Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Candle making and the Buckingham Garden Centre


Over the past few days I've been pottering about the house, getting my back moving again and catching up with the jobs I couldn't do when my back was painful.

Yesterday I made candles:

I put all my candle scraps in a tin (mine was an old soup tin) and put the tin in a saucepan with a little water. As the water simmered away, the candle wax in the tin melted. I used the same containers that the candles came in when I originally bought them. First I measured and cut a length of string to fit the containers and then tied one end to a pencil. When the wax had melted, I poured it into the container and left it to set overnight. This morning I removed the pencils and tested out my new candles - they were fine with simple household string, just like new candles. I'm really pleased because I didn't have to buy wick, but managed to recycle what I would have normally thrown away. Different cooking smells are making my daughter feel sick at the moment, so we have a scented candle burning most of the day. I'm proud to be a money saver!!!

I also made some little pencil pots:

I used old instant gravy granule containers and covered them with pastel blue paper. I then covered the paper with pretty hearts tissue paper. I hid the edge with thin red ribbon to neaten them up. I have loads of pens and pencils to sell from when I left my job as a Teaching Assistant. When I worked, I was always buying things to make my activities more exciting for the children, and I hadn't realised just how much stuff I had collected in my walk in cupboard. I have no plans to go back to teaching, so I will try to sell all of my stuff at the car boot sale. I have packets of unopened pens which will look nicer in these little pots, so hopefully they will sell, clearing the clutter and getting some much needed cash for my daughter (I'll tell you why another day). The car boot sale starts again on Saturday and we will be getting ready for that this week.

On Sunday we (Steve and I) went to Buckingham Garden Centre. I really love looking round garden centres (especially Burford) and we had never been to this one before. We bought some seeds and seed potatoes for the vegetable plots and some wild flower seeds to try and perk up the back garden. We also bought some little Yankie Candles (for Alice), as they have such a strong scent (but are also really expensive). There was loads of Cath Kidston toiletries, but I was good and didn't buy anything that we didn't need. I love Cath Kidston things, but I don't need them !!!

We bought some lovely primrose plants which I will hopefully plant out tomorrow. I have planned to get out in the garden and begin the big tidy up that it needs. Flo loves to dig, so it could be quite a challenge to keep the garden looking beautiful. The dogs love being outside, so we may have a lovely day with lots of fresh air ahead of us (weather permitting).

Before we left the garden centre we sat outside with a coffee and a bit of cake! Not necessary, I know, but important, because we were spending time together, away from our troubles, just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. This is something we rarely have the time or opportunities for. Steve had carrot cake (because I never make it) and I had millionaires shortbread (because I'm greedy!) I am inspired to make some millionaires shortbread now, something I have never made before.

Hopefully I will have some photos of my 'sunny' garden tomorrow, but it will more than likely rain ;-(

Mandy x

Saturday, 3 March 2012


I meant to say my BACK not bad!!!!!!!!

I've been poorly!


I've not been posting for a while because my bad has been causing me a lot of pain for the last 2 weeks. Exactly 2 weeks ago we walked the dogs quite late in the afternoon and it had started to get dark. We quickened our pace and I struggled to keep up with Jake. It was really muddy and I was worried about slipping over. What I didn't notice until the next morning was the enormous strain that walk had put on my back. We went to do our food shopping in Leamington, and by the time we got back, I could hardly walk. My muscles go into spasm because I had a back injury nearly 5 years ago now (pulled the facet joints in my lower back out of place) and the muscles surrounding the bones can't forget it. They continue to protect the bones by going into spasm when I strain my back. This is really painful and disabling for me. I live on painkillers and my TENS machine helps too. Two weeks on, I still can't sit on a chair or my sofas (I spend a lot of time standing or walking around the house) and I can't reach the floor either. My mobility is improving every day, but I get annoyed because I don't feel ill and get bored. I have started pushing myself to do more (remembering the advice of my physiotherapist) but it took me 30 mins to unload and load my washing machine. I am also trying to look after my very sick daughter at the moment too.  I have been feeling really sorry for myself, but now I am trying to be more positive about things and hope to get back on track soon.

Here are a few photos of what's been happening since my last post:

Ashley's birthday cake with Flo watching with interest!

I attempted to make some microwave jam with the blackberries I picked last year.

I managed to make all these jars.
 I had an order delivered from Approved Food, I spent about £40 and got all of this:
We love this quick pudding in the week.

These batteries cost £1.50 which is a bargain even if the quality is not too good.

Sadly I am having trouble uploading my photos, so I will just tell about the rest...

~Hobnob snack packs~
Handy for packed lunches.
~Small cans of tomato juice~
I put these in any mince dish I make like spag bol.
~Cashew nuts~
Steve loves these.
~Parsley sauce~
I'm the only one who likes it, so I can never be bothered to make it from scratch for me.
~Bread sauce~
We love bread sauce!
~Special K snacks~
I got these on Charlotte's request.
~Barley sugars~
These were my little treat - although not good for my teeth.
~Pork scratchings~
Another treat for Steve.
~Cheesecake mix~
We love cheesecake and this is the cheat's way, but I can't resist a bargain.
~Mint sauce~
I stocked up on this, I eat it with any gravy dinner.
~Fruit pastiles~
These were for Alice.
Ginger cake bars~
These were for Alice, but they weren't very nice.
~Beef oxos~
I get through loads of these.
~Square crisps~
We like them.
~Massive bag of boiled fruit sweets~
This was a shock, the bag will last us several years!
~Paxo stuffing~
This is lazy stuffing - bake in the box, but it was cheap.
~Catering tins of chopped tomatoes~
I got these to do some batch cooking one day.
~White wine vinegar~
Again, a shock - a huge bottle.
~Massive bag of walkers crisps~
We get through too many crisps.
~Steak & Onion crisps~
~Tomato ketchup crisps~
~Biorepair toothpaste~
I thought I would try this out, again a massive tube.
~Chocolate muffin mix~
I don't normally bake like this, but cocoa is really expensive and I know Ashley will love these in his packed lunches.
~Monster munch~
~Cadbury's teacakes~
We love these!

Hopefully there will be more exciting things to write about soon.

Mandy x