Saturday 31 October 2015

Food glorious food

Hello. It's actually been sunny enough to sit in the summerhouse today. I've started a new project, so I've been getting on with that. No sewing to start with but a needle and thread might be needed to finish it off. I've also been in the kitchen prepping food. Some of the yellow sticker veg was turned into stew. These four packets cost 43p. I only used half the beans and cauliflower/broccoli, the pan wasn't big enough to get it all in. 
So, with the usual spices added, it only took ten minutes to cook. I put some porridge oats in to thicken it.

Left it to cool, then filled four margarine tubs for the freezer. Four home made ready meals for less than 40p. Whoopeeee.

Someone asked how I was going to munch my way through all that food before it went off. Easy, I eat it till it comes out of my ear holes, ha ha. Today's lunch was garlic mushrooms on a whole plateful of rocket and salad leaves. 
I fancy a squiggle of mayo, why not, only 20p a bottle.

Tonight's dinner was the usual steamed veg. another quick meal with very little cooking. Love those sprouts and broccoli. Very nice with a dollop of tartar sauce, also 20p from the Cash and Carry. I'm stuffed now.

Not heard anyone roaming the streets tonight for Halloween, we don't get many round here. The cats are in, there may be some fireworks going off later. Don't forget to keep your pets in for the next two weeks.

Have a nice weekend. Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip

Friday 30 October 2015

Successful shopping, time it right

Hello. It's looking like an indoor day today, very wet outside. I might pop out later if it stops raining, in the meantime I shall be getting on with a new craft project. 
Take a look at my empty fridge, this was the state of play yesterday, nowt left except for one portion of veg stew, a few pickled onions, half a jar of lemon curd, soya milk, and dilute fruit juice. Can't make much out of that, ha ha. I like to see an empty fridge every so often, it reminds me that I am eating everything I buy and nothing is left to fester at the back out of sight. I am a bit low on tinned food as well, though there are some things left in the freezer. But I am craving fresh veg so a yellow sticker dash is needed. 
And this is the state of play this morning, stuffed full of various shades of green. Oooh, I'm excited.

I went to Tesco at 7.15pm and came back at 9.15pm, two hours wisely invested in buying up bargains. Carol, my favourite fruit and veg lady was in charge of the reductions. She is a star. My  home made bags are brilliant, will last forever. The shopping includes twelve tins of rice pudding, might as well buy bulk at 15p a tin. They won't all get eaten at once, one per week is my ration. A bag of cat litter is £1.55, can't find cheaper at the moment, I shall keep looking. In one of the bags are eight cartons of soya milk, I see they have dropped the price to match Aldi, I will buy it then. Mind you, Tesco have discontinued  the 88p box of Value Bran Flakes, so I will have to go to Aldi for that as it's still 88p there. Rocky coming to look at what I have, he gets so excited when I return with the shopping.  
 A yellow sticker picture, 5p, 10p, nearly all with 90% off the full price.

Here is my shopping list, as copied from the till receipt. Total £24.41

Non reduced (full price)
Cat litter £1.55
Small fresh milk 45p
12 tins rice pudding £1.80
4 tins baked beans @ 24p each = 96p
4 tins spaghetti hoops @ 20p each = 80p
8 cartons soya milk @ 59p each = £4.72
Large tub Value plain yogurt 45p (same as Aldi)
Six pack flavoured yogurt £1.00
2 boxes wet cat food pouches @ £1.50 each = £3
Quiche £1  (£1.19p at Aldi)
Sultanas 84p (same price as Aldi)
Nappy bags (300) 35p. Used as dog poo bags
Porridge oats 75p (same price as Aldi)
Olive spread £1
2 cat food pouches @ 29p each = 58p (treats)
Cooked chicken £1 (treats for cats)
Cooked ham £1 (treats for cats)

Yellow stickers
Sweet potatoes 15p was £1.50
Ordinary potatoes 15p was £1.50
Pink onions 10p was £1
3 bags Brussel Sprouts @ 7p each were 69p each
Organic bananas 14p was £1.39
Turnips 16p was £1.60
Cauliflower 7p was 69p
2 bags prepared broccoli/cauliflower 10p each were £1 each 
Fine beans 20p was £2
Bag prepared sweet potato and butternut squash 10p was £1
2 packs mushrooms @ 10p each was £1 each
2 packs leafy salad @10p each was £1 each
4 packs wild rocket @ 15p each was £1.50 each
Pack prepared carrots and peas 13p was £1.25
Iceberg lettuce 5p was 49p
And I have to confess, a treat for me. Pack of 5 jaffa cookies for 50p was £1. 

I am a few items short which will come from Aldi and other places. 350grm extra mature Cheddar cheese is £1.55 at Aldi. Will stock up on bran flakes 88p. FR eggs needed but they can usually be found for 79 - 89p most places. Cat and dog food is a reasonable price at Aldi, and I usually get my nuts from there as well. A visit to the Cash and Carry on the way to town to see if they have anything new in, sometimes pick up pet food there. Non of this is urgent, have plenty to be going on with.

Someone was watching me last night on her usual perch on the window sill, as I unpacked the shopping. Mayze is partial to a slice of cooked chicken. Aint she cute, such a pretty face.  

Another successful shopping trip, lots of money saved. I'm chuffed. Keep your eyes open for a bargain or two, don't shop if you are hungry or in a hurry because you will grab anything, and probably stuff you don't need. I don't make a shopping list, it's in my head. My eating is flexible, I base my meals around what I can buy cheaply. Only rules are no meat, no fish, and I only buy sweat things as a treat and if they are reduced. I'm cutting down on my sugar intake.

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Thursday 29 October 2015

Bring on winter, I'm still ready for it

Hello and Good Morning. It is exactly three years ago today when I posted this. It is top of the list for the highest page views ever at 8,553, way more than the second highest at 3505. It's a very short post, I don't know why it has had so many views. If you read the comments which I have copied and pasted you will see that some of them weren't very nice, perhaps that's the reason why people came back for updates. Saying that, not all page views are made by humans. The Bots or Spiders which crawl around the web picking up key words could be to blame, in the same way that spam is mostly generated electronically.

The message three years on is still the same, I wrap up when I get a bit cold. Lots of money saved by not putting the heating on until I absolutely have to, and I am still alive and kicking. An updated photo is below. 

Bring on winter, I'm ready for it.

I am seeing wisps of steam coming from pipes sticking out of houses, a sure sign that the central heating is ticking over nicely filling the place with comforting warm air. I am seeing and smelling smoke coming from chimney pots all around the village as fires are lit to keep the cold at bay. Whatever happened to smokeless zones by the way?  Nothing like that going on in this house, I don't think it's that cold just yet.
But when it does get cold, this is me ready for it. The toweling bath robe goes on over the top of my three teeshirts, two sweatshirts, leggins and jog bottoms. My neck warmer and wrist warmers are fab, so snug. A woolly hat keeps my head warm. And look, I have found an old pair of slippers in the wardrobe which I thought I'd thrown out. Repairs have had to be made to the soles with sticky tape to stop them falling apart, but I will get a bit more wear out of them. Doncha think I look comfy  :o)
Toodle pip

This is me now. The old slippers had to go, I have some big woolly socks, given to me by a friend. I've taken the covers off the furniture as the cats no longer go on there. I made the cushion covers to brighten it up, and I now use the decorative Christmas lights all the year round instead of the big ceiling light, makes the room look cozy.   

I have copied and pasted the comments from three years ago. Please note that you cannot reply to any of the 32 comments, the links don't work. Add your comment to the bottom as normal, if you wish. Have a butchers and see what you think. A few people have moved on, replaced by new readers, but some are still around. Thanks to those who keep coming back. 


  1. You look very cosy.

    We are sitting in front of our wood burner at the moment-in our defence we have never bought wood (all for free) and are trying to dry the washing too (hanging it out on the line made no difference today).

    Sft x
  2. We had to put the central heating on for an hour to take the chill off. DB has bad blood circulation (caused by his many years of previous smoking). I could make do easily without the heating, but his lordship will not take well meant advice to keep active, moving and to wrap up. Men, stubbern as hell at times and stupid to boot, lol.
  3. We heat just one room in our home, the lounge. If it's really cold we let DD sleep on the sofa as its the warmest room in the house. One really really cold nights we will all sleep in there together enjoying the warm and snuggling up together.
    x x x
  4. You look very cosy, hope the cats are tucked up as well x
  5. Ha ha, love the slippers Ilona:) They look quite slippery though:(
  6. Hi, just joined your blog I think its great! And yes you do look so cosy, I have been enjoying reading your blog this last week. Have a great day :)
  7. Yeah you're right - its not that cold for us healthy folk ;). We have all been dressed up in layers, dd had her winter hat and fingerless gloves on, and duvets down to watch tv, it was lovely and cosy. We only really felt cold when we sat still. I have been on a communication training course last week which blamed modern central heating for the demise of family relationships. ie family spread out into different rooms therefore not spending time together. Not sure but it made me think.

    Have a lovely evening.
  8. I think you should be Government. You can get us out of this mess with common ideas.
    I will vote for you.

    Dianne - Hereford
  9. We have our wood stove on, but I think the heating will be on by the end of the week, as my dh feels the cold something rotten.

    Gill in Canada
  10. Budge up,I'm joining you with a hot water bottle and a good book.
    Jane x
  11. So do you wear your baby doll nightie on top of all the warm stuff? :-)
  12. You sure thats not two cats wrapped round your feet? lol. Looking very snug there Ilona. Try and get a teddy fleece blanket if you can find one in a charity shop. They are really thick and soft and ohhh so warm.

    I was at Donna Nook today looking at the seals coming ashore to birth their pups. Missed one birth by minutes. It was absolutely bitter cold so I'm enjoying a cosy evening. Keep warm.
  13. I usually have on that many garments. I cannot handle the shoes, though. I would trip and fall! I have no here and one window out.
  14. Hehe, that's like looking in a mirror tonight! I am wearing thick socks and boots, a jumper with the hood up, as well as the boyfriend's dressing gown (his is longer than mine!).

    I really don't want to put the heating on for another month at least! You're further North than me though! You're all hard up there! :)
  15. The slippers look huge--are they Garfield slippers?
  16. Are you keeping your furniture warm too or expecting the decorators to arrive?

    In my opinion you're taking frugality to the point of being (and looking) ridiculous. Do you get many visitors - friends popping round for a cuppa? No I thought not.

    When I was a child there was a woman in our street who looked and acted like you, she was known for being odd. When she died aged 66 she had nearly a million pounds in the bank, hadn't left a will, no relatives. You can guess where her money ended up.

    There are no pockets in shrouds Ilona! Heat the room you're in and stop being so ridiculous.


    1. Saddo, no wonder you're anonymous, bore off!

  17. You look as snug as the proverbial bug. Don't want to dignify anonymous with a reply - he or she is probably just a troll anyway, but you don't look ridiculous. Someone with a sense of humour, definitely. Slightly eccentric, maybe. But who wants to be ordinary, common or boring.

    Clearly anonymous hasn't read your blog much, and doesn't know your savings enables you to travel and let you stop working a daily, grinding job and pay for your own house. You are an inspiration. I would love to do some of your walks and trips around England. Rug up, I say. (Except it is more do as I say, not do as I do. Sorry, Ilona, I'm A Central Heater Lover. And living in Australis, you'd probably think I'm mad to need it. In my defence, we don't have air conditioning like most do here because I don't mind the heat but can't stand being cold.)
  18. Two years ago we invested in a really good quality high tog rating duvet and turned the heating off in the bedroom. Not only do we seem to sleep better in an unheated room but we save money too. We also turned the heating down quite a bit throughout the rest of the house and although we don't go as far as the woolly hat, we do snuggle up in blankets with hot water bottles to watch tv in the evening. Of course if we had visitors we would turn the heating up for them but the savings we have made by just these little changes (which have not really been a hardship) has been significant. Given the choice between spending money on something I really enjoy or giving it to British Gas... well that's a no-brainer and anonymous is clearly talking out of her proverbial!
  19. Do be careful on the stairs in those slippers - we don't want you sliding down and hitting your head do we?
  20. Don't fall over :) You look well insulated indeed
    Twiggy x
  21. I like much of what you write about, I have made a simple living choice myself and could afford to not work following redundancy at 53. I know the difference between wants and needs and prefer my pets to consumerism. I do draw the line at living a cheerless comfortless life. Your photo made me sad.That is your home and it looks so cheerless. I had a vision of you on a hospital trolley with a foot or worse injury, frozen to the core. There is no merit in making a virtue from using grubby ancient makeup and eating wierd weird food combinations. Everyday life counts and eating from a pan is the pits.Employ some grace in day to day life.

  22. Anna why do you want MQ to live a life just like you? Now that is weird.

    Grace: "A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement". Please re-read your post and take time to consider your own advice. To insult someone's home is the height of bad manners in my book.
  23. Your definiton supports what I'm suggesting.I didn't criticise Illonas home,just the extreme keep warm strategy. I can see Ilona has a lovely home in a gorgeous area and she is living how she wants. It just seems cheerless and I would be devastated if anyone in my family sat like that and ate from a pan. I think you would agree its small comforts that make life worthwhile.


    1. I'd sit like that any day if it meant working less and having more to look forward to. As ilhona lives alone she can eat out of what receptacle she likes. It really is a state of mind. If she is not depressed with how she lives who are we to judge. There are millions of people in this world who would class ilhona as very rich indeed. You really should know that anyway.

  24. I guess Ilona can do as she damn well pleases.We all live our lives as we see fit so why should we criticise other people?
  25. Hi Ilona, I agree with some of the comments above, you can do what you blinking well like in your own home. If you want to wear layers of clothes to keep warm so as to avoid the expense of putting the heating on then carry on. I do it, I've not really put heating on much either, occasional day when it has been frosty out but so long as I've got a few layers on and my feet are warm, then I'm not bothered. I keep telling the kids that when I was a bairn, we had single glazing and inches of frost on the window, no central heating and used to get dressed in bed, as you could see your breath it was so cold. I tell them to put their dressing gown on and slippers and they'll be fine. You are doing no harm to anyone doing what you do. I bet the majority of these anonymous posters who haven't got anything nice to say are typing their reply on a computer or phone, paid for my Bank of Mam and Dad, and are sitting in a nice warm house paid for by Bank of Mam and Dad. Lets see what happens when they have to fund their own lifestyles, I bet they'll either come back to your blog for moneysaving tips or will have the bailiffs at the door due to the debt they have racked up. Will check in over weekend to see rest of your blog entries, just been busy. Cheers for now, Christy.
  26. Now we see why our female ancestors wore six petticoats under their dresses! It was to keep warm! I can't stand the extremes of either cold or heat, so during the winter, our cottage's one wall gas furnace gets turned up to 70-72 degrees F. and turned down at night to 60 degrees. I wear felt boots to keep my feet warm and ankles warm and have spot heaters turned on when I work in our bedroom. When I watch television at night, I have a velour blanket covering me. It keeps me warmer than the crocheted afgans my grandmother made for my hope chest before I married.
    There's a saying, "Different strokes for different folks." How boring would our world be if God hadn't created all kinds of people with different gifts to share with each other! I say, "little minds suck sour grapes" and make everyone around them miserable. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I see your humor and it encourages me to keep putting one foot in front of the other! Blessing!

Are you ready for Winter? Catch you soon. Toodle pip.
Ilona xxxxxxx

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Mini bunting

Hello. Lots of heavy rain this morning. We had to abandon the Rocky walk, even with his raincoat on it was too much to cope with. We beat a hasty retreat, I picked him up and hurried back home. So I have been getting on with the sewing. Mini bunting has been made, smaller than the last one. These are two inches wide across the top. I used some red cord instead of the ribbon and decided to keep it short and not add any more, because that would have meant doubling up on the colours. This time buttons and beads have been added, with beads threaded onto the cord between the flags.

The difference in the sizes. I like the small ones better.

A short post tonight, the bath water is running and it's almost ready. Going for a soak. Thanks for popping in.
Toodle pip