Friday 28 April 2023

Shopping ... Again!!

I've been and gone and shopped again ... you knew I would didn't you!!

Just fresh stuff and some nuts that were on offer in the middle aisles, I purposefully avoided looking at any of the gardening supplies that were there ... well I might have browsed slightly but I stood firm and carried on walking past.  I don't know why a pot of Parsley made it's way into my trolley as I have some growing outside the front door in the old tin bath.

But it looks nice sat next to it's new best mate Basil in my new wooden box.  πŸ’“

(Don't worry I lined the box with a nice strong polythene bag.)

Alan treated me to a breakfast cup of coffee and a toasted teacake at Booths after my doctors appointment and before we shopped ... always go shopping on a full-ish tummy ... so while I was there I bought a pack of my favourite bread rolls and a birthday card for my soon-to-be fourteen year old grandson, where do the years go!!

That was another £4.05 spent.

I need to sit down and work out how much I've spent this month now that we are about to go over into May.  Gosh this year is going by quickly.

I have a feeling that I have just busted my budget.  πŸ˜•

Sue xx

Thanks so much for all the good wishes and comments on the last post.  I have posted again to move it down the list as other peoples health issues on blogs can be deathly boring ... or maybe that's just me, I would never have been a very sympathetic or patient doctor!!  😐

Thursday 27 April 2023

After the Break


To be totally and transparently honest my break from blogging for the last few days was not just because of our weekend away, but also due to a health scare.  

Once again my blood pressure has gotten totally out of control and lots of changes have to be and are being made.  Signing myself out of hospital last Thursday so that we could go on holiday was the best thing that I could have done, as with Alan doing all the driving and me being able to mostly relax and having new higher dose tablets the readings on my blood pressure monitor started to dip consistently.   As requested by the consultant I returned to the hospital for a check upon Monday as soon as we got back, and this saw me being signed off and handed back into the care of my GP.  

Last night I got a telephone message from the NHS Portal informing me that an telephone consultation appointment with a cardiologist has been made for me for a follow up.  The date of the appointment ... 30th April 2024.  They must have quite the waiting list if they are booking in phone calls over a year in advance!!

Hardcastle Craggs from the viewing point just up the road from our lovely holiday home.  As you can see from the top photo we also had a similar view while we were washing the pots each evening.

We stayed in a National Trust holiday home, Widdop Gate Barn, a converted barn in West Yorkshire.

Oh I saw alright ... drinking in the views and thinking on how lucky we were to be able to be there.

As you stepped into our holiday home the kitchen still has the old stalls for the cattle, with the table and chairs in the largest and a washing machine and a dish washer in the two smaller ones.

The vast window in the dining area, which really let in the cold at night.  The curtains were drawn straight after tea to try and keep things cosy.  Alan loves barns, and this was a good example of one that had been converted very sympathetically with hardly any full interior walls or false ceilings ... which made it very chilly!!

The photos on the National Trust website make it look a lot smaller and cosier than it was in reality.

The main bedroom, even this large king-sized bed seemed dwarfed in the space.

We had a large log burner in our Welsh house, but although this one was twice the size it still seemed dwarfed by the room it was in, and we went through a LOT of logs.  We sat wrapped in fleece blankets watching the television, wishing we had brought binoculars as it seemed so far away,

We went into Hebden Bridge on both the Saturday and Sunday, and the vibe on the two days was totally different.  On Saturday it was full of visitors dashing around taking photos and bustling through the shops and the market.  On the Sunday there was a large contingent of motorbikes parked in the square, with all the owners sat outside the many pavement cafes drinking coffees and chatting happily away.  There was a busker playing his heart out, and everything was just so much more chilled and laid back.

The dogs both loved the break, and once they mastered all the stone steps in the barn were relaxed and happy to be away with us ... but they were even happier when we got home.

This time, unusually for me, I bought my self a few souvenirs, but of course you know me ... they had to be useful things too.  

The wooden 'flour' box is actually lovely old wood and if I turn it around the other way on my shelf it will just look like a beautiful wooden box and the cockerel will be my little secret.  I was in the pottery shop making my rather excessive selection, when the 3pm emergency alarm practice went off on everyone's phones, causing much confusion to some people who had no idea what was going on.  It did get us all talking to each other and we had a good laugh as some phones were slightly late to the party and rang five minutes later.

Back soon.

Sue xx

Friday 21 April 2023

A Blogging Break


I'm taking a blogging break for a few days, I'll be back soon.

Take care.  πŸ’–

Sue xx

Wednesday 19 April 2023

Food Cupboard, Challenge 2023 ... and Tomatoes


I was asked the other day how the main Challenge for this year is going.  Is the food cupboard emptying nicely?  Well to be honest it's not emptying much at all, it's rejigging continually and I've not really been giving it my best effort to streamline things much.

I must do better!!

The top photo is how it looks this morning ...

... and this is how it looked earlier in January before I re-jigged the foods into more date friendly order and moved the large jars to the bottom cupboard.

I need to go back to menu planning, why do I let this slip so frequently when I really like doing it and love the ease it brings to meal times.  I really must do better. 😏

I think for next week I will make a concentrated effort to pick something from the food cupboard as the basis for each meal.  The fridge is a pretty sparse place at the moment so I can just add what is left in there to whatever meals I decide to make.  I also need to stop shopping when I really don't need anything, my Challenge money has almost run out, and at the end of this month I will work out what, if anything, I have left.

It would be nice to make it at least halfway through the year on the cash that I started out with in January.

Talking about the fridge, look what I almost lost out on thanks to my £3.50 week.  Even after I finished eating from my £3.50 shopping total I completely forgot that these tomatoes were languishing in the salad drawer.  Luckily even though they are over a month 'out of date' they are in lovely condition.

So I enjoyed two of them on toast for my breakfast this morning with a couple of slices of onion and some garlic granules.  Very tasty. 

Do you menu plan ... and more importantly do you actually manage to keep it up all the time?

Perhaps I should do Menu Plan Monday on here every week and try and keep myself on track.

Sue xx

Monday 17 April 2023

Mother in Laws, and It's a ...


My Mother in Law's Tongue plant by the front door is getting taller and taller and is loving this placement.  According to growing instructions that you see online they are supposed to favour warm places, so maybe being so close to the back of the fridge freezer and with access to the evening sun when it shines through the glass is really suiting it.

They are also known as Snake Plant due to the markings on the leaves, and reading about it earlier, to be able to propagate it you are supposed to lift and carefully divide the main plant before replanting it in separate pots.

Nope ... I've never done that, I just snip off a selection of leaves and stand them in a jug of water for a couple of months, changing the water when I remember.  It's always worked for me.

This was the one I did last year.  

It was just three stems from the original plant and now there are seven, the original plant is also busy replacing the half dozen I snipped off a couple of weeks ago.  A good investment as it looks like I will never be short of Mother in Laws.  πŸ˜„

Well the Gender Reveal party went off okay, to be honest the family meal beforehand was more 'our' type of thing, but it was nice to see so many 'youngsters'  dressed up to the nines and enjoying themselves in the nightclub in Accrington that we had taken over for the afternoon.

And what is my new great grandchild to be ... It's a Boy!!

This is a photo of the happy parents to be, Ellie and Liam, and Mason the new baby's big brother.  And not long after baby's gender was revealed we all got an email letting us know that his name will be Finley James and he should be with us around 8th September.

I shouldn't have been surprised that it's a boy really as we are happily overrun with boys in our family.  This photo shows my ex-husband Pete on the left, the eldest of our sons, Simon on the right and his three sons in the middle, sadly we couldn't catch Mason to get him on this photo,  if we had it would have been four generations of boys.


Sue xx

Saturday 15 April 2023

Weekend Watching ... and Boy or Girl?


Not my photo, but an image shared on Facebook on one of our local groups.  
It has the photographers name so I thought it would be okay to share it, isn't it beautiful.

Here is this weeks little round up of some of the YouTube videos I've been watching.

A new to me channel with this very likeable guy shopping for £1 for a days meals.  He's just started the series and will be shopping at each of the UK larger supermarkets for one day each week.  Here are his first two shops.  First Aldi ...

And then at Tesco ...

Frugal Daddy dumpster diving at Aldi ...

Gosh he gets some good food doesn't he.  How can the supermarkets even think of throwing all this perfectly good food away.  I wish dumpster diving was legal in this country, not that I could climb into a skip or dumpster these days!!  There are some UK skip divers, but they have to be very careful as most supermarket skips are on private and gated land owned by the supermarkets.

And finally here are some Meals of the Week from 'What's for Tea'.  I've been watching her videos while eating my way through the challenge food that I had last week ... and trying not to drool too much.  πŸ˜„

I also like watching her shopping videos for some reason, isn't it fascinating seeing what other people buy.  

I hope you find some of those interesting, I tend to watch either over my first coffee of the day or while I'm sitting enjoying my lunch.  It's nice to switch off from work for a while with something completely different.

Hope you have a great weekend whatever you're planning to do.  

We are heading off for a couple of hours to the gender reveal party in Haslingden, to see what our new great grandchild will be ... oh how lovely was it back in the day when the sex of your baby was a surprise!!

What do you guess girl or boy??

 To help you out ... in no way whatsoever really ... I have three grandsons, one granddaughter, one great grandson and one great granddaughter ... so who's next?

(I'll let you know next time.)

Sue xx

Friday 14 April 2023

Ginger's Pouffe ... and a Final Link

I bought myself a pouffe to use as a footstool sometime last year.  I rarely put my feet up on it, there's usually a book open on it waiting to be picked up and dipped into.  But about a month ago Ginger discovered it.

 Now it's Ginger's Pouffe  😸

He obviously loves the warmth that the polystyrene beads hold onto and sleeps there for hours.  He moved over to the littlest dog bed for a while yesterday when the sun shone briefly through the glass on it, but the minute the sun went behind a big black cloud he was back on his pouffe.

HERE's the link to the Challenge blog and the final End of Challenge post.

I'm sorry there's a few of you having trouble accessing it, I have checked all the settings on both blogs and they are identical.  I can only assume that because the other blog was dormant for a couple of years some of the anti-virus thingies are seeing it's resurrection as a threat.  Sorry, but there's nothing I can do.

Sue xx

Thursday 13 April 2023

Wise Advice from a Farmer's Wife ... and a Link


Wise Advice from a Farmer's Wife.

Whenever you return a borrowed pie pan, make sure it's got a warm pie in it.

Invite lots of folks to supper. You can always add more water to the soup.

There's no such thing as woman's work on a farm. There's just work.

Make home a happy place for the children. Everybody returns to their happy place.

Always keep a small light on in the kitchen window at night.

If your man gets his truck stuck in the field, don't go in after him. Throw him a rope and pull him out with the tractor.

Keep the kerosene lamp away from the the milk cow's leg.

It's a whole lot easier to get breakfast from a chicken than a pig.

Always pat the chickens when you take their eggs.

It's easy to clean an empty house, but hard to live in one.

All children spill milk. Learn to smile and wipe it up.

Homemade is always better than store bought.

A tongue's like a knife. The sharper it is the deeper it cuts.

A good neighbour always knows when to visit and when to leave.

A city dog wants to run out the door, but a country dog stays on the porch 'cause he's not fenced-in.

Always light birthday candles from the middle outward.

Nothing' gets the frustrations out better than splitting' wood.

The longer dress hem, the more trusting the husband.

Enjoy doing your children's laundry. Some day they'll be gone.

You'll never catch a running' chicken but if you throw seed around the back door you'll have a skillet full by supper.

Biscuits brown better with a little butter brushed on them.

Check your shoelaces before running' to help somebody.

Visit old people who can't get out. Some day you'll be one.

The softer you talk, the closer folks will listen.

The colder the outhouse, the warmer the bed.

 These are not my words, they popped up this morning on my Facebook Memories.  You can tell a few of them are from experience can't you. πŸ˜„

 Oh, and none of my chickens ever ended up in the skillet!! 

HERE is the link to today's post on my Challenge blog ... Days Six and Seven. 

Sue xx

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Smashed Glass ... and Link


I broke a wine glass yesterday.  

I was just moving it from draining board to cupboard and it leapt out of my hand ... it's surprising how far tiny pieces of glass travel when it comes to the clean up afterwards.  And of course when you have animals with tender little paws you have to be extra sure to get every last little bit out of rugs and away from the edges of skirting boards etc.  Lots of hoovering on Easter Monday for me.

But it had a happy side, as you can see from the inside of my cupboard now, the two wine glasses that I have left fit nicely and my pint pot could come out of the stripey 'soup' mug where it used to sit and have a space of it's own behind them.

I don't drink pints ... I use it to stand Spring Onions up in the fridge.  πŸ˜€

HERE is todays link to the Challenge blog.

Sue xx

Monday 10 April 2023

Plant Pots, Calming Cats ... and Your Link


You can tell it's the start of the growing season when the draining board has plant pots on it as well as cups and plates.  πŸ˜„

Don't worry all you hygiene freaks out there ... they had their first rinse outside and I was repurposing old washing up water for a final scrub!

Here's Ginger to calm your nerves.

  He was in the Lodge calming his own nerves first thing this morning, as his looky-likey was in our garden and Ginger had to chase him off.  Close up he is TWICE the size of my skinny little Ginger boy, but with almost identical markings.  There's no chance of us feeding the wrong one by mistake!!

Here's the LINK to todays post on the Eat for £3.50 a Week Challenge, which today includes the first two days worth of the foods I ate.

Sue xx

Sunday 9 April 2023

Happy Easter


Happy Easter to all my readers.

I hope you have a lovely Easter Sunday, here the sun seems to be coming out for the third day in a run, I could almost believe it is properly Spring at last, isn't it lovely.  My flowers were from Aldi and my Easter Egg from Alan ... just perfect for a little Easter display on my shelf along with the card off my eldest son.

Whatever you are doing today, I hope you can relax and enjoy it.

HERE is the link to The Eat for £3.50 a Week Challenge on my other blog in case you need it, and don't forget you can also access it on the sidebar by clicking on the photo of the food below the revolving globe.

Sue xx πŸŽ•

Saturday 8 April 2023

Dogs, Bones and Links


Sitting patiently waiting while Dad is inside the garden centre cafΓ© ordering some coffees ... well you never know he might come out with a bone!!

If I think about it I will try and come on each day to leave a link to the day's Eat for £3.50 a Week Challenge while it is on ... todays is HERE.  But if I forget and you don't have me on your sidebar, I have moved the link to my Challenging Myself blog higher up the right-hand sidebar, just below the Followers button and the spinning globe. 

 Hope that helps.

Sue xx

Friday 7 April 2023

A New Challenge ... and the Birthday Month Offers

Over on my other blog there is the start of a brand new Challenge.  

Now, since that blog has lain dormant since April of 2021 that is going to surprise anyone who might still have it on their sidebar.  But hopefully it is a nice surprise. πŸ˜€

Anyway it is the first day and the introduction to The Eat for £3.50 a Week Challenge.

HERE's a link to the first day.

I've had some exciting post this week, seemingly my birthday is going to be all about cake this year. πŸŽ‚ 

First I got a card and a reminder from Booths that I can claim a free slice of cake if I show my card and buy a cup of coffee on my birthday, or for up to six days after ... nice.

Then I got a letter from Dobbies to say that I can have two free coffees and two slices of cake or two scones so I can celebrate my birthday with a friend ...  and I think we all know who I'll choose.  Say scones and Alan will be there like a shot.  πŸ˜„

It will be a good way to round off a cut price Challenge and a very good way to celebrate my birthday.

Sue xx

Thursday 6 April 2023

Assembling, Growing, Packing Away and Sheep

I feel like I've been missing from the blog for ages, when in reality it was only Monday when I last posted.  I have no excuses except fitting in some extra tasks as well as being busy at work.

The little greenhouse thingy was assembled and checked for size in the bedroom last week.  It's going to be fine there for my trays of seeds and eventually seedlings and small plants once I get going.  But I have not been in a rush to sow seeds as yet because the App on my phone Garden Focused tells me we might still get a late frost at the end of this month or the beginning of next here in my town.  Anyway, I've always found that late sown seeds romp away, another reason not to panic.

It might seem a bit strange to have the greenhouse in the bedroom but it is literally the best place for the growing seeds, seedlings, plants etc to get the most warmth and sunlight ... if the sunshine ever comes back that is ... while they are too small and tender to go outside.  When the sun does shine the Lodge is bathed in the glorious warmth and light virtually all day on the side where the bedroom and living room French doors are.

As you can see from the top photo at first the lone occupant of the greenhouse was Cecil the Courgette plant, he should have had two sisters but they didn't germinate at the same time as him. 

I've also been packing away my heavier Winter jumpers and re-acquainting myself with all my t-shirts and Summery tops.  In fact it as probably me doing this on a sunny Tuesday that brought the rain clouds back with a vengeance yesterday.  Alan did say it was all my fault πŸ˜„

Luckily I kept out my cardigans and waterproof jackets.

Chatting to my hairdresser last week about changing over clothes to suit the season, she really didn't understand at all, saying she prefers to just turn up the heating and continue to wear t-shirts all year round ... I'm obviously paying her far too much!!

But when you live in a small space and have one drawer for clothes and a wardrobe with one hanging rail, it just makes sense to have a swap around and leave the heavier things to rest for a few months and see different things hanging or lined up in the drawers.  Looking at some of my t-shirts and remembering how many years I have been wearing them for, makes me realise the clothes like having a rest too. 

Just a week later and look how well Cecil is doing ... a meet a little relative of his now poking her head out above the compost. 

My greenhouse is now bursting at the seams with my new tomato plants and a basil plant.  
Cecil was on the worktop for the photo above when I took this photo in the bedroom.

The cover will stay off now so that the seedlings get maximum sunlight until the greenhouse is moved outside, and then it will be firmly attached to the support post of the shed so it doesn't blow over or away.  These have not got a good track record for being able to stand on their own four feet!!

Finally, looked who popped up in my Facebook Memories yesterday. 

Suky and Mavis were great friends with Jasmine and they had many great games of chasing each other all around the paddock.  It must have confused a lot of motorists to see a lamb chasing a dog and then a dog chasing a lamb ... which probably caused some concern ... before they then rolled over and collapsed in a heap together.

Happy days. 

Sue xx

Monday 3 April 2023

What Shelley Said ....


On my post the other day about the end of quarter round up of my non-challenge Challenge, Shelley commented that perhaps I should still accompany Alan to the supermarket for the 'pleasure of getting out ...' and that perhaps I would 'learn to enjoy browsing'. 

What a brilliant idea I thought!!

So I went with Alan on Saturday morning to Aldi, yep ... as you can see from the top photo it didn't quite go to plan did it!!  πŸ˜‚

In fact it went to pot before we even stepped inside the doors.  Alan had gone to grab the one trolley that I would push for him while he shopped ... I didn't need one I wasn't shopping!   I stood looking casually in the direction of the plants ... that for once all looked very healthy ... and what should I see but TOMATO PLANTS.  I haven't even sown my seeds yet and here were some lovely tomato plants all ready to nurture.  I decided then and there that I would buy two pots.  One pot has a single plant and the other has a little bonus seedling, so it's a sort of buy two get one free.

There were no small trolleys available so Alan had to get a large one so I put my plants in the child seat and left the body of the trolley for Alan to fill up ... he had a long list.

Then I spotted the Iceberg lettuces and knew I was about to run out so I picked one up, moved the plants along a bit and placed them in a cauliflower bag that I found on the floor.  That's it I told myself firmly, there's nothing else I need ... oh except for some Corned Beef for Mum and Alan's butties on Wednesday, oh and some paracetamol ... ooh look hash browns, oh well I might as well get a bottle of wine .... oooooh the dark chocolate biscuits are back.

You get the picture.

I'm not a natural born window shopper or a browser ... and it's amazing what you can fit into the child seat of a supermarket trolley when you try.

I'd go and practice this browsing lark again, but I am swiftly running out of money so I daren't risk it. πŸ˜„

I spent a total of £27.47 in Aldi.

Then I got home and my birthday present to myself arrived in the post.

I've wanted this book for ages and when I spotted it on Ebay I just knew it would be my birthday present to myself.  It was £20 ... gulp.  

But as it was priced at £20 plus £3 postage and packing and I made an offer of £17 which was accepted, and so I got it for £20 in total, I do feel a little bit better about it.  And I absolutely love it, so I am happy, happy happy ... and what price happiness. πŸ’

So just one day later and my cash in hand total now stands at just £17.72.

Ooops  😁

I have my vouchers and my Nectar points too, so I am not even slightly worried about lasting until the end of May.  This week I will be raiding the freezer and the cupboard and not spending any more money ... and also not going anywhere to browse, to window shop or to look at food of any description.

Sue xx

Saturday 1 April 2023

Of Dogs and Mud ... and Weekend Watching


Suky is a clean dog, she hates getting wet, hates going out in any weather other than sunshine or wind and has never ever played in mud.

Until the day of my aunties funeral last week that is.  

Alan took the dogs out for a second quick walk before we left for Manchester, to give them the opportunity to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and do their usual business.  Suky decided that that day was THE day.  She got the Zoomies and raced through muddy puddles and ended up rubbing her entire body in the mud at the side of the canal.

You can't tell much from the photo but her undercarriage was a muddy mess and her ears were full of mud.  Alan knocked on my door and gave Mavis to me and took Suky into his house for a bath.

If looks could kill. πŸ˜„

Yes, she also hates baths!!

She always looks darker after a bath as it shows off all her underlying black fur, her dad was a black Pug.

Mavis enjoyed a cuddle with her Dad while he got his breath back, and you can almost read her thoughts can't you ... 'Just look how clean  and dry I am compared to that mad Pug'. 

Mavis is looking a lot older now, but she's loving life, well they both are, even if one shows it by acting completely out of character and the other by chilling out more than she ever did before.  

And now for a little bit of Weekend Watching, here are just some of the videos that I have enjoyed this week.

A tour of a lovely and very normal ... ie, not titivated to the high nines ... English country cottage.  

Isn't it nice to just see a home that is not all minimal, but is lived in and loved by those who live in it.  And I LOVE that the dogs have a bell to ring for when they want to go out ... please don't mention it to mine.  πŸ˜„

And for a bit more cottage-y viewing ... 

... cottage core at it's finest.  
But very relaxing to watch.

And now for something foodie ... 

Although the music can get a bit monotonous on this channel, some of the food ideas are brilliant for cheap and easy to make meals.

And finally, a new channel to me and one that I've really been enjoying watching this week is Acre Homestead, and her massive freezer filling cookathons.  It's always nice to sit and watch someone else cooking while you eat your lunch.  

What a lot of food!!

I hope that you enjoy some or all of this little selection.  

Have a great weekend ... oh and Happy April  πŸŽ•

Sue xx