Wednesday 30 September 2015

1000th post giveaway!

As seems to be the custom in blogland, I shall be giving away 3 gifts, to 3 winners randomly generated, as a thank you for reading and commenting. This is open to those who follow me, either here or via Bloglovin.

Although they are used, they are in very good condition so hope you don't mind. Should I get no entries, they will be donated to a charity.

Unfortunately, due to high postage costs, even to Europe, I am sorry to say, these book giveaways are only open those who live in the UK.

The first is this:
It is a good starting point for those wishing to be more mindful of their money and how it is used in shopping and eating habits. Although this was a lovely present one Christmas, I have read it and feel it is now time to pass this on.

The second is this:
This was one of the first publications I bought, after I had visited a UK WWII weekend and some ladies were there, talking about the home front food supply. Full of interesting ideas and facts, all to do with the UK home front during the period of time on its cover. It led me onto buying many more books on this fascinating subject.

Finally, the third is this:
I love the Sunbonnet Sue characters and have really enjoyed looking through this and hope one day, to use some of the ideas. However, I have had it for more than 2 years now and time is marching on. Maybe someone else would find it more useful!

This will be my last post for this week and will stay on until Monday morning, GMT, when the winners will be drawn and notified. Please let me know if you are interested by put 1000th post at the beginning of any comments.

Good luck and have a lovely weekend everyone!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Holding on!

A few flowers are bravely blooming in the garden, despite the very cool nights (2-3C) we have recently been experiencing. Does anyone know the name of the first one? It usually has small purple flowers, but these are pink and I have on rare occasions seen it in white.

It has grey green thin leaves, its stem is slightly square and it grows anywhere from 1m to 2m tall. It self seeds everywhere but we and the wildlife love it:

This time of year we also have loads of these garden spiders:
They come in a few different shades and stripes, lay their eggs, then later in the season, we see spider babies running out of their egg sac/nest?

This is also the time of year the big old house spiders run around - those we are not too keen on especially if they are on the bedroom walls or ceiling - ugh.

We have a large glass and thin piece of card in almost every room now. The glass is quickly put over them, the card slid underneath to trap them inside, then the whole thing is carefully lifted off the wall/ceiling, turned upside down to make carrying easier, then the spider is flung into the garden.

Monday 28 September 2015


Welcome to Hilary Butcher via Bloglovin.

With the nights being so chilly, I decided to pick all our remaining tomatoes as the leaves on the plants were rapidly turning purple with the cold!
They can now use the free heat in the conservatory to change colour. On the kitchen windowsill meanwhile, is about our 5th basket of cherry tomatoes:
We still have another bowl in the fridge plus the ones in the conservatory. I reckon we have easily had 15 - 20lbs of tomatoes this year. When you consider they have all been grown outside in such a poor summer, that is quite good!

Tomatoes and beans have been our best harvests this year. Everything else, except fruit, has been rubbish. Ah well, there is always next year:)

Friday 25 September 2015


One of the things I like about making piccalilli is the quickness. You don't need to spend hours looking after it, inhaling the fumes as you go. By 9:30 this morning, I had made it. The vegetables were prepared and salt added (the vegetables were tossed a couple of times in the evening) before being left in a pot bowl overnight:
This year I am using carrots, peppers, green tomatoes, onion, radish, beans and cauliflower. This morning, they were drained and thoroughly rinsed and left to drain.

All the spice ingredients were carefully weighed:
Then stirred together with enough of the vinegar to make a paste. The rest of the vinegar, sugar and honey were added to my stainless steel preserving pan and brought to a simmer until everything was melted.

The paste was added and the sauce boiled quickly whilst stirring, to thicken it and release the flavours of the spices (nearly forgot my whole mustard seeds! - doh). The drained vegetables were added to the sauce, given a good stir and cooked just for a couple of minutes before being put into hot sterilised jars:
Some of these will be given for Christmas presents, the rest will be for us. I may or may not make some more, as we love it.

Now the wait begins as it has to mature for 6 weeks before use.

The recipe can be found under my recipes tab above. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 24 September 2015

Baking, making and updates...

I really must not do too much on one day! I made our weekly loaves of bread. Whilst that was proving, DB was busy putting up netting on the windows to keep out wasps ready for making chutney:
Whilst that was cooking, I made some biscuits:

Interspersed with other things, I felt pooped by the end of the day!

Just to let you know I have updated the menu and War Diary Year V pages.

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Trialling a new cleaner on the 1st day of Autumn

Today, the Autumn Equinox, heralds the first day of Autumn in our household. Having read a post on a blog by Morgan which you can find here,  I then clicked her link to arrive at an unknown blog to me. On this ladies blog, who is called Wendy and you can find her here,  I noticed she had a link to Miricle Cleaner.

Sounded good to me and I am after a alternative bathroom cleaner than the frugal one I currently use (nothing wrong with it, just felt like a change).

I didn't have any Eucalyptus oil so used a combination fo Tea Tree and Lemongrass:
A different colour to her's but I assume it depends on what colour your washing up liquid is! I had some old washing up liquid I no longer wish to use so it went in this.

You pour some into a spray bottle, spray, rub and rinse. I used it on our bathroom sink and it certainly brought it up nicely. There is mention on the instructions of diluting it but I gather that is only if you double up all the ingredients except the water.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

A host of rainbows...

I tried to find the collective term for more than one rainbow but other than a "disappoint of rainbows" (why, because there is no pot of gold at the end of them?), didn't have much luck.

Anyway, the sun was striking one of my glass oil lamps at just the right angle to shower everything in the dining room and kitchen with rainbows. On the carpet:
Kitchen cabinet:
On the back of DB as he walked into the kitchen:
On a bunch of dried flowers on the dining room table:
Its enough to gladden your heart isn't it?

Monday 21 September 2015

The Slow Clothing Movement

First of all, welcome to Janet Hambly and frederique via Bloglovin.

Rhonda had a Friday link, a couple of weeks ago,  to this thoughtful idea. You can find the article here

As part of my road to liberation from using/wearing potentially harmful ingredients on me and my family, I read this article with interest. I have needed some more winter clothing for a few years now and took this oppurtunity to invest in some 100% cotton clothing or clothing that was at least 50% cotton or another 'natural' product, if I found something I really liked.

My new mantra for de-cluttering/going natural is this: 1 item in 1 item out - now how simple is that.

I found 4 lovely long sleeved shirts that were 100% cotton, 3 pairs of trousers likewise, 1 long sleeved shirt that was 100% Viscose and a jumper with a 50% Wool/Acrylic blend (read here for ingredients of Viscose). Only thing letting me down was the Acrylic part of the jumper - but it is called the slow movement for very good reasons. It is mainly about changing your attitude and that can take time.

Out went 8 items of clothing,  to a charity shop to balance out my wardrobe. Some cotton but now too big for me. I then put in the pile 3 more jumpers that are 100% Acrylic. All in all, I feel that is a good start.

I tend to keep my clothes for years and years. The trousers I put in the charity bag are several years old but have never fitted on the waist properly, always having a saggy sticking out bit at the back of the waist. The new ones have a fully elastic waist.

A few cotton stretched tops have gone into my rag rug bag.

Sunday 20 September 2015


Well done team GB in the Davis Cup, and in particular today, Andy Murray - you looked so sore! Hope you recover soon but take a few days to relax:)

Saturday 19 September 2015

Goodness me...

Well done team GB in the Davis Cup. I have to be honest and say I thought you had lost that match.
I actually gave myself indigestion with all the tension. I only hope Andy can play well enough tomorrow, because he must be physically and emotionally drained after that, plus it didn't look as though his back was 100% either.

Friday 18 September 2015

Dressed to kill making marmalade...

I think not! Here is me wearing/posing with a new tee shirt requested for my birthday a few months back - it looks like something has nibbled off the fingers on my hand:
Once that was photographed to send to DS and DDiL who gave it to me, I donned an apron and set too making marmalade. Now you can make this the slightly more slower way by buying in Seville Oranges (if you can ever find any, we usually can't). You can make it fresh with them or prepare them and freeze the rind, pulp and juice for later on.

If no Seville Oranges can be obtained, you can use a can of Mamade. We cannot abide shop bought marmalade, too sweet and often sickly, even some of the good stuff. Besides, I like to add goodies to mine. Off we go then - can of Mamade and sugar in the preserving pan:
I shall be flavouring the jars with Whisky, Brandy and Ginger:
 Jars have been washed and are being sterilised in a hot oven:
 Lids coming to a boil ready to steralise:

After the marmalade was ready, I filled up half a jar, added the extra items, then filled them nearly to the brim. They are left for just a few minutes to allow the level to drop slightly before the final fill up and lids put on. The Whisky and Brandy ones:
The two at the back have ginger in them and the little one at the front is plain:
These will be labelled once cold and some given as presents. No further treatment is needed as the high level of sugar will preserve everything, often for a few years if stored well.

The demise of the bottom drawer!

Firstly, welcome to Jules via here and Dotty's Daughter via Bloglovin.

Hands up if you remember saving for your bottom drawer?

For those of you who don't know what this was, it was an age old custom of filling a bottom drawer of a chest of drawers (if you could afford to fill it that is), with things you would need when you got married and left home to become a wife.

I started my bottom drawer when I was about 17, hoping that one day I would meet Mr. Right and everything I had saved hard for, would be useful.

I can't remember everything I had in there but know I had some tea towels, dishclothes, a counterpane (anyone still have one?), a blanket, double sheet and two pillowcases. Those took me an age to save for especially as my first job was was just £7 per week and £5 of that went to my sister for house-keeping:(

Being young and naive, I didn't realise that my 40 hour week was basically slavery for such a paltry sum. I did however, enjoy this first job, straight out of school where I worked for the Fatstock Marketing Company (FMC). This involved sorting out the deliveries/transport of livestock, from farms to the abattoir and elsewhere, whatever was needed by them.

In return, our reps would come into the office with pies, joints of meat, sausages, eggs, bacon etc, which we took in turns to take home. We could even order something for Christmas, I ordered a 3lb loin of pork, for free:)

Eventually though, staff changed and I no longer enjoyed working there, so left to go to The Halifax Building Society as it was then, for the princely sum of £96 per month - wow!

That enabled me to begin my bottom drawer.

As life would have it, by the time I got married, I had left all shared accommodation behind and was living on my own, in quite a big bedsit, with a tv and music centre (supplied by Radio Rentals).

DB was single and had lots of electrical things, so between us, we only needed to buy a bed, fridge, freezer, cooker and suite. The cooker and fridge were wedding presents, the rest we bought gradually on 'tick' - now that is a blast from the past.

Does anyone remember a bottom drawer, if so, what was in it and did it come in use?

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 17 September 2015

Making some basic foot/hand cream

Solid organic coconut oil was weighed (2oz) before being put into a small pan:
Once melted a level tablespoon of oil was added (this time I used Sweet Almond oil):
Once mixed well, my chosen essential oils were added - Carrot Seed, Rosemary and Lemon Balm:
The re-purposed O-- of O--- containers were then filled (gave me 1 1/2 containers worth) and put into the fridge to cool:
Lids screwed on. The full one is staying in the fridge, the front one is in the lounge where it will stay semi-solid until we light the wood-burner, then it will have to be stored in the fridge.
I tried some on my hands and feet last night, they are becoming very soft, especially the hard skin. DB said is smells strange but okay. I decided it smelt a little like lemon Vick!

Anyhow, the only thing I need to do is scoop a little out, rub it in, put on a pair of old socks. Mind you, my feet are usually so warm it drops off if I am not careful so might need to use a towel to protect clothing!

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Post Move Lasgne

DDiL's parents also helped with the move. Their main task was to paint the new rental place which was not left in a fit state of decor or even clean for that matter. They soon had it ship shape!

C. brought a lasagne up for their first night's tea as we were supposed to stay down at the old house for a few nights to enable early morning starts. However, DDiL had cleverly filled every nook and cranny in the moving van and we all felt extra hands would be needed to unload at the other end. Upshot of which was a takeaway.

The beautuful lasagne was had for our final night before we came home. We realised then, it was ages since I had cooked us one. I decided to do a pork and fresh tomato version - got to eat these lovely tomatoes up whilst we can still enjoy them.

Instead of doing a white sauce I omitted that and topped it with a melted milk, tomato and cheese sauce just on the top (quite calorific):
It was very nice. This was a half size lasagne dish, the rest went into foil dishes to be eaten tonight.

We had planned on having some fresh beans with it but once served up, realised this would be more than enough to fill us up.

We got word yesterday that their old house was finalised yesterday so they are now mortgage free for a while. They wanted to rent rather than buy (which they certainly wouldn't be able to afford where they are - footballer's wives and all that rich nonsense bumping up the house prices). Instead they will save like made to increase their next house deposit and take their time looking around, further afield for their next house.

DS's job may well entail quite a few moves in their married life. Next time though, everyone is agreed that a rental firm will be involved:) All they have to do is get rid of some more stuff!

Monday 14 September 2015

Plums & Gages

We were too late to obtain some Greengages to make DB's favourite jam but not to be outdone altogether, we looked for some pick your own places in North Norfolk. We found this one here and off we went.

£3 per punnet for a very generous kilogram of ready picked fruit (it was £2.80 for PYO), we bought 3 different kinds:
On the left is Victoria, in the middle Kirkes Blue and on the right Early Transparent!

We froze 1lb of each for use later in the year as jam or puddings. You can also see here, our 5 x 1lb bags of the windfall apples from DS and DDiL:

Some of the rest were cooked and eaten with ice cream:
or eaten fresh - they are very nice:)

It wasn't until we came home and I checked for them on-line to post about them here, that I found out they also do large Damsons. Maybe we can pop in if we are passing in the next couple of weeks.

We did however buy one of their jars of Greengage Jam, even if it is slightly runny!

Friday 11 September 2015


Welcome to Gail via Bloglovin.

Before going up north to help DS and DDiL move house, we had to harvest some of our produce before it got wasted - a whole colander of beans:
Climbing Runner Bean Desiree:

Climbing French Bean Major Cook:
Climbing French Beans Blue Coco
The red pears were beginning to fall so we harvested all of them that were still on our tiny trained tree:
They are rock hard and spent the time in the salad drawer of the fridge. We shall pull out a few every now and then and sit them in the sun to ripen. Should keep us going for a few more weeks.

We still have some russet skinned pear tasting Ashmead Kernel apples to pick plus the Conference Pears on our other tiny trained tree are still swelling. Again plenty there to keep us going for a few weeks.

The beans have gone mad whilst we were away and we still have loads more tomatoes to harvest. Onward and upwards.

 Hope you all have a lovely weekend folks!

Thursday 10 September 2015


After helping DS and DDiL move house, we are finally back home and tired! I don't think we will be doing much for the next few days as we slowly stop aching. Luckily for me, I had a massage this afternoon which will help hopefully:)

We drove up on Saturday and although they had managed to do a lot of packing, they had just come back off holiday so there was still lots to do. Each day consisted of about 8 hours or so of sorting,  packing, followed by a 1 1/2 hour drive to their new home then another hour or so unloading. Next day repeated but also a 1 1/2 hour drive down to the old house.

We finally finished about 5:30 on the Tuesday evening, leaving the house clean from top to bottom, had the long drive back, unloaded, ate and went to bed. Unfortunately for them, they had work the next morning but at least now, their drive is now around 25 minutes rather than 1 hour 45 minutes!

A bonus to me at least is the presence of 2 - 3 apple trees in their garden, so I picked up loads of windfalls and came back with these little beauties - no idea what variety:
Luckily for us as well, our neighbour R. had lent us his sack trolley, without which we would have been a little stuck.

The dogs were a little worried as their home was dismantled. Their kennels couldn't be moved until Tuesday but once erected in the new place, they seemed to understand. Quite a few rooms are stuffed to the gunnel's with boxes and I think it will take them quite a time to sort through them.

Hopefully, anything they don't need can be repacked ready for another move!

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Visiting Sheffield Archives

We caught a train from DS's and DDil's house up to Sheffield to do a few hours of family history research. Here are a few pictures of the scene when you emerge from the station. A lovely water feature and fountain:
Part of a giant knife blade water wall:

This is the other end of it and I believe it all lights up at night time:

We spent a few hours trawling through records, before stopping to have a pasty lunch at the station. Then we return for another couple of hours and returned back to their house brain dead and probably not much wiser in most things:(

It is very difficult when researching for the marriage of ancestors when their trade wasn't entered on the marriage certificate. On top of that, we were looking for a William marrying an Ann, had several ideas but due to the lack of occupation, are none the wiser:(

Tuesday 8 September 2015

The rag rug is finished!

Making this rug in quick time due to it needing to be delivered as a gift for DS and DDiL, has resulted in a very sore wrist and shoulder! The process though has been fascinating and I shall make another some time with just a few adjustments in the process that would suit how I work a little better.

Both ends coming together in the middle and getting very tight to work with:
Forgot to photograph it off the loom but here it is just before removal:
All the tools sitting on the chair look very surgical:)

The metal rods were carefully pulled out (this is the stage where if you have none the edges correct, it will fall apart). To be safe, I then used my locker hooker to pull a long strip of material through the loops to double hold it all together:
DB then used an old hook to carefully remove the rug from it nails:
That was another nerve wrecking moment, if the warp broke, the rug would be in trouble! A final day was spent weaving in all the lose bits on the back, using a waterproof fabric glue for bits too small to weave in.

We love it:)