Wednesday 22 August 2012

More yellow stuff

It really is pot luck what you can find in the reduced section.  Last night's bargains were a pack of 2 kids pizzas (no artificial stuff in them) for 10p and 2 x 500g bags of pea pods each for 10p.

Popped these in the freezer when I got home.  They'll be good for an easy lunch with some extra veg and cheese on top.

I haven't done anything with these yet.  Could make fresh pea and mint soup or just eat them as a snack! 

It was interesting to see how pushy some people were when the girl was re pricing the items.  One couple had a trolley full of reduced items.  They looked like professional yellow sticker hunters!  They were hovering around the girl as she printed off the stickers and snatched them out of her hand as she put them back on the shelf.  Whilst I do enjoy a bargain there's no need to be rude or aggressive!!

Tuesday 21 August 2012


Not everyone appreciates a handmade gift but the exception seems to be a gift for babies.  What's cuter than a teeny babe in a soft hand knitted cardigan?  It has been suggested to me that I knit baby items to sell.  But people are not prepared to pay a fair price for the labour involved.  Take the wee cardigan below.  It took me around 6 hours to knit and finish off.  Even paying myself minimum wages and adding in the cost of the yarn would make the price tag around £42.  Not enough people are prepared to pay that amount for a garment that will only fit for a month or 2 and needs to be washed and dried frequently.

But the pleasure for me is in the knitting so when the gift is handed over it's out of my hands if the recipient appreciates it or even uses it.

Baby cardigan knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, colour mink, size 0 to 3 months.  It's beautifully soft!

Cuddle bunny blanket also knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, colour clotted cream

Baby vest knitted in Sirdar Snuggly, colours navy and lime green. Size 6 to 9 months.  Machine washable and tumble dry-able!

All 3 items were knitted from my vast stash of yarn so cost nothing in monetary terms.  And I loved knitting them :-)

Friday 3 August 2012

I do like yellow stickers!!

My middle son is home briefly before jetting off to start his new life in Vienna next week (he's just graduated from uni and got a job there)  After my visit to the supermarket he observed that I do like my yellow sticker bargains!!  Lol!

What can you do with cucumbers?  Turn them into Bread and Butter Pickles!  No idea why they're called that but I love them.  Very similar to dill pickles that you get in a certain cheeseburger from a multi national company!!!

Slice 2 cucumbers finely and put in a glass dish. 
Sprinkle with 50g of salt and leave overnight.
Drain the liquid and then wash and drain the cucumber slices.

Lay them out and pat dry.  Wee bit time consuming but worth it.  You don't want watery pickles!

Bring 400ml of vinegar, 2 tsp of pickling spices, 1 tsp of turmeric and 200g of sugar to the boil. 
Simmer for 10 mins.
Add cucumber and bring back to the boil for 1 min.
Put into hot sterilised jars.

One of my favourite pickles that can be made year round.

Also picked up a lovely beef joint that will be used for a special Sunday dinner this weekend.

And some blackcurrants to add to my own in the freezer for jam at some point.

Yep, I do like those yellow stickers!! :-)

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Plan C

Well, 2 months in and the aims of this blog have been forced to change.  I have to sell this house now instead of waiting the 4 years as agreed.  I could get angry and upset, I could yell and scream, I could stomp my feet and feel sorry myself that I'm not getting what I want.  I'll be honest and say that I did all of these things.  For a day.  Then kicked my own backside and said "Get on with it!"

It took me a wee while to come up with an alternative plan.  Plan C as it's now known around here.  If I could choose what I want to do, this would not be it but I have to put the teenager's needs before my own.  He needs stability for the last 4 years of his education.  He wants to study medicine (gulp!) so only gets one chance at getting the grades and needs to have a wide range of activities on his CV if he stands any chance of getting a place at uni.

So here it is.  Thanks to some clever negotiations with the ex (ie I kept saying NO to one of his demands until he gave in!) I have secured enough cash to buy a nice house in a nice area of town with no mortgage. This is a huge relief to me as without a permanant job I wouldn't get a mortgage.  But I will have to go back to supply teaching to pay the bills :-(  Like I said I have to put my son's needs before my own.  I can manage that.

I'm looking at the positives.  It's nearer my oldest son, it's nearer my partner and his kids and most importantly it's nearer my parents. There's a great rail network so the teen can easily go visit his dad without needing me to take him.  He can still get to school on the same bus, it's just a longer journey.  He has a lot of friends living in town so can entertain himself.  It's a university town so it has a lot going on.  And there will be more chances for work for me. See, lots of positives.

In a nutshell, Plan C is buy a house mortgage free, go back to supply teaching, get writing and finish that novel, build up my wee craft business and save £40k in 4 years.  In 2016 I will be 50, my youngest child will be off to uni and I will be able to choose the life I want :-) 

Back to business.  My garden has been a washout this summer.  Not much has managed to survive the extremes of rain and sunshine.  However, my kale is doing well.

Since I've had a filthy rotten cold I've been craving soup so made some Chicken and Kale Broth.


Underneath all the shot veggies I found some wee turnips and radishes. The turnips were sweet and delicious just eaten raw but the radishes were minging!!!

I seemed to have a surplus of tins of pineapple in the storecupboard so turned some of it into Pineapple and Red Onion Relish.  I'm still not sure what's the difference between chutney and relish!!

Here's my tweaked version. In the pan, 750g pineapple flesh, 3 large red onions, 1 tsp crushed chillies, 4 garlic cloves, piece of ginger grated, 300g sugar, 360ml vinegar and 1tsp salt.

It didn't turn into the glorious red colour promised by the picture in the book  but is very tasty nonetheless!!