Wednesday 30 March 2016


This parcel was delivered last week.  Stupidly I left 3 composters at my old house but when I moved here 2 years ago I didn't think I'd be doing what I'm doing in my wee garden (if you see what I mean!!)  Luckily I did bring my wormery although it's not up and running atm.  Must get some worms ordered.

Tonight I came home late from a long day at work followed by an after school staff development workshop on Raising Attainment (yawn, granny/suck/eggs!!) to find this parcel had been delivered.  Sort of my birthday present to myself ;-)  So guess what The Teenager and I will be up to next week when I'm on holiday?

And here's the finished blanket.  It blocked beautifully! It's now wrapped up in tissue and currently on it's way to Western Australia (via Dubai) right now in OH's luggage.  He better not lose it!! I hope the recipient loves snuggling into it :-)

Monday 28 March 2016

Easter Monday

I had to go into town this morning with The Teenager to sort out his contact lenses contract.  I needed a few bits n bobs so had to look round the shops while I was there.  I had a £5 voucher for M&S so went to have a look at their ballet pump style shoes as I need a summery pair for work.  I like their Footglove shoes and they do half sizes (I'm a UK size 4 1/2) so know they fit me.  I saw these and really liked them.  Ok they're an animal print but they're actually pretty neutral and very comfy. They have a wee wedge so aren't completely flat, which I really like.  I ended up paying full price as my voucher had just expired!  GRRR!! Note to self *check voucher dates*

OH is off on holiday to Australia on Wednesday and this baby blanket is going with him as a gift for an old friend's wee girl.

I started this ages ago for another friend's baby and never finished it as I made her a quilted play mat instead.  It was going to be a Tweed Baby Blanket which is a modern twist on a traditional Shetland  Hap Shawl I didn't have enough yarn (I used it for other baby knits) to do the feather and fan lace edging, so simply crocheted a wee edge.  Yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Clotted Cream and Mocha.  It is currently blocking on a damp towel so I hope it will be dry in time to be wrapped and packed tomorrow night! I'm glad I've been able use this as the yarn was pricey.  It's not cost me anything as I had already bought the yarn ages ago so is a sunk cost (one of the few accounting tricks I picked up from the ex!!!)

Yesterday I made a roast dinner and tried this mix for GF Yorkshire puddings.

Looks a bit different from the packet!!!  This is the second time I've tried to make a dairy and gluten free version and both times it didn't rise.  Might give up.

I had lots of leftover veggies so they got turned into soup.  One serving for today's lunch and one to take to work tomorrow.  Officially I am now job sharing but I agreed to do some extra cover tomorrow and Wednesday.  So over the next few days I'll be teaching 5 different classes then my own on Thursday and Friday.

Then I'm on holiday for 2 weeks!  WOOHOO!!!!

Sunday 27 March 2016

It's only a bargain...

...if you need it!  I had to pop to Sainsbury's for a few things (shops are open here today in Scotland, we have different trading laws to England) and I did have bath towels and a basin on my list.  If they didn't have any I liked I would have looked elsewhere another time.  But as luck would have it, they had bath sheets reduced to half price. In bright red!  I wasn't fussed about the colour so snagging 2 large Egyptian cotton towels for £12 was a bargain.

I'd been looking for a new basin for my kitchen sink.  This Basics one was £1.25 AND made in Britain!  Again, I wouldn't have picked a black one but once it's full of soapy water you can't even see the colour.

There were lots of meat and fish yellow stickered bargains but I resisted as I have 2 full freezers atm.  I didn't need anything so they weren't really bargains for me.  Tomorrow I'm planning to to do a freezer audit as I genuinely don't know what's left in there.  Then I'm going to live out of the freezer for my 2 week school holiday starting on Friday the 1st April.

Sainsbury's had a lot of reduced household items including bedding, kitchen stuff and other seasonal (winter) stuff.  I guess they're clearing the shelves for Spring and Summer stock so it might be a good time if you're on the hunt for some house items at bargain prices.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Easter Holiday Weekend

Here in Scotland, The Powers That Be have decided that our annual 2 week Easter holiday should always fall on the first 2 weeks of April regardless of when it's actually Easter.  So this weekend we have Friday (Good Friday) and Monday off school.  Then we're back for 4 days before getting our 2 weeks Easter holiday.

So OH and I managed to get away in the campervan for 2 nights (my birthday treat!) by practically leaving straight after school on Thursday night.  We headed for Skye, stopping off at a few places on the way including Eilean Donnan Castle It's a fascinating place, steeped in history as far back as the Vikings (which is my particular passion!) Do click on the link! It cost us £7 each entry as it's a privately owned castle.  And I spent £6 in the gift shop on local honey.

There was a lot to see in the restored rooms open to the public so definitely worth a visit.  No photography was allowed so no pics of the inside.  Sadly the weather was against us or we'd have spent more time exploring the outdoor parts.  They catered well for other languages and we heard at least 3 languages spoken in our wanderings.

We wild camped both nights.  Firstly in Glencoe on Thursday night and in Tarskavaig on Friday night.  We have stayed there before so knew where to go. Both nights were cold, rainy and very windy but we were snug and warm inside our van.

It's not for everyone but we just love getting away for a mini break in the van. It doesn't cost us much compared to using a hotel or B&B.  Obviously there are fuel costs but wild camping is free.  And we take our our own food but always try to spend a wee bit of cash in the areas we visit as well.

And I still have 2 days of holiday to get some house and garden planning done before the longer 2 week break :-)

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Happy birthday to me!

So, today was my 50th birthday.  I went to work and had a Parents' Night straight after school. Despite that, I've had a lovely day.  50 is just a number.  I had more trauma turning 30!!!  My lovely colleagues (none of them read this so I can genuinely say it!) and the kids all made sure I had a lovely day.  I got lots of lovely presents including bottles of fizz (hic!), a perennial sweet pea, body lotion and a massage voucher from my colleagues.  My mum and sister got me a wee shed :-) OH got me an external hard drive for my ancient laptop and a fab knitted Weird Fish jumper.  My boys got me beautiful earrings.  My family and friends really get me!!

I am a very very lucky girl :-)

Monday 21 March 2016

First target achieved

At the start of the year I set myself a target of losing 5kg by the time I turned 50.  It's my birthday tomorrow and this morning I hit my target weight :-)

However, I still need to lose at least another 5kg to be within the healthy range for my height and age or another 10kg to be exactly in the middle of the healthy range.  It's not for vanity reasons, purely health.  I know my family history and my genetic make up so am taking preventative action now long before it ever becomes an issue.

So, I'll be having pizza, cake and champagne tomorrow then back on the WeightWatchers wagon on Wednesday. Next target is another 5kg by the time school breaks up for summer (that's end of June here)

Sunday 20 March 2016

A blue day!

It was a lovely sunny day here with a clear blue sky so I took the chance to get some outdoor painting done.  I added my 3rd raised bed to the front of the house.  It's the one on the left of this pic.  It just needs to be filled with compost/soil now.  I also painted the trellis.  I'm hoping to get a clematis to climb up it this summer.

This is what the original 2 beds looked like before painting.  I brought them from my old house so they're about 6 or 7 years old now.  As you can see from the yellow flower the pak choy has gone to seed so it was pulled out.  My leeks, kale and purple sprouting broccoli are still doing ok.

 I gathered all my blue pots together.  Just need to fill them now.

Let me out mum, I can help!!

It was a lovely day with lots of people passing by and commenting on the blue colour :-) After painting I pruned back loads of plants including the Hebe obscuring the middle bed.  My brown bin is full of weeds and twigs ready for collection this week.

A very satisfying blue day with lots of bees and ladybirds :-)

Sunday 13 March 2016

Very quiet weekend

Just a quick post to say it was a very tiring week at work so I've had a quiet weekend.  All week I struggled with a heavy cold that turned into sinusitis (yuck!) and was so tired I missed an after school professional development training session.  Luckily my Headteacher was supportive.  We've got a major staff shortage at the moment so she was more concerned that I wouldn't be absent the next day.

I got home at 4pm on Friday and the next time I left the house was tonight at 6pm to go for a gentle gym session with OH and The Teenager.  I spent a happy afternoon yesterday in the garden, just tidying up leaves and weeds and filling my brown bin.  Today I was catching up on some recorded TV and pottering in the kitchen.  I've started a crochet blanket to use up some yarn. I've also been doing some garden planning.  Very relaxing.  I actually feel well tonight :-)

The photo is some fruit and veg bargains I scored through the week (Wednesday night after being a taxi service) We quickly popped into Sainsbury's on the way home tonight and I scored a 2kg Taste the Difference matured beef joint for £11.79.  That'll be going into the slow cooker overnight and should provide us with lots of meals.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Gran's vases

It's a rare event but I have several vases of flowers around the house at the moment.  Last week my OH brought me flowers, no reason.  He did tell me not to worry he hadn't broken anything!! (He's a tad clumsy!) I'm not that keen on having flowers indoors and actually only have one vase that I use.  However, I do have 2 rather lovely vases that belonged to my Gran.  They're very old fashioned in style and I can never arrange flowers nicely in them so they're just decorative ornaments.  They're both made by Maling, an old north of England pottery.  Some pieces are worth hundreds of pounds but I doubt if mine are worth that much!  It's their sentimental value that matters to me :-) More info on Maling here and here

This one is really pretty but a tricky shape to fill nicely.  These tulips were from No 1 son because he liked the colours.  Me too!

And these lilies are from The Teenager, in my plain old vase.  They'll be gorgeous when they start to open.  Both boys gave me flowers for Mothers' Day, no idea why as they both know I dislike the commercial event and have never looked to mark or celebrate it in any way (I do send my lovely mum a card though)  But they did cheer me up because I have yet another cold!!!! Meh!

Friday 4 March 2016

2016 Clothing Budget

You know it's time to replace items of clothing when they're getting so threadbare they're no longer mendable.  And the problem of not buying many new (or new-to-me) clothes means that at some point they will need to be replaced. However, it's very annoying when you have a mental dog called Emma who decides it's time to encourage you to replace your 10 yo walking boots!!  I'd been wearing them since she chewed off one of the labels as a pup but last week she chewed the other one right off and made a hole through the tongue.  This means they're no longer waterproof as the water gets in the hole and soaks my socks!! Thankfully I've had these boots for years so I know that my next pair will be a good investment.  I'll be keeping an eye out for a good sale or discount.

I'm always looking for clothes ideas on Pinterest especially for work.  I'm not into fashion and never have been but for work my clothes have to look smart and professional.  They also need to be practical (ie easy to wash!) as I teach wee ones (think glue/paint/glitter/snot!)  I came across an article that stated research has found that we spend 20% of our income on clothes.  20%!!!!  I don't even spend 2%!

Before I went back to work I literally didn't have the money to spare to buy clothes.  However, in my 'old life' I did have the cash to splash and I did have a lot of good quality clothes that have lasted me well these past 5 years.  But as I said, some of them are now starting to look rather worn and need to be replaced especially stuff I wear to work.

So, I sat down and tried to work out what kind of clothes does my lifestyle need?  I need work clothes, gym/exercise clothes, outdoor clothes (for dog walking, gardening, rambling, geo caching etc), smart casual clothes for evenings and weekends, a couple of posh frocks and 'scruffs' for lounging about the house.

Then I tried to work out a sensible budget.  For the last few years my budget was £120 (or £10 a month) I'm now earning a decent salary but there's no way I'm spending 20% of it on clothes.  So after some hard sums and a few best guesses, I've come up with the following numbers:

Work £200
Gym/exercise £100
Outdoor £100
Smart casual £100

Total: £500 a year, that's about £40 a month.  Eeeek!! But if I don't need to spend it I won't.  That's my maximum.  My plan is to replace worn out stuff (also make it if I have the fabric) and never pay full price.

So using my new rules here's my first purchase.  Black cardigan from Marks and Spencer, 25% off plus free p&p.  This is to replace a very bobbled one in my wardrobe.  I splashed on cashmere as I've got a lilac one that has lasted me 8 years so hope this one has the same longevity.  This comes out my work budget although I'll be wearing it for going out too.

Second purchase from Boden (I do love Boden stuff!)  Stripey top with leopard spots to replace a much loved Tesco's Florence and Fred one that has been reduced to 'scruffs' status.  I had a 15% discount code for it.  This comes out my smart casual budget.

I've also bought a pair of opaque navy tights (£8.99) as I have a decent navy skirt and shoes that I could wear to work.  My base colour is normally black so being able to add a navy skirt to my work wardrobe is worth the £8.99 especially as I've found opaque tights can last for years especially if you start wearing them 'inside out' if they get bobbly ;-)

On an entirely different clothes note, here's my Mary Poppins costume for World Book Day.  Amazingly most kids don't know a lot of film characters originally came from a book!!  Everything came out of my wardrobe.  White M&S blouse with red ribbon stitched to top button, black vintage Jasper Conran jacket (one of my lovely mum's cast offs when she retired), man's umbrella (belonged to the ex and left behind in his hurry to depart!) with a paper parrot's head stuck on the wooden handle, hat from eBay years ago with tissue paper flowers stuck on, a black Hobbs longish skirt, black tights and black shoes.  Whole outfit cost 99p and that was for the wee badge on my lapel that says

Yep, that's me ;-)