Tuesday 30 August 2022

Random Jobs, Filters, Dishcloths and Souvenirs

Alan has just got himself a brand new Gtech upright cleaner and a little handheld one to accompany it.  We know these are good as I bought this K9 version for the caravan and during closed season we had it at home in Wales for a quick daily clean around to save getting the Dyson out.  Then I used it at the flat and now it's with me here in the Lodge.  So when his Dyson started playing up a bit and the large cleaning head on it broke he decided to bite the bullet and get himself a Gtech too.

Well his sparkly clean new one put mine to shame so the other day I set too giving it the biggest clean of it's life up to now.

Everything was stripped down and cleaned.

Everything that could go in the sink went in the sink and soon everything was nice and clean.

Well except for my dishcloth that I decided to use to clean it.  

No matter I still have more new ones in the pack I bought long before I moved to this new home.  They do last well these cloths and I highly recommend them, Not I hasten to add for the 'antibacterial' properties, this really annoys me ... we need bacteria in our lives to some extent to help us keep our immune systems in good working order, so why is everything anti-bacterial these days.

Anyway the old cloth has now moved down a peg to floor cloth and the new one is on the kitchen sink ready for daily pot washing duties.

While I was having a clean up I came across these ... the only souvenirs that I brought back from our holiday in Spain back in May.  A triangular sachet of sugar from a café on the sea front in Port of Alcudia and two little shells off the beach at the front of our hotel.

Happy memories, at virtually no cost.

Sue xx

Sunday 28 August 2022

Not Shopping ... and Shopping


I've had a couple of weeks now of eating from the fridge and freezer, clearing space and enjoying and in a couple of cases not enjoying foods that I had put in there a long time ago.

The Falafel pizza is one of my favourites and I shared this one with Alan as we settled down with it and a glass of wine to watch last week's edition of Shetland ... one of our favourite tv detective programmes.  It seems almost strange to have to watch this one week at a time as I am becoming addicted to binge-watching whole series in one or two sittings.  But I'm coping ... just!!

Another favourite ready made food for me are these garlic Kyivs from M&S.  I picked up a few M&S delights on our way home from Llandudno but these were the last things from that little haul to be eaten.

I'm trying to get back to more fresh fully prepared at home foods but a little treat like this, and a simple meal helps keep me on track.

 I only realised the other day that I just hadn't been out and done a proper supermarket shop for quite a while.   So when our local church Foodbank put out an emergency appeal on Facebook for food on Friday I suggested to Alan that we both go and do some shopping for them instead.

It was quite liberating going around Aldi and filling one of the big trolleys knowing that when we got home we wouldn't have to put anything away.  We packed it all into carrier bags and took it straight around to the foodbank, luckily we timed it just right and someone was there to help us carry it straight to the storage room at the back of the hall.

I'm not going to say how much we spent but we were both pleasantly surprised at what we managed to get for our money, buying four of each thing that the Foodbank had appealed for and extras that we thought would be useful, as well as some things that would just be treats for children.  

While we were at the hall dropping off the food, we asked the lovely guy that was helping us if the foodbank trolley in Aldi was theirs, and found out that yes it was.  So from now on we have decided that we will be putting things in every week rather than the more sporadic way we have been doing it recently.

Afterwards we treated ourselves to a toasted teacake and a bacon roll with a cup of coffee at Booth's to replenish our energy after the big shop ... well it is a Bank Holiday Weekend here in the UK.

Sue xx

Friday 26 August 2022

Re-Thinking, Re-Jigging, Falling off the Sidebar ... and Rationing

A couple of you noticed a few differences in the blog the other day.  

I've been having a bit of a re-think, a re-jig and generally tidying up the right-hand sidebar.  It's nice to keep things the same but it's also nice to have a bit of a tidy up every now and then.

I changed the blog header picture a few weeks ago after our little narrowboat holiday and with my love of canal bridges coming to the fore I just had to have one headlining my blog for a while.  I just love old stone bridges and it's so lovely that I live so close to so many of them, a five minute walk in either direction and I see three of them, a couple minutes further and there are more.  

Well anyway ... stop rambling woman, stop rambling ... after changing the header I thought I would look at other aspects of the blog that needed updating.  It's a good job I did, a few of the blogs on my sidebar Blog List are just no more.  I do read some blogs regularly and comment most times I visit, some I just visit and quietly slip away and some I hadn't been over to for quite a while ... and some of them had gone.  How long have you been gone I wondered and pulled my sad face 😞 

So I knocked them off, I also knocked off a couple that have just turned into advertising opportunities, I don't need to be sold things, kept up to date with things yes, sold things, no thank you.  And when escaping the flashing adverts take up more time than reading a post does it gets to a point where I say 'no thank you' ... and quietly leave.

I'm currently working my way through my YouTube list of subscriptions too and deleting most of them.  One of my ex-favourite ones, a proper career YouTuber is now just a walking advert and it seems her only content is showing what she eats, what she wears and if I have to fast forward through her showing us how she washes and curls her hair once more I will literally go and shave it all off for her.  Then when she advertised for an 'editor and content creator' for her channel it was just too much.  Her career is 'content creator' if she is going to pay someone to do that for her and just carry on washing her hair live on camera ... well I have no words!!

Anyway I have to stop waffling and sounding like Victor Meldrew and get back to my neatening up of my own blog ... or maybe should I pay someone to do it for me?

I did find something on my Blog List that I thought I had already deleted and I was really pleased to find it there.  Back in December of 2020 I started a blog called A Year of Modern Rationing and I was all geared up to follow it through in the New Year, and then Covid. lockdown and life threw me a curveball and it was shelved as quickly as it was begun.  

Maybe it's something for me to think about once again.  What better way to keep food and fuel costs down than to go back to rationing, and non-wartime rationing is a lot safer than wartime rationing.

Something for me to think about for sure.  Is anyone else thinking of something like this or similar for the near future?

Sue xx

Wednesday 24 August 2022

Books, Books and Perhaps Just One More Book ...

Last month I bought these three books, I got about a quarter way through Grounding and then a magazine arrived and I never went back to it.  It's sat on the shelf in the living room looking at me as though it's been deserted ... it has!

Okay I'm sorry!!

I noticed it glaring at me last night, I thought to myself I should remedy that immediately and pick up where I left off or perhaps start all over again today ... then there was a knock at the door this morning

I can't remember what I was reading when I saw the blurb for this book, but straight away I thought 'that's right up my street' and ordered it immediately

Amazon Prime is DANGEROUS I tell you DANGEROUS!!

But also good, very, very good.

I mean books, they are good things aren't they ... almost on a par with having two tons of pasta in your cupboard. 😉 It means Winter will be all cosy indoors, cuddled up with blankets, perhaps even a hot water bottle, far too much coffee and the ability to close the door on the rest of the world for a bit.

Perhaps I need to stock up on coffee ....

Sue xx

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Emptying the Fridge, Eating the Pies and Filling the Pasta Basket

I'm trying to make full use of all the foods that I have in the fridge and freezer at the moment and not going shopping.  I did well the other day chopping up all the peppers, onions and tomatoes that were on their last legs in the fridge by the time we got back from our little mid-week break.  Using a little bit of each to make a quick lunchtime salad, and drizzling the rest with some olive oil and a sprinkle of mixed herbs to go in the oven while I was cooking a pie from the freezer for my lunch.

I wouldn't dream of putting the oven on for just a pie anymore, but it was borderline acceptable to have two things cooking at the same time.

It was a good lunch.  The pie was one of the Dahl Pies that I got from the Artisan Market at Glasson Dock a couple of weekends ago and posted about HERE and it was very tasty.

Then this morning I had to go out to get the dogs some chicken, Suky has had to eat chicken with her usual dried dog food since she had an upset stomach the other week, so it seemed only fair that Mavis and Ginger got some too ... now they are all addicted and we are too soft to stop buying it!!

Well anyway ... that went off on a waffle didn't it ... I took my little four item shopping list with me.  Good girl I'm all prepared I thought to myself, I'll be back in ten minutes.  One hour and two full shopping bags later I was home ... with food that I didn't really need, but some of which might prove useful if wheat prices really do shoot up as they are predicted to.

I went to put the newly bought Fusilli and Spaghetti in the pasta basket in the bottom cupboard and found that I already had ...

... rather a lot of pasta in one form or another!!

The new purchases are the ones stood in the basket bought from Aldi because it's very rare that our Aldi has any wholewheat pasta of any kind, so when I saw it I pounced.  All the rest were already in my cupboard, and I honestly did not realise that I had so much.

I refilled the basket, and then after taking this photo I ended up tipping it all out again and sorting it back into the basket in date order, with the longest dates at the bottom and the out of date stuff at the top.  So I will be working my way through it over the course of the coming Winter, and it will be very interesting to see how long it lasts. 😄

I put the basket back into the cupboard and then I remembered the jars on the shelves ... so I have even more.  It's a good job I am an absolute pasta addict.  😎

Sue xx

Sunday 21 August 2022

Still on Our Holidays ... and So Are the Dogs

Officially we're still on holiday this weekend.  

Alan cleared his desk before we went away and he is determined not to fire up the computers before nine o'clock on Monday morning.  So on Friday instead of making ourselves some lunch we took the dogs to Daisy Clough with us, they love it there.  There is the apple orchard to walk around, the bee hives to admire and horses to peer at through the fence.  Then of course they get to sit with Mum at the tables while Dad goes and puts a 'coffee and cake' order in ... or as it was this time 'a salad and chips order'.


'Is he coming back with some food yet Mum?'

Of course any good café or restaurant that welcomes dogs has the obligatory treats jar, and they had a marrow bone and a gravy bone each, along with a nice drink of cold water.

And it would seem from Tash's photos that the dogs enjoyed their holiday with her and Jason just as much as we enjoyed being away.  Lots of canal side walks under the bluest of blue skies.

Mavis having a chat with her best little buddy Maeve through her back garden fence which backs onto the canal.  They've been best friends ever since their first meeting.

Cool evening walks on the towpath.

Followed by the game of 'how many of us can we fit on the sofa?'

It looks like a lovely time was had by all.

Sue xx

Friday 19 August 2022

Four Stars, to the Woods, Return to the Country, Posh Nosh, Wartime and Trams to the Top


A brief look at our whistle-stop trip back to Wales.

It was pretty relaxing actually.  We stayed at the rather dated but luxurious St Georges Hotel with a wonderfully refreshing sea view.  Sleeping with the window open was good for the soul as well as the senses.

The first night we just had chips on the prom, a play in the arcade at the start of the pier, and then relaxed in our room falling asleep within minutes of our heads hitting the pillows.

The next morning it was dull but dry, so after a lovely cooked Welsh breakfast at the hotel we headed back past our old place and on to Betws y Coed, somewhere we used to take the dogs regularly for walks in the woods and for a coffee for us.  We had coffee this time, along with flapjacks and then headed for home ...

... our old home!!

The house hasn't changed at all, (this is an old photo), but the land has.  

The young couple that are now the proud owners of Isfryn are definintely in the process of making their mark on the land.  There is much more growing going on, with plans to preserve what they grow, more building work happening at the back of the house, with a root cellar being built alongside a new retaining wall.  A hot tub at the front of the workshop and new buildings here there and everywhere.  They have lots of plans, in fact they sounded just like us when we were in the full flush of developing our first place together and it was really nice to hear.  They have some chickens and plans to get more, they have a couple of pigs in Nut Wood, almost ready to become bacon and sausages ... and Will's sheep still reside in the paddock.

We were so pleased, we really couldn't have sold it to nicer people!

We went back into Llandudno, had a snack in the new M&S café, a drink in the hotel lounge and then went for a meal at our regular old haunt The Osborne House Hotel.  The staff were virtually all the same although the menu wasn't.  I think if we still lived locally we wouldn't be there half as often.  Set three course menus just don't cut the mustard with me, although I can see how it makes a business more profitable.

Next morning it was time for us to go to somewhere I had been wanting to go to for years ... The Homefront Museum in Llandudno.

I had been wanting to go ever since we ate wartime rations for a couple of months back in February 2018.  For one reason and another we just never got there, and then lockdown scuppered my final chance to visit before I moved away.

It was worth waiting for, and I took far too many photos.  I feel a Challenge coming on!!

After the museum visit and before the rain clouds got any closer, we caught the tram to the top of the Great Orme.  

The Great Orme Tramway has been in operation for years and was something we had always wanted to do when we lived locally ... well we finally got around to it.

The views going up and coming down were well worth the ride up, but as the fine drizzle started we hopped on a tram back down, picked up a bit of fresh food shopping from M&S and then hit the road for home.

The dogs and Ginger were pleased to see us but had had an equally refreshing holiday in the safe and very capable hands of Jason and Tash, who had a little holiday in our house themselves.  

While we went to the seaside for our holiday they were having a holiday away from the seaside for theirs, as they live in the busy bustling seaside town of Blackpool.  I think they enjoyed small town life for a few days with not as many visitors and holidaymakers, and Jason really enjoyed the Thursday market with the large and varied book stall.  I really have no idea where his obsession with books comes from  😉

So a nice little break for everyone, but it's nice to be back and even better to realise that we have made the right move.  There are no pangs at leaving our old life in the country, here I think for now we have the best of both worlds ... and there's not many that can say that.

Sue xx

Monday 15 August 2022

VeganKind Life Style Box and Another Mid-Week Break ... We're Going Back to the Country


This months VeganKind Lifestyle Box is proving to be very tasty ... well perhaps not the bubble-bath, I'd rather soak in that than eat it ... but everything else is.  I signed up for this monthly treat again briefly as I had an offer for one free box and decided to treat myself to an additional couple of months as well.  I'll just cancel it when I start to get fed up with the contents.

I don't need to put another order in with them just yet as I still have quite a bit of my last order left and enough packets of my crisps to keep me happy for a while, but I do check out the online supermarket regularly as they are always getting new lines in.  I also still have a code that gets you £10 off an order of £40 or over if you're interested. 


Llandudno Promenade in August 2015

In other less tasty but much more exciting news, we are off on a mid-week break to Llandudno tomorrow.  It will be lovely to visit our old stomping ground for a couple of days but this time enjoying it as tourists, and no doubt playing a bit of 'spot the differences' as we have already noticed online that a few things have changed.  We will also be calling back to our old home Isfryn to see the new owners, and stopping by our flat in Llandudno Junction to see the tenant and make sure that everything is okay there for him.

At home Suky, Mavis and Ginger are looking forward to Very Special House-sitters while we are away this time, as Uncle Jason and Aunty Tash are going to spoil them rotten for three days in our absence.

I'll back to show you some photos of what we get up to while we are there.

Sue xx

Saturday 13 August 2022

Potatoes In, Plants Drowning, What DID Happen to That Last Sausage ... and Weekend Watching


I got my Christmas potatoes in on Thursday ... well that's what the information that came with them said, if I planted them now I would have potatoes in time for Christmas!!  

We'll have to wait and see as I've never actually managed it before, even when I had the poly and net tunnels something always went wrong and the Christmas potatoes always ended up being bought from the shop.

They went into my new posh large potato buckets, and I am pleased I got them as they look much neater in this small space than the Aldi Bags for Life did ... gosh I'm getting snobby 😆

I put one variety in each bucket and used the labels and the net bags themselves to label the buckets carefully.

The compost that came with them was completely dried out for transportation purposes so it got a good soaking with the watering can straight after planting.

And I added the leftover compost from this first opened bag to top up the raised veggie bed slightly after giving it a good water.  The idea being that the dry compost on top would help stop the water from evaporating.

In fact I've noticed that my plants are doing better than usual as I am recycling all my grey-water onto the garden and all of a sudden the planters with my Lavender and trees in and the herbs in my tin bath at the front door have really shot up and bushed out, and the Courgettes in this photo have almost doubled in size over night.  It's made me feel a little guilty as obviously I have not been giving them enough water before.

Only me would have healthier plants during a drought!!

Thank you for all the brilliant suggestions for the lone sausage on the last post They made me want to cook up another box full and try them all out, in fact I'm thinking of doing exactly that to have as one of my weekly Bases in future.

In the end I settled for chopping the leftover sausage into small pieces and stirring it into some freshly made Cous Cous that I had made up with some vegetable stock for added flavour.  It went really well with some homemade Coleslaw and a sliced up beetroot and made for a nice light, and extremely flavourful lunch on a hot day.

Here's a bit of Weekend Watching ... just for you if you are hiding indoors and staying out of the sun like I am.

A lovely couple who just decided to change tack quite recently and live onboard a narrowboat.  The videos are short, the boat and dog are gorgeous and the music is so relaxing.

Possibly THE best tiny home conversion I have ever seen.  Sympathetically taking an old building and making it very liveable for one or two people.

The Happy Pear at Vegan Camp Out 2022

And to finish off yet another narrowboat channel that I love and subscribe to  ... can you tell how much I enjoyed our narrowboat holiday.  https://youtu.be/dlqT3PxW2B4

In this episode Joanna and Vic answer lots of viewers questions ... including the one that I asked!!  

I hope you have a great weekend and manage top stay as cool as you possibly can, in whatever way to can find to stay cool.  I'm finding sitting watching television with my feet in a bucket of cold water works very well to cool me down before bedtime, then the water goes on those lucky plants ... of course.  😎

Sue xx

Thursday 11 August 2022

A Single Sausage ... and YouTube


I've been gradually eating my way through the contents of the fridge and freezer over the last week. 

 I Olio'd a few things that I knew I just didn't fancy eating anymore as I am trying to moving to a more 'real food/plant-based' diet but some of the things that don't really fall into that category I will still be eating from time to time, and Linda McCartney sausages are something I will always have a taste for. 

When I found an opened pack of the Rosemary and Onion ones in the freezer with three left in it I thought I might as well just cook them all, even though I knew that two sausages on a bun are plenty enough for me for a simple lunch.

So two of the sausages onto the bun and one into a container to cool down.

And while I was chomping my way through lunch I made myself a little list of what I could do with my one remaining sausage. 

 'Banger and Mash' sounds quite lonely doesn't it!! 😄

This morning while I drank my first coffee of the day I watched and listened to former blogging buddy of mine and now YouTuber Jane (AKA Frugal Queen) on her YouTube channel.  

This latest video was really interesting and as she listed all the 'Old Fashioned Frugal Living Tips' I mentally crossed them all off my list saying 'yep, I do that' over and over.  But this sort of thing is really needed at the moment for all the people who are suddenly realising that if they don't start saving money soon the sh*t really will hit the fan.

She has a really good channel, with her viewer and subscriber numbers rising rapidly as people are discovering it, and if you haven't been over there for a watch of her tips and tricks, meals of the week and cooking demonstrations you really should give it a try.

Anyway ... what would YOU do with one sausage?

Sue xx

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Statistics, Desert Islands, Decluttering and Euros


Somehow I ended up looking at my blogging statistics yesterday and it was quite fascinating.  I don't do it too often as it's too much like the day job but this was interesting and not work ... hence enjoyable!!

At exactly 2.52pm there were 27 people reading yesterday's post and one person typing a comment on it, 198 people reading other posts ... the oldest post of which at that time was one back in September 2020 ... hands up if this was you.  😀

The nearest reader to me was just outside Lancaster, and while my geography is not brilliant, one of the furthest away was in Russia.  We had 28 countries being represented one of which for some reason was described as 'Unknown country' ... which made me think of a little desert island somewhere with a palm tree in it's centre.

As I said it's fascinating stuff, and while I was entertaining you with my photos and weird ramblings you were entertaining me with your reading choices and home towns.

I did manage to set to and sort through another cupboard yesterday, this time it was the turn of the boiler cupboard.  My kitchen looks like there's lots of storage until you open a cupboard door and come across something like this.  😄

But I do make good use of all available space.

There's not a huge amount of difference, but what makes me really pleased is that I am now getting to the stage of only having things that I truly do need and use.  The few things that I got rid of went straight into the recycling bins. (Not the bottle though, I reuse them for as long as I can for car journeys, so that was filled from the tap and popped into the fridge.)

Note to self - take the euros to the Post Office and get them changed back to spendable money!!

(Or go on holiday to where I can spend them 😃)

Sue xx

Sunday 7 August 2022

Homegrown Food ... and Giving Food Away


We dug up our homegrown potatoes last week, well I say 'dug up' but what I really mean is tipped them from the Aldi bags for life that they were growing in.  I emptied the bags out straight into the new raised planter that you can see at the back of the photo, and it made it really easy to rummage around and find all the potatoes.

It was quite a good little haul really.

Splitting them into half for each of us meant this is what we got.  

Was it worth growing them?

Yes, is the resounding answer.  They didn't take much watering with all the rain we've had recently, they were tucked away out of sight of either of our houses just in front of the shed and most importantly of all ...  they taste delicious.

So much so that I am just about to put in some more potatoes that should be ready in time for Christmas.  This time I have got some posh new potato buckets to grow them in courtesy of a special offer from the gardening magazine that I posted about HERE.

I've been missing from my blog for a couple of days as I have been busy Olio-ing.

Sharing things that I no longer want with people who do want them or who can make use of them in any way that they choose.  I started with a bag of food that I just knew I would never get around to eating, and then because you can also give away non-food items I carried on by giving away all the things that I have been sorting out from my kitchen cupboards.

 I even had a good sort through of my stationery stash and gave lots of notebooks, pens and pencils to a young single Mum with two boys that needed some for now to keep them occupied during the school holidays and some more for going back to school with.

I still have other things listed and it's a good feeling to know that items I no longer need are going to a really good home.  And of course it immediately gives me more space in my small home instead of having items that I've recently sorted out just sitting around.

Have you ever used Olio?

Sue xx