Thursday, 17 August 2017

Visiting Friends

For the last couple of days we have been away visiting friends in Portsmouth. They are such lovely people, its always a treat to catch up.

We arrived on Monday afternoon and after a cup of tea and catch up, and showing each other our latest ww2 finds, as they are also into reenactors, took their dog out for a good walk, whilst taking the foraging bag. We managed to forage apples from some trees on public land and blackberries. M was also eyeing up stone fruit (that I'd not heard of before) , hazelnuts and plums that wern't quite ready yet. In the evening we socialised and watched A Royal Night Out, I love that film!

On Tuesday we went round Portsmouth historic dockyard and went round some of the museums. We have been before so it was sort of a continuation of our last visit. The weather was devine and I love going on the water bus, which is a free service of a little boat, that takes you from one side of the harbour to another. You get a good view of all the boats moored up too :)

We went round loads of antique and vintage shops and I brought a beutiful woollen deep red dress which will be perfect for when the weather cools off. I also found a large vintage cotton Union Jack flag for my WW2 display. It was attached to a wooden flag pole. It measures approx 2.5 ft x 3.5ft. Anyone who has tried to buy a material flat will know how expensive they are. I got mine for £15, which was a steal! We stopped off for lunch then went round more shops and a final museum before heading home.

We walked the dog in the evening and relaxed. I slept well that night.

On Wednesday we went to the Explosion Museum. This was extremely interesting and had lots of information about the women who worked in the munitions factories is WW2 as well as a history of munitions. I learnt a lot, and could have spent longer there if we didn't have to head off, as I was dog walking in the afternoon so we said our goodbyes and headed for home. 
Forging for blackberries and apples that will be made into jam. We got a jar to take home with us :)
Dog walking! 
The Explosion Museum

Monday, 14 August 2017

A Weekend Intentionally Slow

Dh was away for the weekend. He got up at 4am on Saturday morning and started getting ready. At 4:45am I got up and made him French toast and an earl grey tea. At 6am he said goodbye and left, so I put the kettle on, made myself a coffee and sat down in the lounge with a book for half an hour. It was lovely just sitting in the quiet dawn with a book and it is something I do most mornings, but that is a post for another day.

Having the weekend to myself and with so much going on for the next few weeks especially at weekends I wanted to spend this weekend at a slow pace. Not, not doing anything as I had much I wanted to accomplish, but spending my time mindfully, enjoying every aspect of all of the homely tasks I set out to do, spending quiet time reflecting, reading and just enjoying my own company. Sometimes the weekends seem to go by in the blink of an eye and I wanted to embrace this alone time I had, and savour every minute of it. Here's what I got up to.

On Satirday I cycled to the allotment, did some work then went for a country cycle. This path was really long and I had to cycle into really strong wind the whole way!
The first of the runner beans from the plot. I cut my finger using my runner bean slicer :( I blanched them and popped them in the freezer.
Lovely looking elderberries I saw on my walk I went on Sunday
This meal is made mostly from allotment produce including beetroot, peas, courgette and spring onion.
I walked to a local cafe and had this lovely lunch. It was made with local produce and decorated with edible flowers. It was really cheap too and I sat for an hour and read with a coffee before walking back in the sunshine :) 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A Facebook Update

It's been a couple of months since I came off Facebook and I thought people might be interested in how it was going seeing as it is such a big thing these days and practically EVERYONE seems to be on it.

Well, I am still off it and have no plans to go back on. The only thing I might do is go and download all the photos on there so I can print them off and keep them- yes, actual hard copies of photos! So few people seem to do that these days. I miss them!

The main thing I've noticed since coming off Facebook is firstly, how little I missed it after only about 3 days and secondly, how much nicer it is to stay in contact with people. What I mean by that is that the real friends I have are messenging me through text, email or Wattsapp and we have an actual conversation. Not just a 'like' here and there as we skip through our 'newsfeed' but actual conversations that are engaging and meaningful. Friends are sending me photos they are posting on FB, as they know I won't see them, and we have a chat about them and catch up. They make a real effort and I do the same. Since I came off FB one of my friends had sent me 2 lovely cards thanking me for my support to her during a difficult time. We were always close but chat almost every night now I'm off FB.

The thing I wonder is 'do I miss seeing what 'not close' friends are doing?'. A bit, maybe. But not enough at the moment to go back on. I think because most people only put the good things they get up to on FB, it can give you a distorted view of other people's lives. With true friends you know not only of the good bits that they put on FB but you will be aware of all of the struggles and hard times they go through too as it is likely you will be supporting them through it. If all you really know about someone is what they put on FB then, maybe the view you see of their life, can be misleading.

I know FB is a great way for some people to keep in touch, and for people, not like me (!) who can go on it occasionally and enjoy it for what it is, it's great. But, as DH was saying today. What would the world be like if, for one month, the internet was just turned off. What if we all went back to the 80's for a month, not that long ago when you think about it. No social media, no internet, no Instragram or Twitter, no YouTube or email. Back to letters, phone calls, postcards(!), posted newsletters and 4 channels on the tele. No digital radio, Kindles, CD players, smart phones, mp3 players or DVD players. What would everyone do instead of looking at their phones all the time?!

I am definately going to be thinking more about the technology we let into our lives. I don't believe modern is always better and I think it's easy to get sucked in to modern life. It's not easy to stay on a more traditional path as, with everyone on social media etc, you can feel like you're left out if you're not 'staying current' or on a friends Facebook Chat Group or Forum.

So, I am going to make the effort to reach out to all my friends on FB (there arnt many!). I have 5 friends I regularly Wattsapp message and would consider very good friends. I am going to go back on FB tonight and let everyone know I'm coming off FB (in case they hadnt noticed) and give people my mobile number if they don't have it,  and let them know they can message me or write to me and let me know they want to keep in touch and we can message or write snail mail. If people don't want to then that's fine, I'm happy to let things move on. If they do, great! It will hopefully be a good way to get properly back in touch with people. I feel maybe I shouldn't ask people to be the first one to make the effort to message me but I don't have everyone's contact numbers so I will need people to message me so I can contact them back.

I hope by doing this I will be able to have a more personal relationship with people In may have lost touch with apart from through Facebook. I realise I'm rambling now, I hope I haven't offended anyone with my Facebook post. It's just my thoughts. Nighty night.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Mondays Are My 'Doing' Day

Unlike a lot of people, I actually like Mondays. Mostly because I only work until 2pm, then I get to spend the rest of the day doing all sorts of jobs. I like this because it means that when we go re-enacting at the weekends or visit friends I haven't got  a mad dash on Sunday night to get everything done, I know I have Monday afternoon to catch up. Sometimes I go to the allotment, sometimes I spend it at home. Today, it was the latter.

When I got home I sorted the allotment produce I had picked the day before, cutting runner beans and making an early start on dinner by grating beetroot and prepping spring onions and herbs.

I had washing to fold and ironing to do. I made Dh a GF quorn and mushroom pie using the buckwheat flour I got from Approved Food. I served it with vegetables including beetroot, spring onion and peas from our allotment. I also used my own fresh herbs.

Once Dh had gone to meet friends I did some of my Welsh studies. I have just been doing some crochet. I am still working on my crocheted cushion cover and am watching  David Starkeys Monachy, which I aways enjoy.

It's not going to win any awards but it was made with love and actually tasted really good :)

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Day Out At The Seaside

We had a few plans for today but nothing very concrete and nothing particularly exciting until Dh announced this morning that he wanted to go to Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is a seaside town I had vague memories of visiting as a child, and he looked it up and thought it looked nice. So after a hearty breakfast cooked by Dh I got my 1992 £1 road atlas out (never lets us down....except for when there is new roads built since 1992 and I get...confused ; ) and we were off!

Lyme Regis is absolutely delightful. It's a seaside town that has moved with the times but also has a classic look, offering lots of independent and quirky shops, as well as a beautiful beach. We started with a walk along the beach, which was bustling with people arriving and setting up their wind breaks and parasols, then as we were coming back up through the gardens leading away from the beach a black cloud came over and the heavens opened. We sheltered in the band stand and waited for it to pass over. As we walked on we could smell the trees and flowers mixed with that gorgeous 'cool rain on a warm day' smell :)

We went for a look round the town and found some lovely quirky shops including an independent stationers and a few secondhand bookshops. We found a fab cafe called Aroma which had a fantastic menu including loads of veggie, dairy free and gluten free options. I had stuffed mushrooms and dh had a sandwich with rainbow salad and a cranberry rock cake. The cost was very reasonable and it had a lovely atmosphere. It was nice to sit and watch the world go by.

We explored thr town further and found some lovely antique and curio shops to look around.

We headed back home mid afternoon. We would love to go back. We had a great day :)

We got caught in a downpour!


Friday, 4 August 2017

Approved Food

After the success of our Approved Food order last month, I wasn't planning on doing another order yet as we still have plenty left but I went and had a little look to see if there was any good deals and there was lots of Organic and Gluten Free products  (for dh) so I did another order which will last AGES!

Here's what I got:

2 Packs Organic Tortilla wraps
1 Pack Organic Amisa Crispbreads
50 Earl Grey teabags
2 x 450ml Organic Coconut Oil
1 x Organic Date Syrup
2 boxes Organic Sun dried tomato oatcakes.
4 Doves Farm Apricot and Chia Bars
4 Doves Farm Banana and hemp bars
4 Cashew and peanut bars
2 x 250g Finn Rye Crackers
2 x 500g Green Lentils
1 x Mayonnaise
2 x GF Sourdough loaves
1 x Organic Almond Butter 170g
1 x Orgran Coco O's (a treat for dh!)
3 x Rawbite Peanut Bars
2 packs GF rolls
2 loaves GF bread with amaranth
1 x Sharpham Park Organic Bran Flakes
2 x Muesli 450g
40 Organic Tea Bags
1kg Pumpkin Seeds

We got all that for £32.68 +p&p which I think is pretty darned tootin good!
The bars are great for lunch boxes or emergency car snacks and everything else will be used with plenty of allotment veg and fresh produce. It will help us to save money for our move!

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Planning And Exciting Times

I am feeling pretty excited right now. Dh and I have been to a meeting with a mortgage advisor today to see if the bank will help us as we want to move to Wales :D
It is something we have been thinking of doing for some time now and now Dh has a possible job opportunity there. So this time next year we may have moved!

There is a lot to do between now and then: we have to finish decorating and redecorating the house ready for selling, I need to get my skills up together to give me the best opportunity for employment when we move and we need to sell the house etc.

All being well we will move from a maisonette to an actual house of our very own with a proper garden!!

Our aim is to out our home on the market 1st March 2018, and before then there is so much to do, which pleases me, I love a challenge :)

Looking forward to sharing all our plans. Anyone in Wales? Hello! I am doing well learning Welsh and am excited I'll be able to use it in 'real life' in our many trips over before we move :)

One of the beautiful views that Dh took on a recent trip to Wales

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Making The Best Of A Frustrating Situation

On Monday DH had to go to Cardiff for the day. He dropped the car off to me as he was getting the train, came in to work, gave me some fruit (he's lovely like that :) ), then went off to get the train. 

He got off the train at Cardiff, put his hand in his pocket to get his wallet out, and pulled out the car keys!

He had come into my work, given me some fruit but not the car keys so I could get home! I'm as bad, I didn't remember either :/  So I finished work at 2pm and had 4 hours to kill. What to do.....

I didn't want to hang around at work so I hit the road! Unfortunately the weather wasn't great, it's been raining here on and off all week. But I walked in to town and did a little jaunt for about half an hour then I went to the library. I passed a very enjoyable hour looking at all the books, noting some i might want to get out in the future, then I selected one and withdrew it.

Whilst I didn't want to spend a lot of money, with the rain now very heavy I took sanctuary in a coffee shop and spent an hour with a coffee and reading in a warm armchair. I also enjoyed watching people scurrying past with their umbrellas up. I love people watching.

With the rain having eased I then went for another walk followed by a trip to the supermarket to look for yellow ticket bargains. I wandered round to the cinema to see how long Dunkirk was going to be showing for, then walked to the station to wait for dh.

It wasn't an ideal afternoon, I had plans to do washing, cleaning and ideally the allotment if the weather had been fine. But actually it was nice to do not a lot, no pressure to rush back or do anything. It would have been nicer if the weather was better and I could have gone for a longer walk, but never mind.

Dh got back full of apologies, but no apology was necessary. He was doing important planning for our future and my afternoon was just fine :)

Yes, I did have a little slurp or two before I remebered to take the photo!
The book I got out the library. 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Prisons And I Go Back A Long Way. . . . .

I have, what some people might think to be a slightly strange interest, and I blame my parents!! 

Although it may be my slightly skewed childhood memory of things, but I remember going to, what seemed like a lot of historical prisons as a child, when we went on holiday. 

I'm sure we didn't go to that many, and maybe some of the memories are attached to museums, but I really feel like we did! I love British History and the rich texture of stories woven in to our culture. 

I remember when I was about 7 years old we went on a canal boat holiday. I loved it! One of the rules of hiring the boat was that you must be moored up safely for the evening before nightfall. I remember one evening there were very few mooring sites and we were chugging along as dusk was falling looking for somewhere to moor up. We went along for a bit and came across this nice quiet area where no other boats were, perfect! My parents noticed, in the fading light, that we were moored up by, what they thought to be a boarding school. We settled down for the night, then the next morning got up and inspected our new surroundings. My parents then realised that the 'boarding school' we had been moored up outside all night was actually a prison, and probably the reason why we had the riverbank to ourselves for the night! 

I discussed my recollections of childhood prisons with my sisters via a Facebook (when I was still on Facebook) chat and they could also remember going to historical prisons on holiday but didn't seem to remember them as clearly as me, and certainly don't seem to have the same interest in adulthood. Then, about 3 weeks later, I got a postcard from my parents, who were away on holiday and this was in the content.....!

"Went To Dartmoor Prison Museum, very interesting"
They're still going now!! And they have passed on the bug to me. A few years ago Shepton Mallet, Somerset, Prison closed after about 400 years of service, on and off. You are now able to visit and have a guided tour, until it is turned into houses and luxury flats next year, and all the history will be gone forever. I took the opportunity to book DH and I into the tour and we went today. The tour lasted about 2 hours and was very interesting. It focused more on the more recent history of the prison rather than the older side, but we got to see all over the prison and the tour was with a former guide so it was a really detailed talk which was nice. There was about 35 of us on our tour. I found out lots of things I never knew, for example, while not in use as a prison, one of the wings served as a secure hold for many Treasures Of The Realm, that were evacuated from London during WW2. It is unknown whether or not this included the Crown Jewels or not, but certainly many priceless articles were housed there including the Doomesday Book and the HMS Victory Log Book.

We had an interesting time, and I don't care that some people think it's odd, I will carry on visiting historical prisons, maybe Dartmoor next! We went to Fremantle Prison whilst visiting Australia this year. It is the second time I've been there and it is really interesting, you can certainly learn a lot, particularly about history. If anyone has any recommendations ot has also visited a historical prison please let me know :)

At it's time of closing Shepton Prison held people given 'life' sentences. 

Shepton was known as a 'working' prison. This meant most of the inmates when not doing educational courses worked in part of the prison doing things like packing for retail outlets. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Saving Bees

I LOVE bees. I think the job they do is amazing and I think it's very worrying how endangered they are becoming and what the future may hold for us without them.

Whilst at my Dads birthday BBQ yesterday, which was a total washout (!), my sister noticed a bee laying very still on the ground. Knowing that bees can get very tired when they're hungry and low on sugar she nudged it onto a plate and added some sugar water to it. Straight away the bee started drinking the water and sipped it for a good 5 minutes on and off. It then sat resting for a further 5 minutes before flying away :) Lots of people at the party didn't know about offering bees sweet water if they look tired to help them out and they said they would definately keep an eye out for bees needing help in the future.

My Dad enjoyed seeing friends and family together for his BBQ and, ever a glass half-full man, he had the BBQ out under a gazebo anyway, with the buffet in the conservatory. The rain was torrential and non-stop all afternoon. 

We're seeing friends today and may go and see the new film Dunkirk if we're back in time. Raining again which won't help my chances of drying the washing! 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Trouble Sleeping

I have been having the most horrendous time sleeping over the last few weeks. I have no idea why but it's been getting worse. Wednesday and Thursday nights were the worse nights yet with Thursday night I think I finally got off close to 3am, with the alarm going off at 6am I felt like a zombie at work yesterday. In desperation I have ordered Paul MacKennas I Can Make You Sleep book as it had pretty good reviews online. I am doing all the usual things like not having caffeine later and we dont have a tele in our bedroom so I'm not watching tele or using my phone in bed.

Last night I was so exhausted I think I did get off about 10pm (hurrah!) , but Burt woke me up at 4am and I don't think I really slept much after that. I do feel better today though. Today I am working this morning, then we're driving to my parents for my Dad's birthday BBQ but the weather looks iffy so it might be indoors! Tomorrow we're going to see the new film Dunkirk at our local, independent Cinema. We're also doing lots of planning for our (still hopeful!) move next year.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Rosemoor Vintage Show

We had a lovely time on sunday Re-enacting At Rosemoor Vintage Show in Devon. I was working on the Saturday so we only went down on the Sunday.

We got up early, about 5am, and I made us both a coffee and some breakfast. We'd packed the car the night before so there wasn't too much to get ready except ourselves. By 6:30am we were ready to go and we had a good run down arriving by about 8:15am. There wasn't too many of us there but it was lovely to catch up with friends and myself and T had a Cob House to display in which was a treat. In the cob house we had my ARP post and a Medic post. We had a lovely day chatting to the public and it was very busy. One elderly gentleman told me about his evacuation and how he kept in contact with the maid who cared for him at that time after the war right through to the present day, she is now 100 years old and he last visited her a couple of weeks ago. He also spoke fondly of his second posting to an elderly couple who were asked to take 2 evacuees into their small house and instead offered to take 6, caring for them lovingly with no running water or electricity. He told me they had to get fresh water from a pump at the end of the street!

The weather was perfect and the garden setting idyllic. We had a lovely day. We were a bit late leaving and then got stuck behind several slow moving vehicles, we got to the lock-up to put out kit back literally about 9 minutes before the gates shut, we had to throw everything in and got out with about two minutes to spare. 

Needless to say we slept very well last night after our lovely day :)

My A.R.P post
My tea station set at the back of my Post :)
The Cob House 
The Nurses Station 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Day On My Own

I've been on my own today. Dh and his colleague got up early and I made a breakfast of scrambled eggs, wilted spinach and coffee for them, as requested. I then cycled to the allotment to do some gardening. I harvested beetroot, a lot of peas, rhubarb and a courgette masquerading as a marrow ;) I did a fair amount of weeding then made my way home, albeit slowly and a bit wobbly with a bag full of heavy produce! 

When I was back I washed, chopped and stewed the rhubarb, podded the peas and froze them. I then drove to town to do some chores. I had 3 different towns to go to and I was in the mood for walking so I took myself off in each town doing a large circular walk in each one, until the rain came. I took shelter in my favourite cafe and rested, read and savoured a delicious coffee.

Once home I had some lunch then made some gluten free bread using the flour I got from Approved Food and I also made a rhubarb crumble for the chaps for later. The crumble came out really well, but as far as the bread goes..... all I have to say on that subject is thank goodness I have a husband who will eat literally ANYTHING! ;)

I had a shower (or our interpretation of a shower as the shower curtain is still off the wall) and have also been reading. I'm really tired today so I would appreciate an  early night but it depends what time the chaps get in. On the plus side it's raining again which means I have a good excuse to get in my pj's and snuggle on the sofa with a good book and a cup of tea :)

My wildflowers are keeping the bees happy :)
More wildflowers, not sure what these are.
Once ready, I am trading a bag full of runner beans for a sack of potatoes with someone at work :)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Preparing For A Guest

Dh has a work colleague visiting tomorrow evening and is staying with us until Sunday as they are doing a course together. I always find guests, whilst enjoyable, a bit stressful too mainly due to the small size of our home, and that it's very basic without many mod cons including central heating.

So, as I am working until 8pm tonight I wanted to get as much as I could done this morning. I put my usual jaunt to the allotment off until Saturday and prioritised my chores. I did all the ironing, my weekend washing which went out to dry, sorted the paperwork drawer (a job that's been nagging me for ages- although I don't know why I prioritised that, guests don't usually root through my drawers to check the organisation of my paperwork!) hoovering, cleaned the kitchen and tidied my craft bits away.

The shower curtain still isnt fixed so that's not good! But can't be helped :/

Dh needed a hair cut so while he was getting that done I whizzed off to do errands. I collected a parcel from the sorting office, cleared out the rubbish that had accumulated in the car (seemed to be old receipts and orange peel mostly! Although I also found a sock and a fork), I scampered round the charity shops and got a sports top and trousers for pilates and brought some cat litter.

For dinner tonight it's homemade frittata and salad which will be nice and easy for when I finish work. When I get in it will be pj's and reading I think :)

Burt seems to be feeling better today :)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wednesday Dog Walking And Looking Forward To Getting Back In My Routine

I am working extra hours (again) this week and next week as a colleague is on holiday. I don't know how I always seem to end up doing most the cover. I think it's because others only work part time or have children so can't do extra hours. To be honest, I'd rather have the time off than the overtime money (which isn't a lot) but never mind, can't be helped.

Because of this I am out of my usual routine. It does make me appreciate my time off more than ever, even though it is then busy while I try and catch up on jobs. Sometimes I don't feel like doing much when I get in which, although I don't like, I try not to push myself if I feel I need to rest.

Today, after I finished work it was Cinnamon Trust dog walking. My lovely dogs never fail to cheer me with their appreciation of the simplist things. A leg stretch and some good sniffs makes them so happy :) When I do holiday cover I always tell work I can't cover late Wednesday afternoons so I don't let my old ladies down by having to cancel. I called in at my local leisure centre as they are doing a pilates class on Wednesday nights I'm thinking about trying. I find myself a bit stiff if the mornings and would like to tone up a bit too. Being a local authority leisure centre the prices are very reasonable too.

Once we were in dh made dinner while I roasted some veggies and made another frittata. We then had quiet time, dh did some drawing and I read. Burt was sick twice this morning so is on a bland diet. Hopefully, it's just that he ate too quickly. I have ironing to do but it can wait til tomorrow I think :)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Pyjama Evening

Yesterday afternoon, after work, we drove to Salisbury to meet up with friends. We had dinner together. They brought their dog so we sat outside then went for a stroll after dinner. It was lovely, especially for Dh who has been friends with M since he was a teenager. His friend has become like an older brother or surrogate Dad and really looked out for him when he was growing up (dh hasn't seen his real Dad since he was about 11). Since they moved away from each other they don't see each other as much but still speak on the phone several times a week and meet up as often as they can. It's nice to see them together catching up and enjoying each others company so much.

We didn't get in until about 10:45pm. I have worked 8-6pm today and am feeling a bit under the weather. Dh had an omlette with spinach and quorn waiting for me when I got in which was lovely. He'd also set my pyjamas out. We've had torrential rain here all day today so I feel I can snuggle in my PJ's this evening guilt free followed by a shower and an early night. Xx

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Re-enactment Catch-Up Day

Yesterday, we were in Upottery, Devon catching up with friends at a re-enactment training weekend. The weekend was mainly for the chaps, but a couple of us ladies went along and it was nice to see friends. Some people camped overnight but we decided to drive back at the end of the day. The site has a Nissen Hut which has been turned into a museum. It is very interesting. I took my rag rug to do and my crochet and was quite happy under the awning. We all took food to share and I wore my 1940's civilian clothes. In the evening we had a BBQ and put some 40's music on and all sat round chatting until it was time to leave.

There was the remains of an old building on the site which we used to stage some photos.
One of the photos of me using the building as a 'bombed out' home.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Restocking The Pantry

Ok, we're not really restocking the pantry because we don't have one, but I love that word. My Grandma and Grandpa had one and I still remember the smell and sneaking in there to sneak a rich tea biscuit every now and again xx

With a hopefully potential move coming up next year we are really trying to get some more money in savings and food is a variable cost we are always happy to try and reduce. We try and eat a wholesome, natural diet and I cook a lot from scratch. However, we have to be realistic, we both work full time and can work long hours (DH sometimes does 60 hours +) so sometimes we need a little help with food prep, although we try to keep convenience food to a minimum. 

Since DH suffered from gall stones a couple of years ago he suffers with IBS, this has gotten worse over the last year and we have been slowly trying to find out what his trigger foods are and eliminate them as when he eats them they cause him great pain and discomfort. So far we have worked out the problem foods are wheat (not sure if it's gluten or just wheat), oats and dried fruit. There is another one and we're not sure whether its dairy or rice. Personally I am ?hoping? it's dairy as rice flour is in so many gluten free foods and he loves bread. Gluten free food is expensive, and some of them can have an awful lot of additives and chemicals to make up for the gluten they are lacking so we don't generally buy a lot of GF foods. But recently I decided to do an Approved Food order as our Cupboards are really whittled down to not very much and I didn't want to spend a load on staples, plus I hate going to the supermarket. DH is travelling quite a lot at the moment so we need food that is easy to transport (he doesn't like to travel with lots of Tupperwares and bits) that he can take on the train or for snacks until he arrives at his destination. 

I haven't done an Approved Food order for a while. Approved Food is a company that sells packaged food that is past it's best before date, but still perfectly edible, at a reduced cost. It's a great idea to help reduce food wastage. They do sell a LOT of biscuits, chocolate and such like, but if you look thoroughly, or go through their entire stock like me (!) there is, what I think is, some really good produce out there, and more importantly, there is gluten free stuff. If we weren't stocking GF stuff I imagine we could get 'normal' options of similar foods and reduced our bill further. It may not look like loads of food but we will make it last and the quality of the items I chose seem to be really good. 

I managed to get A LOT of food for a total of £24.11 + p&p. Our bargains included:
- 450g Four Grain and seed muesli ( looks high-end product made with British Oats)- 89p
- 8 sachets of yeast- 39p
-  Snack bags of Organic Roasted seeds- 33p each (perfect for dh to travel with)
- Food Doctor Lentil and CousCous pot- 33p (not even out of date!)
-GF brown bread flour 1kg - 89p
- Organic Cornflakes- 99p
- Organic Coconut Oil 450ml- £1.99 (only just ood)
- Organic Buckwheat Flout (not wheat!) - 99p
- 4 bottles Ketchup- 25p each
- Smokey Chipotle Sauce- 39p
- Jar of Sesame, carob and honey preserve- 50p
Cinnamon- 29p

We expect this food to last several weeks, except for the sesame, carob and honey preserve, which may only last several hours, as I'm thinking of doing something funky with it and frozen bananas....I'm thinking of frozen banana soft scoop with the preserve mixed in...... and almond butter!! *scampers off to the kitchen* ;) Toodles xxx

Here is our frugal food order. We continue to use local suppliers for meat, fruit and veg, if not harvesting our own :)

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Stuff For Free!

This week is a week of lots of free stuff which can only be a good thing.

When I got to work yesterday of my colleagues gave me a dozen free eggs from her chickens, I always buy local free range eggs, never from the supermarket, but to get them from friends or brought from the end of someone's drive is always a special treat :)  On Monday I got offered a sack of free potatoes from another colleague who has a load spare from her sons school that grow produce. I will give her back a load of runner beans when mine are ready.

Today another colleague gave me bunch of rhubarb from her garden as she doesn't really like it and is going on holiday and hasn't the time to stew and freeze it.

My Mum phoned to say a friend had a iron spare as she is upgrading hers and did I still want one. I said a while back if she knew of anyone getting rid of one mine was very old and seen better days so I would happily receive one no longer required.

This year we also got given a nearly new television! Ours was second hand when we got it and was quite old so we received it gratefully.

I'm hope I'm not making us sound like scroungers. I think people offer us stuff for 2 reasons. Firstly, we're always very grateful to receive anything that is offered to us which I think people like. I know I love doing good deeds or giving gifts to people I know appreciate them. And secondly, if I need something like a new iron I spread the word amongst family and friends. Often people are glad to be rid of stuff they no longer use and it's great to keep things from landfill when they are perfectly serviceable.

In return, we give our allotment produce to friends and family, regularly sort out donations for charity shops and although we don't have a lot of material things to give, we give what we can, especially our time freely. I hope our friends and family know they can always rely on us for anything if they need it too :)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Jobs That Feel Good To Get Done

I'm having a busy week. I was at a lecture for work last night and I have another one tonight. Because it is so hot today I have moved my Cinnamon Trust dog walking to tomorrow night and Friday night after work. I have also just started a 3 week correspondence course for work as well which is being done in my 'spare' time.

This means I am out of the house a lot this week and out of my usual 'routine'. I like my routine and I'm not keen on being out the house so much. I feel like I'm getting behind on jobs and not giving things like the allotment my full attention. So, as I had an hour or so from getting in from work before I have to go out again I thought I'd do one of those jobs that I don't particularly enjoy, that to anyone else it probably doesn't look like I've done a lot, but it is one of those jobs that make you 'feel' much better.

I have a lot of jobs like that. Deep cleaning jobs like cleaning out under the bed, pulling furniture out and cleaning behind it, cleaning the kitchen cupboards, fridge or freezer, cleaning the oven, filing paperwork. All these jobs are ones that anyone walking round the house wouldn't notice really whether they were done or whether they wern't, but I know whether they are or not. When I get chance to do a deep clean job it makes me feel so much better to know that it's done. When I know drawers and cupboards are tidy and our home is not just tidy on the surface, but that anyone can open a high cupboard and not be concerned that some falling masonry, shoe or book may result in a concussion, then that makes me feel good. Some people may find that silly, but I know what I mean and I think some of you will too.

Today it was deep cleaning the bathroom. I really scrubbed the bath and tiling, cleaned the tiles behind the toilet, under the sink and behind the cupboard. I scrubbed the floor by hand and wiped over the walls. It probably doesn't look massively different but I feel good knowing it's done. Dh is going to hoover for me and take the bins out while I'm out which is a help.

Now I am off to see one of my Cinnamon ladies who has asked to see me even though I am not dog walking so I'll have to go. I'm taking a snack to eat in the car park when I arrive at the lecture. Looking forward to shower, cup of tea and bed when I get in!!

Monday, 3 July 2017

The Shower Curtain Has Fallen Down :/

Our shower curtain has always been .....not great. Our shower is set in the bath with a circular curtain that goes round on a rail. We've never really liked it and our bathroom could do with being updated. The bath has a crack about 1/3 of the way up so we can't have baths either. 

We've always made do because there always seem to be other priorities for our money. But today, as Dh went to have a shower the rail started coming out the wall. Dh, by his own admission, is not the best at DIY (although he's a lot better than me!) so he has just managed to remove it for now. He has come up with a temporary solution of shutting one corner of the shower curtain in the window which is next to the shower and the other corner over the door!

This will have to do until we can get something sorted. A bit of the tiles came out the wall as well and will need sorting. We've just had to renew our home insurance and pay for the car to go through its MOT and service including 4 new tyres so we're a bit tight at the moment. But we'll make do, its all good.

Oh and Burt has an ear infection and had to have 3 ear drop applications a day which is more good news! He's unimpressed and is sulking. Never mind, onwards and upwards! :)

Burt recuperating on Dh's windowsill.