The sweets, chocolate and biscuits went in the drawer for Christmas. The mushrooms became mushroom stroganoff, the peppers were stuffed with savory rice and served with a chunky salad with delux coleslaw. The coleslaw also topped jacket  potatoes with cheese and  beans with salad. The rhubarb pie was cut into 6 and we had it for dessert on 3 nights as our meal was vegetarian and light. I've had another couple of good yellow sticker shops but I don't want to bore you will the details. But it will suffice to say I'm on target for my challenge. Bye for now. Tx 

Friday, 13 December 2019

Not So Good

Apologies for my absence but I haven't been very well. I have been backwards and forwards to the Doctor who along with the NHS have been brilliant. I'm still awaiting blood results but the emergency scan I had within 48 hours of it being ordered by the Doc, thanks to a cancellation proved normal. I'm count my blessings  as I'm a very well person normally, so to feel unwell has really got me down. Everything has been a struggle because of the pain and tiredness I been experiencing due to the lack of sleep. 

When you reach your sixties you seem to hear, all too frequently that someone you know in your age group has passed and this happened only this week when my SiL's father had a massive heart attack and died aged 62, despite being airlifted to hospital. That's no age. He'll be missed by the family. 

Christmas has slowly visited my home and the tree and decorations are finally in place. There are 2 battery sets of lights to go on the bays later today when/if it stops raining. I must recommend these sets of LED battery lights available form all sorts of places.  We got our first ones 2 years  from Wilko and managed to pick up 3 more sets  on offer at £3.75 instead of £5 with batteries included. We did invest in some extra batteries from Poundland, 24 AA Kodak batteries for £2 (I know its a bit of an oxymoron). The lights have 8 functions and automatically come on for 8 hours and go off for 16, furthermore the batteries last for 30 days on average.
They are ideal for dressing my small conifers in pots near the front door and anywhere you don't have an outside socket.  

I discovered these  picture ornaments in my bargain box, the place I put all the after Christmas sale stuff ready for the following year.  I'll be searching my phone for suitable photos to insert.

I've had a couple of very good yellow sticker shops and I'll report on them shortly. I'm loving having to think on my feet when I get the ingredients home and turn then into meals etc Well that's all for now, I have a four legged little hairy friend whom I'm totally in love with waiting for a walk as the rain has finally subsided. The wind or rain doesn't bother him in the slightest but it does me! 

Bye for now, Tx