Sunday 29 January 2023

Filling the freezer


It's been a hectic week at work as expected.  I'm in before 8am, home after 5pm and I'm working on stuff in the evenings too.  My choice, as I just want to make a good impression when the inspectors come.  But I'm tired, grumpy and predictably am fighting off a virus/bug!!!  So the focus is on decent but quick to make food.

I rescued these ready meals from the bin (literally) in school as they were past the use by date by a few days.  They are now in my defrosted and cleaned out chest freezer.  We had them for kids to taste Scottish food on Burns' night.  Sadly there was no Irn Bru, shortbread or oatcakes left to bring home although I did rescue a wee bit of Scottish cheddar for my son!

I made a load of nut and lentil burgers from a 'when it's gone it's gone' mix I got ages ago in Lidl.  They were rather tasty!  Now also in the freezer.

I cooked a 2kg joint of brisket in the Crockpot, cost £10.61 from Lidl.  I just shook some Tamari and Worcester sauce over it and cooked it for 5 hours.  Must confess it didn't yield as much meat as I'd hoped as there was a huge piece of fat/gristle in the middle.  But I got 8 generous portions for the freezer.

And we were on strike again one day this week! I'm in the blue hat 😊

When my life is busy I always prep food as it makes me feel organised in at least one area of my life!!  School is still challenging but if I can make it to half term I've achieved more than I thought I was going to when I when I went back in January!

Thursday 19 January 2023


It's finally finished!! I love it and can't wait to get it deep cleaned over the weekend.  Then comes the good bit deciding what colour to paint the walls and choose the flooring.  Should I match with the kitchen or go completely different?

We heard yesterday at 12pm precisely that we're getting our "special visitors" in 2 weeks.  Yep, His Majesty's Inspectors of Education are finally descending on us after waiting several years.  When I got the job in my school 7 years ago  I was told their visit was imminent.  So for the next 2 weeks in school  it's all go making sure our paperwork is flawless, our displays are immaculate and our kids are well briefed on behaviour.  I think only 1 out of these 3 is humanly possible in my classroom!!

Sunday 15 January 2023

Meal prepping and sleeves!


I popped to Tesco really early this morning to pick up a few groceries.  Amongst other things, I got a large chicken, 750g of steak mince and 2 bags of baking potatoes.  Imagine my delight to find 5 potatoes in a bag of 4!! πŸ˜‚ They were on offer any way plus they had a clubcard price so I got 9 large potatoes for 70p!

I cooked the mince with 3 grated carrots, 3 small chopped onions and a large handful of red lentils.  Apart from a splash of Worcester sauce I left it unseasoned so I could use it later for bolognaise, chilli or a cottage pie.

I portioned it into 6 tubs and it's already in the freezer!  Works out at under 80p a portion. I baked the potatoes with the chicken (I had 1 of them for lunch) and they'll live in the fridge for meals this week.

The chicken was also portioned up (6 tubs and 2 servings for today worked out at 69p a portion) and they were frozen along with the carcass.  I'd made a big pot of soup yesterday with last week's leftover carrots and sweet potatoes so I didn't need to make chicken stock for soup today.  So I have 12 meals' worth of meat, 5 mugs of soup and a chicken carcass in the freezer for the week ahead.  I also boiled some eggs to use as breakfast/snacks for work.  I do like to feel organised for my working week!

Work is ok.  I'm trying to not overthink it when I'm there.  I do my best for the kids who want to learn and deal with the behaviour issues as they happen.  So far I've not brought any work home and haven't done any work over the weekend.  Long may that continue!

 Work on the utility room continues.  It'll be done when it's done! 🀷

And I'm now halfway up the sleeves on my cardigan!!  I'm knitting them both at the same time so they are the same.  I'm really having fun with it 😊

Wednesday 11 January 2023



It's slow progress on the utility room/mini kitchen.  Reeeeeeeally slow!!!  This is 3 days work πŸ™„ The joiner pulled out 2 wall cupboards and 2 base units.  He's replacing them with 2 wall cupboards, 2 base units and a fridge.  And oh my goodness, what a mess!!  Plus B&Q forgot to order the cupboard doors.  Which means I didn't pay for the cupboard doors.  Which means my mini kitchen won't be finished until next week *sighs*

But progress on my cardigan is quick!!  Colours are more vivid in real life!  I've now divided the stitches into 2 fronts and the back.  It's quite heavy already so it's going to be a warm cosy cardi especially are there's a lot of 100% pure wool in the yarns!! 

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Strike 2!


I'm on strike again today.  I've just stood for 2 hours on a very wet picket line waving placards at the handful of cars that pass our school.  I don't like striking but it's a necessary tool in the current economic climate we find ourselves in.  

We had a visit from someone at HQ so we got a chance to ask him some pertinent questions. According to COSLA and the Scottish government there's no money for public sector pay rises.  I totally get that. But we didn't get our annual pay rise last year (that's why we're striking!) so now 2 years later thanks to inflation we've effectively had our salaries cut.  As have many other professions.  Even a 10% increase won't match inflation now.

So I'm doing no work today.  Once I've warmed up I'll be watching Elementary and knitting more of my cardigan!!

Sunday 8 January 2023



We had a power cut yesterday.  Initially I thought it was just my house that had an issue as I had lights but everything else had tripped the fuse box.  My son and I checked that neither had done anything ie plugged something in or switched something on or off.  We checked everything we could check then the lights went out too.  I looked outside and my neighbours on either side and across the road still had lights on.  So it was a reasonable assumption that I had an electrical issue.  I called an emergency electrician who came out within the hour who confirmed there was no power coming into the house.

So last night it cost me £120 to discover that some type of power cuts can affect some houses and not others.  Yes, my neighbours on either side and across the road (and round the corner!) all had power while me and every third or fourth house didn't.  There are only 5 houses on my little row (I'm in the middle) and I was the only one with no power.  Something to do with circuits apparently... 😑

Urghhhh!!!  Anyway, my emergency basket of torches, candles and matches was tested for the first time.  Thank goodness for that rechargeable work light I bought a few months ago!  We were able to light one room for a few hours.  I made a simple one pot pasta and cheese dish for supper as I could light the gas hob by matches 😊

Close up of textures

In other news, my stashbusting cardigan has grown lots over the last few days.  I'm loving having a project that is quicker than socks!  Plus I've had a search through all my wool stashes and found a few good single or half used balls!

I have a whole bag full to choose from now!  It's very therapeutic as I zone out while I knit while I binge watch Elementary on my laptop.  The only subscription I have is my Amazon Prime so I'm making full use of it!!  Plus it stops me overthinking about going back to school tomorrow 😟

Thursday 5 January 2023

Knitting inspiration!


I was looking for a new knitting project that wasn't going to cost me any money.  My DIL and I have been sorting out cupboards and found a huge bag of yarn my Lovely Mum gave me years ago for use at school.  I remember I did some weaving with a few classes and had a wee creative craft club on Friday afternoons.  My DIL crochets so she was thinking of making more animals with clothes. I went looking on Pinterest for a stashbuster cardigan and found a few ideas.  Love the above one!!!

I also found this one which is a knitted knock off Etro crochet design.

This is the original catwalk version!  I love the mix of colours and textures.  So an idea was born! πŸ’‘

The biggest circular needle I have is a 6mm so I'm aiming for a sort of Aran/chunky weight of yarns.  It will mean I need to double and mix strands but I'm hoping the mix of stitch patterns will create the effect I'm looking for as well.  I cast on 200 stitches (100 for the back and 50 for each side) and will knit rows/stripes/blocks as I feel like it.  I'll knit the sleeves on straight needles.  

There's no pattern or vision in my head other than to use up all the yarn I have stashed from previous projects.  I will not buy any yarn but will probably get some from my Lovely Mum as she still has a sizable stash of her own!!  The above is Aran pure new wool from New Lanark mills in heather.  My aunt knitted me a jumper in this years ago and for some reason we had 5 x 100g extra balls leftover.  I think we maybe had to buy a pack with a set number.  I'm allocating 3 for the back and 1 for each sleeve.  

I'm still knitting socks too πŸ˜„  I've always got a pair on the needles.  This one is at the toe shaping point.  The cardigan is chunky and knits up quickly whereas the socks are portable and can go with me.  No idea how long the cardigan will take but it's been fun researching and sorting out suitable yarns! 🧢

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Free toiletries


I ventured out to Sainsbury's this morning.  I haven't physically been in the store for at least a year.  My plan was to stock up on toiletries using my Nectar points and get a few food basics.  When I checked my account online last night my balance was much lower than my last online shopping receipt so I asked the lady at Customer Services if she could check it.  According to them I had £37.50 available to spend, not the £40 I thought.  It will 'catch up' eventually but that was 3 different amounts I got when I checked within a 24 hour period!!

I made a list of my basic toiletries that I use on a daily basis (see end of post) and had a good look at prices to see what I could get for my money.  I knew which items I was low on.  After a lot of adding up on my wee calculator πŸ˜‚ I finally got:

2 x Dove deodorant sticks (2 x £2.75)  £5.50

8 pack of razors (men's are cheaper than women's) £3

Oil of Olay moisturiser (sensitive)  £6.50

Eye liner pencil £5

Eye make up remover £3

Aussie Hair leave in conditioner £5

Multivitamins £9

Total £37

I noticed that my multivitamins were on a 3 for 2 offer so I picked up 3 packs in total (3 months supply) and got another 1 free!   If I shopped around and went to somewhere like Superdrug I could get some of the above cheaper but as they were free with my points I'm happy! 😊

It's not to everyone's taste but I picked up a block of lard (60p) to do some pastry making.  Lard is cheaper than oil and after all, it's what our parents and grandparents used to bake.  I have a lot of stored GF flour that's nearing a use by date.  I've noticed in the past that it definitely doesn't keep well after it's date and tastes stale.  So I'm making some pasties and pies to freeze.

Veg prices were a bit high and the quality of some didn't look great.  I got the cheapest potatoes I could find and some sweet potatoes that were on offer.  Undecided what I'm going make but I've got a lot of stuff to use up in the fridge.

Including the last of the venison joint cooked on New Year's day πŸ˜‹

I also got some tinned tomatoes, GF pasta (which is now only 5p more expensive than normal pasta!!), coffee, chicken legs, Alpro plain yoghurt, some reduced crisps, GF rolls, Diet Coke 😳 some sea salt and a few jars of spices for the storecupboard.  Final total minus points and offers was £41.10.  I forgot to get loo roll so will need to pop out again to Lidl but I hope that is enough to last me a few weeks!

My list of essential toiletries

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • Oil of Olay moisturiser (sensitive)
  • make up remover
  • deodorant
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • perfume
  • soap
  • hairspray
  • hair mousse/gel
  • body lotion

Make up essentials:

  • powder
  • blusher
  • eye shadow
  • eye liner
  • mascara
  • lipstick/gloss

Sunday 1 January 2023

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year everyone!  I hope 2023 is a peaceful one for us all.  I didn't stay up to see the new year in, I was just too tired.  And I knew it would make me groggy today as I still have to get up at the usual time to let Emma out and feed her.  She seems to be on the mend so hopefully it was just a doggy virus and nothing else.  She's 11 now so I know every illness could be potentially serious so I'm being extra careful.

It's just our usual Sunday dinner here today with the 3 of us.  I put a wee venison joint in the Crockpot and we'll have it with baked potatoes and veggies.  I started some blackcurrant liqueur with blackcurrants from the freezer and an odd tasting gin nobody liked (strawberry and black pepper!)  In fact it was one my friend gave me as she didn't like it!! So free fruit from my Lovely Mum's garden and free gin from my friend plus some sugar will turn into a lovely home made version of crΓ¨me de cassis πŸ˜‹ I'm starting the year off being creative already!! 

Browsing Pinterest I found a few bottle bag ideas.  I like this idea where I could put/use a pocket to keep a wee bottle of the cassis and make a label with cocktail instructions.  I have a stash of old jeans, somewhere!

By the time the gin mixture is ready for bottling I hope my craft room is ready to make up the bags! 😊