Monday, 30 November 2015

Flower power

Hello to my blogerettes wherever you are. This month we have had readers from the UK, United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Ukraine, Belgium, Ireland, India, Russia, and Sweden. Thank you all for popping in. I forget to welcome new readers, so here is a welcome to everyone. 
What a rotten day weatherwise, rain, rain, and more chuffin rain. A day inside I think. Here is a progress report on the artificial hanging basket of flowers. It's going to take a while, but it's something I can pick up for an hour or two while I watch something on the catch up channels. This picture is the right way up, but the basket is upside down if you get my drift. The pointy bit will be at the bottom as it hangs on the wall bracket. I covered the shell with green mesh, it's plastic so shouldn't rot. Remember the big roll of it I used to construct a makeshift fence in my garden, well that's still intact a year later.  
The flower shapes are cut from aluminium drinks cans, two sizes so one sits on top of the other, with a bead in the centre. They are attached with wire and need to be tight fitting so they don't flop about. Looking good so far. 
I did venture out this morning to the Crafty Club, in fact I ended up going back and forth three times, to fetch bits and bobs I needed to construct Santa's Grotto. The corner of the Foyer as you go in was chosen for it. I've put two of the white plastic gazebo sides as the backdrop, and put up a 9 foot long wooden timber across the corner to support the curtain and tinsel and lights. More decoration is needed, which will be added before Saturday. Santa will get a throw over his brown chair to jazz it up a bit. I'll take another picture on Saturday, when it is in use.  
I'm still munching my way through my bargain food. Lunch today was iceberg lettuce, button mushrooms, baby tomatoes, quarter slice of quiche, and some microwave in the bag new potatoes with garlic butter. A squirt of cheap mayo just finished it off nicely. Very nice it was too.

Dinner tonight was very simple, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and sprouts, with a sprinkling of grated mature cheddar cheese. No need for anything else, there was a massive plateful and I'm stuffed. The good thing about vegetables is that you can eat as much of them as you like, and not put any weight on.

I think it may have stopped raining so I'm going to take the dawg out. He will be chuffed. Thanks for popping in. Catch up with you soon. Toodle pip

Sunday, 29 November 2015

How to get the most from a bowl of water

Hello. What scintillating topic of conversation can I come up with today then, on this wet and windy and dark Sunday afternoon. Blimey, I've had to put the desk light on and it's only 1.45pm. The rain is lashing against the window , but there is some good news, the summerhouse roof is still attached to the rest of it. I had visions of going to retrieve it from a neighbours garden, but happily it is all intact. I've had to tie the plastic gate onto the wheelie bin though, for fear of that being ripped up and jettisoned into the next street. It's batten down the hatches here today. We had a Rocky walk earlier, but we may not get the second one later on at this rate. It will be a piddle on the back garden, for him not me  ;o)  Oh my word, it's howling as I type. With the amount of rain coming down, now would be a good time to go out and wash the car.  
I think a practical money saving tip for today would go down well. Here is a selfie of me with wet hair, I washed it in the kitchen sink, as I often do. Two kettles of hot water does the job, one for washing and one for rinsing. No need to heat a whole tank full of water. 
When the hair is clean, it's a good time to wash other bits of my body with the still warm rinsing water, so along with the shampoo I have a face sponge at the ready to do a bit of scrubbing around the sweaty bits.

When this task has been completed, the water is still not dirty enough to throw away. No need to add any soap as the residue from the shampoo is enough. This is when I get a floor cloth (bit of old sheet that used to be a dishcloth), and start wiping down the paintwork. The doors, skirting board, door frames, handrail up the stairs, outside window ledges, and anything else which looks a bit grubby. Cats have a habit of rubbing their faces up the edges of the doors. Last of all, the kitchen floor gets swept with a brush, and I get down on my hands and knees to wipe it all over. It's the only way to get in all the corners, I don't like mops.

When the water is too dirty for anything else it goes down the drain. If I was a bit more organised I could have two bowls, one for washing and one for rinsing, and save the hair washing soapy water for cleaning the bathroom. I think I do quite well with getting the most from my water.

Crafty Club tomorrow but I don't think I will be doing much crafting. I've volunteered to build Santa's Grotto in readiness for the Christmas Fair on Saturday. I have the sidewalls from the white gazebo which would make a den for him, and Anne has the decorations.

Bit of sad news  :o(  Mr Mole has been eradicated, maybe that's the wrong word, his body will probably still be intact. The mole catcher came, and despite the vicar asking if he could be captured alive and relocated, they went ahead and gassed him. Apparently they don't recover the body but just leave it there. At least he is laid to rest in the right place. I shall always think of him when I walk through the churchyard, I may make a little memorial. Rotten horrible people for killing him.

On that sad note I'll sign off. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, if you can in this changeable weather. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Lots of love

Hello. I don't go to church, but I have Christian values. As a child I was brought up as a Christian, we studied it at school, we learnt the Lords Prayer, we sang hymns in the morning assembly. Every Christmas like millions of other children, we put on a Nativity play. We were all given a bible at school, we studied it, we learnt how to be good Christians. I went every Sunday to the Methodist Church, in the morning to the service, in the afternoon to Sunday School, and one evening a week to choir practice.

I drifted away when I left school and started work, but I never forgot those Christian values, and I try to live by them today.. It saddens me greatly to read that a simple Christmas advertisement which features The Lords Prayer, made by the Church of England, has been banned by the UK's three leading cinema chains. The advert was made to promote a new C of E website, Just Pray.  Here is the full story in The Church Times.

Take a look at the advert, who could be offended by that.

This just makes me cry, what is happening to the world when there is so much evil being preached, yet the Christian message of love is banned. Very sad.

Thanks for popping in.
Lots of love, Ilona xxxxxxx

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Thursday night

Hello and Good Morning. I've only gone and done it again. I was in two minds whether to do the yellow sticker stroll, can't call it a dash as it involves a lot of hanging around. A slow mooch, hovering between the aisles is called for to lie in wait for when the bargains are wheeled out from the back. I didn't fancy getting tangled up with some early bird Black Friday bargain hunters, but my fridge was bare, I needed to buy food. 
I made the quick decision to go and take a chance, so I jumped up off my chair and was out of the door before Rocky had chance to stir from his bed. I'm glad I did go. There was a sign at the door saying the store would close at midnight and re open at 5am. It's a 24 hour store, so I suppose on this occasion the staff needed to prepare themselves for the surge of customers. 
I arrived at the right time for the fruit reductions and had to wait for the vegetables and salad to come out. There were only two other ladies waiting, so I had a natter with the Chinese lady. We hovered and mooched, and waited. I could have done with a loaf of bread but none were reduced, so before I went through the checkouts I picked up a full price seeded Tesco's Finest loaf at £1.10. 
I had a £3 off voucher to use, but I needed to reach £20. After filling my trolley with reduced I was no where near the £20, so I decided to stock up on a few essentials, soya milk, tins of beans and spaghetti. All things that I will eventually need. Some cooked chicken for the kids also went in the trolley. I tallied it up as I went around and it was a few pennies over the £20. The till totted it up as just below £20, oops, have I made a mistake. I grabbed a small carton of milk to make it up. When I got home and checked the receipt, it shows I got an extra discount as some of the veg items were on a 3 for 2 offer, even though they were reduced to 10p each. 
Rocky inspecting the bags. 'You got anything in there for me?
Fully stocked fridge again. Love it.

Healthy eating for the next week, starting with a healthy breakfast. Raspberries, blueberries, melon, and grapes, with plain yogurt. Underneath are a few bran flakes and home made muesli, made with porridge oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds and a splash of soya milk. Chuffin lovely.

I won't list all the items and prices, but you know the score. 90% off the fruit, veg, and salad. Here is a taster of what I came home with.
New potatoes in a pouch with garlic to microwave in the bag.
Prepared iceberg lettuce
Fine beans
Prepared broccoli
prepared casserole veg with beans and leeks
Whole organic cauliflower
Green grapes
Crispy baked potato slices
Button mushrooms
Spring onions
Brussel sprouts
Tobs of prepared fruit
Onion Houmous
Bag green salad leaves
Apple doughnuts

Nornal price to make up the £20
Soya milk
Baked beans
Tinned spaghetti
Small tins cat food
Value Quiche
Pack butter
Bag dry cat food
Cooked chicken

This morning I popped to Barry's and gave him five bags of assorted veg, he was chuffed and was planning his meals around them. I don't need to go anywhere this weekend, so no more money will be spent. The weather is looking a bit iffy so it will be sewing, crafting, dog walking, and maybe a bit of garden tidying.

Someone sent me a link for a programme on Channel 5 catch up. There is a problem with the web site, a lot of their advertised programmes can't be accessed because of copyright issues, which is a bit disappointing. Never mind plenty to watch on BBC catch up. I caught the first episode of a new drama, Capital. It was a bit confusing, very disjointed, difficult to make sense of it. However with an element of intrigue I might watch the second episode to see how it pans out. Toby Jones is the lead actor, I like what he does.

I hope you have a lovely weekend. Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Thursday, 26 November 2015

My top tips for Black Friday

Hello. I was just wondering if anyone is going after a bargain or two, on Black Friday. The sale starts tomorrow if you hadn't already heard. You need to be at the shop of your choice at one minute past midnight, to join in the stampede. In fact best to turn up several hours before that and set up camp outside the door. Carefully select the clothing you are going to wear, because there is every chance that you will have to engage in unarmed combat with fellow bargain hunters. No need to dress up in your best togs. Put on your oldest and smelliest gardening gear, a filthy old coat, a mucky old pair of trousers smeared with hoss manure, and a pair of steel toecap boots. You never know, you may have to stamp on someone's hands if they get to the item that you had your eyes on, before you. If you choose the grubbiest clothes you will find  that other people will give you a wide berth, and you will have a better chance of getting what you want because no one will dare approach you.

The electrical departments will be particularly busy, as everyone has their eye on bagging a new gadget or toy to play with. The ones with the screens seem to be favourite, and the bigger the better. Be assertive at the display as you reach for your prize, to ensure no one challenges you. Grab, grab, grab is the best way to approach this. If someone is slightly ahead of you and it looks like they are going for something you have your eyes on, grab them by the hair and sling them to the ground. Be careful however that you don't do any serious damage, as you might get arrested. Then grab the item you want, and barge your way through the rest of the chaos, elbowing people out of the way, until you get to the checkout.

Forget good manners and politeness at these sales, the order of the day is grab whatever you want. Look into your vocabulary and pick out a few choice expletives, be prepared to use them if anyone gets in your way. Posh people will find this quite daunting, not being used to such course language, but don't forget, it's a case of who dares wins. Open your mouth and throw your inhibitions to the wind. Building site navvies will have no problem using this tactic, just pretend you are at work.

Another trick you can utilize is working in a team. Get your friends and family organized into a line, link arms, and force your way forward through the crowd. People may get pushed over as they lose their balance but not to worry, step over them and continue towards your goal. Doing it this way means you can clear the whole display in a matter of seconds, and you all get a share of the loot.

Once through the checkouts, don't let go of your purchase. Guard it because some aggrieved person who was witness to your disgusting behavior may be looking for retribution. Stay alert and look out for the clenched fist aimed at your head, and be prepared to duck.

If you follow my advice, at best you will arrive home in one piece, you will set up your mega flatscreen TV in front of your armchair and will be enjoying a beer, when the police will come a knocking at your door to arrest you. At worst, you will wake up in the supermarket car park, having had seven bells kicked out of you, and your TV shattered into a thousand pieces. Don't worry about the blue light flashing in your eyes, they have come to cart you off to hospital.

The best advice I can give for this Black Friday lark is......

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Something's going on underground

Hello. While out on our morning stroll through the churchyard we were greeted with an abundance of freshly dug molehills. Rocky loves to sniff these. One or two have appeared over the last week, and the soil has been moved away, but look at it now, there are a lot more. Mr Mole has been very busy. 
The mole has been digging among the memorial plaques. By the look of the position of the loose soil it must have found it's way blocked and has come up to the surface in between them. Oh dear.

I don't know much about moles so I've been looking at some yooootooob videos. They are cute little furry creatures, and they lead solitary lives. There are a lot of videos on how to trap them, and sadly it seems the norm to kill them. I expect someone will call a pest controller soon to deal with ours, personally I would just leave it alone. What's a few mounds of earth, and a few underground burrows, it isn't hurting anyone. People should watch where they walk. Rocky says, leave Mr Mole alone, and so do I. He will move on when he is ready.

Remember when I did a post about pollarding the trees in the churchyard? This is how they look now, lots of bushy short branches and the leaves are starting to go brown and fall off. I had a surprise when I checked my emails today, someone had found my post about this while they were doing some research. They have some trees which need to be pollarded in their village and they asked if they could use my photo's to put the case before a committe to get their trees cut back. I am amazed at how people find my blog, when they are looking for all kinds of topics. I had another email from someone asking about the heavy haulage lorries I used to drive. I am chuffed that I can help with a broad range of subjects, not just frugal living and shopping and cooking and crafting. I like to write about allsorts.

I've been busy collecting bricks today. My friend had some she didn't want, and I found some in a skip. That's 50 more to add to my pile, 165 in total. Still more needed, but no rush. I'll find some before I start the job. keep looking in skips.

Hey, look at this. I've just turned round in my chair and seen this. Rocky was laid down there first, and Mayze has joined him. These two are the best of pals. I had to put another cushion down, because Bugsy has decided that he wants Rocky's cushion. Aaaah, sweet.

I'm off now, want to watch something on catch up. Thanks for popping in. See you soon. Toodle pip

I've just come back to add a PS here. There are some late comments coming in on the two previous posts, you might like to go back to them and catch up. Some smashing comments and interesting stories. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Words of a simpleton

Hello. Glad you liked the shopping video, it brought some interesting responses. Thank you for your comments, I really enjoyed reading them.. I see that Richard over on Down The Lane has asked the question on the forum, 'What do you call a simple, or simpler life?' I have given my definitions and it's started me thinking, what exactly does a simple life mean. I'll expand on it here.

I take it to mean a life with very few complications, and not looking for them. Going with the flow, instead of the opposite and upsetting the applecart. A simple life is one with less choices. I have a rather simplistic view. I tend to see things in black and white, an either or situation. Two choices you either do or don't, you say yes or no, you like something, or you don't. I don't see many grey areas.

There are too many choices in supermarkets, that's why I only walk around say 20% of it, I don't need to know about the other 80%, there is nothing there that I want to buy. I am just the same in other shops, I only go to the departments where I know I will want to buy something.

No complications for me means living alone, it makes for a very simple life. I don't have to fit in with anyone and no one has to fit in with me. The only complications I have accepted are my pets, they need someone to look after them and I gave them a home. That was my choice, I could have said no.

I don't need to get a job, or earn money on the side. I simply don't need any more money. If I did have more  then that would bring complications and create stress. How many times do you read about people who have lost money through poor investments, or who have been conned out of their life savings? That won't happen to me. I believe the less money you have, the less you have to worry about. A bit of a cockeyed view I know.

Work means timetables have to be kept to, being at a certain place at a certain time every day, I know I have done it. Clocking in clocking out, get on with the job, do as you're told, there is nothing simple about that. I don't see how anyone can claim to have a simple life if they go to work. You only find out what a simple life is, when you retire, and can simply lie in bed all day if you want to.

The more money  you earn the more you spend, the more you spend the more you need to earn to pay for the lifestyle you have become accustomed to. That's not simple. Not spending money means not having to earn it, that's simple.

As you know, my cooking is very simple. I don't spend ages in the kitchen preparing a work of art, faffing around with pots and pans and utensils. Most of my meals are made in one saucepan, occasionally I use the grill, and sometimes the microwave. The simplest meals are food that require no cooking at all.

Getting rid of stuff you no longer need is a great way to simplify your life. If you have too much clutter you become bogged down, you worry that you can't find anything among the chaos, and you worry when you lose something. If you move it on out of your life you have a nice big space.

I find that eliminating complications frees up space to think about what matters. And to be perfectly honest, I can't think of anything to worry about.

I've told you how my life is simple, now tell me what you have done to simplify your life. How have you eliminated your complications? What have you dumped because you no longer need it? What changes have you made to how you organize your day? Is your life much simpler now than it was say five years ago, or is it more complicated? I'm nosy, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. Goodnight and toodle pip.

Monday, 23 November 2015

You gotta laugh at this

Hello. This is my own very amateur video, on how to get the most for your money when shopping for food. Do not expect it to be polished, in fact it is thrown together on a whim. I have not tarted myself up, no makeup, no fancy hairdo, no fashionable clothes, just me in my everyday clobber. No rehearsals and no retakes, I can't be bothered to do it all again. No editing, I don't know how to do that, it's just my mush in front of my little point and shoot camera. What you see is exactly how I am in real life. I have never seen a face move around as much as mine does, it has a life of it's own. Yes, you can laugh if you like, I think it is hilarious. The  BBC cameraman kept telling me to smile. I know I should smile more, but I find it very difficult to smile while I am talking, so no fake smiles from me. I am as I am.

So here we go, it's 13 minutes long. I've just watched it and had a damn good laugh at myself.

Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Coming soon.

Hello. I've made a video and I'm waiting for it to upload onto yooootoooob, will post it when it's ready, 211 minutes left to go. It's a very important message, so don't miss it  ;o)
Lots of lurv  Ilona

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Birthday plans, a surprise parcel, and a singalong with The Seekers

Hello from a chilly North Lincolnshire. By 'eck it's been cold here today, brass monkey weather by all accounts. Time to wrap up. I had a quick trip to town this morning, I've been meaning to buy a ticket for a show at the Baths Hall in May, and after checking their web site again and seeing how fast they are selling, I thought I'd better make a purchase sharpish. I could have done it over the phone with a credit card, but that would have cost me an extra £2, so I decided to go there and hand the cash over the counter. 
I parked at Sainsbury's opposite because the plan was to combine the journey with stocking up on cat litter, that one bag I bought at Aldi isn't going to last long. The Baths Hall was closed, chuffin heck. A sign on the door said tickets are for sale at The Plowright Theatre. Back to the car park and into Sainsbury's. Not having much luck, clumping cat litter at £1.55, out of stock. That's another chuffin heck. I got in the car and drove to the Plowright, not far, and bought my ticket, not many left on the front row, my favourite seats. Then I drove to Tesco and picked up eight bags of cat litter and a bottle of wine, a nice treat for me. 
The show I'm going to see is Men of Steel - A Massed Male Voice Choir with Lesley Garrett. The blurb says, 25 years ago the Scunthorpe Male Voice Choir pulled together male voice choirs from all the major steel making areas of Northern England to sing in a 200 men massed concert. And now they are doing it again next year, sounds pretty fantastic, I shall enjoy that. The date is five days after my birthday, so I have decided I am going to celebrate over the whole five days and find something to do every day. Whooohooo, that should be fun. 
This afternoon a parcel arrived for me, a surprise, I wasn't expecting anything. Inside it was a mixed box of crafting supplies, wool, fabric, etc, and also a gift for Rocky. Here he is in his new lead with matching collar, and doesn't he look a cool dude with his bandana round his neck. Thank you so much to the mysterious sender of this gift. There was a note but I'm not sure which kind reader sent it. A lovely thought. 
I've had a lovely afternoon. I collected the free newpapers from my friend, Rocky came with me. I've been scoffing veggie stew, and slurping the chardonnay, I've even gone a bit bonkers and put the central heating on. YAY, it still works after not being turned on since February. Some crafting has been done, and a long conversation with my best friend on the phone. Yoootooob has provided me with entertainment, Judith Durham and the Seekers have been revisited. Hasn't she got a beautiful voice. She is now 72, and the most recent video I can find was from last year, the quality isn't so good so here is one from 2010. Their music is just as good now as it was 50 years ago. Hope you enjoy it.

Thank you for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Friday, 20 November 2015

Just an ordinary Friday

Hello. Nothing exciting has happened today. Spose I need to have a few dull days, too much excitement would wear me out. I went to town to pay a bill at the bank. While I was there I had a look at the newly refurbished 20 21 Arts Centre. It sure does look posh. A brand spanking new reception area, gift shop, and cafe, it looks lovely. I had a browse of the exhibitions, two really interesting ones. I didn't have time to study it properly so I shall go back, with my camera. 
I popped in Poundland next door to the bank, in search of Ultimate cat food. They haven't had any for a few weeks, but I was surprised and pleased that it is back in stock. I cleared the shelf of 14 bags. My cats will be chuffed, it's their favourite. I did a quick shop in Aldi, for a few items, only spent £7. Bananas, cheese, broccoli, spinach, dog food. I was running out of cat litter and they do a bag for £1.55. Cats are piddling indoors a lot just lately.
I've thought of a new idea to play around with. I have a metal bracket for a hanging basket outside on the wall, next to the kitchen window, and I have never had a basket on it. It needs something to hang there to brighten up these dull winter days. It's the wrong time of year to plant up real flowers, so why not make an artificial display, something that will not deteriorate in the weather. 
I have this chrome basket type, pointy end round ball. It used to be a lampshade, I found it in a skip. It was covered in glass beads and crystals which I stripped off to use on other projects. I didn't like to throw it away so it has been hanging in a tree in my back garden for the past year. Now I need some flowers, that's easy, I can make some from aluminium drinks cans. Yes, I think that should be quite good, a hanging ball of artificial flowers. I'll get on with it.
It's a bit colder today, I think we are heading for a cold weekend. Mayze cat and Rocky are lying in front of the gas fire, Bugsy is next to me on his chair, and Heidi has taken a liking to lie in a small gap behind the open living room door. I don't think we will be moving far tomorrow. I have a big pan of veg stew, potatoes, carrots, onions, large tin of mixed bean salad, and a tin of tomatoes. I usually use porridge oats to thicken it, but I have half a packet of ground rice which I want to use up, and that does the job nicely. Won't need to do much cooking for a couple of days.

Thanks for popping in. Enjoy your weekend. Toodle pip.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Shopping till I dropped

Hello. Now that the filming has finished, I have time to tell you a bit more about it. Mollie asked the question, what happened to the food, did I get to keep it. I'll come to that later. Someone from the BBC found my blog and was interested in how I cut my food bill by buying yellow sticker reduced items. They came up with the idea of sending me shopping to get as many items as I could with big savings.

We started at Sainsbury's and I did what I normally do, head for the obvious places, and as I haven't been there for a while, asking an assistant where I should look. I'll just mention here that we did not film inside any of the stores. I had to forget that I was shopping for myself, and had to get a good cross section of food including meat and fish, with the biggest markdowns. This is when I hit the first problem, how could I put into my basket food that I do not need and food that I would not eat. It goes against my principles. I usually take my time and carefully select what I would buy. We did this on Tuesday late afternoon and evening, and to get to four stores in the time meant I had to make quick decisions and rush about. I had to keep reminding myself, it is not my shopping and I was spending someone else's money. There wasn't a lot on offer at Sainsbury's and normally I would have been happy with spending a pound and getting two or three items, then walking out.

At Asda we hit the jackpot, there was plenty of my normal food to choose from, fruit, veg, salad, and dairy, at very low prices. No problem in filling the basket there, in fact we had to get a trolley, the basket wasn't big enough. By now I was getting a buzz, we were winning. We then went to Morrisons, and finished up at Tesco. It was quite late when we got there, and had missed most of the bargains. Nevertheless we found something from the few things that were left, but it wasn't food that I would normally buy.

It was all brought back to the house and I stored the temperature sensitive items in the fridge. We ended up with a lot of shopping, and I got quite excited about having all that food in the house. We talked about what would be done with it once the filming had finished. I said that as they had paid for it they could take it away, but if they left it with me I could eat some of it, and make sure that every thing I didn't need would be given to friends and neighbours. I would find a home for it and nothing would be wasted. They said that would be fine and I could have it. I was very excited at the prospect of giving people surprises. Barry could have the mince as he likes to make spag bol. The family across the road might like the diced turkey, bread, and some veg, they have three strapping blokes to feed, two of them students. And my friend in the next village who is slightly disabled and doesn't earn much would like to pick a few items. Then there's my friends in the crafty club, I could ring them and tell them to come and take what they liked. I was really looking forward to sharing it out.

It was an early start the next day, the crew arrived at 8am. They had a plan. The cameraman and I would go back to all the four stores and film the outside scenes, me walking to the store with empty bags and coming back to the car with full ones. The sound lady would stay in the house and go through all the purchases logging on the computer how much each item was to begin with, how much was paid for it. Now as you know this is something I have done in the past with my own yellow stickers, because it's interesting to find out exactly how much can be saved. She had a massive amount of food to go through, it was going to take more than two hours to do it.

When we got back she had finished and the food was piled up in the living room, some of it back in the shopping bags. It was lunch time and we were going to the pub so I started putting the temperature sensitive food back in the fridge. By this time, with all the handling, some of it had started to deteriorate, the prepared veg getting squishy and the bread crumbling. There was no time to mess about they wanted to get to the pub to eat, I insisted that some of it had to be refrigerated. I had already mentioned that the food shouldn't be out of the fridge for too long.

More filming after lunch, in fact we didn't get finished until 7pm, so it was a long day. During the afternoon I was told that they would have to take the food away with them because each individual item needed to be photographed by someone else for the still shots. Nothing I could do, it was out of my hands. From that moment on, I lost enthusiasm for the the job. I was so disappointed. For me that would have been the icing on the cake, to be able to give it away.

We still had some filming to do, the food came out of the fridge and went through more mauling about. I had to put a smile on my face and carry on, and hide my disappointment. It was very hard to do that. By the time they had got back to Manchester later that night some of the food would have to be binned, it had been out of the fridge for too long. You know what I think about wasting food. Criminal.

So now my fridge is empty, I'll leave the shopping till next week and eat out of the freezer and store cupboard. I can't face going shopping again just yet. I've lost my mojo, I need to find it again. I have a £3 voucher off a £20 shop at Tesco with another week left on it, so I'll use that.

A lot of work goes into making a short piece of film, and unless you have done it you don't realize just how much. It's interesting to gain a bit of an insight as to how it all comes together. They had allocated two days to this. I decided to do it because it might be fun, but in truth you need to have a sharp mind, you need to pick things up quickly, and follow direction. It's a lot of focused concentration. Most of the filming is in short bits which will be pieced together later, and most of it is shot out of sequence, so that befuddles the brain a bit, especially my logical brain. There were times when I was stuck for words. I am usually a lively conversationalist, but to be asked the same questions over and over again, and to respond with a smile on my face and repeat the same or similar lines over and over again, I found it very hard. My enthusiasm started to fade away as the day went on. I am best first thing in the morning.

Right, let's move on, what's the next? Something will turn up. In the meantime, I'll keep on trucking.
Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Can you do that again........

Hello. Well that's all done and dusted then, two days of filming in the can. I tell you what, it aint easy. We went shopping at four supermarkets, Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, and Morrisons, the idea being to buy only  yellow sticker reductions, spending £5 at each store.
You will have to wait four months to see it. It's on BBC in March, it's all about food shopping. I will let you know the date when I find out. Apparently I should get about ten minutes. 
I'm going to have to sign off now until tomorrow. My brain has gone to mush. All I can hear is, and again, and again, and again. 
Thanks for popping in. See you soon. Toodle pip

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A puzzle

Hello. My visitors came. It's been a busy day. They are coming again tomorrow. It will be another busy day. 
Catch up soon. Toodle pip

Monday, 16 November 2015

Something has tickled me ;o)

Hello. I'm giggling here, can't tell you why, I'll keep it to myself, oh dear I can't stop, and now I'm LAUGHING OUT VERY LOUD.

The house has scrubbed up nicely, it's pristine in fact. Now that's sorted I will try and keep on top of it. There is a downside to having a tidy house though, I'm going to have to get things out again when I want to do some crafty work, and then the mess will return, ha ha. It's an ongoing circle, tidy, put away, get it out equals messy. Oh I give up. Chuffin housework, Domestic Goddess I am not.

I found time to help my friend deliver the parish newsletters in her village today. I volunteer to do that because it is quite energetic to run up and down the road, in and out of the driveways. Good for the old ticker, good to keep the muscles supple, stops me seizing up.

The visitors are due tomorrow so I might be a bit busy.

Catch you soon. Toodle pip
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I'm off to bed.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Domestic help wanted, must be cheap.

Hello. I do have some cleaning equipment in the cupboard under my kitchen sink, but every time I open the door a hot sweat comes over me and I go all fluttery. My brain starts to panic at the thought of actually reaching for a cloth and a bottle of whatever. I take a few deep breaths and try and focus. I say to myself, 'come on, you can do this'. I was not put on this earth to drag a Dyson around, or flick the dust off the picture rail. There's no fun in that, but today I made an effort. I have some people coming this week, so I need to tart the place up a bit. 
First this mess on the table. There's allsorts of crafting bits and bobs here. I'm sure it can't be me leaving things lying around, I wonder who is doing it ;o)
The window is clean, inside and out. I have moved a lot of stuff upstairs, and put a clean cloth on the table. It's a bed sheet by the way, This is a work table which the cats jump up on to sit in the window sill, so no point in putting a posh table cloth on, it would get ruined, and I have plenty of bed sheets. The window sill cover is also a bed sheet, folded to fit.

Remember the four years of dust, well it's gone now. Imagine all the time I have saved by not dusting it every week. The mantlepiece has quite a shine on it. That will do nicely for another four years, or until I get some more visitors.

Tomorrow I have the bathroom and kitchen to clean, they won't take long as I am not quite so slovenly where food and washing is concerned. Housework does not turn me on one bit, if I could afford it I would employ a cleaner. Now that's an idea, I'll have a look at the budget to see if I could stretch to a fiver a week, ha ha. They don't cost much, do they?

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip.

Saturday, 14 November 2015


Hello. I don't think it is appropriate for me to write a blog post today, in light of the terror attacks which took place  in Paris last night, and the loss of the plane which came down over the dessert. We live in troubled times and a lot of innocent people are losing their lives. Let's remember those who are no longer with us, and the families who are grieving for their loved ones.

Please take three minutes to listen to this beautiful piece of music. It has been a favourite of mine for many years and always makes me feel very sad. Remind your husbands, wives, partners, sons and daughters that you love them, because there are a lot of broken families tonight who will never see their loved ones again.

God bless. Catch you tomorrow.
Ilona xxxxx

Friday, 13 November 2015

Go go go you old rocker

Hiya. The cavalry has arrived across the road, looks like it's all hands on deck. DynoRod has just pulled up to sort out a problem with the drains, so I expect I will have to wait for the bricks to appear at the front. My view is blocked by vans however, so I will have to keep popping upstairs to look out of the bedroom window for any movement involving men carrying bricks.

In the meantime let's have a Friday Frippery, meaning odds and sods. I have chosen this yoootooob clip as an introduction, You are on my mind, by Crispian St Peters. Love it, foot tapping sixties music to sing along with.

So, what's on my mind? All sorts. I watched a Panorama programme on BBC iplayer yesterday, How Hackers steal your ID. With cyber crime increasing all the time we all need to be aware of it. We should be very careful about the information we put out on the internet. No one is 100% safe from being ripped off, scammed, robbed, trolled, and bullied. People have lost their life savings through crooks spinning a yarn, lying and cheating their way into victims bank and credit card accounts. I try and do everything I can to limit my vulnerability to scams. Banking details are not safe anywhere, even banks get hacked. I will not bank online. I do not shop on the internet, no Ebay, no Paypal, no Amazon. I limit my direct debits and prefer to pay my bills with a cheque into the bank, or over the counter with cash at a Post office. Have a look at the programme, now on yoootooob, and see if it doesn't scare you, because it sure as hell scares me.

That Katie Hopkins is now a permanent fixture over on The Mail, she has built up a following since her appearance on The Apprentice and is now well known for her acid tongue. I'm not sure I would want to put myself in the firing line like she has, I can only assume that money is her motivation. When the press started reporting on her nasty comments she was vilified, but now the tables seemed to have turned, a lot of people are backing her and agreeing with every word she says. Very weird. Shame that those who are most opinionated and gobby are rewarded by big wages, and those who quietly get on with their meaningful and fulfilling lives as a valued member of society, get very little payment. I am reminded of the saying, what goes round comes round. I believe that having a clear conscience and being at peace with yourself is much more preferable to always having to look over your shoulder.

I don't watch cookery programmes, not interested at all, so I know hardly anything about Nigel Slater, but the Mail calls him a no nonsense chef so I was prompted to read on. Seems he is a straight talking guy without the need to be offensive. He is calling for people to return to the basics of cooking after an obsession with complicated recipes.He goes on to say food is now worshiped and fetishised, and some foods have been victimised and banned from plates. I will go along with that. He has written ten cookbooks so I suppose he knows what he is talking about. There is too much fannying around with food, it doesn't need dressing up, tarting up, it is not there to look at, it's there to eat. I don't know about you, but I eat with my mouth, not my eyes.

Notice the difference? One of my many favourite songs of the sixties.

Still performing, still enjoying himself at the age of 75. You've got to hand it to these old rockers, they can still get your feet tapping.

Going to check on the bricks, DynoRod has gone and the sun is out. The weekend is almost upon us again, enjoy. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Lucky lucky lucky - free stuff

Hello. It was my lucky day yesterday. What is better than reduced yellow sticker bananas? Free bananas of course. Yes, I got five free bananas. I was walking up the High Street and paused to read the notices in the village shop window. The door opened and the owner stepped outside with the said bananas. She was about to throw them in the bin  when she hesitated and asked if I wanted them. I was amazed that she was going to chuck them, the only thing wrong with them was the skins had started to darken a little. I gratefully accepted, and was chuffed that I was there at that moment. One eaten, four to go. 
This is a second hand house brick. I have been looking for some of these for a month or two. At a guess  about 200 would do the job I have in mind. Another stroke of luck yesterday. The house opposite has been undergoing a renovation, it's taking ages because there's only a couple of workers on the job. The front looks pretty much finished and now they are starting on the back garden. A skip has appeared and I asked the owner who is supervising the work if he was chucking out any bricks. He said he was, but they were mostly broken as they took a wall out with a jack hammer.

I could see the skip filling up so I had a nosy what was in it. Some of the bricks looked fine to me, a bit chipped, and caked in cement, but that would come off with a hammer. I had a word with the man working there and he said take what you want. So I did. I took my wheelbarrow and cleaned the bricks up before I loaded them in. 20 bricks are a bit heavy to push along but I only had to cross the road and take them to my back garden.

I ran out of daylight yesterday so I went back this morning and got some more. 77 so far, and the man showed me another pile which I can have, he will get his mate to bring them to the front tomorrow. They are taking out an ordinary window and putting in patio doors, so all the bricks below the window have to be removed. Lucky me that I don't have to transport them far, and they are free. Just think, they are about 60 years old, and I am going to use them again. Good bit of recycling there, Hugh would be proud.

This is what I am going to do with them. The pallets around my raised beds are rotting so I am going to take them out and replace them with bricks. I want to make the beds smaller and sow grass seeds between them so I can get the mower around them. At the moment they are too close together. Then I'm going to plant them up with flowers and shrubs which the slugs don't like. It will make a nice view from the summerhouse.

I ran up a couple of shopping bags today, these are particularly suitable for the male fraternity. 
Have guess what these are? No they are not pasties, not even pastry of any kind, nor pasta, in fact not edible at all. I took these shoulder pads out of a garment I bought at a charity shop. As the plan was to cut it up, I didn't need the pads, but what to do with them. I put them with the cleaning materials under the sink, and today I had an idea, I could use them for washing up, instead of a cloth. And it works. They are just the right size to swish around inside pots and pans, and they easily wring out with one hand. Useful for cleaning inside the microwave, and wiping down the top of the cooker. Give it a try if you have any from redundant clothing.

It's been a lovely day today, I had a line of washing blowing in the sunshine, and I got the mower out and went over the back lawn picking up all the fallen leaves. More bricks to collect tomorrow, yippeeeee, then I can get on with the job.

Thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

I could make something with that

Hello, back again. I took more pictures this morning in natural light, which are slightly better than those I took yesterday with a flash. I don't know what it is though, my camera doesn't like red, it comes out kind of hazy, and the wrong shade. However, I'll press on with it, not about to buy a new one. Here is the heart hanging over my mantlepiece. Don't zoom in though or you will pick up the dust on the wooden ledge, ha ha. Quentin Crisp is right, it doesn't get any worse after the first four years.  
The kitchen floor seems a good place to take photo's, light is coming in from two windows. Yes, I wash it regularly. Every time I wash my hair in the sink I use the rinsing water to clean the floor. I get down on my hands and knees with a cloth and give it a good going over.

I didn't have much choice with the colours, preferring to use up what I already had. There was a couple of t-shirts which I bought for £1 and used on previous projects. I was pondering whether to put some embellishments on the centre red heart, and tried all sorts of bits and bobs. I wanted to use pearl beads but they sank into it and wouldn't have been seen. Difficult when the surface is not flat. I decided to leave it plain.

The back is red, not pink. I used felt and hand stitched it all the way round folding the edges under, to completely enclose the back. I am fairly pleased with it. The shape of the centre heart is still not quite right, but I shall take this into account if I use more of the plastic mesh on another project. It's a bit like cross stitch only bigger. Making curved edges when you are working without a pattern on straight lines is difficult. 
Here's a little something I knocked up this morning , I felt an experiment coming on when I woke up. A pretty flower which measures two and threequarter inches across. I haven't put anything on the back. It could be a Christmas tree decoration, or it could be made into a brooch if I put a clasp on it. Can you guess what I made it from? 
Of course this is not recycling something old or used, you have to buy the scourers new from a discount store. Sometimes I see things, especially those with a bit of colour, and my mind automatically thinks, I could make something with that.

Pan scourers, new, not used, ha ha. They make them in great colours. Similar to felt but thicker, with loose weave fibres. Easy to get a needle through. It would probably stick together if you wanted to make something using glue. Can you think of something you could make from these?

I have to go out now, thanks for popping in. Catch you soon. Toodle pip.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Crafty project finished, but.......

Hello and Good Evening. My apologies for being absent without leave. I got my head into this project and everything else got put on the back burner. That's how it goes, I get into crafty mode and nothing else matters, ha ha. Back now, the project is done, but I am unable to show a photo of the finished article because I can't get a decent photo with flash. I'll retake some in daylight tomorrow. 
This is how it started. A piece of plastic mesh and some t-shirts.
Cut the t-shirts into strips and then into small pieces. I'm sure you all know how to do that.

I decided on a simple heart shape. It's quite big, 20 inches across at it's widest point and 21 inches top to bottom. I drew the shape onto a piece of wallpaper first and made a template. Starting on the outer edge and working my way towards the centre. I used one of those gadgets with a hook and a barb that you use for rugs. The mesh is quite big so it went through easily. 

Filling in nicely. When I finished it I noticed that the heart in the middle had become distorted, that's because the mesh is a diamond shape, which lends itself to straight lines rather than curves. I had to make some adjustments by removing some of the pieces, and filling in the gaps with the adjacent colour.

Next I needed something to stiffen it, yep you've guessed, it's a wall hanging. I didn't want to use wood because it would make it too heavy and I didn't want to saw round curves with an ordinary saw. I have some of this thick not sure how to describe it, heavy duty plastic sheet, bits left over from a previous project. It's  similar to what I used to cover the summerhouse door, only a bit thicker and not so flexible. Found it in the same skip in fact. Easy to cut with scissors. 
I had a big piece of red felt for the backing, given to me a few months back in a bin bag full of fabric.

Next I fastened the front to the stiffener with thin but strong twine.

But what to hang it with. I have some red cord which wasn't strong enough to use a single strand so I plaited it. I pinned it on first to see if it would take the weight, it did, but the heart was too floppy and started to fold. My solution was to fix a knitting needle across the back and attach the cord to that. Problem solved, it keeps it flat.

And that's as far as the pictures go for tonight. Phew, my brain has gone to mush, I need to chill out.
Thanks for popping in. I'll be back tomorrow. Promise. Toodle pip.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

That's a nice pear you've got there ;o)

Hello. It's been a mixed bag of weather just lately. I did a load of washing this morning because it was very windy, but ten minutes after I hung it out the spots of rain began and turned into a downpour. I hastily grabbed it all back off the line and ran indoors. It will stay on the clotheshorse until tomorrow, maybe it will be dry enough to hang it out again. Think I will fix up a line in the summerhouse and hang it in there. Talking of the summerhouse, I need to clear all the fallen leaves off the roof. The silver birch trees in the next garden always deposit tons of leaves over my garden in the autumn. It's a blinking nuisance. 
I got some free pears today, they are huge. There is a tree in someones front garden nearby and I noticed that they never pick the pears and let them fall to the ground where they rot. Last week I knocked on the door and said if they didn't want the pears could I have them. The tree never has a great many, it's quite a small tree, but the fruits are massive. The man said they tried one once and it wasn't very nice. Too hard, very dry, and he didn't like the texture, also it had no taste. He gave me one to try anyway. This morning I cut into it and had a taste. I don't know what he was talking about, it was perfectly alright to me. Not hard, not dry, and tasted of pear. I went back with a carrier bag and my litter picking stick because I knew I could not reach the top ones. Whoopeeee, free pears. 
Janet and Sue had a stand at a Craft Fair today, it was at a big hotel near town. They do this one every year. They don't need me to help and I had Lady dog to walk, but I went for half an hour to see what it was like. It was a big room, packed with stalls. The car park was full and there were plenty of customers milling about. They set the stall up really well, it looked great. Looking around the rest of the room there was the usual jewelry, greetings cards, preserves, sweets, hand made gifts, cushions, wooden crafts, etc.

Most of you will remember that I don't do Christmas at all, can't be bothered. If I want to give gifts I give them any time of the year. No one gives me presents and that's how I like it. When it comes to buying extra food in, I get myself a few little treats, perhaps something I wouldn't normally eat or drink. I've brought Christmas forward this year, well that's my excuse to buy this bottle of cheap port. It's my Christmas treat. I don't buy hard booze, spirits etc, but I do like a small glass of port. Trouble is I've started it already. Oh dear. Never mind, I will sip it slowly and make it last  ;o)

I was hoping to show pics of my latest crafty project, but it's not finished yet, maybe tomorrow.

Thanks for popping in. Jacqui, I've got your email, thanks. I'll reply soon.
Catch you soon. Toodle pip