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Showing posts from 2017

Far Out

I wanted to buy some onions this morning so we walked to the town via the beach. The tide was on the way out so we had a good stroll about on the beach as it was such a gorgeous morning. 

We could see The Big One rollercoaster and Blackpool Tower in the distance 

and were well past the end of the pier.

Before heading back to the town we had a look at the old bit of the pier, the winter storms have done quite a lot more damage

and some new areas have been revealed

people have started adding locks to sections too.

It was starting to get busy by the time we arrived in the town, so we beat a hasty retreat back home for tea, cake and salad on the picnic blanket.

Monday At Home

I was talking to my buddy Tracey last week about important world issues as we often do when she asked me to share Dan's bread making. So on Monday I forced him to make some pitta so I could see how it was done. I'm sure everyone that wants to know already knows how to do this but here it is anyway. Dan uses the Magic Bread Dough recipe from the excellent book River Cottage Veg Everyday. 

Makes 3 pizzas, 12 pitta and however many flatbreads.

250g each plain and strong white flours
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp easy blend dried yeast
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil plus a bit extra

I am far too lazy to type all that out. I think you mix everything together, knead it for 10 minutes, leave it for a bit until it's bigger then make it into whatever you like. 

If you don't have a handy indoor rabbit pen to hold your bowls of dough then just improvise with any flat surface you may have about the place. I lifted the cloth off to have a look.

I am by no stretch of the imagination fancy enough to ow…

April Week Two

I splashed out a bit for our anniversary meal which might blow our £100 grocery budget this month, oh well, I should have taken that into account in the first place. 

We've filled in the forms to reclaim the £10 for the football tickets. Speaking of which, high praise for Merseyside Transport. To get to Goodison we decided to take the train from Ormskirk to Kirkdale then walk to the ground, but we then found out about Soccerbus a service that runs from Sandhills station the ground (it also runs when Liverpool are at home). Parking at Ormskirk station was free, the ticket for the 30 minute train journey (it's more of a tram really) and the connecting bus was £5.20 each, absolutely fantastic value and an excellent service. 

We socked some money into savings and that's about it financially speaking. 

I went through my wardrobe again and decluttered some buying mistakes. I do not suit t-shirts, and I don't suit white, so a white t-shirt had to go. One of the black and white s…

In The Frame

After saying I didn't know what I'd do with some of the craft items I'd been given I decided to choose what to keep and what to donate. I decided to make the most of my original seaside inspired doodle and frame sections using the embroidery hoops. 

My original plan was to have a large panel, but when I'd done it I didn't like it, chopping the fabric has made things better, I think I'll just hang a selection up around the place. 

I quite like them, and it's better than having things stashed in the sideboard doing nothing much for anybody.

April Week One

April for me started last Monday so we've just finished week one, and it has been a dear do. I was given a large amount of clothes pegs, which is brilliant, plus some more craft stuff. I don't know how much of the craft stuff I'll keep but I'll get to it at another time. 

As mentioned yesterday we went to the football on Saturday at a cost of £30 each. While we were there we bought tickets for the Everton game this coming weekend, again these are £30 each BUT we will receive a £10 rebate on each ticket. Last season the Football Supporters' Federation had a "Twenty's Plenty" campaign, aiming to limit the cost of tickets for visiting fans to £20 for Premier League games. It was finally agreed that £30 would be the limit, so the FSF and Virgin Media have teamed up to offer £20 tickets, via a rebate to fans for certain games. Luckily for us Burnley v Everton is one of those games. A picnic keeps down other expenses while we're enjoying football, but we…

Away Days

it's our 16th anniversary soon, the proper one, the anniversary of when we met, not the wedding one. We generally treat ourselves to a nice day out somewhere, this year we went to Middlesbrough to watch Burnley.

It's very important to take a large picnic!

I'm the kind of girl that opens up the bottle of pop too early in the journey, we weren't even off the M6 before I ate my sandwich. We arrived in plenty of time for a trip to MIMA, which has soome great exhibitions at the moment as the gallery is celebrating the 10th anniversary. I was particularly happy to see a painting by Sonia Boyce on display, her artwork makes me very emotional. 

We walked in beautiful sunshine to the ground, past some old footballing favourites

and beautiful buildings

I soaked up a lot of sun, not an inch of shade to be had by kick off. We had a good old sing and I made some new friends!

It must have felt like a longer walk back to the car for the home fans than the away fans though.

A pretty perfect …

Pantry Philosophy

I have mentioned it many times before, I love my pantry. Yesterday I had to ask myself whether I did really love it - if I did why was it a filthy mess? Very much like my adventures with yeast extract reminded me that it's never too late to try a something new, maybe cleaning the pantry is there to remind me not to neglect the things in life I love. Now I just think I need something to illustrate the idea that just because I say I do something it doesn't mean I'm suggesting others should do it too. 

I bought two trolleys, one of which lives in the bathroom, from the charity shop when I very first started there, I think they may have even been my first purchases. You'll have to take my word for this as I accidentally deleted the before photo, but it was in a sorry state this morning, overloaded with all manner of things - bubble wrap, toys that other people had given me to give to my nieces, tea lights, straws, empty bags. The bottom shelf had given up!

The shelf back was…

A New Mate

My first experience of Marmite was at university, I was kissed by someone who had been eating it. Oh my goodness, you should not be allowed to surprise a girl in that way. 

That put me firmly in the "hate" camp, until a few years ago when I read a few recipes assuring me that if I added it to a stew it would add a delicious flavour with none of that surprising edge, it's true and helps to make a lovely savoury gravy. One day last year Dan came home with some Marmite crisps, now if there is anything that can tempt me it's crisps, so I tentatively tried one and loved it! So then I thought if I eat it in a stew and eat more packets of the crisps than I would admit in public then maybe I could eat it as it is. 

So I have been in training. I started with the teeniest amount of the stuff on the end of a spoon, probably around 1% of a teaspoon, and gradually built up to maybe half a teaspoon. This morning I took the leap and had some black gloop on toast for my breakfast. The…

Top Ten - In The Kitchen

I know these things are my top ten favourite kitchen items as they're hardly ever in the cupboard. In no particular order of popularity - 


Food processor/blender. A cheap and cheerful model, struggles bravely with Nakd-style bars but is still a champ. I've had it for about 10 years I think and it cost not very much, under £50. Here it is blending some soup.


Ikea cup and saucer. We have two of these and they are rarely out of use, there is always one or both of them in the fridge storing chopped up something or other, leftovers, half a tin of tomatoes or beans, the saucer acts as a very good lid. We also use it as a soup bowl and sometimes to drink from. These were some of the first things we bought when we moved in together so they've been working hard since 2001.


Le Creuset pan. One of the things we bought when we spent ridiculous amounts of money on all manner of things, it just turns out we bought some good things occasionally. I use this pan virtually every day, it&…

Like A Rabbit Hunting For Broccoli

That's how I am with tracking, it means very keen to find it but not always effective. The delightful Tracey asked me yesterday if I use a spreadsheet, let's add spreadsheetery to the list of things for which I do not have the skills. I use a series of books to keep track of things, I enjoy the misery of having to do the work myself, much like Mrs Doyle making cups of tea. 

Video contains throwing of cups and rude language. Down with that sort of thing! Careful now!

The big red book contains the story of my spending life, the small book is the grocery spend (the nail file is an excellent bookmark), the piece of paper is a kind of shopping list. 

Things are divided up into assorted sections, I made them up as they suited me at the time. I keep a tally chart to remind me of quantities

Then I keep a note of how much I spent on each item 

At the end of each month I add it all up!

My categories are -

eating out
cleaning/household basics (includes pet food)