Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A Relaxing Evening To Aid Sleep

Just a quick post tonight. I'm having a lovely week off work.  Dh has still been working but he has taken some time off so we can spend some time together.  We've done some nice walks,  I've spent a lot of time at the allotment and it's looking great. I've also been a bit lazy too! I have done some deep cleaning of the porch and front of the house which I've been wanting to do for some time.  I also sorted out our wardrobe and have managed to get a couple of bags of clothes to drop at the charity shop.  

However, the last couple of nights I have been having trouble sleeping. I had terrible trouble for many months with all my work stresses some time ago but since I left it has been much better so I don't know why the problem has reoccured. So, tonight I am making a special effort to relax and wind down to hopefully get a good night's sleep tonight.  I am sitting in the lounge with the soundtrack to A Royal Night Out on as it arrived today! I've made myself an Ovaltine as recommended in the 1947 Housewife magazine I am reading and I have a gentle reading light on. It's very relaxing and I shall be off to bed soon. Night all.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Enjoying The Simple Things

Today, I feel very blessed. Dh and I woke up early. I made us a cup of tea then I went off to the allotment. 

I made homemade soap spray ready for the aphids etc. Can you see the mama cow in the background watching over her baby while he has a snooze :) 
My blackcurrants and redcurrants are starting to fruit :)

At the weekend Dh made me a light fruit cage to go over the strawberries.  The front comes up for harvesting

I then went into town and bought some bread and a few essentials. On the way home I went via the fruit and veg shop and I bought some baking potatoes, local strawberries and they also had English asparagus! ! One of the things about buying seasonal fruit and veg is that I get so excited every time something seasonal is available for the first time!

When I got back I made dh and I poached eggs on toast. I had a whiz round with the hoover and put all the shopping away.  I've had a shower and am just having a sit down and a cup of tea.  The sun is shining,  I'm off to a job I enjoy in a bit and we have something exciting in the pipeline:)

Hope everyone else is enjoying the sunshine.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Royal Night Out

On Sunday Night Dh and I went to see A Royal Night Out and absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The story,  I believe, is loosely based on actual events where the Princess Elizabeth snuck out of Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE day with the crowds.

Dh and I loved everything about this film. Firstly, as it was set in the 40s the outfits were fantastic, the cars were amazing as was the setting and the dancing! !  It's a totally feel good film with that British sense if humour that I love. I got sucked into the atmosphere of the film and truly believed I was there Celebrating with the people.

Dh and I are lucky enough to have an independent cinema a short drive from our house. Sadly, it's never very busy but dh and I always go there to see films. It's cheaper than the big corporates too!

I will definitely buy this film on dvd. The music was fab too. If you want to see this film I'd say go and see it at the cinema for the best effect and be taken back in time to a night we'll never experience again!!!

If you've seen it let me know what you thought! !!


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Allotmenting And A Walk

I harvested rhubarb at the allotment.  DH has requested a rhubarb and pear crumble. 

We went on a walk from my Local Walks book. This beautiful church was at the start of the walk

I made sandwiches to take with us and dh carried them with some water in his original 1940s British Army bag.

The views were lovely.  Admittedly, we did get a bit lost and ended up taking a footpath that took us through a field of bulls, which was a bit worrying,  but thankfully they were placid and we found our way back to the main road. 

We've had a lovely day today.  Dh came with me to the allotment this morning and build a light fruit frame from canes that I can protect the strawberries with as they are starting to fruit!  

We went on a walk and took a picnic lunch which was lovely.  We didn't meet a soul on the walk, it was very peaceful.  . . .: except the bit where we got lost!!

I'm now having a quick whiz round to tidy up then we're off to see A Royal Night Out at the cinema!  V. Excited :)


Thursday, 14 May 2015

2015 List Of Fun!!

I wrote on my blog previously about how I didn't like my job and I was planning on leaving. I have now left and started a new job and I love it, the people are lovely and it feels like a fresh start :)

To be honest my last job was really bad for the last year.  I gave my heart and soul to the business and worked so hard which unfortunately 2 of the women didn't like and they formed this clique against me, also involving a third person.  It was awful, I was ignored and sniped at. I went home nearly every night and sobbed. I lost all my confidence and became so worried about making mistakes knowing they were watching my every move. I went to the boss, but nothing really happened. I was so relieved to leave. 

At the start of the year before I left I wrote a List of Fun of all the things I wanted to do this year.  Originally it was supposed to be a distraction from work but now it is a celebration of a new start and happy times. I have already completed a few of the things on the list but now I want to start in earnest.  It's not massive things,  it's just things I haven't done for a long time,  or haven't made time for, or have forgotten to enjoy because of all my work worries.  

I have 29 things on my list and I tick them off as I complete them.  Included is:
* Complete every walk in my 50 local walks book.
* Go to the cinema ( I'm already planning to go and see A Royal Night Out! !! Anyone seen it advertised-looks great! )
* Buy myself flowers for no reason. 
* Build a snowman.
* Have chips on the prom (done!)
* Go to the beach for the day. 
* Hire bikes and go cycling for the day with a picnic. 
* Go walking in Snowdonia. 
* Go to a 50s dance.
* Go to London and see the sights.

That's a few of the things on my list.  Some of them will take planning,  some are more simple.  I really hope I can complete them all!

Wish me luck! 


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Catch Up Day

I feel recovered after the weekend, the bedding has been washed and I'm up to date with my ironing.

I've felt energised after work today. We're still using up the food left over from the weekend. Dh wanted a light supper as he had to go and see a client so I made him poached eggs on toast, I had beans on toast. I've put a vegetable and lentil stew on in the slow cooker overnight so we can have it for lunch tomorrow.  After Dh had gone out I did all the washing up and cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom.

I am now sitting down watching Footsteps In The Fog, a 1955 thriller set in Victorian London.  Dh is finishing work in about half an hour and has requested a cocoa, I think I shall join him :)

My Squashes are doing well.  I use coffee grounds as slug repellant. 

My broad beans seem to be coming on well.


Sunday, 10 May 2015

A Weekend With Friends And A Week 'Off Ration'

I've been off-line for a couple of days as we had friends staying for a long weekend.

It was great having people to stay and they've not been over since we moved so it was nice showing them the area. We went on some walks and had great fun on Saturday night playing games.

I knew I wouldn't be able to ration while they were up for a few reasons.  Firstly,  there wouldn't be enough food!, secondly K has a lot of food allergies so I was a bit stressed about shopping and trying to make sure there was plenty she could eat.  She's a lovely lady but I have only met her a couple of times before as it is Dh and S, who are the original friends and I have only met K a few times so I didn't really know what she liked and she can't eat gluten,  dairy,  eggs, onion,  garlic or leeks.  She is also quite fussy with food ( not in a nasty way- there's just lots of things she doesn't like) and I was really struggling to think what I could feed her.  I am always so grateful when friends come to visit us as we're off the beaten track and petrol is not cheap for people doing long journeys so I like people to feel welcome and accommodated.

I went shopping on Thursday and spent a long time scrutinising labels. I know they're not into particularly healthy food and I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I made sure there was lots of snacky things and made sure there was a couple of places we could get food out if we wanted to. I also got in some Ginger Beer.  Dh and I don't usually drink apart from special occasions but I thought the chaps might like a drink so I bought some supplies.

We had a great weekend.  It felt weird to have 'junk' food in the house like crisps and ice cream (dairy free) although I did get things like local strawberries too. I did panic slightly and spend more than I wanted,  and a lot of it is left. So I sent K home with the left over snacks, drink, chocolate brownie (dairy and gf), and I've told dh I will only shop for fruit and veg this week and we'll eat what's left over the course of the week. I've eaten a very different diet to the one we've had over the past week and do you know how I feel?  Rubbish!  I feel tired,  lethargic and full even though I haven't had a proper lunch and it's 4:30pm.

As soon as they'd left Dh begged me to make him some 'proper' plain food. I made him tuna and rice which he declared 'amazing'.

I'm about to go to the fruit and veg shop to do a veg stew overnight tonight. I can't wait to get back to plain eating!  I've just told dh I'm doing a stew with barley and he has just done a 'victory jig' in the hall! ;)

I have a load of washing on, I'm about to do a big clean and although I had a fantastic weekend it feels good to resume normal life!

Hope you had a nice weekend


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Potato Pastry Recipe

I originally started making potato pastry when dh had to follow a very low fat diet for medical reasons. It fits in perfectly for rationing as I have to make the butter last so can use very little in recipes.  I have adapted it a bit since then. It's very versatile and you can do whatever you want with it. The texture is a bit different to regular pastry, softer and chewier, I think this is because it has less fat. I really don't measure anything out unless I have to so change it as you go along if you want! 

1 or 2 large baking potatoes
Plain flour
Grated cheese to taste
Fresh herbs
1-2 teaspoon butter

1) Peel and boil potatoes until tender. mash until smooth with butter and leave to cool.
2)  Add about 1/4 cup milk per potato used and mix adding in flour, herbs and cheese until a dough is formed.  It will take quite a lot of flour.  You will know you have added enough flour as the dough will be firm. 
3) 1 large potatoes worth is enough for me to make 8 mini pies. 
4) Roll dough onto a well floured board.  The dough will be fragile.  Roll thinly otherwise it can taste quite dense. 
5) If I'm making mini pies I make the bases of the pastry in the tin and par-cook before adding filling and pie top. I've found it works better that way. 
6) If you want a richer pastry add more butter.  I use a small amount because of rations.  I have used sweet potato in the past and this has worked well too.

Sorry if my directions are not very good but I think it gives the idea!  Now,  must go, the Slow Tv Canal Boat program has just started-woop!!


Monday, 4 May 2015

Bank Holiday Weekend In Pictures

The weather wasn't great!

I made potato pastry (recipe to follow)

I made mince, mushroom and carrot pies with potato pastry, cabbage and gravy (also topped with leftover pie filling)

Excitement when I won a jar of marmalade at a raffle!

I made a strawberry smoothie with the leftover strawberries.  I used to drink smoothies a lot but haven't since I stopped buying bananas so this was such a treat! !

I made bread!  I made white as I find it easier than wholemeal but I added sesame seeds for extra nutrition.  It came out pretty well! 

The broad beans have enjoyed the rain anyway! 

Strawberries are soon to fruit :)

Pak Choi
 Is anyone watching the series on bbc4 called bbc4 goes slow? It's on this evening,  it's a short series watching people make things e.g glass from scratch with no commentary or music,  just quietly watching the process from start to finish.  I am finding it fascinating.  Apparently, it took inspiration from Norway who in 2009 showed a 7 hour train journey without music or editing.  I think I may have missed the 2 hour canal journey which is a shame.  I hope they do more like it though.


Sunday, 3 May 2015

Rationing- Shopping Frugal Style!

As promised, yesterday I went to do my weekly shop with the intention to shop as frugally as possible. 

I chose to go to Sainsburys as I think their 'Basics' range is pretty good. I had to make some compromises and I think with a bit of work I could get it down further but it was a first attempt!

Here is what I bought:

Basics bread: 40p
Basics flour 55p
Basics t-bags 20p
Basics milk x 3 £1.95
Basics baked beans x1 25p
Basics veg stock cubes 25p
Caerphilly cheese (yellow sticker reduced) £1.29
Basics brown sauce 35p
Own brand sugar 50p
Own brand butter 95p
Vege meat alternative £2.80
1 small tin mackerel 70p

And from our farm shop
Local strawberries!
Rhubarb (from our allotment! )

Total £19.16

This won't be all we eat this week. I have plenty left in the fridge and veg basket. I may need to buy more veg though. We also each have a chocolate bar each week and we will have basics chocolate this week.

I try and ensure our diet is a pretty healthy diet. I usually buy rapadura sugar from our health food shop as it is less processed and I use honey but this week I got regular white.  I also usually buy bread from our bakers who use local flour. This week I bought a cheap loaf which I have put in the freezer and I'll make my own the rest of the week. I'm not very good at it so it will be a good opportunity to practice!
I don't know what the situation was with condiments during the war so I've stopped buying anything except HP brown sauce as I know it was around at the time.  I miss ketchup and dh misses mayo and bbq sauce but it's fine.  We're getting used to it. This week I bought a cheaper alternative.
I bought cheese that had a yellow reduced sticker on. I'm not a fan of Caerphilly but it was the cheapest one there so I bought it. I'm not sure dh is that impressed!

I don't want to waffle on all day so I'll leave it there. I think I've done quite well. I'm making homemade veggie pies with potato pastry this afternoon so I'll post how I get on. One thing I will say is I found supermarket shopping much less enjoyable than shopping in local,  independent shops as I usually do.


Friday, 1 May 2015

Can Rationing Help Us Save Money

I would like to start with some good news.  I have been offered 2 jobs this week and I have accepted one of them!  It's close to home, good hours and the team seem lovely.  

It's a position of less responsibility so it's less money but I really hope I will feel less stress and better quality of life. 

Because I will be earning less money I've been looking at our budget and looking at where we can save a bit of money.  I think we have definitely been saving money since rationing but I haven't been keeping as close an eye on the books as maybe I should have been.  As long as we end up at the end of the month with money in the bank I think we've done ok! I think I may like to have a rethink about the way I do our budgeting.  Any suggestions anyone? 

Back to rationing. As I've previously posted,  I shop locally, and I buy organic dairy and free range eggs. However,  shopping at independent shops isn't always as cheap as shopping in supermarkets.  So, this week I thought I'd do something different as an experiment.  This week I will do my rationing shop as cheaply as I can to see how cheaply it is possible for me to shop in this way.  

I have another reason for wanting to do my experiment.  This week Britain's fattest woman was rescued from her house.  She weighs 55 stone and the operation involved 2 cranes, 2 fire engines, 7 police cars and eleven medics.  These sort of stories sadly seem to becoming more and more common and when I read them one of the things that seems to be said is that healthy food is too expensive and junk food is cheap and easy.  I would like to prove that healthy unprocessed food can be both cheap and easy. 

Since I started rationing I have used my slow cooker so much for soups and stews and it couldn't be easier,  just put in the ingredients and leave it to do its thing! The diet isn't completely unprocessed but we definitely eat more veg. Our fruit options are apples and pears and I'm getting a bit bored with them to be honest.  I'm insanely excited that the early strawberries could be in the farm shop any day now!

So tomorrow I will shop as cheaply as I can and I'll post how I get on!