Friday 30 June 2023

But First Coffee


I'm just filling my blog with memes that resonate with me for a few days.

But as always ... coffee comes first.  

Sue xx

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Do I Carry On ....


I've been wondering over the past few days if I want to carry on blogging.  😐

To be honest I am feeling that Blogland is on a downward turn, the negativity on quite a few of the blogs that I read and the downright nastiness of some commenters on a few of my blogging buddies posts leave me with a sour taste in my mouth.  

There's just no need for it.

I find if I read too many negative blog posts and their accompanying comments before I write a post on my own blog, all creativity and even the desire to write words of my own leaves me in a flash of sour coloured smoke.  

It's really frustrating.

I'm far from perfect myself and there have been times when I've been a bit of  Debby Downer myself (apologies to my readers, and especially to the two regular commenters called Debbie/Debby).  But hopefully that has been on only a few posts over the last fifteen years.  Maybe it's just me running out of steam that you are reading about right now.

We'll see!!

As for nasty comments on my blog, these are easily dealt with and rarely bother me if they pop up every now and then.  I deal with them either with a few words in print from my potty mouth or a sharp press of the 'Delete Forever' button. 😏

We are going to visit our Welsh flat over the weekend and have a chat with our letting agents in Llandudno.  We will be staying in a caravan in Rhyl for a few days, as obviously the flat is completely empty now that our tenant has moved out.  Hopefully this will give me some time to think about things and come up with a plan for life, the blog and just things in general ... I always find a change of scenery works wonders.

  The dogs will be coming with us, but Ginger will have the pleasure of my son's company.

Maybe I just need a break, we'll see.

Sue xx

Monday 26 June 2023

Sunday 25 June 2023

Picking Your Poisons Wisely

I'm currently just over halfway through my latest book, Chris van Tulleken's Ultra Processed Peopleand I'm finding it absolutely fascinating, although there's so much to take in that it's taking me far longer to read through than perhaps it should.

One of the things he states in it right at the beginning is that you should continue to eat all your normal foods while you're reading the book, in the same way that a lot of people did with Allen Carr's book 'Easy Way to Stop Smoking'.  This worked well for a friend of mine who had tried to give up smoking for years before finally reading the book and then quitting, so I knew that it worked.  

Reading and still eating all your usual foods does make you a bit obsessed with reading the labels and I have already found a few things that I thought were the healthiest and really they are not ... the bread rolls mentioned last week for instance.  I think moving forward I will be picking my poisons carefully, keeping in my diet the ones that I love the most and finding alternatives where possible for others.

These 'No Chicken' Garlic Kievs from Aldi are delicious and make for a quick evening meal when I'm not all that hungry, so they will stay ... unless I can find a suitable alternative for them.

I usually fill the dish up with peas when I have these with either new potatoes or rice, but I just wasn't in the mood that evening.  So simple it was.

Every morning I have a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon, after drinking this the slice of lemon gets popped into a glass of water and left in the fridge for another drink later in the day.  On the days when I don't have any lemon slices left ... I can't always get unwaxed lemons in town, and even washing the waxed ones thoroughly leaves a film on the water, so you know the wax is still there ... I have been using a dash of bottled lemon juice.

I had never read the label until last week!!

My old bottled lemon juice on the right ... and my new one on the left.

This is the ingredient list from the old lemon juice bottle.

One thing really jumped out at me so I Googled it to see just what I had been consuming. 

This really jumped out at me:  


Potassium metabisulfite can irritate skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.

Yesterday, as you might have noticed on the last post I bought a bottle of this instead.

Ingredients:  Organic Lemon Juice.

Now that's better.  πŸ˜€

I hope to be making lots of little changes like this over the course of the next few months.

Now it's time to get the vacuum cleaner out ...

Or maybe I'll just go back to my book.  πŸ˜„

Happy Sunday everyone.

Sue xx

Saturday 24 June 2023

Weekend Shopping ... and Admitting I Gave You Clues to a Puzzle You Would Never Be Able to Solve


While I'm still doing the Food Cupboard challenge and trying to eat down the contents of the cupboard I've not really needed to go 'proper' shopping for a long time, but I do like to have a few treats in for the weekend and this morning while I was running some other errands I decided to call into Booths for this weeks shopping.

As you can clearly see it's virtually all treaty bits ... but hey, I deserve a treat.  And YAY Ten Acre crisps are back in Booths. 😁

Dangerously for me our Booths now has a 'donated book' bookcase, raising money for local charities.  I found these two on it this morning. 

I loved the television series of 'This is Going to Hurt' so it will be interesting to see if the book is as good, or perhaps even better, and the other one well that's right up my street isn't it.  Alan thought I already had it but he was thinking of Hovel in the Hills ... which is a real favourite of mine.

October 2017

Now after much searching on both of my blogs I have to hold my hands up and admit that I think I have given you a teaser that you would never be able to solve on your own.  I was sure, in fact I was absolutely positive that I had blogged all about us buying our Welsh flat ... it would seem I didn't.  I must have done it all on Facebook!!

I'm sorry ... well at least a bit sorry. 😏

November 2017

In early 2017 when we were living in North Wales, we received a sum of money that we wanted to use in a sensible way for our future, so we decided to use it to buy a flat near Llandudno.  We had by this time already paid off the mortgage on our Welsh house, so we just re-mortgaged that to make up the rest of the money that we needed for a cash purchase.  

Our idea was that once we were too old to be able to manage on the smallholding, we would sell the Welsh house, move into the flat and use the money from the sale as our pension top up money.  In the meantime we would rent out the flat so that we could repay the mortgage as quickly as possible and not have any debt.

11th December 2017

We bought off plan, choose all our fixtures and fittings and the garden surfaces etc, and then on our way through to Llandudno to walk the dogs each week we would visit 'our flat' to check on progress.

27th December 2017

It grew quickly, and it was brilliant watching the progress and chatting to the workmen each time we visited.

11th February 2018

The day we got there and found that the scaffolding had come down and they had started on the pavements and roads was a good one.

11th March 2018

And on our next visit we could walk on the road and pavements and have a peek through the windows ...

... and even check on our 'garden'. 

9th April 2018

And just a month later the tree was getting it's leaves and the soil had been covered in grass.

So that was the birth of our flat.  Within a month of it being completed we had tenants in, a lovely young family who stayed for just over a year. Then they had a windfall and bought a place of their own, our next tenant was a nice young man who had a 'temporary' work contract in the area.  He has literally just given his notice in this month and will be moving on.  While he needed the flat and was happily paying his rent each month it seemed wrong to sell it so we held onto it.  Our mortgage had been paid off after just over two years so it has been completely ours since 2020.

Our plan was to sell it as soon as he moved out, once we had repainted and re-carpeted it, but then I had a brainwave and we had a change of heart.  With the property market being on a bit of a downer at the moment and sales slowing, we have decided to hold onto it for a while and use it ourselves as a sort of holiday base near the seaside.  Which cuts out any need for me to buy a caravan!!

We will be revisiting the flat next week and deciding what it needs before we start to furnish it very minimally so that we and the animals can use it on a regular basis.  After a while once the market picks up we hope to sell it on to a local couple or family as a starter home.

So it wasn't a cottage, or a narrowboat, a motorhome or a caravan ... it was a flat.  And one that you knew nothing about it would seem!!

Oops!! 😎

Hope you have a great weekend.

Sue xx

Thursday 22 June 2023

Shedding the Fluff ... and How Could You Have Known!!


We tried to get the dogs into the groomers on Monday, they weren't answering the phone so as we were across the road at the vets with Suky later in the day we called in person.  The girl there said they were fully booked and had no appointments until mid August ... so we made an appointment for then.

Feeling sorry for them we gave both dogs an extra good brushing when we got home.  Suky has a double coat and it takes a LOT of brushing to keep it under control at this time of year.  Mavis was just looking scruffy, extra scruffy even though Alan had trimmed her beard for her last week.

Then this morning the owner of the grooming salon phoned me and said they had had a dog not  turn up and did we want to bring both dogs into the shop in half an hour.  When we got there she apologised for the other girl and said that she would always find a spot for two of her little favourites.

And doesn't Mavis look smart with her skin freckles all showing through and her super neat fur all over.  We only have her trimmed this way once a year as she is supposed to look a bit scruffy as she's really a Parson Russell Terrier and that's their look.

But it's nice to see her all sleek, and looking cool after her bath and titivation. 

Of course that scruffy face and winky eye is still there, and she's still loved to bits with fur or without it, but I bet she's feeling rather lovely at the moment.

Suky looks much sleeker too and the groomer said she got a lot of fur and fluff off her, but I didn't have time to nab a photo of her because as soon as she got home Suky took up her usual midweek position under her Dad's desk, where no doubt titbits are regularly forthcoming.  Unlike under Mum's desk where all you might get offered is a cup of coffee.

Me - 19th December 2017

I enjoyed all your guesses on the last post, I am a tease aren't I.  😁

Nope, it's not a caravan, a narrowboat or a cottage ... although I would live quite happily in all of those.  I think I thought you all knew more about what it is than you could possibly have even known.  I had assumed that a good percentage of my longer term readers would know about this, but looking at my old blog there seems to have been a gap in proceedings when I didn't keep anyone up to date on something we did ... oops!!  It flew entirely under the radar between my old blog and this one.

So I will have to apologise and let you know sooner rather than later.

Sue xx

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Choppy Salad ... and Hands Up If You're Reading This


The other day I realised that I hadn't made myself a big bowl of 'choppy salad' for a while.  It used to be an almost weekly thing, chopping up all the salady things from the fridge and having them ready to add to meals all through the week ... and then suddenly I just stopped doing it.

So I set too, chopping.

I used three peppers, one red, one yellow and one orange, two large tomatoes, a whole cucumber, about five sticks of celery and a large red onion.  They were all chopped into similar sized pieces and stirred around before being tipped into my round glass container.

I kept out enough of the bits to add to a couple of sandwiches for lunch stirring some mayo and vegan grated cheese through the mixture.

And it reminded me just what I have been missing.

It's funny how a habit can drop away and just stop isn't it, but it's always nice when you rediscover it and pull it back into day to day life.

I have always used a container with a well fitting lid as each time I get some of the salad out for a meal or a snack, I put the tub back into the fridge the opposite way up.  This way the moisture seeps through everything at a steady rate, and as you can see in the very top photo I put a piece of folder paper towel in the lid to absorb any excess moisture and keep everything nice and fresh.

The next day I had some of the choppy salad with rice and a salmon fillet for my tea, and then the following day it was back to a salad sandwich for lunch, this time with a cheese slice and lots of extra onion.  A tub of this size will keep me going all week added to various things and if by any chance I do get fed up with it I can tip it into a pan and turn it into soup.

Hands up if you were reading Smiley Ovens ... and Musings earlier today.  

 This morning after retrieving comments that shouldn't be in Spam and putting in the comments that weren't in there but should be, I looked at the blog Stats only to find that a couple of people are reading right back through the blog.  One person is right back at the beginning and another was reading this post.  I do like it when this happens as it makes me go back and have a look at what I wrote.

Sometimes I'm impressed with old posts and sometimes I'm not, but they are all of their age and all valid at the time so I never go back and edit them ... even if occasionally I make myself wonder!!

This one was from when I lived in the flat before we bought our current property, it's nice to look back, especially as there might be some more property news coming up in the next couple of weeks.


Sue xx

Monday 19 June 2023

The News Isn't the News ...

The news isn't the news any more ... on national television things that should and do actually matter get pushed aside for trivialities.  I don't know who figures out what the headlines should be or the running order of said headlines but they really do need to wake up and smell the roses ... and get things in order of actual perspective.

It's just the same when you fire up your computer, the headlines of the day or week are lost amongst things like 'savvy nan turns overgrown garden into an oasis with a gin corner', celebrities that I have barely heard of  have welcomed a 'new addition to the family' ... but don't get too excited it's an animal to their zoo!!   

I mean who decides!!

My 'news' for the week is sporadic and bitty, but something nice that did happen was this little visit from little Mr Bee.  Buzzing around Wendy the Weed and gathering in the food, and giving me time to pick up my phone and photograph the proceedings.

 It was just a little highlight of my weekend ... but if I phoned it through to the BBC maybe they would run it as the headline for tonight, and put 6% interest rates for mortgages next year down to 10th place.

Other news from the weekend, We had a day out minus the dogs yesterday and had a wander around the big car boot sale in Bilsborough.  I went armed with £10 of change from my little wooden savings box but only managed to spend 70p ... I am obviously way out of practice.  πŸ˜„

 Twenty pence on the little bowl and 50p on the little oak frame which was empty when I bought it, but I knew one of my little pictures would fit in perfectly.

And it just completes this little area perfectly.

And that folks ... is the news.  😁

Sue xx

Saturday 17 June 2023

Find Your People



They are out there you know….
waiting to be found
or even just to be seen
perhaps they are hiding in plain sight?
When you do find them
they will like you, on impact
just as you are
because they are your people.
How will you know when you come across them?
It’s a little fizz
a tiny little spark of something
that zips unseen
between you…
One soul recognising another.
Stop trying to be liked
by those who don’t see your worth
chances are they never will.
Find your people
they need you too.

Donna Ashworth
From ‘I Wish I Knew’ :

I was only thinking to myself the other day that here on Blogger and a few other platforms, we have developed a nice friendly little band of like-minded people. We support each other, we sympathise when necessary, give advice if it is asked for and generally pop up on each others posts and feeds on a regular basis. Just like friends popping round for coffee ... but we all make our own and occasionally eat a crafty custard cream when no-one's looking.

Yes, there are some real twallops that pop up to try to spread their negativity and vitriol, but by and large they get weeded out pretty quickly and sent off to wherever it is that deleted twallops live.

So I'd just like to say a big thank you for reading my wild and occasional wacky ramblings and now I'm off to read some of yours.

Have a great weekend ... and happy hula-hooping.

Sue xx

Friday 16 June 2023

Hot Days and Hot Dogs


There's not been a lot of dog walking over this past few days, the weather has just been too hot for little friends wearing fur coats.

I have been getting up earlier than usual, feeding the trio of furries and then walking the dogs on a quick loop along the canal and back home.  Doing this means that there are plenty of surfaces to walk on, more than enough things to sniff at and just enough fresh air and distance to satisfy a bouncy Jack Russell but also appease an unwilling Pug.

We start off along the road and come down a set of ancient stone steps from the bridge to the canal, and this is the sight that meets us.

Then after a bend or two we are on the homeward straight, passing narrowboats and little cruisers until home is in sight.  Mavis occasionally gets to say good morning to her best friend Maeve if she is playing in her back garden as it backs onto the canal.  It has trellis fencing at the bottom which is ideal for doggies to greet each other through, and many doggy kisses are exchanged.

Once home a rewarding gravy bone and a drink of water are the order of the day ...

... before everyone collapses in a heap around the living room.

The dogs and Ginger switch from beds, to carpet, to tiled floor and back again many times during the day depending on their comfort levels, warmth and state of mind.

Me, I just make a coffee and settle down with my feet up for a while, watch a bit of YouTube or read my book and listen as the washing machine does it's thing, and I defer doing anything else until it is all pegged out on the washing line.

Sue xx

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Days Out, Sunshine, Washing Veggies and How Many!!

We made the most of the lovely hot weather on Saturday and took the dogs to Williamson Park in Lancaster, it's only 15 minutes up the road from us, just long enough to enjoy the cool of the air conditioning in the car as we travelled the A6.  

Once there we admired the Ashton Memorial, I hadn't seen it close up for years although it's a feature you can see from the motorway very clearly.  It's a remarkable building and I love architectural gems.  Then we shade hopped around the it and the pavilion where the cafΓ©, shop and butterfly house are.  We shared a bowl of chips ... me Alan and the dogs ... and then shade hopped for a while more before returning for another cup of coffee for me and a cold drink for Alan and the dogs.

Then we worked our way back to the car stopping at every bench that was in the shade for Suky to get cool and me to rest my back.

The dogs snoozed the rest of the day away ... and Alan might have joined them.  πŸ˜„

I nipped out to Booths for this weeks fresh vegetables, washing them in lovely cold water when I got them home.

I'm finding it's better to wash everything ready for use before I put it into the fridge these days, I used to wash things as I needed them.  But this way am more inclined to use what I have instead of grabbing a snack or something less healthy.

I'm still reading my book and now I find that I am reading the label of everything that I eat.  I thought these wholemeal bread rolls were healthy ...

... until I looked closely at the ingredients, now I think slightly differently!!

I guessed that there would be about 7 ingredients, Alan guessed at 4, we were both shocked to find out that's it's actually over THIRTY!!

I understand now why Chris van Tulleken tells you to carry on eating what you would usually eat while you read his book and not to make any drastic changes straight away.  As well as learning while you go, imagine cutting that many additives out of your diet straight away from all the foods you eat, what a huge shock to the system it would be.

I doubt very much I'll be cutting everything that is ultra processed out of my life but I will be very carefully choosing the things that will be remaining. 

Sue xx