Wednesday, 26 October 2016


First things first


Have a lovely day, dearest daughter of mine!

It's half way through the week and things are picking up.  There's no doubt that having a good night's sleep does make a huge difference and, while things are still very coughy and totally disgusting (what cold isn't?), things are picking up.  Phew.

What did I do yesterday?  Well, I made a fish pie and have loads left over for today and one small one for the freezer.  That was about it really.  I sat and I rad and I slept on and off - it was a waste of a day really but do I feel guilty.  No, I don't!  So there!

Today there's quite a lot to do.  I have a stack of washing that really needs doing and I might very well pop into town and get that quilt and those pillows.  I have to change the sheets today so that would work out very well really.  I've also decided to get a new kettle as bits keep falling off the one I have and it doesn't always stay on until the water is boiling.  I'm not too disappointed - I've had it for many years now and it was very cheap to start with so it's more than earned its keep.

I shall be going out for dinner with Beth, her partner and Alex so I'm really looking forward to that very much.  It's to the Hare as usual - we love it there - so I need to take a look at the menu later and make a few decisions.

Today's food:
B:  bacon and egg (gotta use them up)
L:  fish pie (ditto)
D:  no idea yet.

Have a lovely day, everyone.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


I'll get the whinge over first, shall I?  Still coughing, very sore (but muscle strain, not lungs) but it is 'looser' so I'm getting there.  Temperature went up a bit yesterday evening and it was a restless night but, despite that, I'm feeling a lot more with it today.

End of whinge!

Brrr - it is a very chilly morning this morning.  I've just popped out to the shed to get some things for meals today and was glad to get back indoors again.  I gather it might be sunny later.  I do hope so as yesterday was quite dull.

I got the tomatoes done and dusted, using up all the red ones (there's many more turning though).  Now I have four pots of chopped tomatoes in their own juice and four pots of passata in the freezer so there's less room than there was!  They will help to make delicious meals come the winter months.  The kitchen was a bit of a mess though!

I also had four very manky bananas that I got on yellow sticker several days ago so I made a batch of banana pancakes (recipe here) which are also in the freezer for easy breakfasts and desserts.

Clearing up the kitchen took a while especially as I had to keep stopping to cough but eventually it was all done.  I then decided to take a bit of a break so I did the ironing while sitting watching telly - the best way to do it, in my opinion - so now I have an empty ironing basket.  Oh, joy!
I also broke my rule and dried some washing in the tumble dryer - bad me.

Today I am still taking things very easy.  After the bad night, I guess I will flop at some point, so there's nothing that I HAVE to do today apart from meals.  I really hope things are good for tomorrow as it is Beth's birthday and we are supposed to be going out for a meal.  Fingers crossed again, eh.

Today I'm making a fish pie using lots of odds and ends from the freezer that should be used.  Some 'fish' (so not cod!!!), the dregs of a bag of peas and a bag of mushrooms, the rest of the bag of 'mashing vegetables' (which has been very useful so I intend to get another one), some sweet potato topping . . .
I shall make a bigger pie and have some for lunch tomorrow as well so that will make life easier.

Today's food
B:  banana pancakes with bacon and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup to spoil myself plus an apple
L:  home made soup and an orange
D:  fish pie, runner beans and some natural yogurt.

Monday, 24 October 2016


Good morning, gentle readers.  Welcome to a new week and if you have connection with the education scene, welcome to half term!  I have no idea what the weather is like not it stays dark for so much longer, but fingers crossed it is fine.

Yesterday wasn't nice but I'm feeling quite a bit better today.  The cold is 'breaking up' so lots of coughs and sneezes and snuffles but a clearer head and, fingers crossed, a normal temperature.

I haven't yet decided whether to pop into town early to get my new quilt.  I shall have my bath and wash my hair which badly needs it and then see how I feel.  It has to be early because my young teen is coming at eleven to do a bit of garden tidying for me and, as I cancelled him yesterday and know the cash will be useful for half term, I don't want to disappoint him today.

Flippin' tomatoes!  When they were on the plant, they took for ever to ripen.  Now they have all been picked and in a bowl for when I have the time to green tomato chutnify them, they're all turning red.  :-)  I'd have dealt with them ages ago but need to fight my way into the garage to find jars and lids.  I'm inclined towards ordering some jars from the jam jar company, I think.  It does make life easier and people tend to be very good at returning them to me.

I have, however, dealt with the giuliettas that have been ripening on the window ledge and I have some pots of lovely chopped tomatoes in their own juice with the hard core and the seeds removed (which I then pushed through my mouli to recover all the juice).  There's still a few on the plant but I don't think they will ripen outside now so will pick them and see if the window ledge does the necessary.

Dealing with tomatoes is such a squidgy, messy job but at least it isn't sticky!

And since I wrote the above, I have decided to not do an early morning town trip - I will wait until the coughing dies down.  I'm thankful that I am not a smoker or I hate to think how it would be.

Today's food:
B:  bran flakes and an apple
L:  home made tomato soup, an orange
D:  chicken and veg pasta bake, yogurt and fruit

And maybe, just maybe, as I am feeling a fair bit better, I will stick to it!  Fingers crossed, please, everyone.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


Croak, croak, splutter.  Yup, that's me this morning, bang in the middle of my cold and feeling absolutely disgusting.  I'm so glad I don't have to inflict it on anyone else by going out.

Yesterday was, obviously, a stay-indoors-and-feel-sorry-for-myself day.  I had intended to go into town but no way!

I did some stuff though - I made another not-minestrone soup and I also went all frugal and used some value plain flour to make six bread rolls.  I did this because someone had asked a question about using plain flour on Facebook so I did!

When I did Live Below The Line (both times), making bread with value flour was a real godsend.  Yesterday, those six rolls cost me just under 20p and they were delicious.  The texture isn't quite the same but they are good in their own way.
I'm very lucky as at the moment I have a source of good strong flour that costs less that value plain, so, even at the height of frugality, I could use strong flour, but it is a tip worth the knowing anyway.

For the soup, I simmered a whole lot of garden tomatoes in their own juices and zizzed them to a smoothness.  I then sauted some onion, carrot and potato, chopped, in a little oil, added the tomato juice, some sweet potato, some frozen peas and sweet corn with a chicken stock pot and some seasonings, garlic puree and mixed herbs and let the lot simmer until the vegetables were all soft.  Finally, I added some mixed pulses from the lot I soaked and cooked a few weeks ago - some I froze separately and some I mixed together.
It was absolutely gorgeous, a full meal with the pulses to give protein, loads of vegetables and, best of all, it made enough for three bowlsful.  The second portion I will have today and the third can go in the freezer for later on this week.  Delicious frugality!

After all that, I was zonked so decided to be kind to myself and rested and read for much of the rest of the day.

Today - well, I am not sure.  I could do nothing but will do some sewing, if I feel up to it.  I'm not going to push it though.  I don't have to get plans finished, marking done, resources found and adapted so I can take it easy.

If I do get into town tomorrow, I have a target.  My pillows and quilt are rather old and manky and I have promised myself some new ones.  When I strolled around our new John Lewis the other week, there were some lovely quilts, not cheap but so soft and cosy.  I looked around online but the trouble with that is that you cannot actually feel them so I think I will stick with what I found and liked.  I will look at their selection of pillows at the same time and I bet I will find what I like.

I'm quite pleased that, because this month has been a very frugal month with no unnecessary spending (so far!), even with the reduced amount I gave myself, I can afford this without going into savings or using some of November's money (which has now all arrived).  That feels good.

It's a bit weird with the money thing.  All my life I have had a salary that arrived in my account on or just before the 26th of each month (apart from Christmas when it arrived at the end of term, for some reason) so it was no great mental effort to think from the first to the first or each month with a sort of safety net, should something come in right at the end of the month.
Now I have three sources of income.  The teacher's pension arrives on the 23rd, the AVC arrives on the 12th and the state pension arrives every four weeks, just to confuse matters (however, it does mean that in one month a year I get two lots, just like the old family allowance!).
The only way my poor old, numerically challenged brain can cope with this is pretending that it is not there until the first of the following month, otherwise I'd never know where I was!
Maybe it sounds daft but it works for me and I feel totally in charge of it all, thank goodness, more so than when I was working when I really more or less just took it all for granted.

Goodness, I do seem to have waffled on, sorry.
Today's food:
B:  bacon and tomato on toast, apple
L:  That soup, although I may make a few mini-dumplings and cook them in the soup to turn it into a casserole thingy
D:  fish fingers, chips and fried tomatoes

Such a lot of tomatoes today but I still have loads from the garden!

Saturday, 22 October 2016


Good morning, everyone.  Apologies for not appearing yesterday.  A combination of busy-ness and not-feeling-wonderful got in the way.  I didn't sleep all that well on Thursday night which didn't help!

I did get some stuff done yesterday.  As we had arranged, Beth and I went to 'And Sew On', specifically to look for fabric for a commission but also just to look.  Beth drove, for which I was duly grateful and we found the fabric she needed plus a bit more.

As we have several owls on order, today I will be quilting the fronts, I think.  That's the biggie.  As well as the ones we are making for others, we want to make two with Christmas fabric, for the school Christmas Fair raffle.  I've sorted out the materials from what we have in stock and now just need to get going!

Colds are rotten, aren't they?  Hopefully this will be the first and last of this winter and I am grateful that it is a cold, just a cold, not anything worse.

This week's been a bit of a disaster on the food front and I MUST get back in control.  So, today's food and fingers crossed . . .
B:  bacon and tomatoes
L:  bits and bobs soup (from stuff that needs using up in the fridge)
D:  Roasted chicken leg portion, sweet potato wedges, runner beans, yogurt and stewed apple

Thursday, 20 October 2016


This week has turned out to be such a busy week!  Monday was supposed to be a more restful day (despite certain commitments) but I ended up teaching all day (must remember to get the claim form into the office this morning).  Tuesday is busy anyway.  Yesterday I was sorting out the mess I call home in the morning and then out for lunch before tuition.  Today I am back in school all day!

No, not teaching this time.  The morning is a governor's visit and the afternoon is granny reading.  Then it's more tuition!  Yay!

OK, I admit, 'busy' doesn't mean the same as it did two years ago, thank goodness, and I am certainly not complaining, but a day's rest would have been lovely as the slightly 'urgh' feeling from earlier in the week/last weekend has thoroughly landed as the first cold of the season.  This is where I am so glad of stuff to quell the aches!

This morning should be good though.  It is Y5 Greek morning and they all bring in some Greek food to try.  I enjoyed it last year and I will enjoy it this year too.

Back to yesterday.  The Hare was as good as it always is and we chatted and laughed and it was all lovely.  The three of us have all worked together - J was head for a while and L was my SEN supply cover - so we go back a long way and had plenty to chat about.
I chose the nachos (mini plate) and brought half of it home for dinner.  I'm glad I went for the mini plate version:  I hate to think how big the normal portion would have been!

Today's food:
B:  yogurt and fruit
L:  nothing as I will have pigged myself on Greek food all morning
D:  steak pie with veg, orange

Have a great day.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016


Good morning.  I went to bed really early yesterday so, of course, I woke up extremely early too.  Ho hum.  Never mind: I do have quite a lot to do this morning so maybe it is just as well.

Yesterday was an OK day.  Nothing exciting but nothing terribly bad either.  Life seems just a little grey at the moment but I'm out for lunch with some friends so, hopefully, it will brighten up.

It's the semi-final of Bake-Off this evening which should be good.  Just before that it is the Great British Menu which I do rather enjoy, even though the chefs say exactly the same thing every programme.  There seems to be a particularly good one this week who has got full marks for the starter and the fish courses.  It's the main today so I wonder . . .

Today's food:
B:  bran flakes, fruit
L:  out at the Hare
D:  probably soup or maybe scrambled eggs.