Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A chill is in the air

The last two days I have noticed a real change in the weather. The morning air on Sunday had a smell of autumn to it (if you have any idea what I'm talking about). I felt quite excited that Sunday morning because I thought, ooh autumn's here.

I love autumn, it's my favourite season. The warm days, cool nights, harvest time, trees changing colour, dark nights drawing in and snuggling in the house under blankets on the sofa watching TV.  I love the change in meals from light summer food to warming hearty stews and home made hot puddings.  I love the clearing of the garden  and preparing it for next spring with bulb planting.

For the last two days I have felt quite chilly around the house so I have worn a fleece. The house would most probably have been warm enough if I had shut the back door but I like to leave it open all day so the dog can keep going in the garden. I see me having to close it soon though. When you think about it, today is only a day away from the last day of August and we should be basking in late summer sun still. I refuse to have any heating on in the house yet. We watched a film last night and I was chilly so wore my really thick winter dressing gown and soon felt lovely and warm. Fuel is way too expensive at the moment to have the heating on this early. 

Hubby changed our gas & electric suppliers the other month and today we received a cheque from our old supplier for £92 which was owed back to us. Tomorrow I am going to ring a double glazing firm who gave us a quote for a damaged window http://frugalinyorkshire.blogspot.com/2011/06/just-short-post-today.html to come and do the work. Easy come, easy go. Bye bye £92.

Have any of you succumbed to turning the heating on yet?
Bye for now.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Menu Week 29/08/11

MONDAY - Tuna nicoise, homemade coleslaw & homemade bread

TUESDAY - Sausages, mashed potatoes, steamed veg and yorkshire puddings & gravy

WEDNESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and homemade garlic bread

THURSDAY - Mushroom risotto, parmesan crusted chicken and salad

FRIDAY - Savoury mince on jacket potatoes, roasted carrots, broccoli & peas

SATURDAY - Enchiladas and salad

SUNDAY - Roast chicken, sage & onion stuffing, mashed potatoes, veg & Yorkshire puddings

Feeling a bit fed up today. I go back to work tomorrow after 3 weeks holiday and I don't want to go back. I've loved my 3 weeks off and the thought of having to return is making me feel down.  Also returning to the voluntery job tomorrow so a double whammy, it's going to be a hard day tomorrow.
Guess once I get tomorrow out of the way it might be a little easier. Might.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Lazy Day

I have had a nice lazy day which started off with Christmas shopping! Daughter No1 showed me a dolls house she had bought my grandaughter for Christmas and showed me some of the accessories that she would like to be bought for the house as gifts for Christmas. So I have ordered my first Christmas gifts this morning which Hubby was rather disgusted at. I know lots of you out there will have stacks of presents already and will think I am rather late getting my first gifts. Now I've started I shall be on a roll. I asked daughter No3 to start thinking about what she wants for Christmas and shall start my Christmas file shortly. This is a file I do every year with my budget, what I buy every person, what I cook each year and how much I spend on food and drink. 

I had a lazy morning today then took my dog for a long walk. I went blackberry picking. All my favourite blackberry haunts are so overgrown this year I just can't get near them.

I take a bag with me on every walk and collect a few berries each time and then freeze them. When I have enough to make some blackberry jelly daughter No3 and I get jam making. 

The house has been very quiet today. Hubby has been out at the cricket club playing cricket and doing very well at it which continued with celebratory drinks at the club until this evening. Daughter No2 went to York to stay with a friend for the night and daughter No3 has just been occupying herself in her room this afternoon.

Have you enjoyed your Sunday? Have you got a lay in tomorrow or are you one of the unlucky ones who have to work on a Bank Holiday?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hush Hush

Quiet please, grandchildren asleep. Hubby collected grandchildren from daughter No1 on his way home from work this evening. As soon as hubby walked in the door he was stressed, grandchild No2 had cried in the car for the last 15 minutes of the journey for no apparent reason. Brought into me and continued to cry. Daughter No 2 arrived back from a day out with friends to all the crying and declared that she was not happy with all the racket and the kids had better not be staying for two nights because she can't cope with it. Hubby then decided they had better go home tomorrow if this continued because he can't cope with crying kids anymore. My god, (sorry for blaspheming if you are religious) I do find it difficult dealing with tiny children now, I hold my hands up and admit it ,but poor daughter needs a break from them and the night or two I have them is hard, but I can give them back and be baby, toddler free for quite a while. Poor daughter has to put up with it 24/7  because we don't live local. The 3 year old is good at sleeping but the 1 year old is a pain in the butt at times and right on que has just started moaning in her cot because the dummy is not in her mouth. Think I had better get to sleep because I can see a broken nights sleep on the cards!  Enjoy your nights sleep because I don't think I'm going to enjoy mine!

Until tomorrow x

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Good clearout day

Started the day with some ironing then onto the girls bedrooms. Been wanting to clear out their wardrobes and drawers for ages. Got daughter No3 to sort through all the junk in her wardrobe whilst I showed her all her clothes and threw a pile on the bed she did not want anymore. We got a huge pile of rubbish for the bin and paper to recycle and a big pile of clothes for the charity bag and a small pile for the rag bag.

We went for a nice walk with the dog then it was time to sort out daughter No2's room. She never throws out any old clothes so her wardrobe is always overflowing with stuff. Well she was rather ruthless today and we got rid of loads. Both girls even sorted through their underwear drawers and sock drawers.

This is the amount of bags we got to give to charity and for charity rags. I recycled lots of paper and put plenty in the rubbish bin. Feels a lot better now we can see what's in the wardrobe and drawers.

We had roasted vegetables tonight and I roasted them in this...

The oil leftover from a jar of sundried tomatoes antipasti. Don't throw the oils from olives or any other type of jared veg in oil. Use it in salad dressings or for roasting things, it gives them a lovely flavour.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Menu Week 22/08/11

MONDAY - Fish pie, peas, carrots and broccoli.

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese & homemade garlicbread

WEDNESDAY - Roasted chicken, roasted vegetables, new potatoes & home made facaccia bread

THURSDAY - Leftover chicken  & bacon bits in a creamy sauce on vegetable rice

FRIDAY - Omelette, jacket potatoes, homemade coleslaw, corn-on-the- cob, salad & HM bread

SATURDAY - Chicken/tofu fajitas

SUNDAY - Roast of some kind, veg, mash and yorkshire puddings

I made the other day some courgette and parmesan soup http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/italianstylezucchini_9833 with my home grown courgettes. I did not add as much oil as the recipe said and I added veg stock instead of chicken. I added a whole tub, 150ml, of cream instead of the 60ml the recipe said. It made a lovely soup which I shall be having for lunch for a few days.

I made some courgette and mushroom bread from a recipe I found on the internet. The taste was lovely but the dough was very wet when I made it and I added extra flour and left it in the oven for over an hour but the middle was still a bit wet. Because it tasted so nice I will use the rest with my soup but will toast it and may make croutons with it. Shall have a jig with the recipe and try to make a it again with a lot less liquid. So no bread recipe yet.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Day 7 & 8 of my hols

Happy 17th Birthday to my daughter

Birthday Girl

Time passes so quickly and then they are grown up. She wanted money from everyone for her birthday so she can go clothes shopping. Today she's gone with a group of friends out for the day and then on to somewhere for a meal. We shall have a birthday cake and candles when she returns this evening.


Rain was forecast on the news for this day so we drove north to Combe Martin which is a lovely tiny place and has a lovely bay. We spent the whole day on the beach exploring rock pools and relaxing on the beach reading and having a picnic.

The day turned out to be a lovely hot day and we stayed on the beach until quite late then went and ordered a pizza and ate it in the car before driving back to our hotel. Another lovely cheap day.


After checking out of our hotel we went to Weston-Super-Mare for the day. We went to see the Sand Sculpture Exhibition then spent the afternoon on the beach and ate lunch.

The sculptures were really good. I heard a little boy ask a guy who was repairing a sculpture how long they took to do. Some were 5 days up to a week with a team working on each sculpture. They were very impressive. Another very cheap day.

From Weston-Super-Mare we headed up to Worcestershire to stay overnight in a hotel so we would not have a long journey home in the morning. We came in budget with our holiday so no getting into debt on this holiday. Even came home with £50 spending money left. back to saving each month for next years holiday now.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Day 5 & 6 of my hols

Blackpool Sands Beach, no not that Blackpool but a lovely little bay in south Devon. It was raining when we arrived so we sat and had a hot drink whilst the weather was at its worst. The bay has a cafe, shop, loos and changing rooms that's all and there is nothing else around. Only a few people were here when we arrived. The girls and hubby got their wet suits on and were in the sea. Like hubby said, doesn't matter if it's raining your going to get wet anyway.

Hubby and daughter No3

 The rain stopped and the day turned into a gorgeous day. Then the people started to arrive. We had a great day here. We had our picnic on the beach and spent the day in the sea and lazing on the beach till late. Lovely.
Blackpool sands beach, Devon

Weymouth Carnival & Airshow

Arrived in Weymouth to rain and it rained most of the morning. We did not like Weymouth, too busy and not our cup of tea really. We stayed the day though because we wanted to watch the air show and the display we really wanted to see (The Red Arrows) were not on until 5.00pm.

 Little did we know that a few days after watching their great display one of the pilots, Jon Egging would die in a crash whilst doing a display in Bournemouth. RIP.

The Red Arrows

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Home Sweet Home

We're home! Had a really nice holiday which was jam packed and feel like I now need another holiday to just relax. The washers on its second load and there's plenty more to wash. Can see my Sunday being an ironing day. Need to go to the supermarket as the cupboards are bare but shall do that tomorrow as I'm too tired today.



Did not find any discount vouchers for here so I ordered my tickets on line which saved me 10%. We had a lovely day here and sat in the gardens and ate a picnic. The tropical dome was the best but if you have hair that frizzes in humid conditions like mine go in this dome last! I had a right mess of a hair do when I came out.

A bee

Friday, 19 August 2011

Day 2 & 3 of hols

Not been able to blog whilst on holiday my dongle was not really working that great in the area we were in so I gave up. We are still away but have moved on to a hotel half way home to cut down on the travelling tomorrow. This hotel has free wifi so here I am catching up on a bit of blogging before we eat our evening meal.

Last Saturday we went to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. We had plenty of food in our cooler box for our lunch so only had to pay the entry parking which was a whopping £10 for the day. We did get our monies worth on the parking as we arrived just after 10am and left around 10pm.

85 balloons were launched in the evening which was great to watch. We have been 3 times to the Balloon Fiesta over the years and we felt it was too busy this year. You could not move along the paths by early evening and the queues for the porta loos were ridiculous.

We ate from a fast food stall which were ridiculously priced and the queues were ridiculously long too. We could have taken some extra food for our evening meal but we thought not having it refrigerated all day could have been a bit dodgy.

Night Glow
We watched the night glow when it became dark which was lovely to watch. They fire up their balloons to the rhythm of the the music then they had a fireworks display. An enjoyable day in some ways but too busy to call it a great day.


On the Sunday we went to Bristol Zoo. We printed off some tickets from moneysupermarket site for 2 for 1 on entry into the zoo which gave us a great saving (can't remember now how much it was in now) We called at the supermarket on the way to the zoo and bought bread, sandwich fillings and drinks. We did this every day and it saved us a fortune. We never spent over £10 and that was for four of us. The prices in these cafes at venues was ridiculous so it saved us a lot of money taking our own food. Parking was only £3.00 for the day.
Huge fruit bats, lovely cute faces

Dragonfly sculptures

The zoo has lovely gardens with lots of sculptures and the gardens are well tended. I was pleasantly surprised with the zoo. A lovely day out.

My Girls
After the zoo we headed to our country chain hotel for 5 nights b&b in Devon. Hubby printed off the hotel website 2 vouchers for a free glass of wine if you order a main meal so we took them up on the offer. 

Friday, 12 August 2011

Day 1 of our hols

Day one and it's been a lot of travelling. I did the first stint of driving then we stopped at a park in Birmingham and had planned to have a picnic outside on a rug but the heavens opened just a few minutes before we pulled into the car park. Ended up having our picnic in the car. The rain stopped so we went for a stroll around the park. We then had a coffee in the cafe which was not budgeted for but we indulged. It was not even a very nice coffee. One daughter got a hot chocolate and the other a small bottle of milk shake. All this was at a cost of £7.00! I'm not used to paying for hot drinks in cafes and I do find it a rip off and just think of what I could buy with the money in the supermarket instead.

Hubby took the second part of the driving and we arrived at the chain hotel in Bristol for our stay in a family room for two nights. You should look into family rooms when you ever want a stay in a hotel with kids. They are really good value and when you pay for breakfast the kids eat for free at the chain we used. So four of us are eating breakfast in the morning for £13.24 which works out at £3.31 per person for breakfast. It could have been cheaper but hubby wanted to have a cooked breakfast so it did make it a bit more expensive. If he chose to have a continental breakfast like me we could have all had breakfast for £2.62.

We ate in the Beefeater restaurant in the hotel and came in budget with what we allowed ourselves for the meal. Hubby received a confirmation of our booking through e-mail the day before we left and attached to the e-mail was a token for a free drink for us with our meal. We had £9.80 deducted from the bill for our drinks.

We are now sat in our room having a bottle of wine which we brought with us. We bought the wine in Aldi for £3.99. So much cheaper than buying a bottle in the bar and we can sprawl out  and relax whilst enjoying it.

So a good start. Came in budget with what I estimated we would spend. Tomorrow will be even less because we still have plenty in the cooler box for lunch tomorrow and we shall only be having some food from stalls at the Bristol Balloon fiesta for tea tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Got lots of these, need lots of these

I've got lots of these,

Homegrown courgettes
so I need lots of these.

Empty jars
My courgettes are doing well but I have a glut and was struggling to work out what to do with them. I had a search on the Internet last night and now have a nice pile of recipes to use them up. I've a recipe for courgette bread, courgette soup, courgette chutney and courgette & chocolate cake. I'm going to start with a courgette chutney.

For jams and chutneys you need lots of jars. I don't buy new ones. I save any jar of any size to reuse in my jam making. Above is a picture of a mayo jar I finished yesterday and a pesto jar. Jars are great for storing herbs and spices and I just used one the other day to store some smoked chillies I had opened and wanted to make sure I lost none of the flavour. So if your thinking of starting jam or chutney making, save your money and start saving any jars you have finished to reuse.

Off on my holidays tomorrow but shall still try and blog most days if I'm not too tired and don't get in too late.

Bye for now.  : )

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Budgeting for a holiday

I've a busy day ahead clearing a backlog of ironing before I do my last wash tomorrow before we go on holiday Friday. Yes, a holiday when we try to live frugally. We don't have to live frugally because we are in debt. We live this way to make sure we don't get into debt doing things we enjoy.

We live our lives planning meals, budgeting and being careful so we can save for things we want and put a little aside to pay for things that may unexpectedly turn up. When we finish a holiday it's straight on with saving every month an amount into a savings account for the next holiday. We don't do expensive holidays, mainly because we can't afford them, but we make sure we have a break somewhere each year.

So Friday we set off on our annual holiday which will be starting off in Bristol. We are staying in a family room in a chain hotel for two nights so we can go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. We are staying in a family room as it's a lot cheaper than getting a room for us and a room for the girls. The Bristol Balloon Fiesta event happens every year and is FREE. The only expense is the parking which is £10 this year.  We shall have our electric cooler box which we plug into the car so this allows us to visit a supermarket in the morning and get some supplies to make sandwiches later.

We then travel onto Devon which has all been planned so we have a good idea how much we shall be spending and it allows us to print off discount vouchers or pre-book tickets for places so we can save money. We are not the type of people who say "let's stick every thing on the credit card and do what we want on holiday and pay for it later." We will not get into debt to have a holiday.

So follow us on our holiday later in the week and see how we do. Do you budget for a holiday and plan your days out to minimise costs?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Menu Week 08/08/11

MONDAY - Creamy pesto chicken/tofu, sauteed potatoes, roasted tomatoes & peas

TUESDAY - Sausages, mashed potatoes, vegetables, yorkshire puddings & gravy

WEDNESDAY - Lasagne, wedges & salad with homemade garlic bread

THURSDAY - Curry, rice and naan bread

We are then on holiday so no menu planning for nine days; I'm being cook for which will be lovely.

Bought some strawberries & cream today whilst shopping so decide to make something a little different to strawberries & cream for dessert.


100g butter
50g sugar
100g plain flour
50g ground rice

Heat oven to 190C, Gas 5.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add flour and ground rice and mix well into a dough.
Roll out onto a piece of baking paper as the dough is quite difficult to handle.
Roll dough quite thin and place baking paper and dough onto a baking tray.
Bake for about 12 minutes.
Cut out round circles with pastry cutters and leave to cool.
when cool they will harden, lift the circles off the baking paper and they are ready to use.

I whisked some double cream with a few drops of vanilla extract. I placed a biscuit on a plate added cream then some strawberries the topped with a biscuit. Dust with icing sugar and top with a strawberry.

I just threw mine together but the others looked a lot neater. It was only when I remembered to take a photo that mine was the only one untouched so I had to have a picture of my messy dessert for my blog. Never mind, it tasted just as nice as the perfect ones.

Friday, 5 August 2011

I have a fig!

My first and only ripe fig. I have had my fig bush for over five years now and it always produces plenty of figs each year but they usually drop off or rot on the plant. This one survived so I picked it today before I forgot about it and left it to rot. I shall eat it tomorrow, maybe with my breakfast. Looks like I'll have to wait another year now to see if we can do any better , there are no more figs left on the bush now.

Well, I did my voluntary shift at the charity shop this morning and I shall be going to work shortly to do a night shift then that's me done with work for three weeks! Yippee! Every year I take three weeks off in the summer holidays and I LOVE IT. The only problem is having to go back to work and get back into working a night shift but I will cross that bridge when the time comes. So roll on 7.00am Saturday morning and that's me done.

Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Whitby, another day out with the girls

We went to Whitby yesterday. Hubby had the day off work and I don't work Mondays so we went to the coast for the day. We had a car full! A dog, two daughters, daughter No2's boyfriend, me and Hubby. The boot was also stocked with blankets to sit on, a cooler box of sandwiches and other bits to eat and we had a bag of drinks.

 We had a picnic at the car park at the top of the hill where the abbey is. The weather was lovely and we had good views of Whitby. After our picnic we went walking around the town and harbour. Daughter and her boyfriend went off on their own and met up with us later.

Parking cost £4.00 and the only other expense was on a couple of ice creams at £2.70 and £2.80 in a cafe on cups of horrible tea.  After walking and getting very tired we went back to the car and lazed on the grass on blankets for a while before setting off home. A very nice day.

Did not get my menu plan sorted for the week with being busy and going out for the day so need to get that sorted sometime today. I shall just call into a shop on the way home from my voluntary job today and buy a packed of sausages for tea tonight. So the menu plan so far will be -

TUESDAY - Sausages, mash, yorkshire puddings, veg and onion gravy

WEDNESDAY - leftover lasagne, salad and garlic bread

the rest of the weeks meals will be sorted sometime today.