Saturday, 30 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1-- Day 30 + 50p for Christmas decorations!

And Finally, The very last one of the 30 ways to save £1 was
30. Drive wisely - accelerate and brake slowly and don't carry more weight than you have to, take off the roof rack.
Him Outside even cleaned the jeep before we drove down to Essex on Tuesday so we were not carrying any extra mud!


I heard on the news that people were injured and fights broke out when Asda were selling reduced price televisions yesterday. Something to do with  being owned by Wal Mart so taking up the USA tradition of Black Friday when after Thanksgiving everyone in the States suddenly starts shopping for Christmas .
It must be hell living in a town or city in the run up to Christmas. It seems like whole world goes mad, car parks are jam packed, shops the same, queues everywhere. I NEVER go to Ipswich on a Saturday and if we do venture there during December it will be early as possible in the day and before the kids have finished school.
I'm so glad that we are out in the sticks but with access to two small towns where parking is free and simple and we can get most of our everyday needs.

This morning Him Outside concreted in the  6 new posts for our broken fence. He wanted to get this done so that when our son is here next weekend he'll be able to help lift the fence bits upright, while they are fixed back onto the posts.
I did the ironing and a bit of housework then biked down to the village hall to have a look at the Annual Cancer Research Christmas Sale. Plenty of people there and things to buy but I just had a go on the Grand Draw and spent 50p on a little Christmas Decoration that I've hung on the back door. ( The last of the Big Spenders!)
  I wonder if I'll get a phone call saying I've won a prize in the draw? It's unlikely as we are notoriously unlucky when it comes to winning.

The Christmas budget is looking good I still have over £100 left and only a Ham and fresh stuff to buy, so there will be some left for saving or carrying over to January (or to go on a secondhand book buying spree on Amazon!) The joy of having no debt and budgeting is that when things are under budget I know that we have a choice in what we do with the spare money. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 --Day 29 + Library Book Photo

Number 29 of the 30 Ways to save £1 was
29. Chutney is easy to make, the ingredients can be cheap and men like jars of chutney for Christmas presents.

That's what several men in the family will be getting this year - again! I hope they like them, I never hear one way or the other, so if they don't - TOUGH

 It has often worried me that people don't like what I've given them ( I'm not talking about the 3 children and their partners but sisters and brothers in law, nephews and niece) so that I've ended up spending more than I ought to.
Then it's worried me again that they have spent money on things that we don't use or already have. I end up spending so much time worried that I dread opening gifts!
I shall try not to be so silly this year- there is just no point in worrying about these small things.
What I should do is to leave all the gift buying and giving to Him Outside, then no-one would get anything and that would be an end to it all!

Today was the last visit of the library van before Christmas, so I'm glad that some interesting books that I'd ordered had arrived. Two fiction books that I know I will like, 1 new author, a couple of cookery books to look through and a few non-fiction that might be readable.


Him Outside was out re-roofing a garden shed for a customer this morning, luckily he finished before we had some rain at midday. Much windier too but at least that has got rid of the nasty grey misty stuff that's been sitting over us for the last few days.

Right, now I'm going to put my feet up and have a look through the library books.
A quiet Friday afternoon - just what I like.



Thursday, 28 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 ---Day 28 + Fence Mending

Number 28 of the 30 Ways to save £1 was
28. Eat less meat- start by swapping one meal a week to veggie things, then 2 or 3.

I'm glad we are getting to the end of the month so I can finish doing these repeats of the April list. It seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the month but it's got a bit tedious!

Had to go for a blood test this morning so biked down to Leiston  in the gloom of yet another nasty November day. I was wanting to buy a pair of small needlework scissors but not one pair to be found in the town anywhere or not where I was expecting to find some.
A pack of reduced-to-clear neck of lamb chops in the Coop was a useful find. We so rarely eat lamb now. Then it was into the Building Society to take out a cheque for that expensive tractor repair. I like putting money into savings but not keen on getting it out!

Meanwhile back at home Him Outside was using that tractor to pull the broken posts out of the ground. This fence was only built about 3 years ago yet several of the posts were completely rotten, no wonder that gale a few weeks ago was able to blow the fence right over. With the hydraulics repaired the tractor lifted out the broken post and the concrete bit easily.
We are going to replace the posts with some bigger ones  and put a few extra in too.

Nothing else to report today, so back tomorrow.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1-- DAY 27 + The Winter Garden

Before I forget, I must welcome two new followers - Aileen and Emma, I hope you enjoy the ramblings from a Simple Suffolk Smallholding.

Number 27 of the 30 Ways to save £1 was
27. Do  you really need to buy a book straight away - wait for paperback version or buy from Amazon later when you can get it secondhand or even better use your local library.
If you love reading and owning books as I do this could save you a Huge amount. Using our library van to collect books I've ordered and then looking out at Charity shops for ones I would like to buy is much more fun for me than just buying everything straight away. It means I have money for other things.

What a mucky grey day we have had here today with wet fog and no sign of the sun.
Him Outside went down to the village to mend a fence this morning ( this was the job he should have done last Wednesday but cancelled due to the weather). This afternoon he covered some more vegetable beds with compost and plastic. This should stop them getting too waterlogged and worms will take the compost down into the soil overwinter.


The vegetables that we have still in the garden for winter are leeks, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, parsnips and chard. Then there are beetroot in the polytunnel and some stored in a sand box. Onions hanging in nets in the shed, squash under the spare bed, a couple of red cabbage hanging in nets in the craft room and broad beans, sweetcorn plus peppers in the freezer. Reminds me of the scene in The Good Life where Barbara shows Margo all the cupboards full of vegetables in their spare bedroom!

I've been at home all day wrapping some more Christmas presents, doing some housework and trying to get warm. Because we were out all day yesterday the Rayburn was lit and shut down and the wood burner was only alight for an hour, so the house feels cold.
My friend that we visited yesterday and I share the same taste in books and she had lots of new ones, so I've made a note of them and looked on the library web site. There is a waiting list of 72 people for the new Elizabeth Jane Howard book! It's the 5th in a series and I very much enjoyed the first 4 so I've added my name to the library list, it may be quite a long wait. She also had two WWII home front diaries that I hadn't come across before. The library haven't got either  so I shall fill in the box on their "suggestions" page and hope that they will buy them. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1--day 26 + Crossing the border to Essex

Not a normal Tuesday, as we had a day out to visit friends who live on the edge of a picturesque Essex village. A good natter, a walk into the village to see the Antique shop, lots of lovely food, exchange of Christmas pressies and a long ride home again.
Forgot to take the camera - silly fool- so no pictures.

Number 26 of the 30 Ways to Save £1 list was
26. Make your own bread, everyone is doing it - it's easy and much cheaper.
The ingredients for the home made bread that I make every week are simple and cheap. 500g of white bread flour = 33p or sometimes less, a teaspoon of yeast, a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt and 300ml of lukewarm water. That's it. Simple.

I have another new follower, bringing me up to 100, I feel a fanfare of some sort is needed! and I realised that I forgot to welcome Victoria at Anglesey Allsorts when her little picture appeared there a few days ago. From her blog I found that last week I missed a fantastic flour offer from Approved Food - Darn it!Grrrrrr! Bother! and Blow!

Monday, 25 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1-- Day 25 + Just A Normal sort of Monday

First of all I must  say Welcome to some new followers over in the little pictures on the right. Hello to Julie Wyatt and Snitty Kitty. Just need 1 more person to reach 100! There are also 58 people on Bloglovin too.

The weather here today is yet again a mixture of sunshine and showers and quite chilly with it.
Him Outside was at our neighbours for an hour or so this morning, moving a fence. Then he filled up the water tank we have on the back of an old trailer to take up to the top of the field for the chickens. Littered the 3 sheds with straw, and filled up the straw boxes near the sheds ( that I use for refreshing the nesting boxes), washed the jeep, and probably a few other jobs too.

While the bread was rising and the sun shining I did a bit of path edging where the grass was growing over the edges. Hopefully this will make the path wider and safer in icy weather. ( That's the path through the garden) I want to do the other path ( from campsite to front door) some time too. It should be 18 inches wide and is down to about half that in places.Better get it done before the campsite re opens in April or I'll be having 'elf and safety after me!
So 2 loaves of bread and a batch of shortcakes made today, 7 dozen eggs collected, sorted ,cleaned and boxed, a few metres of path edged, a bit  of cross stitch done, half an hour of  fiddling about with Christmassy things, dinner sorted and another Monday is soon gone!

 While I was in the craft room I spotted a rainbow ending down the hill over the village so nipped out to take a picture from the other side of the road. This years  new growth of  hedge got in the way a bit and the rainbow had faded by the time I got out there, but with nothing else to take a picture of today I thought I might as well add it to the blog! You can just about see it if you squint!



Number 25 from the 30 Ways to Save £1 list is very apt for this time of year.
25. Never use 1st class post- Get Organised and post early with a second class stamp.
I shall start writing Christmas cards soon and get them ready for delivering if we go out or posting before mid month.

Need to finish a book before Fridays library van, so Back Tomorrow.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 ---Day 24 + Sunday bits and bobs

We've  finally got the job of clearing out the polytunnels finished. There were a lot of green peppers still on the plants but it's too late for them now. I've brought some indoors but the rest had to go in the compost. I shall try and start the seeds off even earlier next year. I guess it was the cold spring that slowed them down.
Then I had a tidy out of the space in an old shed where I used to cut kindling. I picked up all the bits that were still to be chopped and moved them down to my new place.

Eldest Daughter and I went to have a look at the "Cool Yule Vintage Market" at Snape Maltings. The world and his wife were there and the market comprised of about 25 stalls with only a few actually having anything really old on them. Also there were lots of BBC Outside Broadcast vans as they were doing a live Orchestra thing in the Concert Hall for Radio 3, probably something to do with the Benjamin Britten Centenary that's been going on all year. No wonder the car parks were busy.

 Eldest Daughter headed off after lunch home to Surrey. And we watched the rugby (again).

Another weekend gone.

Back Tomorrow

Whoops, nearly forgot-- Number 24 of the 30 ways to save £1 was
24. Grow something to eat - even one tomato plant in a pot can produce more than £1 worth of tomatoes.

Growing our own has always been a very important part of our lives and now we grow to sell it's an important part of our income.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1---Day 23 + A Tired visitor!

Number 23 of the 30 Ways to Save £1 was
23. Never buy notebooks for phone messages and shopping lists. Cut up cereal packets or similar into neat squares and keep them in a little box in the kitchen or by the phone.

I like to use cardboard for lists rather than paper as I seem to be able to find them better. A bit of paper gets screwed up and lost easily.

Him Outside was working for one of his customers this morning. I decided to get on my bike and go to the Cats Protection Homing Fair in Saxmundham. We acquired three cats with the house when we moved here 21 years ago but they are long gone and then we had our lovely Collie cross, Lucy, for 10 years up until 3 years ago. Since then we've been pet-less. Time to think about cats again. I've put my name down for a home visit and will keep an eye on their website, it was so busy that it was difficult to have a chat with anyone to see what cats they have in at the moment, other than the ones at the Fair. My only disagreement with Cats Protection is the amount they spend on keeping very elderly and sick cats alive. ( I fostered cats for them for a while and went to meetings so I do know what I'm talking about). That's the practical un-sentimental smallholder way of looking at things. Otherwise they do a good job of re-homing and trying to keep the number of unwanted kittens down.

While in Sax I popped into Tescos for a couple of things and spotted something I've never seen here before........... a bag of salad leaves reduced to 10p! I've been so envious of Ilona at Life after Money when she finds so many reduced things at her local Tesco. Now I know when to go to our Tescos for bargains - 10 O'clock on a Saturday morning! Although it's annoying having to buy salad stuff after months of having our own, 10p  I can manage. Celery is my other winter staple and that was 2 for £1 so not bad either.

Our eldest daughter came to visit this weekend, she had been to a 90s Revival night and a girls get together with old school friends last night ( including Vintage Vicki's little sister) so this is what happened after lunch here today!
She'll be driving back to Surrey tomorrow, so needs a rest!

Friday, 22 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1---Day 22 + Simple living

Number 22 in the 30 Ways to save £1 was    ( see them all here)
22. Read your local or National newspapers in the library or ask a friend or neighbour to save them for you.
What news will you miss by not having a daily newspaper?
How much money can you save by not buying a daily newspaper?
That's what you have to weigh up for this money saver.

I spent far TOO long fiddling with that seed list yesterday, trying to get it right, so that I began to wonder if I'm spending too much time blogging. Writing my blog, reading those I enjoy following, reading comments, answering comments, writing comments. 

The blog was supposed to be just a diary of our simple life here - out of the consumer rat race. Explaining how we survive without a regular income, without traveling far and generally living a plain and simple life. That shouldn't include half a day in front of the computer screen. If I wanted to do that I might as well be stuck in an office somewhere!

To remind me of the simple life I want to live I've been looking through a couple of my back to basics books, " Swimming with Piranha  makes you hungry" by Colin Turner and " The Plain Reader, Essays on Making a Simple Life" by Scott Savage. A quick dip into these and "The Hovel in the Hills" by Elizabeth West should sort me out.

Another cold day here, lots more rain overnight and on and off all morning with some sunny bits in between. The sun caught the colour of this Hedge Maple beautifully.


There has been more muck shifting today, this time to our fruit bushes. After producing that wonderful crop of gooseberries that gave us an income of several hundred pounds this summer, they need a jolly good feeding. The summer raspberries will also have a good mulch of well rotted horse muck too.

After advertising them in The Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter we sold a couple of cast iron pig troughs this morning, both had small cracks on the edge but still held water. A handy £40 income.
These were the last two of a huge job lot that Him Outside had picked up at a farm auction last year.

Back Tomorrow




Thursday, 21 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1-- Day 21 + A Long list about seeds

Number 21 of the 30 ways to save £1 list that earned me £30 back in April was
21. Every time you come home put any 5p in a jar. They are so small they get lost easily, you won't miss them from your purse and they soon turn into £1.
Actually there are not many 5ps around when I came to look. Nobody has put any through the letterbox for eggs for ages. I wonder if they are going to be withdrawn as they are such fiddly little things.

I tried to do a list of seeds, those grown this year and planned for next year. Did all tidy columns  on Word, copied it over to blog and it came out as one long list ! I have no idea how to make columns on the blog, so this is it. Any ideas?



NAME
Aubergine
Bean ( Broad)
Bean ( Runner)
Bean ( Climber)_
Beetroot
Broccolli ( Purp)
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage (Savoy)
Cabbage ( Coleslaw)
Cabbage (Red)
Calabrese
Carrot
Cauliflower(Spring)
Cauliflower( Autumn)
Chard
Courgette
Cucumber
Kale
Leek
Lettuces
Onion Sets
Parsnip
Pepper ( Pointed)
Pepper ( Block)
Pepper ( Chilli)
Pumpkin
Radish
Squash
Sweetcorn
Tomato ( Plum)
Tomato (Round)
Tomato ( Cherry)
2013                    THIS SHOULD BE IN A COLUMN UP BESIDE THE NAME LIST
Long Purple/Black Beauty ( Polytunnel) OK
Our own saved seed POOR
St George VERY GOOD
Cobra ( grown in big pots) OK
Cylindria/Bolthardy BOTH VERY GOOD
( not sure what seed used) not ready yet
Clodius – As Plants( attacked by whitefly) OK
January King /Tundra BOTH GOOD
Langedijk 4 VERY GOOD
Red Drumhead VERY GOOD
Green ( ruined by caterpillars) Unedible
Trial seed from DTB/Early Nantes GOOD
 ----------                                          
As Plants
Lucullus GOOD
Best of British/Long green bush. All OK
Diana/Louisa. (Polytunnel) MOST GOOD
--------
2 varieties not sure what BOTH OK
Lots of different sorts Poytunnel and outside
Heat Treated from Marshalls 3 sorts GOOD
Gladiator and panorama OK
Corno Di Toro VERY GOOD(Polytunnel)
Bell boy VERY GOOD          (              )
Cayenne VERY GOOD          (              )
Tom Fox, Baby Pam, Small Sugar GOOD
Scarlet Globe/ French Breakfast/Golfball
Butterboy/Metro VERY GOOD
Sugar Buns – NOT MANY COBS
San Marzano/Andine Cornue VARIABLE
Moneymaker/ Alicante/Shirley VARIABLE
--------

 2014           THIS SHOULD BE IN A COLUMN BESIDE THE 2013 LIST
DTB Black Beauty
DTB Imperial Green Longpod
DTB St George / Enorma
Cobra and DTB Isabella
Same again
DTB Early Purple Sprouting
 Plants again
Same again
Same again
Same again
DTB Aquiles
Same plus Kingston
DTB Walcheron  Winter
As Plants
Same
Same
DTB Louisa. KGS Galileo
?
DTB Longbow
Lots different + DTB Wismar
 Same
DTB Same
ORG Jubilanska+ Marconi
DTB California wonder
Same
Tom Fox/Jack of all Trades
Same
Same + DTB Walnut/ Hunter
ORG Sweet Nugget
Same + ORG Agro
Shirley/Maskarena/Harbinger
Favorita

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday, I should have replied but with all this fiddling about with seed lists the day has gone.
Back tomorrow.
 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1-- Day 20 + Roast Squash and Chard Lasagne

Our sons partner is vegetarian so when they come to stay I like to try out a new vege dish. Although I always try it out on us first! Also, because when they come I'm never sure which meals they are going to be here for as they often go to visit friends, the meal needs to be something that I can make beforehand and take out of the freezer.

So yesterday for dinner we tried this new recipe.
I only thought about writing this after we had eaten it so no photo. But I expect everyone knows what a lasagne looks like anyway!

The recipe is actually Roast Pumpkin and Spinach Lasagne but as usual I altered it!
The introduction says this is a bit of a faff to make but easier if separate parts are done on different days. I roasted extra squash the day before and I had made a big batch of tomato sauce  several days earlier and put in the freezer.

This is the recipe as written.
Roast Pumpkin & Spinach Lasagne Serves 6

750g Crown Prince Pumpkin or butternut squash, de-seeded and peeled and sliced
2tbsp olive oil
500g spinach - washed
1tbsp butter - plus extra for greasing
nutmeg
fresh lasagne sheets
100g Parmesan
Tomato Sauce
I medium onion finely chopped
1tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick finely chopped
400g can cherry tomatoes
2tsp light muscovado sugar
Bechamel Sauce
500ml full fat milk
Black pepper
half onion
1 bay leaf (remove before using sauce)
50g plain flour
50g butter

Roast the pumpkin with the olive oil until tender approx 40minutes
Make the tomato sauce by softening the onion and celery, adding tomatoes and sugar and leaving to simmer for 30 minutes to make a thick puree, season to taste
Put the spinach in the saucepan with the water that still clings to it after washing, cover and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until wilted, turning with tongs frequently. Leave to cool and squeeze out excess water. Chop and put in pan with butter, gently heat until spinach is coated. Season inc nutmeg.
Make the bechamel sauce as usual.
Assemble the lasagne as normal in layers starting with pumpkin,then tomato sauce, lasagne,  bechamel, spinach, cheese, lasagne,pumpkin,tomato sauce,lasagne and bechamel and all the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes until bubbling and golden 180C fan/gas6

MY WAY
I used our own butternut squash,
I used a colander full of chard from the garden.
My tomato sauce was made using my big plum tomatoes from the freezer, no celery.
I never use full fat milk.
I forgot about the nutmeg with the spinach.
I always use value packets of dry lasagne.
I made 1 lasagne for 4 and a small one for 2 people
I used Cheddar instead of Parmesan
I'm sure I didn't do the layers exactly as written.
After cooking I wrapped them in foil, popped them in a plastic bag and put them both in the freezer as I wanted to make sure that they froze well.

I defrosted the two portion lasagne in the fridge over night. Reheated starting on a low heat and then increasing it for about  35 - 40 minutes in total.
Result - Very Tasty
So now I know one of the things we will be eating when they come to stay in a couple of weeks time.

 Number 20 of the 30 Ways to Save £1, was
20. Cut the bottom off tubes of toothpaste and other creams etc. when you think they are empty and you will find enough for a few more days.
Everybody reading yesterdays tip said they already do this, so I'm preaching to the converted again.

Seeds arrived in the post today.
 As soon as I get more time I shall be doing a blog about the varieties we grew this year, how they did and what we are growing in 2014. Something exciting for you to look forward to!

Awful weather here on the edge today. Freezing first thing and icy drizzle at 7.30 when I let the chickens out, then really heavy rain later. Him Outside should have been repairing a fence for someone this morning, but decided to cancel until next week after he watched the forecast last night. Good thing he did.
Back Tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 --- Day 19 + To Selfie or not to selfie?

Number 19 of the 30 Ways to save £1 was
19. Tip bottles upside down and leave to drain to get the last bit out.
I can't believe there is anyone who doesn't do this. Easy Peasy way to save a few pennies.
And what do pennies make?

A nice bright day today with a more widespread frost than we've had before this autumn. Him Outside went to pick up some chicken feed from the mill and dropped me off in Framlingham so I could pop into a couple of charity shops. But nothing to be found in either. When we got home he got a call to go and help load a few cows onto a lorry down at our friends farm.
I've made a start on wrapping a few Christmas presents for people will will see soon but then not see again until the new year. I should have been outside helping him with a bit of weeding this afternoon but just couldn't find the energy.

I hear that the Oxford English Dictionary New Word of the Year is " Selfie". A picture taken of oneself by mobile phone or other device and then posted on t'internet for all to see.
Oh gee whizz what excitement. NOT. As a person who hates having her photo taken as the picture always seems to look like some short, plump,baggy eyed elderly woman that I don't recognize, I shall not be joining in this latest craze - unlike some other people whose blogs seem to be full of selfies!

Monday, 18 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 -- Day 18 + Christmas Cake Recipe

I've been forgetting to welcome two new followers who've appeared over there on the right in the last few days. Apologies and Welcome. Thank you also to Janice,Pam, Compostwoman and Kev for comments yesterday.

The weather today is just as nasty as yesterday. Him Outside was around at our neighbours most of the day, this time shifting the muck from the bottom of the heap using her mower and tip up trailer, down to her garden.

I was in the kitchen finishing the Christmas cakes. I had put the fruit to soak on Friday and had been stirring every day. The recipe I use is a Mary Berry one but from way, way back, long before she started doing the Bake Off thing. She was freezer expert for a magazine called Family Circle and one year did loads of traditional Christmas recipes. I cut out the pages and have kept them ever since.

This is the recipe

Victorian Christmas Cake

1lb mixed dried fruit including peel, soaked in quarter pint of cold tea, sherry or brandy for 3 days, stir daily.
Add 4oz chopped raisins, 4oz glace cherries, rinsed of gloop, dried and halved, 6oz butter ( softened by beating well), 6oz muscovado sugar, grated rind of one lemon and one orange, 4oz plain flour, 2oz self raising flour, 2oz blanched chopped almonds,1tsp mixed spice.
Stir everything together.
In a jug beat 3 eggs and 1 tbsp black treacle.
Add this to the mix and stir everything until well mixed.

Turn into a greased and double lined 8 inch cake tin. Level top.
Bake in centre of oven at Gas 1, 275F or 120C Fan oven for about 3 and a quarter hours.
Store up to 3 months in a cake tin. ( The cake can be "fed" while in store by making small holes in it and dripping some teaspoons full of brandy into them). Cover the tops of the large cakes with a bit of foil if the start to look a bit too brown

This year because I'm doing some hampers for family I made triple the recipe and it made this lot.

1 Large, 1 medium and 3 mini cakes. This is before they went into the oven.

Some frugal tips for making lots of cakes.
The cheapest fruit is value sultanas so I used more of these and just a few raisins. Always sort through value sultanas for bits of stalk. I soaked the fruit in cold tea, the juice of the oranges and with just 1 tablespoon of brandy. I used less flaked almonds and an extra couple of ounces of flour instead. I bought the cherries and peel very cheaply off AF a couple of months ago.

To make things easier I use parchment strips and circles when lining the tins available from Lakeland as are the mini tins which I bought many years ago when I used to bake for the Country Markets.
The medium cake took 2 and a half hours and the small ones started on the bottom shelf of the oven and took just over an hour and a quarter. ( It would have been less on the middle shelf).
The small cakes will just fit in the two little tins that I found at a car boot sale earlier this year.
The medium one will fit into a tin I picked up at a charity shop - also Christmas themed. I hope the family members who get these for Christmas will enjoy them! In fact I'm loathe to give the tins away as they are so nice!

It seems never a day goes by without doing something with apples. Today I sorted through a whole lot of windfall cooking apples that had been in buckets and a trug out in the shed. With the temperature forecast to drop tomorrow, I've brought them indoors, some will be taken to a friend when we go to visit next week and the others will be given to another friend on Wednesday when she comes around for eggs. There is a limit to how many windfall cooking apples two people can eat before they go rotten!

Day 18 of the 30 Ways to save £1 was
18. Borrow recipe books from the library before buying them and see how many recipes you will actually use. This is a timely hint at this time of year when cookery books are one of the big sellers. How many will be sold on at a car boot sale next year? In my opinion Celebrity Cookery books must be one of the easiest ways to waste £25! .






Sunday, 17 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1-- Day 17 + A gloomy Sunday

A dull and gloomy Sunday, with a drizzley afternoon. We watched rugby instead of going for a walk.

The good apples have been wrapped in newspaper and put in a sturdy cardboard box out in the shed. The slightly damaged ones are laying in trays in the dining room to be eaten first, as soon as we've eaten the earlier ones that are already in the room. We can hardly get in there due to trays of apples.

I chopped a couple more sacks of kindling this morning and Him Outside fired up the tractor to go and shift some horse muck at our neighbours. She doesn't have horses but lets a family who live in town, keep their ponies in her field and shed. The bonus is, she and we get muck for the garden and we sell him our hay, Win Win all round. We now leave a trailer round there in the field for him to put the muck straight onto. As soon as our neighbour has had enough for this year there is some well rotted stuff at the bottom of a heap for us to put around our fruit bushes.

Number 17 of the 30 ways to save £1 was
17. Make Christmas gift tags from old Christmas cards or cut a couple of inches off the end of Christmas wrapping paper, stick it onto a piece of thin card and then cut into sections and you have tags to match the paper- very posh!
I always sort through cards when taking them down after Christmas,  some are cut up to become tags, some bits go into the drawer for shopping lists and the rest go in the recycling box.
When I was an Akela we used to play a game at Cubs every Christmas with cards cut into 4 pieces. The boys( this was before girls were allowed in!)  would have one piece and all the rest would be in a huge jumble in the middle of the floor and they would have to find the 3 bits to finish their picture. Simple fun!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 ---Day 16 + Yet more apple news

Number 16 of the 30 Ways to Save £1 was
16. Poundland and 99p shops are sometimes very good value but not always, so know the prices of the things you buy- keep a little price book in your bag.
Supermarket prices seem to go up and down but mainly up - that's what I've found by keeping a price book! It is handy in Poundland because we don't go there very often and they seem to have different things in stock each time.So I'm able to have a quick look in the book to check £1 is less than I last paid somewhere else.

Apples from the mystery tree have been picked and I think Gill at Frugal In Derbyshire might be right. She suggested Jonagold and while I thought they were a duel purpose tree now I've had another look at the Jonagold page they do seem to almost fit the description. We should have picked them a few weeks ago before the birds started pecking them but as we are not short of apples this year it's not a problem. It seems odd that we've not really thought about what they were before but I think it's because the tree has never given us so many apples before.


 We have lots of Blackbirds back in the garden after not seeing many during the summer. I only found out a few years ago that our winter blackbirds arrive here from further north each year. This morning, when I walked round the corner of the house to take the eggs out to the stall, 6  flew off from the pyracantha. It's still covered in berries but they will soon be gone. At least they will have plenty of windfalls to peck at under the trees this winter. I hope we will see Fieldfares back soon too.


Before picking apples this morning I made a big batch of Pumpkin and Onion soup to put in the freezer. We had a couple of pumpkins that didn't ripen in time for selling prior to Halloween and we know from previous years that no - one wants a pumpkin in November.

Him Outside delivered two more of the big IBC containers. 3 sold and 3 left to sell. We put an ad in the Suffolk Smallholders Newsletter, but no phone calls from that ad, so he chained one to the fence by the front gate with a For Sale sign on and that seems to be working.
His cheque for work yesterday just about covered the National Insurance bill that came in the post this morning. Also in the post was the bill for the tractor repairs. A Rather Large bill that will have to come out of savings. Hopefully the tractor is now sorted for a while as the darn thing has cost us over £1000 this year. But we would be struggling here without it.

 And finally, this is a library book that I finished yesterday. It's fiction based on fact and tells the story of Mary Anning who was the woman who found all the fossils in Lyme Regis. I enjoyed it. It was published in 2009 so I expect I may be late with the info on the book and everyone has read it already.


 That's it for now, Rugby and Strictly to watch
Back Tomorrow

Friday, 15 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 -- Day 15 + More about apples

Is it just me? After seeing the trails and remembering the books that I read to our youngest many years ago, I want to watch Katie Morag on CBBC! Am I too old?


DAY 15 of the 30 ways to save £1 was
15.If you have an answerphone set it to the longest number of rings so that you can get there in time to answer and don't have to ring them back.
We have an answer phone so that people wanting to book onto the campsite can leave a message when we are out. We often find that people are very impatient nowadays, if they ring and leave a message  wanting a pitch, by the time we've got home and rung them back they will have found somewhere else! Another reason to stay at home as much as possible in the summer.
This winter we decided to put the answer phone away and just use our old normal one as the answer phone needs electric to run it. I reckon this should save us at least 50p!! :-)


I've done loads of catching up work indoors today, and as it was lovely sunny day another load of washing dried outside then floors washed, carpets hoovered, veggie curry prepared, freezer contents  listed. Halo polished! and  then also decided to bake a couple more loaves of bread as I want to turn some into breadcrumbs to store in the freezer ready for bread sauce or for drying.

Him Outside was away early again to work for the same customer as Wednesday, he was back with a cheque at lunchtime. After lunch he has been turning off and draining water from various places outside before next weeks snow that is forecast. Perhaps the Express were right when they said weeks ago that we were in for a long very cold winter starting in November.

From one kitchen window I've been keeping an eye on this apple tree. Here we are in mid November and lots are still hanging on despite that windy weather three weeks ago

It's in a sheltered spot between the conifer hedge and the Bramley and there have been some windfalls which I've picked up. They are extremely sharp so must be a variety that ripens in storage.
I've compared them to everyone of the 144 varieties described in this beautiful book
  (I originally bought this cheap from The Works - it has damaged pages at the front- to sell when we used to take books to Country Fairs and The Suffolk Smallholders Show, but then couldn't bear to part with it) but it doesn't really match any of the descriptions. It's a tree we planted and is about 15 years old, I've always thought it was a duel purpose tree but now I'm not so sure.
Like all of our other trees it has never ever had such a good crop.
I'm planning to pick all the rest off tomorrow and store them.


And a PS -Thank you to Gill and Karen for comments yesterday.

Back tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 -- Day 14 + A morning out

Thank you to everyone for the interesting comments yesterday about the living history programmes that have been on TV at various times.
We enjoyed The Monastery Farm  and it was nice to see a new face. I shall be adding the book to my wish list and waiting for the DVD to add that too. It is repeated a couple of times for anyone that missed it and of course there is always the i player.

Number 14 of the 30 Ways to Save £1 was -
14. Find out about free events at local museums etc. Our local Museum is The Long Shop Museum in Leiston ( info here) and at the beginning of the Season they always have Steam Up Sunday when entry is free. The National Trust have a free day when you can print out a free entry ticket off their website. Then there is the day when unusual properties that are not usually accessible are open ( can't remember what this is called). There are probably more.


We had a Wyevale Garden Club voucher to use and had an idea for a Christmas present, so decided on a trip to Woodbridge for a tour of the charity shops while we were out and then thought we might as well take the cold box and pop up to the edge of Ipswich for Sainsburys and Aldi. That will save us from having to go there the next time we go right into the town centre.

The charity shops in Woodbridge didn't yield anything exciting apart from a Christmassy craft pack that had once been on the front of a craft magazine.
 I spent 10 minutes looking at the dozens of Christmas craft and food magazines in WH Smiths. The newsagents locally are Very limited in their magazines so I like to look in Smiths when I get a chance - didn't buy any though. Saving myself about £50!!

Then onto Sainsburys and now the freezer is stocked with stewing steak and mince at 3 for £10, value salmon trimmings for our favourite pasta meal and THE bacon which I sorted through to find packs that had bacon chops in them. ( 2 kept  out of the freezer for dinner tonight) That will last us well into the New Year.

We were home again by 12.30 so after lunch Him outside did the rest of the concreting of the base for the Gents toilets on the campsite. He wanted to get it finished as the forecast is for much colder weather next week.

No more news today
Back Tomorrow

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1---DAY 13 + Living History Programmes

Thank you to Cro, Janice, Jane, Twiggy, The Domestic storyteller,Vicki, Debbie ,Em, Pam, Angie for comments yesterday.

We have had a lovely day here today after a proper grass frost this morning, there was even  a thin layer of ice on the chicken drinkers.
Him outside was off to work for one of his customers this morning,while I did a bit of baking and boring housework.

I'm looking forward to the new Historical farm recreation - The Monastery Farm on TV tonight. I just hope it's better than the Wartime one which was full of inaccuracies. My favourite ( I think I mentioned this the other day) was " The Green Valley", we have the DVD which I love'

 Going back even further does anyone admit to being old enough to remember this
It was on TV in about 1978 or 9, before Health and Safety regulations! Some people volunteered to live for a year as they would have done in the Iron age.  They had quite a hard time of it.
I came across the book about it many years later in Aldeburgh library and then found a copy one day in a charity shop- this was before Amazon existed.
On the same subject, our neighbour brought around some old newspapers for fire lighting and I spotted an article about English Heritage looking for people to live as Neolithic tribesmen in mud huts at the Stonehenge visitor centre. The unpaid volunteers will have to light and maintain fires and tell stories of the Neolithic people to visitors.(read about it here) but only during the day.

DAY 13 of the 30 ways to save £1 was
13. If you need more than two regular prescriptions a month always buy a NHS prepayment card.
These are available for 3 months or a year and can save a fortune. Him Outside now has to take 6 different things a day, that would be nearly £50 a month but the card is just over £100 a year at the moment. Phew - Thank goodness for that card!







Tuesday, 12 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 -- DAY 12 + getting your knickers in a twist over Christmas

Every year some people seem to  get themselves into a tizzy about the approach of Christmas. They are worrying about the commercialism, the never ending ads on TV. The over eating. The debt. But I can't see the point of getting all "het up" about it ( as we say in Suffolk).

You can preach all you like but there will always be some people who go completely OTT. This is the time that shops take the most money, so of course they are going to advertise. You don't HAVE to buy what they are trying to persuade you to spend on. However much money you give some people they would still spend it on things others consider unnecessary. However little money other people have they will still spend it all and borrow more.
You can be annoyed at the shops playing Christmas songs in November, but there's no point in raising your blood pressure over it. Just do your shopping and leave.
 You can be an all-the-year-round Christian or at only-at -Christmas-church visitor but you will be made welcome whoever you are. And if you are not - then find another church next year because if a church doesn't make a stranger feel welcome then they are not doing what they should be doing.
You can be Pagan or Atheist as long as no one is hurt by your beliefs of non beliefs.
You can stay at home, read a good book, watch TV  or go to huge family parties, in the whole great scheme of things as long as you are not hurting anyone then it doesn't matter.
You can spend a fortune on presents, make them or buy them secondhand. If the recipient doesn't like it then it's their problem not yours.
CHILL
It's just Christmas, it happens every year. Enjoy it or not.
BUT DON'T GO ON AND ON ABOUT IT!



Now to Number 12 of the 30 ways to save £1

12. Don't waste money on bottled water, just fill a plastic bottle with tap water and stand it in the fridge overnight then take it with you next day.
We are lucky here as we have delicious tap water. We try and remember to take a bottle of water whenever we go out. It's always handy.
It drives me mad in summer that so many of our campsite visitors buy bottled water.

Welcome to another follower, Catherine, that makes 94!

Monday, 11 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 - DAY 11 + Thinking

We live in a strange world. Yesterday and today people have stood in silence and remembered the past  and at the same time across the other side of the world thousands now have no future. Has there ever been a time in the history of this planet when people have not been losing their lives through war or natural disasters? I doubt it.

What can we do about it?

We can only do the best we can with the life we have been given.
Living with consideration for others, wasting little, living lightly on the planet. Sharing and caring when we are able.



Now back to normal blogging.


DAY 11 of the 30 Ways to save £1
11.Invest in a flask and take tea or coffee with you on days out.
This is such an easy thing to do. We usually take a couple of biscuits or cakes as well. It must save £2 or £3 each time, as that's the price of a couple of coffees.


Welcome to Belinda who is a new follower all the way from Tennessee and to everyone who left comments over the weekend. I love to read what people have thought of my daily drivel and to hear what folk are doing around the world.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 -- DAY 10 + A Sunday walk

The Radio 4 weather forecast at five to 7 this morning said " Mainly sunny all day everywhere with a few exceptions. The exceptions are the Norfolk and Suffolk coast, where it will be cloudy". My thoughts were - that's Not Fair! But I'm pleased to say They were wrong and we have had sunshine, although it's blinkin' chilly.

Him Outside was busy outside all morning moving straw to the chicken sheds, getting ready for concreting the shed base and various other odd jobs. I decided to make bread, get a load of washing out and do the ironing. I also checked my seed order and wrote the cheques.

Another walk this afternoon in our " getting back to walking after stents" regime. This one is another one from home avoiding crossing muddy fields and is probably about 2 and a half miles, so a little bit more than last week. Mostly field edges and country roads and just a tiny bit of woodland.
Good to see Him Outside striding ahead again
Beside the fields of a stud farm

Footbridge over ditch and then through a little bit of woodland

This oak tree is along our road. The whole top was blown off it in the winds 2 weeks ago


The top half of the oak across the other side of the road. Laying on the phone wire. We may lose our phone connection soon if someone doesn't fix it as it's pulling the wire really tight


The Day 10 idea for saving £1 was      (see all 30 here)
10. Before you buy something STOP and think if you already have something that can do the same job.
I have a small card in my purse, it says
DO I REALLY NEED IT
DO I HAVE IT ALREADY
IS THERE SOMETHING THAT I HAVE ALREADY THAT I COULD USE INSTEAD
COULD I BORROW IT
HOW MUCH WOULD I SAVE BY NOT BUYING IT
WHAT WOULD I DO WITH THE MONEY I SAVE

Having it in my purse doesn't necessarily mean I look at it! But at least the thought is there - sometimes.
 
 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 ---Day 9 + The seed order

We got more dead stuff out of the poly- tunnels this morning, tomato plants to burn, chilli peppers to dry and the plants and weeds into the compost bin. The big pepper plants are still there as they still have  some peppers on them, they may ripen to red. It also leaves these, some late sown beetroot.
They are a decent size.  Him Outside thinks he put them in after the early salad stuff, probably in July. He also put in some carrot seed at the same time but they are still teeny. We shall be able to eat the beetroot as soon as we've had the last few from the garden.

After lunch a bit of woodcutting was done and then we watched the rugby, although I was doing our seed order at the same time which took a bit of sorting out. I've ordered mainly from DT Brown seed catalogue this year, plus a few vegetable plants and onion sets from Marshalls and a smaller seed order from the Organic Garden Catalogue. The total cost is HUGE coming to just over £100. But if I tell you that our earnings from gate sales of fruit and veg this year were nearly £2,000! Plus that doesn't count what we had for ourselves you will see that our order is worthwhile.

When I've got a bit of time I hope to do a blog on what varieties of vegetable we will grow this year.

 30 Ways to save £1 -- Day 9
 9. Cut down on how much toothpaste, shampoo, lotions and potions you use. See if less will do the same job.
I can remember toothpaste adverts which showed about an inch of toothpaste on the toothbrush. I use a small pea size amount and it works fine. Shampoo works with just a 10p sized blob on my short hair. I suppose if you have very long hair you might need more.
Cutting down on all the things you use is worth a try. It might only save pennies, but pennies soon make £1.


Friday, 8 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1--- DAY 8 + Pumpkin & Pepper Chutney

This morning I made the last chutney of the season. Nearly 7 jars of Pumpkin and pepper chutney.
It's a lovely colour and always tastes good. Several years ago someone asked me how I made chutneys of various colours because when they made some it always looked the same. I said that I used white vinegar when I made a chutney in which I wanted to show the colour of the veg. They said " but it costs more than malt vinegar". So I guess you pay your money and choose your colour!
 Here is my recipe which, as usual, is a variation on one from a recipe book.

Pumpkin And Pepper Chutney
2 and a half pound prepared pumpkin after peeling, de-seeding and cut into small pieces.
1lb cooking apples,peeled,cored and chopped
12oz onions, chopped
2 red peppers, de-seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1 teaspoon  black pepper
2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 and a quarter pints of white vinegar
1lb gran sugar

Put everything except the sugar in a large pan and mix well
Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring often until everything is very soft
( I use a potato masher to squish everything)
Stir in the sugar until dissolved and then continue to simmer and stir frquently until it is thick and there is no liquid on the surface.
Pot into sterilised jars and cover and label.
NOTE - this is quite a dry chutney and you have to watch that it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan.

I then used some more of the pumpkin to make some soup.

DAY 8 of the 30 Ways to Save £1 was
8. Swap an expensive hobby for a cheaper one

My main hobby has always been reading, and always using library books for free. A few years ago I started to  collect WWII books about the home front and usually get these secondhand.
When we had small children and before we moved here our main leisure pastime was being Scout and Cub Leaders. This takes a lot of time but doesn't really cost much and our children always joined in with Cub things whenever possible. We also had 1 or  2 allotments and grew as much as we could. Once we moved to the smallholding keeping livestock and looking after the land took all our time and our hobby of producing our own food became our way of life. Him Outside didn't read a lot until about 10 years ago but now reads as much as me. I also like card making which could easily cost a fortune. If you bought regular magazines - there are several papercraft ones- and then bought all the things needed to make the cards in them it would be a very expensive hobby. Thank goodness I often find bits and pieces at car boot sales. My only regular expenditure for this hobby is £12 a year for the Craft Creations Magazine and then I send in cards I've made for their Readers Gallery and often win a £10 voucher to use on craft things from their catalogue.

Some people we knew had a yacht and told us it was like pouring money into a hole in the sea!

Him Outside is so glad to have his tractor back, the hydraulics are working better than they ever have done and he can lift heavy stuff in the front bucket with no trouble at all. He rang to tell them at the engineers that it was working really well and they were so pleased to get a Thank you.
Today he has done the shuttering and filled it with rubble ready for the base of the replacement mens toilets for the campsite.

Nearly forgot to say WELCOME  to follower number 92 -- Practically Penniless. I love to read her blog as she is home schooling which is something we did, but only for 6 months, when we moved house twice quite quickly. The children all wanted to get back to school ASAP!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

30 Ways to Save £1 --- Day 7 + This weeks shopping for 20p

When Mr Tesc*s shop moved into Saxmundham there was a lot of opposition. Especially from a local titled lady! Before they came our choices were a 50 mile round trip, Coop or Waitrose. Most ordinary people were quite pleased to have a bit of choice. People may moan about them taking over the country but at least we are now able to pick up the bargains that were never available here before.  Thanks to their through the post vouchers, money off coupons and a till slip for £3.06 because last time I shopped my shopping would have been that much less elsewhere. I did this weeks shopping for 20p!

I probably won't be back at Tescos until December so they don't make a lot of profit out of me.


The average household throws away the equivalent of 6 meals a week. I heard that on the 1 O'clock  news today. Who the h**l is chucking out my share as well as their own because there certainly isn't 6 meals chucked out here. It's £60 a month going in the bin they reckon. Who can afford that?

Yesterday on a blog from a few days ago I found a comment from the States, asking why we in the UK don't do  washing in cold water in our washing  machines. So the answer is ( as far as I know) that we can't, as washing machines here heat the water and don't have a cold water programme. AND we don't have soap powder or liquid for cold water washing.

And Finally from the list of 30 Ways to Save £1
 DAY 7---Christmas is the same day every year, don't let it creep up on you.Start shopping in the January Sales and carry on at car boot sales.
There is no point me saying anything more about this as I'm sure I would be preaching to the converted!


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 ---Day 6 + More food squirrelling

Very grey and drizzly here today - nasty.

More food preservation today . Thanks to everyone for all the comments about storage of squash, they have been brought in from the hay shed and are now in trays in the spare room. The few green and under ripe tomatoes that were left in the polytunnels are now in the dining room. Last year, due to the weather, we had a lot of green ones indoors at the end of the season. They ripened slowly and lasted almost until Christmas.

The apples from the second to last late tree have been wrapped and stored in a box, we really think we have enough eating apples as these are the ones we are slowly eating our way through at the moment, before we even get to the wrapped ones

and there are still some hanging on the last tree.

I decided to put 3 more squash out for sale and 3 red cabbage and they sold very quickly. I just need to decide how many cabbage to keep for us out of the remainder. One is a monster!

It really has been the most fantastic and wonderful year for home grown food.
Today from the garden and poly tunnel we had lettuce/salad leaves, radishes, beetroot ,tomatoes, onions, red pepper, eggs, apples, white cabbage, potatoes plus pears from the freezer.
Not forgetting the homemade cake, bread and jam!

This afternoon Him Outside went off to collect the tractor from the agricultural engineers -AGAIN. This is the second time this year it has been brought home from there and the third time its been repaired. So another big bill is undoubtedly on the way before Christmas. 

And Finally another one from the April list of 30 Ways to save £1

DAY 6 - Have a look around local industrial estates and see who chucks what.
This is where we find pallets for burning and for lifting hay off the floor in the hay shed. Water butts for storage and the big IBC containers to store huge amounts of rainfall and to sell.
I would love to fish in the rubbish skip at one company because that's where all the Tala kitchen ware is imported - might be some treasures there. But they have security so I wouldn't dare!

Back tomorrow

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

30 Ways to save £1 ---DAY 5 + Clearing up for winter

Mixed weather here today with rain first thing.

We had decided that we would take down the runner bean canes  but delayed until the rain stopped. So Him Outside did a bit of wood cutting and I did a little house work. I usually take off beans that are starting to dry out so that I can save them for next year but because of the wet warm weather there were very few. That job done I had a look around to see what else needed doing and realised we still had several red cabbages. I'd thought about doing some pickled red cabbage for Christmas gifts but as I'm not sure if anyone likes it and we definitely  don't, they might as well be sold. I'll hang a couple in nets in the shed to keep for red cabbage casserole. I also brought in several red peppers from the polytunnel, wrapped them individually in kitchen roll and put them in the salad drawer of the fridge.

All this storing of food reminded me to have a proper look at  one of the library books borrowed last Friday. This is all about various ways of preserving  food.
  It answers the question of why our stored squash never keep as long as they should, or at least I thought it had and then I turned a few pages and got confused.
On one page it say's keep them in the house at a temperature of between 16 and 20 degrees, then a bit further on it says store at 10 degrees. I've got them in the hay shed at the moment but that will be too cold later whichever page I look at.
There are several ideas for storing food including lots about fermentation the Korean way and from other countries too. I didn't fancy any of the recipes. Some look positively yuck. I think I'm just too old and too English!
I have no intention of paying anywhere near its proper price of £16.99, but I might put it on my list to look out for secondhand sometime in the future, perhaps 1p  from Amazon!


Now, Day 5 of the 30 ways to save £1 was

5. Buy refill packs of things if you can

We used to have a shop locally that we could get refills of Ecover washing up liquid. But it is no more. Large containers of Ecover liquid clothes wash and w-up-liq are available on line but delivery costs are high. So although my idea for buying refills is a good one there are not many available. I do buy good coffee in refill packs. Anyone know of anything else?  ( Does refilling the biscuit tin count?!)


Before I sign off for today, I must just say Welcome to Janice who is a new follower and thank you to everyone for comments yesterday and some from a few days ago too which made me smile.

Monday, 4 November 2013

30 ways to save £1----DAY 4 + Monday Jobs

The "baby" of the family is 26 today, so Happy Birthday A. She is practice manager of a local opticians and is the only one of our three who has stayed living locally.

I often seem to start Monday by baking a couple of loaves of bread. Today I also made a marmalade cake, a few scones and some iced buns.  They are ready for Wednesday morning when we have an open kitchen morning for any members of The Suffolk Smallholders Society who want to pop in for coffee, cake and a chat. After that I turned some cheap bread into breadcrumbs and dried some of them in the Rayburn oven to store in the freezer. This afternoon I had a battle with a roll of Christmas paper as I wrapped the Operation Christmas child shoe box. I love finding things to put in it but always find wrapping the box and lid is the hardest bit!

Him Outside was off to the doctors for a review of his tablets this morning and also popped in to see one of his customers who he hasn't been able to work for since early summer. She has a list of jobs that need doing- weather permitting. This afternoon he was at our neighbours to do some more shrub clearing and also tidying up the damage done by the wind last week.

We've had a good sunny day today, although I think it is several degrees colder. I got a load of washing dry which leads me onto Day 4 of 30 ways to save £1.(see them all here)

4. Re- read the instructions for your washing machine, could you use a shorter cycle?

With electric prices about to go up again this could save a bit of money. If you don't have the instruction leaflet it's probably available somewhere on the web. As I dry my washing outside I have turned down the spin speed on my washing machine and I hope this saves a bit of power.Heating water is usually free here either via the wood fired Rayburn or the solar thermal thingy, so I use a 40 degree wash which takes an hour and a half. My washing machine is quite old and I believe newer machines have shorter cycles. I have got a 30 degree  30 minute fast wash cycle and debated that running this twice would be less power than my normal wash cycle, but it would need me to be in the right place at the right time to reset the machine. Just 1  30 minute wash at 30 degrees is not enough for Him Outsides dirty work stuff.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

30 ways to save £1----DAY 3 + getting back to walking

Before I do Day 3, I must say thank you to lots of people for comments left over the last few days, some from a several days ago that I've only just discovered. It was good to find a comment from Jean, to say that she had asked someone if she could pick up windfall apples and had been offered as many as she wanted. My Tip 1 worked ! Brilliant!


 Way back in April lots of people were doing 30 ways to save £1( mine are here) and sending it to Moneysupermarket.com to earn £30. So as there are 30 days in November I thought I would have a closer look at my 30 ways.

30 ways to save £1
3. Don't start pets on expensive brands, if they are started on a cheaper brand, they will never know the difference.

We haven't got any pets at the moment. But we had a lovely Collie cross for 10 years, 3 cats for many of our years here and several cats before that. When I say cheaper brand, I mean anything cheaper than the very most expensive brands. We used to find that once a cat had tried Whiskers it was very difficult to get them back to something cheaper. In the past I always mixed and matched dry food and tinned so our pets got used to all sorts of different things.

I spent sometime in my craft room this morning fiddling with paper and glue to start some cards, then I did a sort out of a cupboard and moved a few odds and ends to the car boot boxes. Finally I sorted through presents in the Christmas cupboard to see how preparations were going.

This afternoon we actually got around to going out for a walk. Since Him Outside had the second stent done we've been planning to get walking again but with all the catching up on work that's been going on here it's taken 2 months to start. We did one of the winter walks we can do from here without crossing muddy fields, just a couple of miles but it was good to be out and about, and very interesting to see how much damage had been done to so many trees by the wind last monday. Our walk takes us a mile down the road towards Friston, through a small gap in the hedge, along a field and garden edge and then back up a wide grassy track, to return to the road just 100 yards from home. I planned to take the camera but forgot. Hopeless!

More Strictly and reading tonight- what an adventurous life we lead!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

30 ways to save £1----DAY 2 - Supermarket value brands

Way back in April lots of people were doing 30 ways to save £1( mine are here) and sending it to Moneysupermarket.com to earn £30. So as there are 30 days in November I thought I would have a closer look at my 30 ways

30 Ways to save £1
2.Always try value range of supermarket brands, most are good.

We have tried a lot of value brands of different things from various supermarkets over the years. I wish we had a Sainsburys nearer as I think they have the biggest range of value products. I would also like to live nearer to an Aldi or Lidl as I think some of their things are cheaper than other supermarket value ranges.  One of the downsides of living in the sticks is that we have no choice  of supermarkets, and few opportunities to find  different value and reduced ticket items. I was in Coop and noticed they had dented tins of Napolina chopped tomatoes on their reduced shelf. Coops' idea of reduced price is £1.20 instead of £1.55. Who on earth pays £1.55 for a tin of tomatoes??!!

Things in a value range we always use are tinned tomatoes, baked beans, plain and self raising flour, bran flakes, porridge, weetabix,muesli base, tomato sauce, brown sauce, mayo, salad cream, instant custard ( for trifle topping), rice pudding, fresh carrots, cooking bacon, mature cheddar,digestive biscuits ( flan bases),lasagne, spaghetti, pasta, vinegar ( for table), peach slices, mandarin slices, mushy peas, tuna chunks,salmon trimmings,

Things in a value range we've tried and didn't like - biscuits, other than digestives( too dusty), stock cubes ( too salty) peanut butter ( too sweet), washing powder ( too smelly), soap ( too smelly), coffee, ( too bitter), Vinegar  for preserving chutneys etc ( value vinegar has less acid which is not good for preserving. I was told this on a food hygiene course and litmus paper proves it to be true).

There are probably other things that I've forgotten, and of course there are a lot of value range that we don't buy because we make our own. For instance, jam,pickles, cakes, bread etc.

I'm always interested to hear what value range people have tried and found to be good as it was thanks to a blog that I heard about the Sainsburys cooking bacon that often has delicious bacon chops in the pack.

This morning we had a few errands to run so after the Coop, where I used a £5 off £40 spend voucher to get some milk, Suffolk sausages and sausage meat for Christmas,muesli( to mix with the value range from Sainsburys) my favourite Fair trade cappuccino sachets, drinking chocolate and peppermint tea bags and some things for the store cupboard.  We called in at a farm shop for frozen Suffolk chickens.Then we popped into an antiques centre that we've been meaning to get to for ages. Lots of lovely things and we found a small wooden shelf for the bathroom. When we got home Him Outside cleared away the broken fence posts and damaged fence boards - broken in the gales last Monday -  and decided what needed doing to repair the fence.  Then we watched England beat Ireland at Rugby League 42-0 !!

This evening we'll be watching Strictly and doing some reading I expect.

Back tomorrow.

Friday, 1 November 2013

30 ways to save £1----DAY 1 + Library Day


NO!
No sun- no moon
No morn- no noon
No dawn- no dusk-no proper time of day
No sky- no earthly view
No distance looking blue
No warmth, no cheerfulness,no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member
No shade, no shine,no butterflies,no bees
No fruits,no flowers,no leaves,no birds,-
NOVEMBER

From A poem by Thomas Hood published in 1884. I Think he was an early sufferer of SAD! 

Way back in April lots of people were doing 30 ways to save £1( mine are here) and sending it to Moneysupermarket.com to earn £30. So as there are 30 days in November I thought I would have a closer look at my 30 ways.
Before the number 1 of the 30 days, I must say hello to two new followers, Debbie at SimpleSligo and A frugal Mrs. Both are new to blogging so a special welcome to blogland.


30 ways to save £1
1. ASK TO PICK UP ANY WINDFALL APPLES THAT YOU NOTICE
They can say two things, either " Yes" or "No". 
Last year when we had a apple-less year due to the rotten weather, we asked for and were able to pick up windfalls from 2 different peoples trees. Without this we would have had hardly any fruit in the freezer for winter pies and crumbles. So asking saved us probably £20 - £30+.

For many years we fed windfalls to our goats, goats LOVE apples, but this year even though I've picked up loads for us to use and freeze there are still lots on the ground for the birds in the winter.
No one has ever asked if they could pick up windfalls here. I would say yes- help yourself!

Library day - hip hip hooray!

Here is my regular picture of my library books collected from the library van
 Not many favourite authors here  today but I should be OK for enough reading for the month.









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