Monday 26 September 2022

End of the growing season


I made a very quick plot update video yesterday.  Oh my goodness, it's such an overgrown mess of weeds but I'm trying not to beat myself up about it.  I've been putting in the new raised beds so there's a lot of unseen stuff I guess only I know about.  I didn't show the cabbages under the netted bed (they're growing well) and you can see my leeks are well established although they are showing some signs of rust 😡  The climbing rose is a David Austin one (Gertrude Jekyll) I bought ages ago with a hefty discount code.

These 2 beds will be asparagus and strawberries.  The one on the right is in the video before I filled it with the spent compost from the peppers, a bucket of free compost from the tip, a leftover bag of potting compost and a bag of top soil my Lovely Mum gave me.

Here is my apple harvest this year!! 😂😂  The red one is James Grieve from my garden and the other is an unknown variety from the tree on my plot.  Both are the size of a golf ball!!!  They came off in my hand, I didn't need to pull them.  The James Grieve is an eating apple (similar taste to a Cox) which is good to grow in my colder climate.  I think the unknown one is also an eating variety.  It wasn't quite ready but still didn't taste sour which makes me think it's for eating and not a crab apple as I suspected.

My growing season is coming to an end.  There's not much left to harvest now.  Hopefully the cabbages and leeks will survive the Winter.  I haven't planted anything else for Winter, poor planning on my part.  So I'm just tidying up the plot and garden now.  We have a 2 week October break soon so I want them both done by then.  I didn't get the chance last year thanks to the first chest infection and it really impacted on the start of my season this year.  So far I'm managing to stay healthy so that's the plan! 🤞

Saturday 24 September 2022

Family news!


With just a week left until the end of the month I'm trying to be creative and using up what I have left.  I had some leftover sweet potatoes after cooking a whole bag in my Crockpot earlier this week (8 hours on Low.)  So I made some sweet potato/black bean burgers.  Recipe is this one HERE.  I haven't made these for a while but they taste amazing 😋  I had 2 for my lunch today and the remaining 6 will go in the freezer.

I had to pop into the wee Lidl (the one nearest me) and picked up a few 20p bargains!  They actually had a lot of good stuff reduced.  I think the bigger Lidl in town has taken away a lot of their business.  I didn't 'need' anything so left a lot of meat products for other folks.  Now I know they have a good reduced section I'll try to pop in more regularly.

A quick adding up of my spending so far this month shows I'm well under £300 for the month so far.  About £100 of that is stuff for my classroom!  I keep saying I'm not spending any more money on work but then I do 🙄 Plus I had to fill the car up with fuel.  I'm 'off' work on Monday (getting my non contact time back from the Bank holiday last Monday) so I'll be going to B&Q to stock up on paint and decorating supplies.  

I have a deadline of one month to get the upstairs bedroom, bathroom and hall landing finished because my eldest son and his wife are moving in with me!!  They will use the upstairs rooms and the family room room as their living room.  I'll move my bedroom downstairs into the current guest room and use the rooms/bathroom downstairs.  We'll share the kitchen.

They both have long term health conditions and are concerned about being able to afford their bills this Winter.  I have a 4 bedroomed house that has empty rooms I don't use/need.  This is our solution for the time being.  No idea how it work out in the long run but sharing one set of bills is the solution for now.

Sunday 18 September 2022

Plot, preserves and yellow stickers (not mine!)

I popped down to the plot this morning and spent 4 hours digging out the last of the raspberries and the overgrown grass.  Not a great before and after picture but the top one shows the old strawberry/potato patch after I started clearing it.  Then I added 3 of the cheap B&Q raised beds.  Today I cleared the last bit with the overgrown canes.  There's room for 3 more beds.

A closer look at the top end (I took out the random post too!)

I read an article that showed you how to fill a new raised bed without buying tons of soil/compost.  Layer the bottom with cardboard.  Add a layer of dead twigs/branches chopped up (I did some of that today.)  Then add some partially broken down compost (got a ton of that on the plot!!) and finally put some compost/soil on top.  I can get the free compost from the tip!  So hopefully I can fill my raised beds without spending any money! 🤞

I cooked the beetroot from Lidl, grated it (oh my, that was messy!) and packed it into 2 very large pickling jars with hot spiced vinegar.  It tastes amazing already so I can't wait for it to properly pickle!

I also dehydrated some apples my Lovely Mum gave me from her garden.

I currently have a load of calendula in the dehydrator.  They'll be used to make some lip or skin balms.

My friend at school sent me this pic in the late afternoon.  She'd been to M&S to get her usual yellow stickers for the week ahead.  She was delighted with a bumper haul today.  My eldest son said Tesco also had a ton of reduced stuff. I guess with supermarkets being closed tomorrow they have a lot of stock to shift.   I was tempted to visit both places but I don't need anything.  It's not a saving if I don't need it!!

Saturday 17 September 2022

Long weekend


Brrrr!!  It was a chilly start to my long weekend, 5 degrees C here.  Very autumnal!  I was woken up by next door's builders tipping a lorry load of tarmac onto their new driveway at 7.20am.  I'm hoping the (illegal) early start means they'll be finished sooner 🙄

First thing on my agenda today is to practise the best way for cooking/keeping bacon warm using my Crockpot.  I'm in charge of making bacon butties for our morning break at school.  We only get 15 mins so I need to perfect a way of cooking it (oven first?) then keeping it warm (or cooking it?) in the crockpot so everyone can get a hot bacon roll in time.  If anyone's ever done it please leave your tips in the comments.  There's no cooker in the staffroom hence the need for cooking in advance then keeping it warm.  Lidl are currently selling these large packs of 24 rashers for £3.29 😋

Other plans for the weekend include pickling beetroot.  Sadly my own haven't grown much but I picked up several bunches in Lidl for 99p a bunch.  It'll be messy but I'll wear gloves! 😂

I've knitted a few more sock blanket squares this week so I'll be stitching them together and adding them to my blanket.  I'll try to get a decent photo of the blanket when I'm done.

I picked up a bag of tulips (30 for £4.99 in Lidl) and I'll be planting these on the allotment at some point.  The weather is to stay dry all weekend so I'm hoping to get a good tidy up session done.  Might even have some things to harvest!

But the biggest job this weekend will be to clear my craft room of all the 'stuff' that came out of the upstairs bedroom!  And that's just 1 room.  The family room next to it is equally full!!  But I'll settle for at least 1 clear room by Monday night! 

Sunday 11 September 2022

Of Kings and Queens


I'm absolutely not a royalist but I've found the last few days interesting and actually quite moving.  From a historical viewpoint the accession and proclamations have been fascinating.  Thanks to modern technology we have been able to see the whole process that has taken place behind closed doors for centuries.  There seems to be universal praise for the Queen and a growing respect for our new King who I hope will modernise and slim down the monarchy.  I'm rather enjoying watching the ceremonies and traditions across the 4 nations of the UK and I'm glad that the transition is seamless.

Over the weekend my lovely mum finished stripping off the wallpaper in my back bedroom which used to be my youngest son's room.  I've emptied the cupboards of "stuff" (which I have to say was only about 50% mine!!) so it's all ready to paint now.  It's a north facing room so painting it my usual (cheap) brilliant white will brighten it up.

Now I just need to decide whether to get a skip for all the "stuff" or do multiple runs in the car to the recycling centre!!

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Finally finished!!


I finally finished the pink socks!!  For weeks they've sat in my project bag with just the toe to finish on the second sock.  No idea why I waited so long as it only took 20 mins to do the knitting and graft the toe.  Procrastination is my middle name!! And there's plenty of yarn leftover to knit a few more squares for my sock yarn blanket.

My aunt sent me some wee balls of sock yarn to add variety to my blanket.  They don't look much but the squares only need about 5g of yarn and they're all around 8 to 10g.

So I'm done with socks for now.  I didn't get my cardigan finished (it was part of my 50 days of Summer project) so I guess that's my next knitting project.

But my current big project is to get some painting and wallpapering done in preparation for something else that's happening soon 😉

Monday 5 September 2022

Souper soup

I chopped up the overgrown courgette (zucchini) and made 7 mugs of Courgette and Leek soup.  I chopped up 2 leeks from the back garden and chucked them in a pot of chicken stock (made from the bones of the large chicken I got last week) with a onion and a spoonful of stock powder.  I blitzed it with a little soya cream and voila - work lunches for the next week or 2 sorted.

They're now in the black freezer along with 6 mugs of Chicken and rice soup I made yesterday with some stock I defrosted on Saturday.  

I think there are still a couple of mugs of soup in the garage freezer (no idea what kind) which gives me enough lunches for work for the next few weeks.  I do love my soup! 😋

Sunday 4 September 2022



This was my early Sunday morning view when I got up and it stayed like this for most of the day!  Cold and drizzly then muggy and drizzly!! ☔

I did an audit of the indoor freezer and found a few interesting things I'd forgotten about!

After doing my indoor freezer audit, I emptied it and left it to defrost overnight.  Fridge and freezer got a thorough cleaning ready to be filled again.

The garage chest freezer was pretty full once I'd put the indoor stuff in it.  It's next on my list to clear out and defrost.  My Lovely Mum visited today and brought 5lb of frozen plums from her neighbour's tree.  She'd kindly stoned and halved them before freezing them for me in 1lb bags.  Makes it easy to weigh them to make jam or chutney later.

The same neighbour also gifted her some more plums yesterday so she brought even more for me!  I'll eat a few then freeze the rest for jam or chutney or maybe a fruit crumble.  Last year the neighbour's tree hardly produced any fruit but this year it's gone plum crazy!!  These are all extras that she can't use herself!  Plums are currently £2 a punnet here so getting these for free is amazing.

She also brought me an overgrown courgette!!  I'll make that into soup tomorrow 😋  I do love free food.

Friday 2 September 2022



I got my start of the month Sainsbury's delivery last night, arriving rather late at 9.50pm but heyho it got here in the end 🙄 It was a very basic order absolutely no treats/snacks.

Edit to clarify this is for the whole month of September.

I made a mistake with my apples.  I put Pink Ladies in my basket then saw Royal Galas much cheaper and added them.  But either I forgot to cancel the Pink Ladies or the system didn't accept my cancelation.  So I had 12 apples although I'm not actually that keen on eating apples!  I use them in cooking mainly or in salads.  I took 2 to school today and we ate them chopped up as a snack because our new sound this week was 'a' for apple!! 🍎

I also got a large chicken, a dozen eggs (Tuppence isn't laying!!) some goat's butter and some pecorino romano (sheep's milk) cheese.  On the veg front I got sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, peppers, a wee red cabbage, an aubergine and a cucumber plus frozen broccoli and sweetcorn.  I got a 9 roll pack of loo roll, my multivitamins and a 24 pack of Diet Coke (it was on offer.)  Total £95.28!!! 😮

It doesn't look like a lot of meals for a month but I do have plenty of oats and rice in the storecupboard and frozen fruit and veg in the freezer.  Plus a few veggies from the plot.

It looks like some very creative meal planning this month is needed if I want to stay under budget!!