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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dog walk in the snow

DD was too poorly to walk her dogs. She developed ME after having swine flu some years ago and possible fibromyalgia. She still walks the dogs everyday but after the few minute walk to my house in the snow, she was too exhausted to go any further, so as the dogs were restless and I love being in the snow I took them. So here are some photos from our walk.  Not brilliant as from my phone, couldn't really focus on the screen as sun so bright and two large dogs impatient to get on.

The last picture was Cat lane which goes down to a ford over the true River Stort which is the border between Essex and Herts. Our walk took us along the Stort Navigation up to Parndon Mill which is now a centre for artists etc. It is always a lovely walk but so beautiful in the snow.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Snow, sewing and cooking

We hardly get any snow here which is a shame because I love it now I am retired and don't have to drive in it. We had a few flurries yesterday and some remains today.

This is the back garden which gets very little sun.

As I am inside more, I am trying to finish my bag. After my success with the first one last year, I decided to try a back pack.  The pattern looked easier but the instructions are not so good but I am getting there and have learned a lot in the process.

Just a little bit to finish off now.

I have also been doing some frugal cooking. A bacon and leek roly poly with suet pastry and baked in the oven using cooking bacon, a leek from the bottom of the fridge and finishing up the last of the vegetable suet.

I made a large bread pudding using what I had in the larder plus a 50p wholemeal loaf from Aldi. I took it to a bible meeting as we have tea and cake afterwards. Just a couple of crumbs left in the tin.

Home Bargains sell big bags of large Jonagold apples for £1. I have a Jonagold tree in the garden but they soon get eaten so I like to get these and often use them for baking. This week was a Jewish apple cake to have for pudding when DD came to dinner on Saturday.

I try to make the most of being indoors in the winter as I don't get much chance when the gardening starts.

Sunday, 18 February 2018


Managed to get on with making my bag today. Everything cut out and the interfacing ironed onto the relevant pieces. Ready to sew it all together now

Apart from the bag I made last winter, I haven't done much sewing in recent years so I tend to put it off. Once I get going I really enjoy being creative.

Saturday, 17 February 2018


We all like our little treats even if we are frugal. I love a good cup of tea made in a teapot from loose-leaf tea.  When I visited Cumbria recently, I arrived early morning in Carlisle from the overnight coach so walked to Watts an old company selling hundreds of different teas.

This is their other shop specialising in coffee where I had breakfast. Pictured is their very old coffee roaster. I'm not a great coffee fan though just one mug of instant each day so I headed to the tea shop and bought my treats.

I really enjoy rose tea but it is difficult to find locally so I chose a packet of that, Earl Grey - Blue Lady, Darjeeling and Keemun black Aster. I spent £17 so not a frugal purchase and I'm not good at splurging. This is my treat though and discussing with my friend who is also frugal and buys tea there, we agreed that if we liked wine, a bottle of that would cost as much as the more expensive tea and would not last nearly as long. Anyway I am enjoying choosing which tea to have each day. A lifetime of being frugal because of circumstances becomes a habit. I enjoy now being frugal by choice so that I can have my little treats.

What treats do you enjoy?

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Flowers and cooking

Two lovely unexpected floral gifts this week. Roses from DS and DDIL. A mixed boquet from DB and NOT for Valentine's day as we don't do it. Anyway I doubt if DB even knew it was Valentine's day!

I picked ups some yellow sticker liver from Asda yesterday. I haven't had liver for ages so today made a large casserole using the liver, some bacon bits from the freezer, a tin of tomatoes, a couple of onions and a dollop of marmite. It is delicious and still some to freeze. It went well with sprouts and a mixture of potato and sweet potato mash.

I also made a loaf of bread from Delia's quick no-knead recipe. I just can't seem to produce a really good loaf. It's ok but a bit heavy even though it has some white flour mixed in.

The loaf is on the right and the tins are ready to take two fruit cakes which will be baked in the morning after some of the ingredients being simmered together in a pan then the flour and eggs will be added in the morning. I don't have a problem with cakes. This is a lovely rich moist cake.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Accomplishments this week

I have a list of projects to complete in the winter as I'm indoors more and no time in the summer. One was to adapt an old folder to use as a travel journal for holidays and days out. It is loose leaf so I can just take paper to write notes to avoid taking a bulky book.

Well I completed the cover then started my journal with an account of my trip to Cumbria plus some bits I collected while there. When I have printed the photos, they will go in too. I'm not very artistic and clumsy with my hands but I am pleased with the result.

I also have made a pattern from the internet for my backpack to make from the rest of my Amsterdam fabric. I have cut out most of it but will have to use contrast material for the straps. I am going to use interfacing to make it firmer so still have to cut that out. So am pleased to be getting things done as the winter seems to be racing by.

I also had a big clear out of my boxroom and took a car load to the charity shop to make room for DDs furniture when she comes to stay at the end of March between selling her house and finding something else.

I made a huge pot of ministrone soup out of veg from the fridge and freezer and other bits from the store cupboard. I divided it up and now most of it is in the freezer.

It's very filling and delicious for these cold days.

Think I will get on with my bag now.