Saturday, 24 July 2021

Wee bee

My dear friend Jane who is my coach/mentor/counsellor is always encouraging me to stop and pause since I have difficulties with meditating!  I have found that the best place for me to stop and pause is on my allotment.

This morning while sitting on the bench on my plot having a pause/coffee break, I watched a wee tiny bee with full pollen sacs try to get through the fence to the nettle flowers on the other side and join her pals. The gentle hum was very soothing and when she succeeded my heart gave a wee leap of joy. Daft but profound nonetheless 🐝

Monday, 19 July 2021


Last summer I wrote a post about how my local community food shop works HERE Today I had my first online induction session to join them as a volunteer in the fabulous work they do to make sure as much food as possible doesn't go to waste. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

I've volunteered to work a few evenings a week to drive the above van (it's electric!) round the supermarkets and collect their excess food that would otherwise go to waste.  Sometimes it's a few crates of fruit and veg, sometimes it can be as much as 20!!  On today's FB page they've just posted they have 12 frozen ducks available for collection tomorrow (bring your own bag!) πŸ˜‚ Last Friday they had 6 large birthday cakes. πŸŽ‚ No questions asked, if you can use it up you can have it.

I also learned about the various small local community food groups that prepare free meals/food to distribute to families.  One of them operates in my school's catchment area so I hope to get involved with them too.

Really excited and looking forward to my next induction day on Friday where I'm going to the hub to see how all the projects are run. 😎

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Fort Klux Upgrade


My chickens finally got an upgrade to their accommodation!  For the past 6 years they've lived in a converted dog kennel.  It's been patched and repaired many times.  The wood is rotten in many places and it won't see another Winter. It's been a great wee coop for my girls but it was time to upgrade!

I bought an Eglu Go Up, no wheels or run.  It wasn't cheap (gulp) 😦 but it's a long term investment.  Plus the second hand value is good if I ever change circumstances.  I actually bought it last October but I needed the ground to be dryish for a good spell (practically impossible in Scotland in Winter!!) plus my son to be around to assist with some lifting and shifting.  Our recent spell of scorching weather made it perfect timing today 😊

We did have an escapee situation when we were positioning it in the enclosure.  Tuppence made a run for it and evaded capture for a good while!! πŸ“ I'm wearing gloves cos she's not the friendliest of birds!!!

When I caught her I popped her straight inside the Eglu.  She shouted at me for 10 minutes straight!! πŸ˜‚  Poor old Penny just ignored her!

Friday, 16 July 2021

Eating from the garden


Tonight's evening meal was really simple but absolutely delicious!!  Casablanca potatoes from the allotment; eggs from the girls in my garden; kale, broad beans and yellow courgettes from my neighbour's garden gently sautΓ©ed with garlic from the allotment.  

Raspberries from my garden, sweet and juicy πŸ˜‹

All picked today, grown organically and very few food miles 😊

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Garden time


I've been struggling with a sore back for the past week so have been spending more time working on my garden.  I do a wee bit at a time then rest. And repeat throughout the day.  Getting old sucks!! πŸ˜‚ But it's been a good chance to take a hard look at my front garden as it was neglected last year because the front of the house was getting roughcast (the bit that's not white!) And thanks to the you-know-what that didn't happen.

You can see the black plastic membrane underneath all the stones has stopped doing it's job of suppressing weeds.

And it's bad for the soil anyway to be covered in plastic so my plan is to gradually remove it all and plant a more natural garden.  I'm not sure how long the stones have been in place (before I bought the house) so I'm guessing the soil is in really poor condition.

Although the heather border at the pavement side has thrived a bit too much!! It's about 4 or 5 feet wide despite me and my lovely mum trying to keep it in check.  It's beautiful when in bloom in Spring and the bees love it so it'll be trimmed back and kept.

I had a B&Q voucher so I spent it on some perennials to start planting.  I've put them in pots to begin with so I can place them in various situations as I put my 'design' together.  I have an idea in my head but who knows if it will work!!

There are 3 types of red roses, a verbena, a white hydrangea, a clematis (not in this pic), 4 dahlias and 2 pinks I already had in pots.  I also rescued some French lavender and pelargoniums that I've not potted up yet.

The colours are more stunning in real life!

Can't go wrong for 50p when all they needed was some deadheading and a good drink of water!  I don't normally buy flowers as I've always been more interested in growing fruit and veg.  Flowers are expensive!!  So I'll be trying to source bits of perennials from family and friends and having a go at growing some from seed as I've realised that I'm going to need a lot of them!! 🌷🌻🌼

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Food and sofas


It's been a while but I got a large Approved Food order this week.  Lots of GF products at a fraction of the cost because they're either just out of date or slightly damaged packaging or the brand is re branding.  I was a bit annoyed that I discovered a huge part of my order was missing so I'm 'discussing' that with them by email as it's on the receipt as being in the box!!  They're a wee bit guilty of charging you for something when it's out of stock and only giving you credit.  My GF Old El Paso GF wraps were out of stock so I got credit for those but my protein bars aren't so I better get them as I don't want £30 credit!!

I cleaned out my kitchen larder cupboard in readiness to store it all.  I do love cleaning out my storage jars ready to refill.

Plenty of room for the things DS and I use daily.

And the rest is stored in my guest bedroom cupboard! 😁

I really need to get back on a healthier path.  I've let the GF part lapse a bit these last few months.  A pizza here, a bit of cake there.  My digestive system is really not healthy right now.  Nuff said!! 😧

I also spent a little bit of my inheritance on a new sofa.  I rather love it!!

It's girly pink and I love it so much I've ordered a matching footstool too!  I worked out I haven't bought a new piece of furniture in about 15 years.  Most of my furniture is either passed on from family or it came from the old marital home.  So buying something new, just for me without asking anyone else's opinion was really lovely 😊

Sometimes it's the small things that feel big πŸ’—

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Hair and wonky veg


Today's task - get hair cut!

They say you should never get a major haircut after a break up so this is a year overdue!!  The last 2 men in my life (3 if you include my ex husband πŸ˜–) all preferred long blonde hair.  So now it's short and silver!! 😜

Here's my new profile pic and yes that is a tiara I'm wearing!! πŸ˜‚

I also took my eldest son for his second vaccine.  So another tick on my list for today!

On my way home I popped into the larger Lidl in town and finally scored a wonky veg box for £1.50.

It had 2 packs of leeks, a yellow pepper, 4 apples, 4 onions, 4 oranges, 4 satsumas, a lime, an apricot, black grapes and 3 tomatoes.  Everything is in good condition except for the green part of the leeks which I'll just cut off!  Brilliant savings!!  It was the last box and it was just before 4pm.  I'll plan my next trip around this time and see if I can get another one.

I'll update you with what I make from it all!

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Making a start


And we're off!  I started today with a routine eye test, at least a year overdue thanks to the you-know-what!  As expected my eyesight has changed a bit and I now need varifocals πŸ‘“ Of course they're more expensive but I knew this day was coming so was prepared.  I'll collect them in 2 weeks.

I spent some time in my back garden, weeding and just assessing what's there.  To my absolute delight I discovered quite a lot of fruit is thriving.

There are strawberries, wild strawberries, blueberries, red currants, black currants, gooseberries, apples, rhubarb and figs! If I can keep the birds and the squirrel off them I'll have a nice wee harvest in time.

I ate the strawberries but the berries are already in the freezer!  I'll keep adding to them as the rest ripen. I might get enough to make some jumbleberry jam πŸ˜‹

Garlic, radishes and a solo strawberry from the plot yesterday.  The garlic is rather small so maybe I could have left it longer but it was getting swamped by the rogue potatoes.  It means I can clear that bed ready for the next crop.

I started stripping the wallpaper in my bathroom.  It's pink painted woodchip!

It takes forever to strip just a wee bit but if I strip some every day it'll get it done soon enough.  I've switched off all the alarms on my phone and I'm looking forward to just waking up when my body clock tells me.  Yesterday and today it was 5.30am πŸ˜• but I dozed off and woke again at 8am.  That's much better than my normal 6.30am alarm for work!

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Summer holiday starts here!


Yesterday was the last day of school so I'm finally on holiday!  What a year it's been!  I managed back to work for the last 2 weeks and hobbled about on crutches and an ankle support.  Wasn't perfect but the kids and my colleagues helped me out.  And I managed to clear out my classroom ready for my move back to Primary 1 (that's Reception or Kindergarten elsewhere).  Since I'm absolutely positive this is my last move I gave away all my upper and middle school resources.  This is all I took to my new room.

Mostly toys and some books, some trays that will fit into an Ikea unit that the janitor will move for me next week.  I'm also to get a new sink installed.  The current P1 teacher is on maternity leave so she's not moved her stuff out yet.  I'm not going back into school until early August as I just need a complete break.  Plenty of time before the new kids arrive 😊

Both my garden and allotment are overgrown with weeds.  Just 6 weeks of no work means they've got wild!  So my aim is to do a wee bit every day.

At least the onion bed is looking good thanks to my lovely mum! πŸ§…  Red and brown varieties.

I'm not going away on holiday anywhere so it's a staycation for me.  I've got loads to do around the house and garden to keep me busy.  I'm planning to do loads of cooking, knitting and a bit of stripping πŸ˜‰ I need to get my mobility and fitness back.  And I've already made a start on making all those appointments teachers put off until the holidays! πŸ˜‚

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Frugal YouTubers

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I've been watching some frugal You Tubers while sitting with my ankle up.  I stick one on while I knit a summer cotton cardigan for myself.  I used to watch quite a few frugal channels but many of them (although still very good) were about how to live frugally with children or teenagers or they were US based.  They didn't really apply to me as a single (ahem) mature woman in the UK occasionally feeding an adult son.  

So I set out to find some with older people and/or based in the UK.  Here are a few of my favourites and some new ones I found recently.

WARNING: be prepared to lose a few hours checking them out!! πŸ˜‚

Frugal Fit Mom

I've followed her for a while before this video made her a huge success.  She feeds 4 sporty teenagers and a husband on a tight budget.  US based but great advice.

132 meals for $42 This is a brilliant video!  $42 is just under £30

What Vivi Did Next (UK based)

Vivi gave up a paid nursing job (due to arthritis) and lives extremely frugally from what she grows on her allotment and a few sewing side hustles.  Very chatty rambling style but I love all her food growing and saving tips.

Vivi's home page

Frugal Jo (UK based)

American/Canadian who's lived in the UK for years

Frugal Jo home page

Frugal Money Saver (new to me)

A couple who took early retirement, New York state based

Frugal Money Saver home page

Mornings with Granny 

I've followed Granny back when she was Penny Pinchin' Granny.  Lots of good tips and detailed breakdown of food costs although she's US based

Mornings with Granny home page

Frugal Over Fifty (new to me but I like it so far)

Frugal Over Fifty home page

She's Drinking Coffee (I dip in and out of this one but really like it)

She's Drinking Coffee

Life Over Sixty with Sandra

I really love this one but it's not necessarily a frugal one.  This video is her first one I found where she talks about money saving and minimalism.  The more videos I watched the more I want to be like Sandra when I grow up!!

Life Over Sixty with Sandra

Here are a few more simple living/frugal/batch cooking ones I watch fairly regularly:

Mr Carrington (he's UK based and also recently appeared on TV)

Do It On A Dime

The Simplified Saver

The Batch Lady (she's Scottish!!) 😊

Simple Living Alaska (tiny house living.  I love these guys!!)

Fy Nyth (tiny house living)

Let me know in the comments about any other good ones you've found and I'll add them below along with any others I find!

Prepper Princess 

Under the Median

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Pause - a time to reflect and be grateful


I have a dear friend who is also my mentor/coach/counsellor (she has many labels!) who always tells me that I need to look for opportunities to stop and pause throughout my day.  Since my brain races too fast for meditation she thinks just a few daily pauses is better than nothing.

Well thanks to my ankle injury I'm overflowing with chances to pause as I really can't do much else.  I am grateful that I don't have pain unless I'm walking so haven't needed pain relief.  I've spent the last 2 weeks with my ankle raised when I'm not moving about.  So I've had a lot of thinking and reflecting time in between reading several books, watching cheesy movies on Netflix and knitting a summer cardigan.  Oh and eating!!!!

Much of the time I've been on my own as my son is either working or spending time with his new girlfriend.  At times I've felt particularly vulnerable as I realised I wouldn't be able to get myself out of a situation alone.  Being unsteady on my feet, I've not been able to go up and down stairs safely and in an emergency I'd be stuck.  I'm extremely grateful to have a downstairs guest bedroom and bathroom.

But I'm also grateful for this opportunity at a very tired and stressful point in the school year.  June is the most frantic month in a school as we're constantly assessing and recording and report writing and finishing off 'stuff' before the summer break at the end of this month.  I've been able to do quite a lot just by being able to sit at my laptop and do my paperwork.  My class is now in the hands of a very capable supply teacher (although it took 7 days to get her!) so I feel less guilty about not being in class.  Thanks to technology I've been able to log in and 'see' my kids and they've seen me on screen.  I've also been able to do my parent contact meetings from home.  So still working even though technically I'm signed off.

The biggest thing I've been thinking about is my future and what I need to do now for retirement.  Current plan is 2 more years of teaching.  This year (for many many reasons!! 😳) hasn't been very frugal so far.  That changes now! I've found a few new to me frugal living YouTube channels so I'm binge watching them while I knit. And I'm making lots and lots of lists πŸ˜„

So I may be temporarily inconvenienced by my injury.  But I am incredibly grateful for this unexpected chance to pause, reflect and be grateful.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Oops I did it again!


Yep, did my ankle again by stepping in a rabbit hole on our school playing field when I was taking the kids out for P.E.  Same one I did 4 years ago HERE

I've got an avulsion fracture of the lateral malleolus of the left ankle.  Basically a hairline fracture and torn ligaments. No cast or boot needed but I do have crutches and instructions to rest!! I'm not very good at that!  I'm off work at the moment but I'm hoping I'll be back before the end of term.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

A beautiful Sunday


We've had a run of beautiful sunny days here in Central Scotland just as schools have gone back  although we've also had some below freezing nights too!  I spent yesterday re potting my tomato and chilli plants and weeding my back garden in glorious afternoon sunshine.  I was delighted to find that my 5th asparagus crown has survived and is shooting up a tiny spear already.  The other spears were frost damaged so I had to cut them off.  I hope there's enough growth to keep them going until next year's harvest πŸ˜‹

I'm running out of space to keep my seedlings before they can go outside into my mini greenhouse to harden off.  So this is the current batch in my living room πŸ˜‚ It's only for a few weeks but I think I'm getting quite obsessed with my plants! πŸŒΏπŸ…

I was up sharpish and at the plot bright and early.  Stunning views as always towards the Wallace Monument, Dumyat and The Ochils.

And here's Stirling Castle up on the other side.  Not the best view of it (better from the other side, more castley!) but it still makes me smile.

I'm sore tonight from moving slabs and fence posts, digging trenches for potatoes and filling wheelbarrow loads of woodchips.  Better than a gym workout and free!!  I'm also developing a lovely tan!

I realised I didn't have a pen with me to write in my notepad so I've started noting the planting dates on the notepad function on my phone.  Get me!  I'm finding myself using technology more and more especially at work.  It's now officially known that I'm one of the P1 teachers next session so I now have control of the Transition from Nursery to School online "stuff."  Apparently I'm the admin but as yet I haven't been able to access any of it!! πŸ˜‚ Better brains than mine are 'working on it!'

As it's the summer term I've treated myself to some new clothes, mainly long floaty dresses to keep me cool in my furnace of a classroom πŸ‘— So many people this week commented on lovely I looked which made me think I must have looked pretty scruffy before!! πŸ˜‚  I haven't set a clothes budget for this year yet.  Last year I hardly spent anything as I lived in jammie trousers with a smart top for those online lessons!!  But I've already bought myself new walking boots πŸ‘’ 2 pairs of jeans πŸ‘– and some nice underwear πŸ‘™ All sensible and much needed but I'm scared to add it all up!! 

Monday, 12 April 2021

Day 11 - Words and pictures


I've been working on my art wall.  Panorama photo courtesy of my phone! It's a mixture of photos, pictures, cards etc that mean something to me.  Most of these were already lurking somewhere in the house, I've just collected them into one place.  I'm especially loving the flower watercolour painting.  It came from my uncle's house and was hanging in what was my Gran's bedroom.  I originally thought I would just reuse the frame but there was a wee gallery label on the back.

In the top right corner written in pencil is the price paid that says £3 and 14 shillings, making it pre decimal times!  I looked up the cost for 1960s (might even be before that). £3 and 14 shillings was the equivalent of 2 days wages for a skilled tradesman. I just couldn't upcycle it knowing that so gave it a good clean and hung it up.

It's actually quite pretty and it's a wee family 'heirloom' now!

Edited to add:  I googled the artist and found some info on the painting, scroll to the bottom and read the product details CLICK HERE

In the end I made 2 pictures with Scrabble tiles and boards.  They were fun to do but very fiddly and faffy!!  And took aaaages between all the drying stages!

But I quite like them also knowing they came from my Uncle's house.

I've also been knitting away at my sock, working on the heel flap now.  The colour is a much more vivid turquoise than the pic suggests.  Still keeping my hands too busy to stuff my face!!

Friday, 9 April 2021

Day 8 - In black and white


I had to wait in today for 2 separate deliveries.  I knitted more of my sock, watched some YouTube videos and played around with some Travel Scrabble tiles I rescued from my late uncle's house.  I love the effect of the tiles, just not sure about the green background.

I have 2 wee boards so made 2 different ones.  This Oscar Wilde quote made me smile!!  I'm thinking I might paint the green background black to fit in with my collection.

I've been collecting black framed pictures, sayings and photos (I have more than these!) to decorate the white walls on my stairs.  I've had an idea in my head for ages but then I saw it on a TV programme this week.

This screen shot is from the opening credits of the new series of Scotland's Home of the Year (available on BBC iPlayer if you're in the UK)  This is exactly the effect I'm going for.  On a budget, obviously!  I've been gathering and painting old frames with black chalk paint and varnishing them with glitter varnish (as you do!)  I see in the picture there's a few gold ones dotted around.  I might copy that idea too as I have a few gold coloured frames already.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Day 7 - Busy fingers


When I was talking to my Lovely Mum on the phone last night I mentioned that my finger joints had been sore, probably thanks to this spell of damp cold weather.  Arthritis runs in the family so I do take a few supplements to help.  Mum asked if I've been knitting recently as it helps keep her joints mobile.  I had to admit I haven't knitted anything for aaaages!  I rummaged around in my yarn drawer and found my wee portable project bag, thinking I might have a part knitted sock in there.  To my surprise I found an already completed sock with a second one just needing the toe shaping!  I think these were the ones I started when I was travelling to Australia last Christmas (2019).  Just a Regia 4ply sock yarn.  I finished the toe shaping while watching a cheesy Netflix movie and wore my new socks today!

I also found 2 skeins of fancy sock yarn.  The turquoise one was bought at the infamous Stirling Knit Camp in 2010 with my friend MrsL from Anarchy for One blog.  Now she's a prolific knitter!! 🧢

I cast on this morning while waiting for a parcel to be delivered.  It's knitting up beautifully soft.  Just plain old vanilla socks, nowt fancy.  I also found a completed grey man's sock with the second one just ready to start on the heel.  DS has claimed them when they're finished.  🧦

So I'm keeping my fingers busy to ward off arthritic pain and it also stops me wanting to snack!  Win win!! πŸ˜†