Friday 19 July 2024

Standing still


It feels like life is at a bit of a standstill until Luna has her op (10 more days!) and can go back to daycare.  As she is so demanding I've stopped all attempts at decorating.  She has so much energy and is the kind of dog the more exercise she has, the more excited she gets!  Last night she had the zoomies, threw herself off the deck at speed and face planted onto the slabs 🙄 It would have been funny if there hadn't been blood!  She's fine but she's got a wee skint chin. And was feeling sorry for herself!

The weather has been very weird here.  It's warm and humid with lots of rain.  I haven't seen a blue sky for ages, it's always cloudy.  My pots are doing ok but this is the first rose to come out.  It's a bit small but it's so pretty!

There's not even a hint of colour on the blueberry bushes and there aren't many berries at all this year.  I picked the first berries on this day last year! HERE.  Other than cutting the grass and keeping on top of the weeds, I've not done much actual gardening.  Especially as the pollen count is very high and my hayfever is really bad.

In the last few weeks, I've discovered a wee bit more about the previous owners.  They haven't redirected their mail 👀  Anything with their actual names on it I've put back in the post with 'not known at this address' on it.  But I've opened the other ones to find out they didn't have a TV license and were being threatened with a final demand before court proceedings.  They had a TV in every room and there's a huge Sky dish on the front of the house.  So they def watched TV!!  There was also an unpaid parking fines letter that said bailiffs would be visiting if they didn't get in touch.  I've had this before in a previous house so I know I just need to show them ID to prove it's not me.  So I'm not worried about it.

I've met a few of my new neighbours and they've all made comments about the state of the house and how I'm getting on with it.  It seems the previous owners were the talk of the street!! 

Thursday 11 July 2024

Rhubarb and custard


I had some rhubarb in the freezer from the allotment.  I had picked some on one of the few visits I made this year.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to make jam or chutney so chucked it in the freezer.  Today I thought some stewed rhubarb and custard would be nice.

I knew I had an unopened tin of Birds custard powder lurking in the storecupboard but didn't realise it was a little out of date!!  No worries, I'll be using it any way.  So I made some custard and it's currently cooling.  I'll make a sort of rhubarb/custard fool dessert 😋 Just out of interest I googled 'uses for custard powder' and found these ideas HERE.  I'm definitely going to try the biscuits/cookies!

As I'm a bit limited in what I can safely do with Luna around, I decided to move my bedroom furniture around to create more space.  I moved my bed to the wall that backs on to the semi next door.  

As I was lying in bed the falling off wallpaper was really annoying me.  So I started pulling it off.  It came off in strips and I had stripped the room in 5 minutes!!

I had my bed against this wall facing the window from day 1 but it made the room feel smaller.

The walls under the blue wallpaper had previously been painted cream.  I remembered that I had 3 rolls of Laura Ashley wallpaper with a pink and cream design.  I've had it at least 14 years!!!  I'm going to use it behind the bed as the feature wall and paint the rest cream.  Zero cost as I already have a ton of magnolia paint leftover from decorating the flat.  I'll swap the purple headboard for the leather one I had in my previous bedroom and use the matching chests of drawers.  The cream chests of drawers will get donated and I'll have more space to move around the room!

Sunday 7 July 2024

Orange and blue


Here are the almost finished bookends.  I think they need another coat of wax.  The Harry Potter figures are temporarily fixed to the holes but you get the effect.  Pre painted cast iron bed thingies HERE.  The bookends are to hold my HP books which will sit on top of the blue and orange bookcase beside a painting of a niffler.  In case you didn't know, I'm a huge Harry Potter fan!!! 🪄

The bookcase is painted and varnished.  I had the bright idea 😱 to paint the wall behind it before I moved it back into place and put all the books back.  Yeah, that's a much bigger job than I thought!!  It's going to take several coats of paint to get rid of that brown/mocha/coffee colour!  You can see the painting where I got the orange and blue inspiration.

I'm trying to do some 'nice' crafty things in between the hard graft bits so I don't get too scunnered by doing it all on my own.  

Friday 5 July 2024

Accidental collection!

The 2 green plates in the photo were rescued from my hoarder uncle's house when we cleared it out in 2020.  They were obviously my Gran's and I just loved them.  They're Carlton Ware circa 1950s, maybe a bit earlier according to my research.  I had them displayed in the dining room of my old house and my DIL loved them too.

Last week she found a teapot, sugar bowl and salt/pepper set in a charity shop and messaged me.  They were £12 for the set and she wondered if I'd like them.  I said "get them!" and now I'm kinda collecting them! 😂😂😂

I spent some time last night researching the patterns.  It's Carlton Ware Australian Design on a green background and the flower designs are Primula and Wild Rose.  The surface and flowers are raised.  They were made in green, yellow and white and have different flower designs.  If you look at the salt and pepper set they are actually the Foxglove design.  They're not particularly valuable although a similar teapot and sugar bowl is for sale on Etsy for £45.  I like them because they connect me to my Gran and I do think they're pretty.

So today my DIL was in a charity shop and saw this!!  

It looks like a bonbon dish!  The label said £5 x 2 but the second item couldn't be found.  So she paid £2.50 for it!!

So the collection is already growing! 😁  I have no idea how to display them and I do want to use them (carefully!!) so any suggestions welcome! 

Thursday 4 July 2024

Reality sets in


The first few weeks in a new house are always scary and exciting in equal measure as you get to know it's quirks.  Unfortunately most of this house's quirks need money thrown at them 🙄  And the reality of not having much savings in reserve to deal with them is beginning to sink in.  The integrated fridge freezer was beginning to be very erratic temperature wise and was making loud banging noises 😲 So I made the decision to buy a free standing one that will be more energy efficient and will hopefully last a good few years.  But it wasn't in my plan to spend £300 on an appliance so quickly.

My shed is in place!  It took them 45 mins from start to finish!!  The guy said all the hard work is in the construction in their workshop but I was still impressed.

I've started moving all the DIY and garden stuff in already.  Not shown is the new lawnmower I had to buy as the grass was almost knee high in places!!  I've not needed one for over 20 years!  It lives on the right hand side.  I've bought some shelving for the left hand side to store more stuff.  £121 for the lawnmower, £890 for the shed and £35 for shelving.  It's all adding up 😭

My DIL shared a good £1.50 Lidl veg box with me!  She's really enjoying scoring all the bargains 😂

I got the tomatoes, green peppers, a cucumber, the lemon and the carrot.  She also scored a dozen reduced eggs so I got 6 of those too.

I prepped the peppers and carrot with some red onions and sliced the lemon.  It's all in the new freezer now!  I made a chunky tomato sauce with the tomatoes, some onions and seasoning.  When it's cool I'll freeze it too.  I'm going to have to get used to having much less freezer space 🥶 I think more shelf stable storecupboard supplies are going to be the way forward for me.

Thursday 27 June 2024

Just loafing around


I had some bananas that needed to be used up so I made a banana loaf.  I just used the Mary Berry recipe as it's a chuck everything in the mixer for 2 mins.  Recipe HERE  although I actually used 3 bananas! 🍌🍌🍌

I also had some chicken mince in the fridge that needed to be cooked or frozen raw as it was on it's date so I made a meatloaf.  Chicken mince was the cheapest mince per kg in Tesco last week.  I keep an eye on the prices per kg of all the meat minces and they do change week to week.  I just mixed it all up with some oats, mixed herbs, garlic powder, Worcester sauce, some cooked bacon chopped into wee bits and an egg.  I only have one 2lb loaf pan and it was full of banana goodness.  So I made it in a flat casserole dish and threw some bacon top as it was also nearly out of  date.  I cooked both loaves in the oven at the same time!  I had meatloaf with a stuffed baked potato made from the reduced bag of spuds my DIL got me the other day.  Wee bit of salad and it was a lovely meal.

I sliced up both loaves when they were cool and froze them flat in the freezer ready to pull out for a quick meal or snack 😋

I'm noticing my oven runs a wee bit hot so the banana loaf is a bit browner than normal despite being covered in foil!  Still delicious! 

Monday 24 June 2024

A word on potatoes


We keep getting told there's going to be a shortage of fresh British vegetables this year especially field grown veg because of the really wet weather.  Some farmers haven't even bothered to plant anything at all.  I'm a bit concerned as I didn't get any veg or potatoes planted at the allotment this year so I know I'm definitely going to be lacking in spuds.  So I'm exploring other sources.  I've tried tinned potatoes in the past and they're ok but they use calcium chloride to keep them firm.  I do have a couple of tins in my storecupboard just for emergencies.  They're fine in soups and casseroles.

I've been trying the instant mashed potatoes as another storecupboard standby.  This Tesco one doesn't have any nasty additives although it does have palm oil.  I 'think' most palm oil is responsibly sourced now but I need to look into it a bit more.  I made a 'deconstructed' cottage/shepherd's pie with some turkey mince I had in the freezer.  It was actually very nice although I did add extra butter and salt to the instant mash.

I had some leftover instant mash so made some tattie scones.  There are only 2 left so that tells you they were quite good!  These 2 will go in the freezer.  You can't beat fresh potatoes but it's good to have a back up just in case.

My DIL scooped up some reduced baking potatoes for me last night, 87p for 7 potatoes.  I'll bake these, cut them in half and stuff them with cheese and butter.  They freeze well so I'm stocked up on potato ideas for a wee while 😋

I got a Tesco delivery yesterday.  I'm starting to build up my stock again on a few storecupboard and bathroom essentials.  There's no alcohol or high value items in there but those 2 bags cost £98.  I don't drink bottled water as I'm lucky enough to have excellent soft drinking water but I like to keep some for emergencies.  Twice in the last few years I've had no water due to burst water mains and was caught out!  See HERE!

I can't believe we're almost at the end of June. I've given myself some grace on my finances as moving house always throws up unexpected costs.  But starting 1st July the serious business of living on just my pension begins.  I have very little savings left so it's a bit scary.  This was always the plan.  I've talked about it for so long now it's time to actually do it!!!