Saturday, 18 October 2014

The (anti) Shopping List

I saw this on FB and immediately thought yes, this is what I'm trying to do!  I say trying because I'm not perfect and this is the real world.
Next month the Teenager and I have a family wedding to attend.  In Singapore! This is going to cost me a small fortune in air fares (already paid for) and hotel costs (all coming from my savings). I've had to get special permission from the Director of Education of my local council to take time off work.  I've been given 5 days of unpaid leave. Luckily my middle son works for Hilton so I get their family rate but it's still a lot of money.  But while there are some things you just have to spend a lot of money on, there are areas where you can use the anti shopping list principles.
Remember the last wedding I attended?  Well, so far my wedding outfit has cost me nothing.  I have a beautiful Hobbs pink silk dress I've owned for about 10 years but never worn *insert embarrassed face* I'm borrowing cream sparkly shoes and matching handbag from my lovely mum.  All ideal for a warmer climate than Scotland.  I might borrow or search the charity shops for a wrap or stole.
I've also borrowed a few summer dresses for some of the wedding events.  Family and friends are flying in from all over the world so there will be lots of get togethers.
The Teenager has a nice jacket and shirt but he might need to get some trousers.  I'm hoping I can persuade him to wear his school trousers (they're black ones anyway) He definitely needs shoes.
Luckily he's on holiday now so will go shopping for them himself :-)

Friday, 17 October 2014

How I spent my holiday

I can't believe how quickly this week has flown by.  I've achieved some things but not as much as I wanted.  Plum and apple chutney is lovely.  Once I find my labels I'll put them away.

A before shot of the ceiling.  So far it's taken 4 coats of white paint to cover the pine

And a ready to paint newly plastered wall.
Unfortunately I've managed to put my back out this morning so no finished shots yet.  But I'm nearly done! Seems DIY has the same effect on me as housework

I had a big delivery from Approved Foods yesterday.  Best deal was definitely the case of 16 cartons of chopped tomatoes for 49p.  I got lots of pasta (for the Teenager), GF sauces, mixed herbs, dried fruits, onion bhaji mix, rice crackers and 4.5kg of porridge oats.  All ok for me on my GF and dairy free regime.

I also got lots of drinks for the Teenager.  This is his 'drinks fridge' (it's the fridge part of my black fridge freezer!) He likes a variety of stuff so this lot should keep him going for ages.  If he drinks it all within a week then he can just drink water for the rest of the month!!

I do love Approved Food.  This lot cost me £45, full prices would have added up to £104.  I just need to get my big store cupboard reorganised now.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Holiday Cooking

Why does Autumn make us crave casseroles and comfort food?  My local Sainsbury's had a good meat deal and I worked out the best value was 3 chickens for £10.  Chickens were Freedom Food certified and Scottish.  A couple of hours in the slow cooker produced a rich chicken stock and enough meat for a dozen meals at least.  The bones and carcasses were tossed back into the slow cooker and another night of slow simmering produced yet more delicious stock for soup and sauces.

These apples came from a friend of my lovely mum.  Her trees had produced more than she could cope with.  They're not great tasting (similar to Golden Delicious) so along with some plums from my mum's neighbour's garden they're currently simmering away into Apple and Plum Chutney.

Apple and Plum Chutney
2 large onions, chopped
1kg apples, peeled/cored/diced
1kg plums, skinned/stoned/quartered
50g sultanas
450g dark brown sugar
500ml vinegar
1 tbsp salt (or less according to taste)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
Add everything to a large pan and simmer until pulpy (about an hour).  Remove cloves and cinnamon stick.
Pour into warm sterilised jars.
Store for 3 months before using.
Edited to say it has filled 7 x 227g/8oz jars
My lovely mum also gave me a bag of pears from her garden.  So I've also started some Pear Liqueur.  Recipe here Not tried anything alcoholic with pears before so will be interested to see how it turns out.
None of the above was on my to do list this week.  I'm on holiday for a week and have still got some kitchen finishing off to do.  It's nearly done! But I'm telling myself that the fruit needed to be used up so I had to cook them.  And I could say I've started my Christmas preparations ;-)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sneaky peak

I've had these for nearly a year so am very pleased they're no longer in boxes on my hall floor!

Emma helping :-)

They're on the wall.  WOOHOO!!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Just use the things you have

I think this poster sums up the way I'm looking at my life right now.  Now that I no longer need to save to buy a house (although I am saving for retirement) my focus has shifted to living a simpler life with less stuff.  Despite moving house over a year ago I still have boxes and boxes of 'stuff' that have never been unpacked.  Methinks if that's the case it's no longer needed.  With one week to go until half term I'm planning a final clear out so I can look forward to Christmas and having my family able to stay without climbing over boxes to get to a bed!!
In the mean time I've been working on my kitchen.  I'd love to have a new one installed but I'm upcycling the one I've already got. All the old grotty tiles have been removed.  I've removed all the laminate from the cupboard doors.  You can see the door under the sink has been half done!

OH has filled in the hole from the old extractor fan and removed the weird excess sockets.  He's started to replace the grotty white ones with lovely silver and black ones.

And I've been busy with several pots of Annie Sloan's chalk paint, colour Old White (bought over a year ago!)  I just love the stuff.  No sanding, no prepping, just start painting.  My tiny north facing dark cramped kitchen is starting to look fab.  The old unit doors and the new larder doors now look the same.  I picked up some similar handles on Ebay for £8 to tie in the old and the new doors.

My lovely mum gave me some money to get a professional tiler in to put up the tiles.  I was going to do it myself but he will do the whole job in 2 days (I'd have taken weeks!!) and it wasn't as expensive as I'd thought.

Hopefully I can do a big reveal next week :-)