Wednesday, 29 April 2015

DH Bought Bought Me A Present!

It'll just be a short post tonight as I'm still tired after yesterday and I'm having an early night. 

I picked Dh up from the train station at 11:45pm and it was a 45 minute journey home so it was a late night.  However when we got in Dh wanted to give me a present he found in an Antiques shop. It was a really old jigsaw puzzle, part of the Victory series. 

I'm not sure of the age of it but the company was manufacturing from 1930. I think it looks 40's maybe, but if anyone knows any better please let me know! I love it.  The pieces are really thick wood and I wonder how many people have completed it since it was made? 

Before I went to pick dh up last night I stewed some apples so this morning for breakfast I made pancakes which I topped with the apple.  I then used a bit of our precious maple syrup- what a treat,  they were so good! !

Rightio,  I'm off to bed. Goodnight :)


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

An Exhausting Day!!!!

Wow, I am exhausted!!!

Today has been a crazy day. I had a job interview today at 9:30am so I was up bright and early to get ready.  There are very few jobs in my profession in the local area so the job interview was 30 miles away. I set off really really early as I am always worried I might get stuck in traffic.  I arrived in the town with 30 minutes to spare now all I had to do was find the business.  . . . .  And then came the problem- I couldn't find it! Then I got stuck in the one way system and it took me in completely the wrong direction and then I got stuck in road works!  Panic ensued.  I finally managed to pull into a Co-op and ask for directions.  Lovely lady gave great directions.  I got in the car and whizzed off and made it with about 3 minutes to spare! !

I was in the job interview for about an hour and was really disappointed, the job wasn't at all what I thought it was going to be. I came out feeling flat and drove home feeling drained. 

When I got home I found out I had confirmation of another interview on Thursday which pepped me up a bit.  I put my 50s style dress with the overjacket in the wash to make sure it was fresh for Thursday.  

A couple of hours later I got a phone call from an agency. A company had asked to see me and wanted to know how soon they could meet me. I only had this afternoon or Thursday afternoon available so they asked to see me at 5:45pm today! More panic!  My interview dress and jacket was in the wash and I'd taken all my make up off, had dressed down and was half way through a wash load!  I had to leave in an hour to ensure I had plenty of time to get there as this job was also 30 miles away.

I found my other favourite dress and hurriedly got ready and wrote down my route.  This route looked much easier. Once again I got to the town,  and again I couldn't find the business!  Less panic this time as I was really early. Once I found it I realised I needed to pay to park, I looked in my purse-I had 28p! I routed around in my bag and found a pound coin thank goodness.  I paid and went to the interview.  This one was much better and they offered me the job on the spot!  I am really keen as this job will give me a much better work/life balance but I will go to the interview Thursday before I decide as the Thursday job is much closer to home.

I drove home feeling very chipper.  Dh has been away for a few days. I planned to make sure everything was clean and tidy this afternoon but the interview means I'm running really late.  I'm just doing the ironing now.  Dh's train gets in at 11:45pm so it's another 25 mile journey to get him tonight! I'm going to be ready for my bed!  


Monday, 27 April 2015

Feeling Marvellous-Appreciating All I Have

This morning I woke up feeling pretty darned good. I think in this world it is easy to forget how lucky I am for everything I have and to get caught up in dissatisfaction with life and 'always wanting more' so I'd like to take this moment to just record a few of the things I am thankful for today,  particularly the small things.  I'm not trying to be smug,  just genuinely grateful for 'my lot'.

* I am thankful that we have our own home,  it may be small,  but it's ours and I love it.
* I am grateful for all the stories my Grandma and Grandpa told me about their amazing lives,  particularly during and after the war when times were hard.  It was so inspiring. 
* I am grateful for my allotment and that we have a little plot of land to grow our own organic fruit and vegetables. 
* I am grateful that dh and I are enployed, and that although I don't like my job, that I am able to do something about it by hopefully finding something new and marvellous. 
* I am grateful I have a few fantastic friends,  two of whom sent me flowers last week because they knew I'd been struggling with my job and wanted me to know they love and support me.  X
*I am thankful my husband has been so marvellous in being a rock to me in the last year.  I sometimes think I don't know how lucky I am.
* it's great that dh loves history and 'vintage' as much as me and we can spend time going to museums,  historical houses,  antique shops and vintage fayres together- and we both get excited when we see a vintage car on the road. We want one so much!!
* I am thankful our home isn't full of technology and is very peaceful.  We don't have many kitchen mod cons such as dishwasher,  microwave,  electric kettle,  food processor etc etc. We don't have a tv in every room or x-boxes. There are no trailing cables or charger in every socket. 
* I am grateful that we are made happy with the more simple things in life like reading,  walks,  chips on the prom,  playing cards and jigsaw puzzles.  
* I love that we save up for the things we need rather than buying on hp or credit cards.  It makes us appreciate them all the more and gives us things to look forward to- will our bathroom ever be done? !

So, that's a few of the things that spring to mind. I have a few job interviews this week so wish me luck!

The view outside my back door this morning

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Rationing Has Helped Me Lose Weight :)

I've never been the slimmest girl around.  I'm not very overweight but being a shorty every extra pound counts and I've always wanted to be about 20 pounds lighter than I am.  I have a nice waist which works well with my 50s dresses but I'm pear shaped and like a lot of women,  I'd love to be a few pounds lighter. 

One of the good things about rationing is that it makes me feel in control and confident about my diet and the way I'm eating.  I know what I have for the week and I know it has to last.  It's simple, unprocessed food with the odd treat. Once it's gone, it's gone and because I feel we're eating so well in the house I feel I can have a bag of chips on the prom without a guilty conscience.   

I last weighed myself at the end of march,  and when I weighed myself this morning I found I'd lost 4lbs! It's not a massive amount but I've had chips and everything!  I have PCOS which can make weight loss quite hard. I'm not going to weigh myself more regularly but I will again next month and I'll let you know how I get on. 


Saturday, 25 April 2015

Helping Out At The Fayre!

I am at home now with a cup of tea enjoying a well earned sit down!

I help out at my local animal rescue charity and today was the Spring Fayre held in the town hall. I got to sell handmade goods - woop woop!  So I was in charge of selling peg bags,  aprons, tea towels etc. It is a long day. I arrive at 8:30am, man my stall all day except a quick stop for lunch, I had a jacket potato with beans in the hall cafĂ©.  Late afternoon we start clearing up and I help pack up all the bric-a-brac etc and load it into volunteers cars. It is tiring especially loading all the cars,  but I love it and it makes a lot of money for the charity.  I'm happy to help.

Cup of tea with my jacket potato helped me through the afternoon :)

I managed to get away for a look round the stalls and got some hand crocheted dish cloths for 70p each! I usually make my own dishcloths but I couldn't refuse these bargains.

Handmade dishcloths 70p each!

At the end of the day I packed up my stall and went round to see what was left.  On the plant stall there was some tomato plants.  I asked how much they were, she said she needed to get rid of them and I could have the lot for £2.50- there were 7 plants! !!

I'm not up to much this evening.  I might do some knitting and plan my shopping for tomorrow.  I also have a magazine from 1957 I haven't read yet.


Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Busy Day With Lots Of Bargains :)

I had the day off work today. The day started quite cloudy but brightened in the afternoon. Dh and I went into town.  Dh needed a new computer.  His has been broken for several weeks.  My Dad looked at it but said it  needed to be retired.  He managed to pick up a second hand reconditioned one from an independent computer shop for an extremely good price,  it came with a one year guarantee too. While he was getting a hair cut I went round to the library to use their computers to send out my cv to several companies.  After I wrote the post about trying to make the most of my ' out of work' time I realised how much it bothered me that I spend so much time thinking and worrying about work, so I have decided to move my career in a less stressful direction. Wish me luck! 

Dh came to meet me in the library and said he had just bought a set of drawers to go in his office.  Dh's office is very small so it has to be very organised with storage to stop it from looking cluttered.  We don't like flat pack furniture and all of our furniture is antique or second hand. The drawers had seen better days but they only need to be functional and dh said they were perfect so he bought them for £40. He said it was more than he wanted to spend but he really wanted to spend the day sorting his office out.  

When we got back everything was carefully unloaded.  The drawers had stickers on so I teased them off, cleaned it up then polished it with finishing oil. It came up really well, dh was very pleased.

Once I'd removed the stickers and given it a polish I think it came up quite well :)
I made us ploughman's for lunch then we had to drive about an hour to go and pick up an office chair I won for dh on Ebay. I won it for 99p! Even with the petrol it was still a bargain.  On the way we dropped off his old one that was totally broken at the recycling centre.  We'd not been to the big recycling centre before and was amazed to see it had a little Shop attached that was full of things the employees rescue from landfill to sell back to people.  I think the proceeds go to charity.  It was lovely looking round and there was some lovely pieces.  If we had the space I would have bought a few pieces!  But we will definitely go again if we're in the area. 

The second hand store saves salvageable pieces from landfill. 

I was tempted to buy this just as a display piece as it wasn't in working order but it was very big and we just don't have the space.  It was lovely looking round though!
We got in about 5ish and I had to hurriedly make dh a snack as he had to rush out by 5:30pm. He is bringing a friend back tonight as they have to leave in the morning to go to a conference and his friend doesn't drive so he's staying over.

I'm about to get the ironing done and then I need to prepare the bedding etc before they get back.

I have some 1940s and 50s movies to watch at the weekend which I'm looking forward to! 


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A Lovely Evening

I finished work at 4pm today after a 15 hour day yesterday.

When I got in dh suggested we go for a walk as the weather was so nice and it's supposed to rain tomorrow.

We went for a walk along the prom then dh bought us a bag of chips :) For anyone interested, Fish and Chips were not rationed in ww2. We sat on a bench overlooking the beach and watched people walking their dogs and others just sitting enjoying the sunshine.


Monday, 20 April 2015

Making The Most Of 'Out Of Work' Time

I work full time. I work shifts and some weekends as well. My work is quite stressful and I feel a great responsibility in my job and sometimes it can be hard to switch off.

So, living a more traditional life outside of work helps me to switch off. When I leave work I like the feeling of being a wife and a homemaker and caring for my husband, our home and my friends and family. I like that I can come home from work aaannnndddd relax! Or at least try to. I have a 45 minute journey each way to and from work. On my journeys I either listen to the radio usually classic FM although I've been meaning to get some big band CD's as I have fond memories of listening to big band cassettes whilst on holiday with my Grandma and Grandpa. I do like some modern music but I also love some of the modern vintage groups like the Puppini Sisters as well as original vintage music. I also get audio Cd's from the library. These are great as I can get usually 6-18 hours of audio story for £2, hired for 3 weeks,  bargain I think! I recently got Bill Bryson,  The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid, which is funny recollections of the authors childhood growing up in the 1950s. I thoroughly enjoyed it and its a great way to wind down after work. 

It's really important for me to make the most of my 'out of work' time. It's not always easy. Sometimes, I get home in the evening and I just want to plop down and not do very much but mostly I try and get lots done both before and after work. I'm more of a morning person so I prefer the later shift. If I'm on the later shift I need to leave home about 10:30am. I get up early, make dh and myself breakfast then I get as much as I can done so that I can relax after work. This morning I made dh and I breakfast, cleaned the bathroom. put a load of washing on, washed the kitchen floor, cleaned the kitchen and made lunches for us both.

After work I picked up some bread and veg, made dinner (ploughman's), put on a stew in the slow cooker for tomorrow, put the washing away, washed up and tidied kitchen.

I made pear,  apple and rhubarb crumble.
Because I didn't want to use my butter ration for
the top I blended some dried fruit I found in my cupboard, apricots,  dates etx and whizzed it
With the oats and a bit of sugar and milk.
It worked really well and I will definitely do it again.

I also make time for my hobbies although this is usually more of a weekend thing. I enjoy reading, puzzling, tending my allotment, charity work, walks and crafting. Together, dh and I love antique and vintage shops and fayres, exploring towns and villages we've not been to before, playing cards and we also enjoy days away going to museums or historical sites or stately homes.

I hope to blog more about this in the future.


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Rationing - The Third Shop

I have just come back from doing my third 'rationing' shop and I wanted to share my thoughts on what I've been doing so far, how I've found it etc.

The first thing I found when I thought about doing rationing is that you can never exactly do rationing as it was at that that time.  While it is easy to find out what the original rations were it is impossible (or so I think) to find out about items that were unrationed,  and how abundant they were to buy.  E.g: in one of the my books Bournville did a handy recipe page with their cocoa powder but cocoa was unrationed.  Does this mean it was easy to get hold of? What about condiments?  Coffee was unrationed but hard to get hold of I believe but I can see it advertised in a photo in one of my rationing books!  

So, I'm just being sensible and doing my own thing.  I plan what I'm going to buy  and I do all of my shopping on Saturday.  The only thing I top up in the week is seasonal fruit and veg or bread.  This week this is our weekly ration per person

12oz mince/meat substitute
3.5 oz butter
4oz cheese
3 pints milk
16oz oats
8oz honey
3.5 oz sweets
1 orange
3 eggs
seasonal fruit and veg

When I look at that list I think,  crikey that looks like a lot,  but it's not really.  From that food I have to prepare all the meals including packed lunches for work.  I have no tinned food except what I have left in the cupboards,  no prepared meals,  no packet food, no tins which I miss especially tinned kidney beans and tinned tomatoes!  I miss yoghurt,  peanut butter, pesto and bananas. I also miss instant rice (great for lunches) and jam (we've chosen honey over jam as I will make my own in the summer).

Although I miss these items we are both enjoying our version of rationing very much. I am so excited about the strawberry season just around the corner! !!

As my kitchen supplies deplete I am finding it harder though.  This week I made biscuits and even though they were low fat we ran out of butter on Thursday!  So we had porridge for breakfast in the latter part of the week instead of toast which was fine.  I don't buy boxed cereals.  I don't think they were available. 

Today is sunny but cold and windy. 

I'm going to the allotment in a bit:)

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. 


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Such A Good Day

Today has been such a lovely day. I had a bit of a lie in (until about 7:30am) and made dh and I porridge and a cup of tea.  Dh then dropped me at the allotment while he went to see a client.  I did some weeding and planted spinach seeds.

When we got back home I put split pea soup on the slow cooker. 

I then went to have a cup of tea with a friend that I haven't seen for a few weeks.  It was so good to have a catch up :)

When I got back I made dh a cheese sandwich for lunch with grilled mushrooms.  It is such a nice day here today.  The sun has been shining all day.  It's fantastic.  

The postman bought some 1940s magazines I bought that I can't wait to sit down and enjoy.  

I've done some more work on my puzzle.  I'm making the most of my day today as including travelling time I have a 13 hour working day tomorrow.  
I went to the library and got another audio cd to enjoy on my way to and from work.  

These are my 1940s magazines that arrived today. 

Home grown herbs added to split pea soup

Porridge with stewed apple is filling,  nourishing
And doesn't use much of our precious rations! 

We went on a coastal walk at the weekend.
The climb was high,  the views fantastic
And it appears someone has made a 'crop circle'
In the sand! !!

Early night tonight I think


Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Rest Of The Week By Pictures

We had a cup of tea out. I love going out
For morning tea,  afternoon tea, basically any kind of tea!

We've had some early morning walks,
Spotting deer and enjoying the sun peeping
through the mist. 

We've had some lovely weather this week
It feels like spring is finally here :)

I've spent a lot of time at the allotment.
Here are some of the raspberries. 

Broad beans

The strawberries are going crazy! 

I've spent time reading and puzzling


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Rationing- The First Week . . . . So Far!

Hello! Hope everyone is well. I've had a crazy busy day today. 

I slept really badly, tossing and turning until at least 1am, then I woke up feeling pretty tired about 6am. I can't imagine how the women particularly during the War time used to work full time and manage a family, especially without all the mod con's of today. I have the utmost respect for them.

I knew I wouldn't be getting lunch until late so I used one of our precious tins of baked beans to make baked beans on toast so we could have a proper breakfast. I sorted dh's lunch out and myself a snack of an apple and a homemade digestive biscuit for when I finished work. Last night I made digestive biscuits. I looked up a low fat recipe so I would not use too much of our butter ration. 

Homemade Digestive Biscuits

I left for work about 7:20am and ended up not getting in until 4:30pm (I was only supposed to work until 1:30 today). Dh was still working but he wanted to stop and go for a walk. I was pretty tired from work so a brisk walk was quite refreshing. The weather was so lovely it seemed a shame to waste it indoors. We walked for about 40mins. When we got in dh had to start getting ready to go out and he wanted a quick, light dinner so I used our last 2 eggs to make a batch of pancakes. 

I have found rationing this week fairly easy so far but I have been using a lot of the supplies I have in the cupboard already. Next week might be a bit different!!! I have definitely been cooking more from scratch ,(although I did quite a lot already).

I'm just having a quick sit down now then I've still got to finish sorting the washing out, tidy up the kitchen, clean the bathroom and whiz the hoover round. I have ordered 3 second hand books on rationing so I hope they'll come this week and I can have a good read! In the mean time this little lot arrived today ;)

Vintage Women's Magazines


Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Sun Is Out!!!!

I woke up today and, excitement, the sun was out!! I made dh and I toast and a cup of tea that we enjoyed in bed (well it is Sunday!), then I got up, put a load of washing on then we went for a lovely walk.

When we got back I ran the hoover round, stripped the bed and got a second load of washing on, put the first load out. I then got everything to go in the bottom half of the shepherds pie and put it in the slow cooker. To make the veggie mince last longer I did half mince half brown lentils which worked really well. I also put in leeks, swede, onion, a tin of tomatoes (left in cupboard), and carrots. I picked some herbs from our pots and added them too with some marmite and half a stock cube. 

I harvested the last of my spring onions

Home grown herbs

For lunch we had ploughmans which was lovely. This afternoon I did a bit more of my puzzle, followed by some reading then dh and I went to the allotment and did some work down there. I was pleased to see the first of the broad beans starting to come through :)

Once we got back I finished the shepherds pie, which we enjoyed. I then got all the washing in and ironed it, did the washing up and now I am having a sit down while dh finished his work.

Then it will be a cup of tea and a game of cards before bed.


The Start Of Rationing- The First Shop

I woke up pretty excited yesterday at the thought of starting rationing and doing my first shop. The weather was pretty gloomy but dry. 

First stop was the fruit and veg shop. I stuck to seasonal fruit and veg with lots of apples and root vegetables. I'm now itching to get more planted in my allotment.

Some of the fruit and veg I bought for the week

I went to our local shop and bought everything on my rationing list butter, cheese, bread, fruit, veg, eggs etc.It felt good to buy completely unprocessed food that I will cook from scratch with. I've already started thinking about how I am going to make everything in my cupboards last as long as possible. 

In the afternoon we went for a walk and I worked on my 1000 piece puzzle of the Queens Jubilee I got in a charity shop.

My needlework box looks much better :)

I also did a few jobs I've been wanted to do for ages. I sorted my needlework drawer that sits in the top of my needlework box. I also sorted some of our paperwork and got a lot of it filed. A pretty productive day!


Friday, 3 April 2015

The Rationing Project

I have been really interested in rationing for a long time. I find the subject fascinating and after a lot of thought I'd like to do a little experiment of my own. I would like to do my own version of 1940s rationing. 

The hard thing about trying to do rationing is that it is impossible to completely replicate as we are no longer in the same situation. I know the rations that were issued but its hard to find out what foods weren't rationed, and how abundant those foods were. Dh and I live in the country and its also not clear how different the rationing situation was for city and country folk. 

So, this is what we're going to do, I don't know how long for, for as long as I want to! I am going to to my own version of rationing combined with 1940s eating ( or at least to the best of my ability!)

I am veggie but dh likes fish so I have tried to take that into consideration. We live in the country and during the war would have kept our own chickens so I have allowed us extra eggs to replicate that. I don't cook with lard or olive oil and I don't eat margarine so I have put that allowance into butter. Its not perfect or really that accurate but its my take on things. 

Here is my version of one persons weekly ration: 

8 oz meat (I'm not having a bacon or ham allowance. This will be a plain meat substitute such as mince or plain sausages)
4.5 oz butter (I am not taking a lard\marg allowance)
4oz cheese 
4oz sugar or honey
4oz chocolate
4oz dried beans, lentils or rice
1 tin baked beans
1oz tea
2oz coffee
3 eggs
1 tin fish
1 bag flour
1 orange
3 pints milk

Looking at my list that kind of looks like a lot but then I guess everything will be cooked from scratch (dh and I never get takeaways anyway)
Unrationed is seasonal fruit and veg and bread. There was also things that I think you could get like mustard etc so I am going to make a special effort to buy old brands like Colman's. My vintage women's magazines give me a good idea of brands available at the time. The things I definitely won't be buying (although a lot we don't buy regularly anyway) is, packaged meals, biscuits, crackers, pizza, cakes and pastries, crisps, yoghurt, pre-made cooking sauces, wine, nuts and nut butters, squash and fruit juice. I'm sure there's lots of other things too! I'm not sure about cocoa and things like Horlicks. I'll do some research. 

I'll be using up everything in my cupboards that I have already bought, just like women of the time.

First shop tomorrow!


Leek And Potato Soup, And A Good Book :)

Yesterday was a good day. Dh had a friend over in the morning so I got up, made us a lovely breakfast of poached eggs on toast and a cup of tea. I then whizzed the hoover round.

Once the friend arrived I made us all tea then left the chaps to it as they were talking about work. I took the opportunity to sit in the bedroom and read a bit more of my library book. It's called Lost Voices Of The Edwardians by Max Arthur. It's a fascinating collection of memories from people who lived during the period. Some memories are just a paragraph, some go on for several pages, but all give a fantastic insight into life at the time. I'm thoroughly enjoying it :)

I was supposed to be working in the afternoon so I prepared leek and potato soup for an early lunch. Dh makes the best leek and potato soup I have ever tasted, but he was working, so we had to make do with my efforts! 

I was going to take a photo of the finished soup
Too but it was so tasty I'd finished the bowl before I remembered! 
Late morning I got a call from work saying it was quiet so did I want the day off as I have volunteered to work bank holiday Monday!! Woop woop!! An unexpected day off. . . . what to do? 

Although dh was supposed to be working he decided to take a few hours off and we went for a short walk, followed by a trip into town.  We had a coffee out and a look round the charity shops.  I also looked round a new craft shop that has opened which has lots of exciting things in!

We had a light tea and a game of cards in the evening and I have been doing more reading on rationing and I also spent time reading my rationing cookbooks. 


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Shopping Locally

I love shopping in local, independent shops. I love the individuality of them and supporting independent traders, so I do the majority of my food shopping in small, independent, local shops, as people used to do. I am lucky that we have plenty near us. I do venture to supermarkets, but it's really only for things I can't get anywhere else. 

We have a local, self service fruit and veg shop near our home that does a great variety of of produce at unbeatable prices. We also get honey and eggs there. Over the summer they also sell lots of local produce too sourced within the county :) our bread I either make myself or get from our local baker. The rest we get from a large, independent grocers. For hardware we have a local diy shop and for specialist things like woodstove glue there is an elderly couple who have a small hardware shop that seems to be run from a converted room in their house! They're very friendly and will order in anything they don't stock. I feel we're lucky that we can shop local for almost everything we need. Apart from clothes, which I usually get online as I struggle to find styles I like in the shops. Plus, I hate clothes shopping! The logs for our woodburner we buy off a neighbor who has woodland.

I love shopping locally. I know all the people who work in the shops we visit. I like supporting the local community and for me, it just makes shopping a nicer experience rather than just traipsing round with a trolley. 

Live Local, Shop Local, Love Local!!