Tuesday 30 January 2018

A change of phone...

We have been thinking about this one for a while now and finally decided to take the plunge when the one we were looking at, dropped £20 off its price in the January sale! We chose a BT8610.

Yes, we know that cordless phones don't work in a power cut due to their base stations not having their own electricity supply (design rethink to allow a battery?). Also, during a power cut, despite the handset having batteries, the date and time have to be reset - again, very odd. We are keeping the old one for a power cut, just in case.

Until we took advantage of BT's nuisance call service (free as we are their customers), we were receiving up to 15 calls a week. We managed to block them and also don't allow witheld or international calls through at all. However, once your limit of 100 blocks is reached, you are stuffed unless you pay, or else have to physically remove some.

Our new phone has Truecall technology on it. Meaning when anyone except your allowed contacts get in touch, the phone answers (like an operator) and people have to give their name. It then rings us and plays the message. If we don't want to accept we push the refuse button or block them - simples.

Most cold calling agencies aren't happy to leave their name from what I can gather when said 'operator' kicks in unless they are from say the hospital, who use odd numbers, or an official company such as HMRC etc.

Should someone get a new mobile or landline, they too will have to go through this vetting procedure until we add them to our contact list. This new phone also allows us to block 1000 numbers.

Being wireless it has a small amount of interference on it but also can be used handless (speaker phone), which we may use if said mild interference becomes annoying.

Monday 29 January 2018

Horse pills...

Having done a lot of reading magnesium, I decided to start taking it at night to see if it helps. Originally, I was using small sized pills of Magnesium Oxide in the morning. These are the cheapest but least effect and least absorbed type of Magnesium, apparently.

Now I have started to use giant pills of magnesium citrate, a good alround version which absorbs more readily due to the citric acid component in them. The size is a huge problem for me, even if borken in half, they are rough and just stick to my tongue and back of the mouth before I can swallow them.

Reading the instructions, it doesn't say to take them whole so I decided to finely crush two (the recommended dose), in my pestle and mortar and measure how much powder they gave - 1 whole teaspoon from a measuring set of spoons.

Last night was my first night and I mixed it with some milk in order to swallow it, seemed to go down okay but I shall try a little yoghurt in it tonight instead. This morning, I have crushed a weeks worth and stored it in a small glass airtight jar in a cupboard.

Worse nights sleep for more than a week, but I am not putting that down to the magnesium, just the cycle my insomnia takes. I will probably sleep okay or at least better tonight.

Thanks for all your suggestions. As I said, this is a long standing problem of more than 20 years so it isn't going to go away quickly, if at all. All I am after, is a better sleep even if I never achieve more than 5 or 6 hours in the long run.

Mindfulness is not a thing I am interested in but thanks to all those who have suggested it. Contrary to what might happen to others unable to get to sleep, I am quite peaceful, just laying there, chilling out waiting to go to sleep. I rarely think about anything and have long gotten past the stage of getting annoyed about it.

I have tried aromatherapy but not with much success, despite trying many blends and blending my own over time, so another thing I won't solely be relying on.

Sound CD's or someone speaking etc, just drives me to distraction and gets me thoroughly wound up rather than relaxing.

Horses for courses methinks. I shall keep trying to find what works for me. We are all different and those differences should guide us individually towards what works for each of us.

Friday 26 January 2018

It’s my body

and as I get older, I need to know what is going into it! That most certainly applies to prescription medicine.

I recently visited my doctor to let him know that my insomnia had reached an all time low, around 2-3 hours a night, if I am lucky. I had previously been prescribed a low dose antidepressant for the side effect of drowsiness to try and help. It did for a while.

Now he has prescribed something far stronger with possible horrendous side effects but a definite chance of sleep. Wasn’t too sure so checked these pills out when I got home.

Very common side effects are:

Weight gain within 2 months due to nocturnal eating (whilst asleep apparently), a voracious increase in appetite with a need for sugar and carbs, say what! During clinical trials, the weight gain was between 21% and 30%. That would be 2 - 3 stone for me, not exactly good for my heart or body!

Increase in cholesterol, severe constipation, frightening dreams that reoccur, headaches, nausea, painful joints amonst many others. The information sheet inside is the biggest I have ever seen.

Quite frankly, I am not going to take them and shall return to discuss things further.

I have been down the herbal and Nytol route but don’t want to be stuck on those forever. Onward and upward.

Have a good if wet weekend.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Meter readings....

have both been given to our old and new company and the change over will commence tomorrow. Might not be huge savings but we would rather have it in our pockets than their bank.

Along with the tax savings we began yesterday, they will both add up to around £300 each year.

I managed to have £10 food money left from last month so that has gone into the pantry pot. When I have enough in there, a food bank shop can be done alongside topping up the pantry with staples.

Sunny but cold today. Washing is flapping in the breeze so should be half dry by lunchtime, such an exciting life I lead!

Wednesday 24 January 2018

If you are ....

A non tax payer, or don’t earn more than about £11500, and are married, or have a civil partner, did you know you can give them £1150 of your tax allowance?

I have been meaning to do this and finally got around to it today. It took me literally no more than 5 minutes online. I wanted to do it before the end of this tax year as it will be back dated to the start of it. Also, DB can also get the previous 2 years backdated as I was in the same financial position then.

It adds up to about £230 per annum, not a huge amount for some, but good for us. Hopefully should receive the backdated money in a few weeks as a cheque and DB can look forward to less tax paid each month.

Here is the link.

Welcome to Jill Davidson via Bloglovin. Pleased to say I can now post comments on blogger at their normal speed. The go slow has driven me nuts!

Tuesday 23 January 2018

By 09:20...

A little later than normal for me, the first stage of bread making was in the airing cupboard on its first rise (alarm clock duly set for 40 minutes). Bedding had been washed and was airing on the new radiator hangers - bedroom window ajar to cope with any condensation.

Eventually the sun came out and I thought about moving the washed duvet cover outside. Instead, it was attached to the patio door curtain rail by pegs, it dried by mid afternoon on this south facing window.

Trying to use the last bit of out of date dehydrated strawberry powder, some small strawberry sponge cakes were duly made, after the bread had been cooked:
For tea we had a tiny piece of liver, mixed with a small sliced pork steak and mushrooms, with carrot mash and gravy - yum.

Monday 22 January 2018

Beside my chair...

Sits the largest of the nest of 3 side tables. Currently on it are:
Two coasters for hot and cold drinks, two pairs of glasses, distance and close and a small tray with hand cream, pen, nail file and small scissors for when I am crocheting.

Sometimes, it has said crochet on it, night time pills are another occasional addition, sometimes a book I am reading. Today, as you can see, it is relatively empty!

I used to wonder why my in laws had similar tables at either end of the settee where they sat, now I know.

Also over the arm of the armchair, dangles my homemade holder for the tv and dvd remote:
A place for everything and everything in its place.

Friday 19 January 2018


A bit of frost this morning after an overnight low of -1C. Yet again, our day has dawned bright but cold, the 4th blue sky and sun combination on the trot! Looks though that Sunday will be a complete washout.

After a bit of due diligence on the food front, we have managed for now, to get our weekly food and toiletries shopping under the £35 mark, indeed some weeks are £30 or so. The only fresh homegrown vegetables we can dig up is leeks so not much to call on.

We have our last packet of dehydrated strawberry powder to use up, slightly out of date, so I might make some muffins with it. So far, DB has been stirring it into his porridge each morning and I into my milk fruit smoothie combo.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday 18 January 2018

Almost like February...

Normally, the weather in January is cold, grey and just plain miserable!

For the past two days though, and indeed this morning, we have had blue skies. I have been able to half line dry the washing before finishing it off indoors.

The sun has shone but despite it, it is still very cold with a brisk wind. Even had to put a coat on to hang out the washing!

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Making jam

We have quite a lot of fruit in the freezer from 2015 and 2016 to use. Whilst we love crumble, we really don't want to be stuffing our faces with it every day. Normally, puddings are reserved for the weekend, helps to keep our weights level.

Pulling out some plums from 2015 and blackcurrants from 2016, the plums in particular were checked to make sure they hadn't gone fizzy! All was well and I managed to make 4 jars of jam plus a small bowlful to have for the next couple of nights, with yoghurt:
Two of them didn't pop their lids into position for a complete seal, so their labels have 'use first' on them. Lovely jubbley!

Tuesday 16 January 2018


First of all, welcome to Valerie22522 via Bloglovin.

DB has gone shopping to spend his Christmas book voucher. He said he hadn't had one for years, so I bought him one. He loves book shops and could happily spend an age in them, me not so long. I would rather him enjoy himself browsing than have to worry about me wanting to move along!

I think he is also looking for/at shoes as he is down to his last pair that he uses every day. Whilst heels and soles can get replaced on certain types of shoes, these have an enormous split on the sole and are not the kind that can have a replacement fitted.

Does anyone still repair their shoes nowadays?

One of the presents I received from DS and DDiL was one of these:
I haven't started it yet but hope to do so soon.

They also gave me a large envelope thing full of used coffee grounds, ideal for my blueberries! Thanks guys.

Monday 15 January 2018


Where possible, I like to dry our clothes outside. It makes them smell lovely. However, this time of year, drying outdoors isn't always practical. I try to only use the tumble dryer for half drying our towels so they stay reasonably soft. Occasionally for other uses but not too often, as it is expensive to run.

Our radiators are good but damp clothes next to the walls, can cause wallpaper to wrinkle and lift slightly. Looking online for something I used many years ago, I came across radiator dryers. You can buy a pack of 3 (with 2 lines to dry on) for £3.50 from Wilko. We went and bought 2 packs.

I tested some of them out:
They work very well, but do take longer to dry the clothes. I shall try and remember to swap the back item for the front to get equal drying time. These 6 dryers give me 4.8m of drying space and along with a large clothes horse type dryer, should get all our washing dried from now on. Ching ching...

Friday 12 January 2018

Messing about...

Is anyone else finding blogger is messing about. When I answer comments, it is taking an age to publish them. Blog posts by others are showing up on my reading list, but when I go to read them, they don’t exist.

The same applies to publishing a new post, takes forever and if you don’t realise and come off that tab to do something else, it too seems to disappear.

Walking buddy E., popped round yesterday to lend us her puzzle stash, that should keep us busy for a wee while.

Thursday 11 January 2018

Changing suppliers

As each one year fixed rate fuel tariff gets close to ending, we start to look around for a cheaper tariff, where possible. Our current supplier has offered us something that will save us a whole £7 a year. If we don't go onto that, we will end up on an expensive standard tariff!

I found something new this time, regarding what you can apparently save. Thought I would pass it one so you don't get caught out.

Although you can often access tariffs without semi filling in of details, such as £/kw per hour usage, what rate you are currently on, who you are with ect., what exactly does that saving mean.

I thought as they were accessing my current fixed rate tariff details, knew our annual consumption, the savings reflected were on that fixed rate tariff. Nope! Turns out it is the saving you will make once your fixed rate tariff has finished and you have been switched to the more expensive standard rate tariff.

Another question to ask yourself, especially if the differences are huge, is why. Well, newer fuel supply companies offer an excellent tariff to get you as a customer. They are often so new, they are not on a price comparison web site. If they are, they are too new for much customer feedback.

For example, on a standard tariff, the most we could potentially save was £134 - seems huge. Once we had worked out what that saving meant on our current fixed rate tariff, it was down to about £75! Still a good saving. However, it was too new a company to get customer satisfaction feedback so I trawled the internet, looking at social media and the feedback was very poor from most people who had switched to them!

I guess you pay your money and take your chance.

We decided to switch to a larger, more well known company, for a saving fo £57 per annum. Not so much, but we have been with them before and have had no problems with them to date. Also, that money will be in our pockets and not theirs.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Puzzle 2 finished...

DB had done a little more than me on this one so I asked him to leave the last bit for me - about 40 pieces I reckon - of snow!

Anyway, herewith finished jigsaw:
Quite a nice scene but even more of those odd shaped pieces to contend with. We shall trawl the charity shops next for some more.

Tuesday 9 January 2018

I wasn't laughing...

Yesterday, bread making went well - initially! We were doing the jigsaw puzzle and heard a loud thwack coming from somewhere behind us (front of the house). We checked every room, couldn't find anything so assumed something had fallen over in the attic. DB had been up and down like a yoyo putting things away post Christmas and New Year visitors.

The beeper on the cooker sounded to indicate the bread was ready for the oven. Oven was put on and I went to get the bread - couldn't find it. Assuming I was losing my marbles, I checked the kitchen and other rooms in case I had moved it and forgotten -

Nope, nowhere. Checked the airing cupboard again (where it usually goes) and found the thwack had been the protective bread cover, with the rising of the dough, had hit one of the pipes, causing it and the bread tin, to tilt backwards off its shelf.

It was now trapped between two slats, still in its tin. After the air went blue and I had strutted away in disgust, DB pulled out the unit, extracted the dough and tin and handed it over. I checked it over for dust, wood particles etc and not seeing any, put it into the oven.

It was an odd shape but it cooked fine and tastes as per normal.

I know - you can't make it up can you?

Monday 8 January 2018

New Jigsaw...

Welcome to Charlotte Weavers and Peapod via Bloglovin. This is our new jigsaw:
On Friday, DB and I got the outside edges of it completed. Saturday saw us, DS and DDiL sit down and enjoy about an hour or more, adding to it, DS also videoed about 50 minutes of us, which we played back at high speed. It was at this stage:
The jigsaw is on the dining room table, we both do some in between other things. Yesterday morning, after DB and I had done some on Sunday, it was at this stage:

By the evening, it looked like this:
Coming along nicely. It is another one of those puzzles with odd shaped pieces in, certainly keeps us on our toes!

Friday 5 January 2018


Our guests are with us until tomorrow and we have had lots of goes at Pandemic Legacy Season 1. It is fair to say that we are losing against the board more often than not. This is because as you progress through it, the board permanently changes, as do some rules. Additional characters are added along with new cards, whilst others are removed!

This gives the board a better chance of winning and it becomes a bit more cerebral to play as all options have to be thought out before a player thinks of moving. It is good fun though.

We also got another Christmas jigsaw. It took an age to get the border done as yet again, there were numerous pieces left over which had straight edges. All a ploy as we have measured it and it is the correct size!

DS set up his video recorder as we began to start sorting out the middle, before he and DDiL joined in. He filmed 50 minutes before we watched it back at high speed, very entertaining!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

Must do this year....

Change the tilt and turn window in the lounge. It is letting in drafts and noise. Also the wooden window sill inside is going at both ends so that too will need replacing.

Replace the bathroom radiator. This has needed doing now for 2 years and is getting very rusty.

Also, whilst it is being changed, we need to double flush the system to clean out the gunge that is building up and also change two bleed valves on the lounge radiator.

Onwards and upwards!

Monday 1 January 2018

Black Forest Trifle

Chocolate fairy cakes were soaked in Bramble vodka and a few cherries added:
Forgot to take a picture of the black cherry jelly going on top of them. Once set, thick chocolate sauce was poured over it:
It was left in the fridge overnight and topped with whipped cream and more cherries:
I would normally grate chocolate on top but didn't have any. We have also made strawberry ice cream and creamy vanilla yoghurt ice cream.

Opening our presents today!

Happy New Year everyone.