Saturday 30 November 2013

Sad St Andrews Day


Today is St Andrews Day here in Scotland but we're waking up to news of a major incident in Glasgow last night.  A police helicopter crashed into a pub killing 8 people and injuring many more.  Instead of a day and night of celebrations it will be spent in quiet reflection and pride at the quick and brave response of our emergency services and the people of Glasgow who on hearing the crash ran TOWARDS the scene to help.

Thursday 28 November 2013

Back to work

In just a few short hours my life has flipped around.  Before I moved house I applied to join the local supply teachers list.  I get regular emails telling me what temporary jobs (ie around a month) are available and until now I haven't replied to any of them. 

At lunchtime today I got one about a P1 class in a local school (that's 4 and 5 yos here in Scotland) It was for a month until the end of term.  On impulse I pinged a brief email back and within an hour I had spoken to the Headteacher and was offered the position starting Monday!!!! Eeeeek!

Turns out it's actually a maternity cover that was advertised but they got no response.  So initially it's for a month but could be extended to a year if I fit into their ethos!  Double eeeek!!!

So, I can call myself a teacher again!  Now the practicalities need to be dealt with :-)

Clothing Budget

At the start of the year I set myself a clothing budget of £10 per month.  I had good intentions of making more clothes from scratch as well as refashioning things already in my wardrobe.  With one month to go I confess I've blown the budget (£127.01 plus £50 on a pair of winter boots) but as I look carefully at my purchases I've come to realise a few things.

1.  I bought 2 dresses and 1 blouse.  I've never worn the blouse or pink and black dress (on the left above) but I did wear the rose dress to a wedding and Dad's 70th party. I love this dress!

2.  I've worn the tights endlessly.  Essential as an extra layer under leggings and jeans to keep warm

3.  I've never used the handbag as it's more of an orangey colour than the red I was expecting (perils of buying on Ebay I guess)

4.  I bought a dress pattern, more than 10m of fabric, 30m of knicker elastic and 5 invisible zips I haven't used.  I did cut out a dress to wear to the wedding but time/motivation and unexpectedly selling the house around the same time put paid to that.

So what have I learned from this? 

A £120 annual budget is absolutely do able but I need to shop smarter and plan better.  I bought the fabric with good intentions but clearly didn't need it at that moment in time as I already had more wearable clothes than I thought.  I've also realised that fabric buying online can be hit and miss as you can't judge the quality.

I still haven't unpacked all my clothes yet which would suggest I have more than I need!  So my task between now and the new year is to sort through them and see if I actually have any gaps in my wardrobe. Then I can decide if I need to make something from scratch or refashion something I already have.

Wednesday 27 November 2013


I was lucky and scored a good haul of yellow stickered reductions tonight!

I got -

2 packs of root vegetables, each containing 3 carrots, an onion, a small swede and a parsnip for 20p each (down from £1.20 each). 

A small organic Savoy cabbage 20p (£1.40).

A pack of sliced leeks and cabbage 20p (£1.10).

Organic unsmoked back bacon 99p (£3.99).

Ready prepared carrots, broccoli and asparagus 20p (£1.50)

6 Scotch pancakes 40p (80p)

Total cost £2.39, should have been £11.19. Saving £8.80

The root veg will be made into lentil and split pea soup, root rosti  and root mash to top a pie.  The sliced leeks and cabbage will be made into a creamy sauce with bacon strips and served with pasta.  The Savoy cabbage will be shredded and stir fried with chicken and veg already in the freezer.  The carrots/broccoli and asparagus were served with tonight's turkey and sweet potato bake.  And the pancakes will be the Teenager's supper after TKD training tonight and probably breakfast tomorrow :-)

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Playing with denim

I've got my crafting mojo back too!  I've been playing with denim (ie old jeans!) and mixing it with felted tartan.  The above cushions have denim backs.  Both are for sale on my FB page.  Just search for The Tartan Tower.

I've also been playing with Harris Tweed and made some brooches with it as well as denim ones.

I picked up these red frames after Christmas last year for peanuts so made a few tartan and denim pics.

These ones are Harris Tweed and denim

I've also been busy working on the house and spend lots of time in DIY superstores looking at lighting, paint shades and other boring but essential things.  Whilst there last week I found this Jamie Oliver salad kit reduced.  So I'll have fresh salad leaves growing on my kitchen window sill soon :-)

Friday 8 November 2013

Got my mojo back!!

My cooking mojo that is!  I've discovered a new magazine called the Healthy Eating Guide which is full of normal recipes slightly tweaked to be more healthy.  In the past few weeks I've lost 2.5kg(5.5lbs) just following their eating tips.

My favourite recipe so far.  Macaroni and cheese with peppers and roast pumpkin with salad.  It was rather delicious and even the Teenager loved it although he did add extra cheese to his!!

Our Halloween pumpkin has so far made soup and the above mac n cheese!  I didn't get a huge one this year but there's still a lot of flesh to get through.

Some yellow stickered goodies.  The cheesecake was served with some defrosted blueberries.
And finally Elaine's recipe over at MFin3 for tattie scones.  The Teenager has discovered he loves them so I knocked up a batch and froze them.  Very easy and frugal to make.  Best way to serve them IMHO is with a runny fried egg!!

Sunday 3 November 2013

It's November!

How did that happen?? Sorry for being MIA. I just needed a little time to re group myself and work out a few things.  As much as I would have liked to stay in bed and pull the duvet over my head for a few days when you've got kids (and dogs!!) you have to just Get On With It!!
So quick round up of a few things.

It's suddenly become winter so that means soup.  I had a few leeks and half a bunch of celery lurking in the bottom fridge drawer so they were chopped up with a token carrot, added to some veg stock, simmered then blitzed to become Leek and Celery soup.  Even the Teenager declared it delicious served with a wee spot of crème fraiche!

My latest frugal find in the supermarket.  This pack made 3 meals for me.  First meal simply fried in a little butter, second was baked with spinach and then lastly it was fishcakes. Very nice!

I've also discovered that I have a Lidl within walking distance :-) I've been testing the quality of their meat (it's all Scottish!!), fruit and veg.  So far I'm impressed with quality and obviously the price.

3 more kilts (ladies ones) were treated to the boil wash treatment and felted ready for use in The Tartan Tower.  I still haven't set up a proper sewing area so that's a priority.

I've been having a smashing time in the kitchen.  Ugly tiles are now removed so the walls are ready for re plastering.  I don't have a date for that yet so I'm cooking in a half madeover kitchen *rolls eyes*

Yesterday was my dad's 70th birthday.  All he wanted was his family together for the day so we pulled that off for him.  For the first time in many years all 6 grandchildren (ages 26 to 13) were together in one place.  He was a happy Grampa :-)

And finally a rare pic of me and my 3 boys.  I also got a rare pic of me and OH with all our 5 kids.  Precious!!