Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

Hello. Life has been very hectic recently. The car has had some trouble and has been in the garage three times in the last week, then the kitchen sink blocked (I have no idea why, we're so careful!), which meant we had no kitchen sink and no washing machine for a week. It was fixed yesterday but as the weather is so bad now it's very hard to dry anything so I'm just washing emergency clothes until the rain stops- whenever that may be.
I can't complain though as I have been reading about all the people affected by the flooding with more rain to come. My thoughts are with them.
This New Year dh and I are having a quiet one, evening walk, Scrabble, slice of Christmas Cake, cup of tea, early night.
Happy New Year Everyone :)

Another magazine to add to my collection :)

Friday, 25 December 2015

A Christmas Story

Hello, and Merry Christmas everyone. I'd like to tell you about a Christmas tradition in my parents house.

This is called 'the house'. My Grandpa made it (sadly he is no longer with us) and it is about 40 years old.

The only repairs it has ever had is a new roof about 15 years ago. The roof is magical and opens up. Every Christmas Santa fills the roof with presents so that us Children (not so young now but he still does it!) can  enjoy  a little treat every now and again from now until the  new year.

This year, my nieces will  enjoy The House. They don't know about it yet so it will be  a nice surprise when my sister shows them it's treasure.

Merry  Christmas!


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Very Special Day

My Dad is a wonderful man. He worked hard his entire life, starting out as an apprentice, and working his way up. He's now retired and apart from doing some part - time work (he found no job at all a bit much so he's still doing bits and pieces) he's enjoying living off the fruits of his hard work.
When he knew my sister and nieces were going to be over for Christmas he wanted to do something super - special. A friend of his had done a day trip to a little village in Lapland and really enjoyed it and my Dad decided he wanted to treat us all to the same, not just my sister and nieces, but my other sister and our husbands too. So at 3:40am yesterday we got up and flew to one of the most magical days I've ever had. The village was very small with just one coach of tourists arriving a day  so it wasn't overcrowded. There was only  about 2 hours of daylight and once it was dark everywhere was gently lit with  fires, candles and white fairy lights.
We had a husky dog ride and a reindeer ride. The animals seemed extremely well cared for and not overworked in the slightest. I am a huge  animal lover so took the time to chat to the local people running the rides about the animals and you could see they were genuinely well cared for. We also did skidoo riding (dh drove!) and went on a very special lamplit walk into the woods to meet  Father  Christmas. The children did sledging and snowman building and at  -15 we took plenty if breaks for hot drinks and  a traditional meal.
Before we new it, it was time to go home. All the kids crashed out on the plane and it did seem a long time back, especially as dh and I had 1hr30 drive back from my parents after we landed.
We got in at 1:15am exhausted, but happy after our very special day :)


Sunday, 20 December 2015

We're Going Back To The 80's

Back in July I read an article about some brothers who recreated childhood photos as adults as a present for their Mum. The  photos were brilliant so i came up with a little plan. As my sister and nieces would be over this Christmas I thought we could do the same. I suggested it to my sister's and a plan was formed.

We chose the original photo, bought/made the clothes for both my sister and nieces and this afternoon both my sisters and nieces will recreate that photo. We will then  frame them in vertical frame, the original at the top, us recreating it below and my sisters children doing the same. I think it's  a nice idea and i hope  they'll love it.

After that it's on to a typical British Panto!

The original photo 

DH painted this design. He's pretty arty!

I made the cushion covers and dh painted the design.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Getting Organise For Christmas

I'm feeling fairly organised for  Christmas. I did my usual homemade Christmas Cards. They're not going to win any awards as they're made with a potato stamp of a Christmas tree! But I like that they're homemade and i think people like that too. I made and sent out 30.

Today, the weather is wet and windy and dh has been out all day helping his friend with his market stall. After I dropped him off I went into town to get a few bits, nothing exciting, pan scourers, washing liquid and  a few bits from the charity shops.

When I got back I had a bowl of homemade  veggie soup and a crusty roll, I had a tidy up, hoovered, did the ironing and bathroom. I had already wrapped the presents vintage style using brown paper and my trusty potato stamp but I was missing the string so I did that and they are now finished and I just have a couple more to get.

Our presents are not very extravagant, thank goodness we don't do that in our family, some are second hand and some are homemade.

For dinner tonight I have a nutloaf my mum bought then didn't want so I've cooked that up with pasta for DH  (I don't like pasta) and white sauce and veggies.


DH's Grand Plan- We Need To Cut Our Expenses And We're Going To Make It Fun!

DH and I are fairly frugal in our ways. We don't have anything on HP and we save up for the things we need. We don't earn a lot of money and we live within our means. 

Recently however we've had some big expenses come in. The car had to go in on Friday and have it's exhaust done unexpectedly and it's got to go back on Monday to have a new Cam Belt (expensive). It's Christmas. We're not extravagant over Christmas but obviously there are added expenses that occur, especially as my sister is over from Australia., the petrol in visiting back and forth every weekend alone is enough to bump our monthly expenses up by about £100 over the next 6 weeks. 

My sister is coming to stay with us in early January before they go home. Our 'shoe-box' home is only just big enough for DH and myself so we cannot accomodate another 3! So we're renting a local cottage for 4 days so we can all stay in comfort. It is lovely and of course, our treat. My sister spoilt us rotten when we went over and I want to reciprocate now they're over. We have lots of things planned that will cost money as everything is indoors at this time of year really. They're 9 and 11 so we want to be 'doing' lots for them :) They're lovely. We have been saving but everything does seem to come along at once! 

DH wanted us to look and see where we could save money this month and the obvious answer was food. I love good food, but recently our food bills have been going up a bit *lot*, I don't even really know why, but DH has set me a challenge, to reduce our food bills as much as I can (I do most the shopping/cooking) by yellow ticket shopping.

I don't usually do much supermarket shopping, I'm not a big fan of them but I am fascinated with Ilonas blog and the discount shopping she does. So. . . . . since the 1st December we have ONLY been buying food items that are reduced in the supermarkets, that's it, nothing else. We've been using our reserves in the cupboad and buying lots of fresh produce, bread, fish and freezing it on day of purchase etc. I must admit it's become a bit addictive. I like the thought of saving food from landfill and also getting it at such a good price that I'm probably giving the supermarkets virtually nothing. I've made a little blog about it that will probably just be a short term thing to keep me focused. I will put the amount I spent, the amount it would have cost full price and what I'm doing with it. I don't want it to become part of this blog and I also have good news I think my photos will be back again this week as I have a new phone :)

The link to my blog, which I will start posting on soon is here

Photos are back! My mum gave me this tablecloth last weekend, it belonged to my Grandma:)

Monday, 14 December 2015

Today I haven't stopped!

I got in last night after a long drive (dh) and was so exhausted I went straight to bed. We struggled to get up this morning. Usually dh goes straight to work at 6am and I make coffee and bring him breakfast and do a few jobs before I go to work. Today we didn't get up til 7am and even that was an effort.  

Today I finished work at 2pm, came home to find dh had made me a lovely lunch- what a surprise! Not only that but he said he'd had such a good morning at work he'd come and help me at the allotment for an hour before it got dark - he's a keeper ;) 

We both worked hard at the allotment, then I came back and I went straight out again to drop some cards off. When I got back I did a 'big clean' as we hadn't been in much at the weekend to catch up on chores and I like the house to be clean and tidy. 

I then played the piano for half an hour,  made dinner and I'm now about to have a quick shower before we go out again on a walk. When we get back I think I'll go straight to bed with some of my new Picture Post Magazines from the wartime era I bought recently :)

I wanted to get my Christmas wrapping paper made tonight but.  . . . I'm pooped! It's not going to happen. I will fix dh's slippers though which badly need the attention of my needle and thread.   

An early night well earnt!


Sunday, 13 December 2015

My Sister Is Here!

After a late night last night at the work Christmas party I got out of bed this morning and headed straight for the kettle to make dh and I a coffee as it was 6am and I'd had about 5 hours sleep! We had a drive to Dorset to my parents house where we were awaiting the arrival of my sister and nieces from the airport. My parents were picking them up. Their flight was horribly delayed so what is an incredibly long trip anyway was made hours longer.

The girls had slept on the plane so were still pretty chirpy on arrival.  After a sit down, catch up and dog walk my parents got down the decorations,  put on the Christmas music and we all decorated the tree and put the decorations up. I couldn't help but notice a lot of our 'high quality' childhood homemade decorations were suspiciously absent and seemed to have been replaced with some new shop bought decorations!  *gasp*

We had dinner together and then the girls crashed, hardly surprising as it was the equivalent of 1am in Oz. Dh is just driving us home now. I'm really tired and will have an early night too. It's a hot water bottle and double duvet night. Nighty night.


Reflections And Plans For Next Year

I haven't blogged much recently. I've had technology problems and haven't been able to post photos. I always like to post a photo or two with every post but as it may be a bit longer before I can post photos I just thought I would post anyway as I've been missing writing my thoughts. 

I've been reflecting a lot over the last week about this year. It's been a year of incredible change and I'm excited about next year. This time last year I was in a job I hated and would come home every night and cry at the though of going back. Now I'm in a job I love and went to my work Christmas party and socialised with an incredibly nice and genuine people.  

This time a year ago we were paying our mortgage off at a normal rate. The last few months we've been making loads of savings in our day to day lives to make over payments to pay our mortgage off early.  I worked out if we can make an overpayment every month we can pay off our mortgage in 8 years. I want to do this! The reward of the financial freedom it will bring will be incredible. It means we'll be mortgage free before we're 40. It may be that we're mortgage free in a shoebox (as we affectionately call our home) but it will be 'our' shoebox and we can live there rent free for the rest of our lives.  Dh and I are not interested in 'climbing the property ladder'. As much as I'd love to have a 'proper' house, what's the point if all we could afford to do is sit around and look at it because don't have the money to do much else. We enjoy 'living' and for us that involves visiting my sister in Australia, visiting and spending time with friends all over the uk, going antiquing and to vintage and military shows, re enacting and all the things we feel makes life worth living.  Having a big house just isn't on the agenda for us. 

Next year this blog is going to be more focused on saving money, make do and mend, ww2 re enacting and my love of 1940s life. Hope you can join me,  photos or not!