Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Shopping Haul June - Week 4

It was a huge shopping week this time round, we ran out of a few things and as we are on holiday I wanted to make sure we had some nice things for picnics and so on so we don't eat out too much.

Sainsbury's £3.73
potatoes 63p/ almond drink £1/ cauliflower 24p each/ broccoli 38p/ bananas 63p/ cucumber 50p

I also had to pay 5p stupid tax as I forgot to take a bag with me. I can't believe I actually got hold of some yellow sticker stuff, the potatoes and cauliflower were all reduced from £1. I had plans for a cauliflower anyway, so I'm really happy to have picked two this cheaply. 

M&S £2.94
guacamole £1.90/ iced and spiced buns £1.04

Home Bargains £3.64
coconut milk 69p each/ jalapenos 59p/ baguettes 39p each/ dates 89p

Grape Tree £10.36
I lost the receipt but I know the lentil chips were £1.49 and the pecans £3.99 so the others were £2-something each

Holland and Barrett £11.98 (I think)
Lost the receipt again but these were just under £12 for two bags

Atkinsons £5.50
just some coffee beans

Aldi £12.69
cereal 89p/ squash 72p/ nut bars £1.99/ curried lentils £1.29/ onions 55p/ spring onions 47p/ broccoli 39p/ peppers 91p/ peaches 65p/ tomatoes 71p/ sweet potatoes 89p/ lettuce 95p/ houmous 55p/ pea snacks £1.29

The nut bars and lentil pouch were for Dan, he had to fast before going to the hospital for an afternoon appointment so he wanted something quick to eat as soon as he'd finished. Poor lad didn't eat for over 30 hours. 

Sainsbury's £17.62
almond drink £1.25 each/ bread 34p/ bread £1/ peanuts 70p/ sesame oil £1.80/ pasta 85p/ marmite crisps £1.25/ mushrooms 62p/ potatoes £1.50/ chillies 60p/ spread £1.60/ tomatoes 50p each/ chickpeas 85p/ garlic bread 70p 

Prior to fasting Dan could only eat certain very bland foods, hence all the bread in the world. I bought fancy chickpeas for use in a salad, they're bigger and more splendid than the cheap brands so I splashed out! 

Oh my goodness, that makes for a final weekly total, well a final 10 days or so total, of £68.46. The June total is a ridiculous £176.04, I need a lie down.

Friday, 23 June 2017

In The Window

Even though we were on holiday only a few weeks ago, we are on holiday again next week - why not? So, on the hottest day of the year, I primped the window at the charity shop. I actually think I had a little bit of heatstroke afterwards as I felt sick and all manner of other things, it took me an age to walk home. Never to worry. I decided to not go for an obvious summer theme but instead went for lights and metallics. The massive bonus of taking this route is that there's no need to stuff the display, as the shine does a lot of the work. 

I stole the idea of using jars to display accessories from a charity shop merchandising page on facebook. As seen from outside 

It's a bit subtle, but it received a lot of attention. And of course after doing a very summery window it rained the following day!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What We Ate June - Week 3

As promised there are a few less healthy options in here this week!

jacket potato with beans and mini sausages/ lentil and mushroom pie/ pie filling

curry from the freezer/ curried bubble and squeak type thing, it looks disgusting but it was delicious/ hazy falafel sandwich

Then it got hotter, we we ate a variation of the same thing for a few night so I didn't have to cook.

veggie burgers/ roast veg cous cous

The burger mix was sent as part of the packaging for the record player, it was just a case of adding water then cooking them on the griddle for a few minutes. 

toasted seeds and cashews/ assorted salad and things/ a plateful

And to finish of course we had to have some banana nice cream, this was macadamia and cocoa flavour. 

Dan had brought home some chocolate buttons as a surprise, so they came in handy! 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Shopping Haul June - Week 3

Holland & Barrett £5.25
Dan came home with some macadamia nuts this week after a lunchtime walk.

Heron £1
After the macadamia nut purchase, Dan also ventured to Heron and picked up three blocks of puff pastry for £1. He'd very kindly cut them in half and put them in the freezer before I took the picture. 

Sainsbury's £2.61
broccoli 62p/ frozen berries £1.70/ onions 29p

So it was all going very well until we went to Manchester.

8th Day, Manchester £16.71
I didn't get a receipt so don't know the cost of each item. I remember the crisps were 69p, the flour £2.44 and the teriyaki sauce £2.99

Beer wouldn't usually come out of the grocery budget, but I paid for it on this occasion. It was so hot when we got home from Manchester that I refused to cook so we treated ourselves to yet more things

Booths £6.55
crumpets £1.15/falafel £2.10/ tomatoes £1/ houmous £1.30 (!)/bread £1

Total for this week £32.12. 

Monday, 19 June 2017

In The Morning

We ate our breakfast outside today, something we never do. Other than the sound of the bees and birds it was silent, there was no-one else around, a good start to a Monday - especially when it's yet another one of those days where the news is not enjoyable viewing. 

photo by Dan, wow his phone has a better camera than mine!
I bought a circle scarf from the charity shop the other day, it was going to go into the rags and I wanted it to chop up and add to my stitching, but this morning I noticed that it's actually a Gap scarf, still with the tag on, so if anyone would like it then I'm happy to pass it on, if not I'll chop it up. 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

In The Window

For the last month or so I have been back in charge of primping the windows at the charity shop, so here's the latest look. We have sold and replaced a few things in the main window since I first did the primping and I did NOT add the hats! It's not the most exciting window I've ever done but hopefully next week we'll have some exciting stock to play with. 

The side window

There's a lot of glare, but you get the idea. And our two new models inside 

There's a lot of red and blue there, maybe I was influenced by the election!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

What We Ate June - Week 2

I actually forgot to take photographs of most of our food last week for some reason, but it featured a lot of veg. We spent more on plants and garden things last week than we did on food, I think it was all good value for money though, hopefully one day the weather will play along and we can combine eating and being outside, who knows!

obligatory stirfry/ cous cous salad 

spicy rice - the plan had been to make jollof rice but we were so hungry we didn't wait for it to be dry and delicious!/ baked onion bhajis

I don't make them all that often for some reason, but I love these baked onion bhajis - recipe here. They're easy to make and because they're baked they don't use too much oil. 

dhal/ roast squash cakes

The oven was in use on Saturday so i roasted the squash then realised I had no plans for it, so decided to adapt this recipe for Yotam Ottolenghi's sweet potato cakes, it worked really well and I will make them again, very tasty and a little messy, lovely with some spicy chutney.

I am learning to love my new blender and I admit it is good for smoothies, I'm having them a fair bit as I've started exercising again, so I can blitz up oats, fruits, flaxseed and other goodies without any grittiness. The food processor is more powerful than my old one so houmous and pastes are very smooth now, lovely. 

The other small change of the week is that I have switched one of my shifts at the shop to a morning rather than doing two afternoons, it started as a temporary thing but I've decided I'd rather get it over and done with in the morning, freeing up time for me to have a walk in the afternoon, go shopping or just do the other little bits and bobs that crop up during the week. We'll see how it goes. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Shopping Haul - June Week 2

Holland & Barrett £3.18
I bought two of these, not much else to say, I like a cup of tea!

Morrisons £3.23
bread flour £1/ plain flour 45p/ seeds 83p/ yeast £1

Home Bargains £1.50

Aldi £9.93
mushrooms £1.38/ sultanas 88p/ almond drink 99p/ potatoes £1.25/ squash 72p/ broccoli 39p each/ cucumber 39p/ houmous 55p each/ carrots 42p/ passata 35p/ tomatoes 71p/ spring onions 47p

Booths £1.50

A pretty basic week, we did splash out £14.30 on brunch this week too, but that wasn't from my grocery budget. I still spent a little more than I wanted, but I hadn't taken into account the bread things and I hadn't planned to buy the lentils, but I do love them. That brings the total for this week to £19.34 and has let me with a lot of cooking to do!

Monday, 12 June 2017


Back in the olden days when people used to buy newspapers, we used to buy a newspaper on a Saturday, lounge around with cups of coffee and read from cover to cover. We don't buy a newspaper all that often any more, but it's still enjoyable when we do. I have kept one article for nearly a decade, because it described dream garden. When I tore the pages out we didn't even have a garden, but I thought one day maybe we might.

This is it, a lovely big mix of plants to look out at and spend time in. 

The gravel and the pots were right up my street then, and they are right up my street now. 

I don't really need to keep these pictures as they are locked into my memory, but there they were in with the magazines I sorted out when I moved my cookbooks. I love our daft little treasures. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Not Even A Cupboard

Just a hole where a cupboard should be.

Yes, there has been more house poking (you have been spared the details of the porch reorganisation). I may have mentioned several dozen times that my kitchen is a bit rickety, especially here. Under the breakfast bar/ island/ whatever it is there is a gap where a cupboard should be, you'd think it might be space for an under counter fridge, but there's no electrical socket so I think the previous owner just left a cupboard at the DIY shop or something and couldn't be bothered to go back for it. 

This gap usually houses hay or recycling, but now it is something far more useful to me. 

I was thinking I could buy a bookcase but then just repurposed the wooden box of kitchen bits as a handy cookbook shelf. Before this the books were above the oven and not easy for me to get to, now I have no excuses. We are in the realm of form follows function but with a kitchen as unattractive as mine it really doesn't matter! It also meant I gave everything a quick once over before storing it again and so far I've found 12 magazines to stick into the recycling.

Garden progress continues too, we chopped lots of overhanging branches at the back of the garden - our neighbour can't see them anyway and created more headroom and lots more light - we'll appreciate that should the sun ever shine again. Plants have been moved around, things that fell in the wind have been tied up and just general garden things. 

After this weekend of domestic joy we have an unexpected evening out. Dan entered a competition on social media and won two tickets to see St Etienne (the band) in Manchester tonight. We have petrol, parking is only £3.50 so it's not too much of an expense for something a little different. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Coming Back (Plus I Was Wrong)

For a little while Dan and I started to wander away from how we want to live and got sucked into the drudge of doing the normal, mindless activities of life. A couple of things have happened over the past months to start the stride back to who we are and how we want to live. For the most part, these steps are almost invisible, but they're there. I was thinking about one just now when I was washing up. 

It all started with a cup of tea (what else?) and our decision to stop buying teabags and go with loose tea, I don't know why this was such a big deal, that's all lost in time, but it was and it was a very good decision. Then there's the changes to how we shop, changes to how we save, breadmaking, cooking in general, inching towards progress in the garden, and all those dozens of other tiny things we do every single day.

Back in January 2016 the very splendid Secondhand Susie blogged about switching to cellulose kitchen sponges. This one took a while as Dan does most of the washing up here and it was a process of negotiation to get him to part with regular scrubby sponges. Eventually we found some cellulose and cotton cloths at Ikea and we love them! I cut them in half before use as that's plenty for washing up purposes, they're also machine washable and compostable. 

What it boils down to is not taking the easiest path and going for convenience all the time, it's not really easier for us as it's not what we want, and it involves saying "NO!!!" fairly frequently. I don't mind saying no to myself but other people sometimes don't like to hear it, particularly when they think they are being kind - it's certainly a skill to say thanks but no thanks and for the other person to hear that in a positive way.

I mentioned seeing the Corbyn car the other day and commented that you wouldn't see that here on the Fylde, hush my mouth for here is the evidence! 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

June Week One - Food

Here's a snippet of the things I made with the food I bought

houmous/ lentil ragu type thing/ garlic bread

chow mein (I went a bit spiralizer crazy)/ stuffed peppers/ l/o curry pasties

The curry used to stuff the peppers is an absolutely delicious Chana Masala from Keep It Vegan by Aine Carlin, obviously the original recipe uses delicious fresh ingredients, I didn't have them so I used things from the pantry instead.

It takes a little while to cook, but it is well worth it, it's also simple, delicious and the leftovers make the best pasty filling. I even think that if the sauce was really thick it would work amazingly well in a sandwich.

The weather took a turn for the wet and windy so our meals became a little more hearty.

green lentil and mushroom stew/ overnight oats/ ful medames with sweet potatoes (from the freezer) and pesto bread

I was really sceptical about the ful medames as I didn't enjoy the baked beans we tried the other week, I think I'm just not a fan of this particular type of bean. My stew looks nothing like the illustration I had as I wanted it a little more dry, rather than a stew type thing. I was quite surprised to find I really enjoyed it, the flavours came together really nicely. 

I think we might have something comforting tonight, the car has been at the garage overnight and today we find out the cost!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Can There Be Any More Cupboards To Poke In?

One of the many good things about rainy days is that procrastination tends to stop. The other day I dealt with my wardrobe, it's a built in cupboard, but it's very narrow do there's not much floor space, however I do use that space 

Not a pretty sight. I need to get things off the floor. I did this in a very complex and sophisticated way. 

Hi-tech, perfectly executed hook hanging! Put all the scarves, belts, purses and other things that usually live on the floor into a bag (the bag was also on the floor) and hang it up. Sometimes I scare myself with my genius. 

Doing this freed up space for my hair dryer, which freed up the shelf on my little weird unit thing in front of the mirror, I'm not quite sure why that pleases me so much, but there you go!