Thursday 21 April 2022

Large Jugs ... and Clever Posties


I knew that I loved the large brown jug the minute I saw it on the shelf in the gift shop, of course it was a very necessary purchase as my huge bunch of flowers had nowhere to live.  As I was sat watching television last night my eye was drawn to my little painting above the radiator shelf and then I realised why this particular brown jug had caught my eye and my imagination.

The painting of The Milkmaid by Vermeer has the girl pouring from a very similar jug.  So it seemed only right as I took my cards down this morning and had a bit of a dust-athon that I put the jug and it's contents into a new position and the flowers that Alan bought me onto the sideboard where they co-ordinated perfectly with the pictures behind.

It was my Uncles funeral in Stockport yesterday and the day went really well.  It was nice to meet up with family again even though it was sad to be saying a last farewell to a lovely man who was but two days away from his 95th birthday.  

Mum handed over a couple of cards that hadn't been posted and then my Aunty asked if I had received her card to me.  I hadn't, but then I really hadn't expected her to send me one with everything that she has been going through over the last few weeks.  She had sent it to my old address at the other side of town and the redirection that I did have in place ran out at the end of March.  

We promised we would call to the flat on the way home to see if it was there, but when we got there no-one was in, I even checked in the paper recycling bin outside but no luck.  Then we got home there it was through my new letterbox!!  Bearing the postman's writing saying 'now at no. 4'.  There are definite perks to living in a small town where the postman sort the mail and get to know everyone on a more personal level.  They had remembered where I had moved to after the flat and forwarded it on themselves.

Brilliant service and it really made my day.

Sue xx


Wednesday 20 April 2022

The Best Birthday


Yesterday was the best birthday for a long time, and the best bits just kept on coming and coming.  Phone calls, texts, Facebook messages and cards from family and friends, flowers arriving that were just so beautiful and to top it all off a wonderful afternoon tea booked by Alan at The Barn in Scorton.

I don't know what Alan was saying here, but it could well have been 'Oooh look at all the goodies!'

There was just so much food that we and lots of other folk took home doggy bags of the food that we  couldn't manage to eat.  This is just my leftovers, Alan had put his in his fridge by the time I took this photo.

After we had eaten all we could and packed up what we couldn't, we went around the gift shop part of The Barn and Alan bought me this lovely large jug.  It was needed to hold the huge bunch of flowers bought for me by Simon and Emma.

Later I had some of my leftover afternoon tea for supper while watching Pretty Woman on the television.

And I have saved these two half-price Easter eggs picked up from Sainsbugs on the way home for another day.  You just knew I wouldn't go without a chocolate egg at Easter now didn't you.  😉 

Thank you for all the lovely birthday wishes yesterday, you helped to make it The Best Birthday.

Sue xx

Tuesday 19 April 2022

A Special Day ... and a Secret Spills Out


It's my birthday, and I'm happy to say that I am 62 years old today.  

Some don't have the good fortune of making it this far and those that do should shout it from the roof tops.  True this has not been a good year for me.  I've literally spent the whole year since the last time a year was crossed off my calendar of life, trying to get over the broken bones and trapped nerves in my back, but I made it through to see another birthday and for that I am truly grateful.

The day started well, Alan had ordered sunshine and warmth and it was lovely to sit on the patio with him and the furries opening my cards and enjoying my flowers and the first coffee of the day.

Yes we were all out enjoying the sunshine.  

Mavis looks a little bit like she's been plonked down, but that is the way she sits when she's waiting for something.  This time she was waiting for a walk, which she got twenty minutes after these photos were taken.  She and Alan set off walking and after ten minutes arranging my flowers in a jug, me and Suky jumped into the car and drove to meet them at the park.  Where we all enjoyed 'bench hopping' ... moving from bench to bench with a slow walk between each ... enjoying the scent of the blossom in the air and the bird song in the quiet park.  Then we all got into the car for the three minute drive home, which Mavis thought was a perfect way to get home quicker than usual for the post-walk dog treat.

And a birthday surprise from me  to you.

 I shared this photo on my Facebook page so the secret is out anyway.  Yes we really are Lord and Lady Hall, each in our own right and not just through marriage.  There ... and you thought you knew almost everything about me.  😄

Edited to add these ... birthday flowers that have just been delivered from Simon, Emma and my grandsons.

Sue xx

Monday 18 April 2022

No Chocolate Eggs, Just Leeks and Potatoes

I dropped enough hints about Easter eggs ... I know they are silly and stupidly less value for money than a bar of chocolate but there's something about biting into that egg shaped half shell of chocolate that is Easter for me ... but I got none.  

So I spent some time in the kitchen with potatoes, leeks and pastry instead.  Not even slightly the same but it stopped me sulking too much 😄

I had all the ingredients in the kitchen and this recipe was chosen as I really had to use up a very sad leek that had been lurking in the fridge drawer for far too long.

Sautéed slowly to develop flavour, I left the potatoes and leek to their own devices while I read some more of the cook book.

Then I lined my little 1lb loaf tin with a double layer of clingfilm.

Once the potatoes were soft I added the last of some dairy free mozzarella style cheese that needed using, it's not actually in the recipe but I thought ... why not!!

And then topped it off with a sprinkle of cheddar style cheese which is in the recipe.

Following the instructions I then compressed it all into the tin and popped it into the fridge for an hour.

Once out I covered it in a third of the sheet of ready rolled pastry,  scored the top, brushed it with some almond milk and put it into the oven for 30 minutes.

Oh yes .... it turned out beautifully.

I had half for my lunch straight from the oven with some Bisto gravy and peas, and then ate the other half the next day warmed through in the Remoska, served with a large dollop of mayo and a sliced up tomato.

It was delicious, the only thing I forgot to do was to smush the potatoes a bit, I remembered that I did do that last time, just sort of half mashed them and it made it a bit better.

The recipe is from this book by Miguel Barclay.  I have all seven of his books and although some of the books are quite similar I do like to browse through them for simple and affordable meal ideas pretty regularly.

Sue xx

Thursday 14 April 2022

Of Gingerbread Houses and Books


There's a lot of clever folk that I've been reading about on the frugal Facebook groups and blogs that stocked up their freezers after Christmas with yellow stickered things to save them for Easter this year.  Legs of lamb, beef joints, turkey things ... lots of dead animals I know ... but nevertheless if that's what you eat and you're on a budget and you know you would be buying it further down the line why not take advantage of bargains when you can and free up money for other things later in the year.

I had no idea that my son had saved the Gingerbread House kit that we bought him and Tash as part of their little Christmas gift bag.  Perhaps not specifically 'saved' it but they are both busy people so perhaps they were just waiting for the time to actually assemble it.

The other day these two photos pinged into my DMs, with a 'Remember this?' question.

Not bad for a five year old ... sorry I meant thirty five year old 😁

Only kidding Jason your Gingerbread House is perfect and I bet it was still very tasty.

Talking of messages, I also got one reminding me that I had not put a close up of the latest sideboard colour co-ordinated book stack for Sue ... seemingly then it's not just Sue who likes to have a peruse!!

  Your wish is my command, here they are in full glorious close up.

Sue xx

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Remember When ...?


Remember when I got the last Booths voucher and decided to save it to spend on a treat for my birthday?  Well my birthday is nearly here, and the coupon date was almost up so I took it with me to Booths last week when I was picking up last weeks cardholder freebie.

Which made a nice treat for Alan when he got home from work . 
This weeks freebie is a dairy free chocolate bar which will be mine, all mine.  😊

And my nice birthday treat ... one of my favourite hand and body lotions, which along with the £5 coupon cost me just 60p.

Another 'Remember When ...'

Remember HERE when I bought the expensive tinned tomatoes and the cheap tinned tomatoes and decided to do a comparison taste test?  Well I did it, and the verdict is ... you do actually get what you pay for if you are eating them as they are straight from the can or want to make a lovely rich tomatoey sauce for your pasta dish. 

They are lovely rich and, as the can says 'finely chopped tomatoes' as fine as I have ever seen tomatoes chopped in fact and with hardly any watery juice.  BUT and yes it is a huge but when I make anything with chopped or any sort of tinned tomatoes I do tend to add salt, pepper, some dried herbs and sometimes some dried garlic powder and onion powder too, it's just what I'm used to doing.  Doing this made the cheap tomatoes taste better than the more expensive ones in my opinion.

I honestly think that I would buy the more expensive ones again if they were on a good special offer for those days when I just want to be able to open a can and pour them onto some freshly cooked spaghetti or straight onto a slice of toast for a tasty and nourishing breakfast.

So in my humble opinion you are not missing out at all by continuing to buy the cheaper version for day to day meals and sauces.  And of course the very best cooked tomatoes are the ones that you have in the fridge that have gone slightly too soft for slicing for sandwiches, so you quarter and roast them in the oven while you are cooking something else and then simply whizz them up into a sauce or soup.

To continue this theme of playing with my food, I have just bought another expensive and cheap version of something ... more about that another day.

Sue xx

Monday 11 April 2022

Sideboards, Cats and MIA


I was sat watching a very old Nigel Slater episode the other evening and I found myself watching the sideboard more than the television.  Indeed I almost lost myself in the grain of the wood.  It's just beautiful old Elm at it's very richest.

The next day the sun came out and illuminated the room in a completely different way and the light highlighted the sideboard totally differently.

 So I took another photo

Of course it's not always easy to get a clear shot if you own pets ...

*** *** ***

Sorry for the prolonged absence, well it was less than a week actually but folk seem to have been worried.  We have been extremely busy with end of year business financials, house-sitting arrangements for our holidays and lots of sorting for a table top sale that we did yesterday, and there has been a death in the family.  Not a very close relative, but a much loved one that we lost in a way to Alzheimer's a couple of years ago.  It does make you stop and ponder life though doesn't it.

Sue xx

Tuesday 5 April 2022



I was sorting through my notebooks the other day, pulling one out to use as 'spare paper book' that I can grab when I'm on the phone and need something to write on, and I came across this one.  When I opened it up it had lots of interesting stuff in.   I vaguely remember buying it from Asda as part of a stationery pack during a Challenge over on my other blog ... Challenging Myself

Anyway what should I find written in the back of it but the plans for a different Challenge ... a £1 a Day for a Month Challenge.  I thought it was THIS one.

But none of the foods matched up!!

So perhaps it was for a Challenge that I never quite got round to doing.

Which seems a shame as I obviously put quite a bit of work into the plans!!

I wonder how the prices would compare to those in the shops now?

Now that's food for thought ... and perhaps a Challenge in itself 😄

And while I was over on the other Blog I ended up going down a rabbit hole of immense proportions and reading about lots of my other Challenges, including one of my more unusual ones that saw me splashing out on things every day of the week.

Challenge Three in 2019  'The Shopping Hauls Challenge'.

Which was a really interesting one to read through again and I spotted lots of things that are still in daily use that I bought over the course of that week.  So those few people in the comments who said that I was buying useless things and wasting money should perhaps come round and have a look at all the things that I still actually have.

I have only used about half of the pens and pencils up to now though!!

Anyway I need to get off the computer now, I've been on here for far too long 😀

Sue xx

Sunday 3 April 2022

Sofa ... Before and After

This was the living room before I emptied the sofa and tidied up a bit for the Facebook Marketplace photos ...

... and this is it after the new rug went down and the chairs were delivered on Friday morning.

I absolutely LOVE the simplicity of the room now and the added space I have suddenly got.

And the comfort is brilliant ... can you tell how pleased I am  😁


Skint, but pleased.

Sue xx