Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Getting the laundry dry...

Hi everyone!

Well it's raining here!

It's been so nice getting the washing dry on the line, but today it is raining so I will wait and see if it stops. I do own a tumble drier, but I won't use it unless I absolutely have to. They use a lot of electric and our bill is always huge. These are the things I consider when doing the laundry:

*  Can I leave it for tomorrow when the weather might be better?

*  If I really need to get something clean, can I dry it inside?

Today I have one load waiting (I normally do two loads a day - we have a baby in the house!), so I will leave it for now. Yesterday it rained in the morning, then brightened up and I got two loads dry outside. 

If I do the washing and it rains while the machine is on, I will dry clothes on my clothes horse. I have a small one for upstairs which I would use for little bits that don't need ironing and can be put straight away, and a larger one which would go up in my utility room. The house is warm, so it would dry, but in the winter it needs to be put in front of a radiator. If clothes just need airing (if it rains and I have to bring the washing back in) or the clothes come out almost dry, I will hang them on hangers and hook over the doors. So far I have managed to dry outside because the weather has been so good, but the bad spell of rain before made that difficult and I hate having washing hanging about in the house!

My next house needs to have either an open fire or a log burning stove! We have an electric fire in our living room and rarely use it because of the cost.

Our fuel bills are huge, but we can't seem to cut them anymore because they keep on going up from price increases. 


Jane - I re-use my marg and ice-cream tubs to store food in the freezer, except for some little pots I use for Daisy's food.

Lots of luck with the bathroom situation!

I find it difficult getting my ironing done at the moment because Daisy is more mobile now. She's not actually crawling yet, but she can travel on her tummy and she will roll quickly. If she's in her walker, that's too dangerous too. She doesn't sleep for long in the day, so I try to do other things and the ironing doesn't stand a chance! I usually try to do a big amount every other Sunday when my husband will entertain her for a couple of hours, but he is out of action with a bad back!

With the OH out of work and self-employed so no sick pay, we will have to cut back this next shop. I still have loads of food in the freezer and cupboards so I'm not worried. We will need fresh food and stuff for Daisy and we will manage! I will meal plan ahead this time!

Enjoy your few days off as much as you can :)


Thanks for reading

Mandy x 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

My car boot haul...

Hi everyone!

On Saturday, Charlotte, Daisy and I went to our favourite car boot sale in Finmere. It was packed with sellers and we got some good bargains.

Charlotte bought loads of clothes for her holiday and other stuff too.

Daisy got:

2 x wooden puzzles   40p

a Tigger notebook  10p

pink top          50p

pink spotty top  50p

lilac polka dot dress   50p

cuddly dog    50p

small cuddly dog   FREE

wooden duck   50p

rattle/mirror   50p

musical dog toy   50p

duck book   50p

cow book   FREE

10 x chicken magazines   £1

floral dress   50p

Pooh bear photo frame  £1 (new)

activity cube   20p

I got a scarf and a top for £1.50

My total spend was: £8.70

Justifying what I brought into my already cluttered home! - Daisy hasn't got any puzzles yet and she is becoming interested in picking small things up. Puzzles help to develop her fine-motor skills. She LOVES anything pooh bear etc, and she likes to make marks in my note book, so now she has her own and it has tigger on the front! She has several dresses that need a pink top underneath and she only has white and they don't look right. The dress will be worn as a nighty in this warm weather as it is too hot for pjs or babygros. Daisy is obsessed with Morgan the basset hound from the edf energy advert, so she saw the dog with floppy ears and I had to get it! The little dog was a gift from a teenage girl that Charlotte bought a lot of clothes from. The cow book was free because I bought the other toys from one seller. Daisy is getting bored of her toys, so I change them around for her, then the old ones seem like new again! She loves anything farm animal especially chickens! Grampy buys Daisy a chicken/smallholding magazine when he goes to the garage, but we found ten for £1. Those will keep her happy for a long time. The floral dress is thin cotton for the warm weather and pooh bear frame is for in her bedroom. The cube is good for exploring and was only 20p. I wear scarves all the time because I hate my neck and the tunic top is to go with my leggings.

There, everything useful!


Alex - thank you for your kind words and advice. Someone once said to me that if the mother falls apart, then so does her family. My husband is slowly on the mend and keen to return to work. I've told him to take it easy!

My daughter took that photo - the natural ones are always better I think, doing what I love...baking cakes! Sadly not much time for that and Daisy is scared of my mixer!


Have a good day!

Mandy x

What we ate last week...

Hi everyone!

This is what we ate last week:

Monday - Cheese salad and new potatoes.

Tuesday - Ploughmans Lunch (tea!).

Wednesday - Roast chicken, roast potatoes, cabbage, carrots, stuffing and gravy.

Thursday - Quiche, new potatoes and corn-on-the-cob.

Friday - Omelette.

Saturday - Stuffed baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob and coleslaw.

Sunday - Burgers, chips and coleslaw.

Leave me a comment if anyone would like my recipe for the stuffed baked potatoes. It's very yummy!

Mandy x

Monday, 29 July 2013

Life's hard but we pick ourselves up and keep going.

Hi everyone!

Thank you for the comments left on my last post.

Alex - thank you for your kind words.

Every one of us in this family has been through a lot in our lives, even Daisy. She fought on to survive in the womb, growing very slowly, but growing, so she got to stay there a bit longer! We were so pleased to get past each week of her pregnancy, so her lungs would be able to cope a bit better. We were so excited to get to 23 weeks and each week after that until she was born naturally a month early. She was very closely monitored by our wonderful maternity unit in Banbury and came through ok in the end. She inherited lactose intolerance from her mummy. She hasn't got a daddy and her mummy lives elsewhere. Mummy contacted me last night after a week of not hearing from her, not even when I informed her of Daisy's allergic reaction!

Daisy's problems I can 'talk' about here, but not much else... horrific crimes took place, that's all I'm saying...and that we are all survivors!

I know that every family deals with stuff day in day out and don't want to sound selfish...I no longer wallow in my own self-pity because life is too short and we need to make it good for our children and grandaughter.

Loo - Thank you for your kind words.

I don't think it matters what the item is, if it holds sentimental value to you then it is important. The photos in this house are the only thing (apart from Daisy's room) that are properly organised! I think we need to keep on supporting each other in this quest for a tidy and uncluttered home! I think that I am changing slowly though, because I see things around the house that are beginning to annoy me now and they need to go!

Taaleedee - I had a back injury six years ago that flares up my muscles every now and then and I am disabled until I recover fully which can take weeks. I would be devastated if that happened now because I am in a mess and my family would not find anything! My lovely husband is currently suffering from screeding a floor - he has a bad back and is off work (must be bad because he rarely takes time off, he's self-employed). I am really careful not to do heavy lifting when decluttering and sorting.

Lors - I tried Flylady, but you get so many emails! I save so much stuff to preserve the memories because I compensate for what I haven't got. My children are old enough to decide for themselves what is and isn't kept, but I would check a pile for the bin, just-in-case there was something I wanted to keep! We don't want Daisy to grow up thinking that her mummy (and daddy) didn't care, so we are doing our best to create visual memories that she can look at later even though she won't actually remember them.


Daisy's waking up now so I'll have to go, but I'll be back with what we ate last week and my carboot treasures (all justified and needed!)

Thanks for reading

Mandy x

Thursday, 25 July 2013

My life as a hoarder...

Hi everyone!

It's true, I am a self-confessed hoarder and have been for some years. I believe it stems from my childhood where my things would be thrown away while I was at school if they were viewed as rubbish. I am a very sentimental person and those things were not rubbish to me! I would have liked to of been asked first so I could explain why I needed them.

I grew up in a house that was always spotless, but we were not allowed in a room that had just been cleaned, even our bedrooms after school. Any of our mess was put on our beds and we had to tidy it away or there was no tea! My upbringing was very strict and a lot of the time very unfair. Incidentally, I have no contact with any of them now or ever will (for reasons that I really cannot talk about here) and now I can see that a lot of my own emotional issues began from this controlled environment. Any good memories that I had were destroyed by the actions of a very evil individual. I'm not going to dwell on this because I have moved on now, but this highlights where my urge to hoard began.

My children have numerous memory boxes in the loft and originally I had kept everything! Between us, we narrowed it down and just keep the really sentimental stuff. I left home with my birth certificate and a few childhood toys that I did manage to keep. No photographs of my childhood to look back on - photographs are very important to me. I have taken so many photos for Daisy to have when she's older and we spend a small fortune getting them printed off when we do our shopping. They are neatly organised in baby albums with her age written next to them, so she will be able to enjoy her journey living with us in the future when she's old enough to understand. I also plan to make her a scrapbook soon for her first birthday. This will show her what her first year was like. I write things down like when she got her teeth through and all this will be documented for her when I've found a beautiful 'daisy' book.


Alex - welcome to my blog! Thank you for your best wishes, it's a very slow process but there is progress. Hopefully a carboot sale in a few weeks will get rid of a load more.

Loo - we've been exchanging hoarding/decluttering achievements for some time now! Our front room is home to: a playpen, a pram, a swing, a walker, three baskets containing toys and books, a baby nest and two floor mats for Daisy to play on. You see what I mean!

Jane - for me it's a lifestyle change that's needed and that takes time. My spare food goes on top of the kitchen cupboards which looks really untidy.


So how do I move on from this and make the lifestyle changes needed? With a lot of support and understanding from my family. Time? This is something that I don't have because Daisy requires my attention, although she is sleeping more during the day and will play alone in her playpen for 20 mins at a time now. It's all about being ready to snap into action when the opportunity arises. I have decided to tackle one area of a room at a time and keep going until it's sorted. If I had a week all on my own with no other chores to be done, I reckon I could have this house a lovely home. Nevermind! I'm not feeling sorry for myself or hard done by because I created this mess, but small steps are the way forward and I will let you know how I get on when I blog. I will feel awful if there's nothing to tell... having said that... yesterday there was decluttering paperwork planned that didn't happen :(    What I did do was some ironing while Daisy was asleep and that cleared a space on my utility room work top.

Is anyone else battling with this daily???

I find really good support on here, so thanks for that, you can be my motivation!

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The perfect housewife???

Hi everyone!

Just lately I've been watching my 'The Perfect Housewife' DVDs when Daisy wakes me at 5am to feed and I can't go back to sleep because she's awake and ready to start her day! These dvds involve Anthea Turner teaching messy people how to be the perfect housewife. I have been in great need of inspiration and motivation in sorting out my own home. Since we found out a baby would be living in our house, we planned and prepared for her arrival. The house slowly filled with 'stuff'. Initially, everything went in the nursery and that was fine, but once she arrived, Daisy slowly took over the house! She has baby things in most rooms, which is fine, because they are needed, but everywhere looks cluttered because of the things I already had. The baby stuff has to stay, so my things have to go. I am a terrible hoarder and I find it hard to let things go, particularly sentimental memories. I am getting better as you know, but there are specific dumping grounds within our home which I want to sort and stop dumping!

The kitchen table - a have a fruit basket, s&p and table mats that should live here. In reality there is normally folded laundry waiting to go upstairs and a mountain of papers/post. I find it hard to carry laundry up during the day because I need to take Daisy with me, so I'm sorting this while she is asleep now.

The kitchen worktops - I need the kettle, toaster, bread bin, microwave, utensil pot, tea, coffee and sugar pots, steam steriliser and mixer out all of the time. In reality, the longest worktop is a dumping ground for what ever I have put there and not put away.

The utility room - because this room is not a 'living' space, I tend to put anything and everything that does not have a home in there. It is constantly a mess! One corner houses my carboot pile, which hopefully will be reduced in a couple of weeks time. My beautiful worktops (handmade) are covered in ironing and more papers and the rest is junk and my sewing stuff.

The problem is that I don't put things straight away when I've used them and I seriously lack storage in this house. Our house is quite large, it's a four bedroomed detached 1970s built house with a huge drive and garage. The garage is full because my husband is a self-employed builder and needs to store expensive power tools securely. My washing machine, chest freezer and old fridge freezer are in there too. When I've sorted the utility room, the washing machine can be moved into it's space. The decluttering needs to continue to get more stuff off the worktops. The paperwork needs sorting and then dealing with as and when it happens - I find this hard. I am getting there... the last few days I have been throwing away things I have saved to do craft projects, because realistically I have Daisy to care for and I don't have the time. I would rather play with Daisy than make something to entertain myself and then creating more stuff to find a home for. On Sunday, I emptied two large drawers, which meant I could store fabric in there. I have decided that the best way forward is to do the necessary household task daily and obviously Daisy's routine, but when Daisy's asleep, I will tackle one small job a day and keep that area tidy from then on. My bathrooms are clean, ours and Daisy's bedrooms are clean and tidy too. Charlotte is in her newly decorated bedroom (Ashley's old room) and still has stuff in her old room. Hopefully a carboot will sort that and we can start work in the now spare room. This will be a guest room incase Alice comes to stay, but very minimal in furniture because I would like a sewing room! Then the utility room can become a laundry room! You see I have a plan but it's going to take time. My job is to declutter so I can tidy easier and then clean better - it makes perfect sense. OHs job is to create a space for me to house my sewing stuff. Charlotte's job is to empty her old room. It all sounds simple, but we are all so tired all of the time. Charlotte has a long day at work, travelling to Northampton. My OH works six days a week and gets woken every night by Daisy, and me... I should get off this laptop and declutter!!!

So am I the perfect housewife?... no, probably not ever, but I would love to be a good one, with a clean and tidy house, home cooked meals everyday and freshly baked bread and cakes. Then I will be free to  have some me time - learning to sew.

Are you the perfect housewife?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Paul Weller live at Delapre, Northampton!!!

Hi everyone!

Sorry I didn't post yesterday, but Daisy was really struggling in the heat and we decided to watch the tv coverage waiting for the arrival of the new royal baby (I had the tv on all day and I never do that!). Daisy is trying so hard to crawl at the moment, so I let her explore on her floor mat and played loads of different games with her. She was so hot that it was better not to cuddle her too much :(

Right... Paul Weller... it was absolutely fantastic! The park is a beautiful setting and there were 7000 people there having picnics. We were a bit surprised that some people used it as a social gathering, with their backs to the stage! We didn't do that! We sang, we danced, we clapped and cheered and had such a good time together, with all our worries being taken away...a chance to forget and just get swept away by the atmosphere that an event like this brings. We felt young again (we are constantly tired because Daisy doesn't sleep very well) and I wish it could have lasted longer.

Paul Weller was as good as we expected him to be, but still so much better hearing him live. He played an assortment of songs from his long career, including his 'The Jam' and 'The Style Council' days and I sang my little heart out!  Sadly he didn't sing our wedding song, but we were happy. I took some photos, but they didn't come out very well. Being only five feet tall, I struggled to see the whole stage, but I had a gap where I had the main man in view.

This whole experience took me back to my 20s when I saw lots of bands: Space (at the Roadmenders in Northampton), Sleeper, The Bluetones, Ocean Colour Scene, my beloved Blur twice (I am a huge fan) and Paul Weller plus many other Indie bands at V96 (the first of those festivals). I would love to start seeing bands again, but it is expensive and our lovely daughter paid £80 for us to enjoy PW.

So Friday was an unexpected, special treat that we cherished every moment of...thank you Charlotte, you are so kind, generous and thoughtful xxx


Thank you to...

Sanny, Loo, Lors and Jane for your kind wishes xxx

Jane - I too have vinyl from that decade, I did a blog post on it! Paul Weller has aged really well, he may be grey, but he can still move well! He put his heart and soul into his performance on Friday night and I suppose that's why his gigs are sold out.


I hope you all had a great weekend too xxx

I had a bit of a scare at lunchtime, Daisy had an allergic reaction! The only thing it could have been was the cress I used. She has had cress with egg before and been fine, but when I looked on the tub, it said rapeseed and cress, but may contain mustard and celery! So there you go, Daisy is allergic to one of those things. She started with a rash around her mouth which spread to her left cheek. Within minutes she had huge blisters on her other cheek, which then appeared on her forehead. Her right ear was bright red too. I immediately looked her over and cleaned her face and hands. Charlotte had many allergies as a baby/toddler and was rushed to hospital after having an enormous reaction to hair dye as a teenager. Her face was like a balloon, eyes closed from the swelling and the doctor said the mouth was next! So I know what to look out for and there was no swelling, thank God! I've had medical training for using an epi-pen for a peanut allergy (specific to an individual child at school), but it's not something you can just buy, just-in-case! I will never be giving Daisy peanuts when she's older. It did scare me because she is so little, but I phoned grampy to put him on alert and would have phoned for an ambulance if she started to swell in the face. We thought it was just lactose intolerance... now we will be careful with each and every new food we give her. By the way, I put a little cress in her tuna and mayo sandwich (for vitamin c). She has just started to manage a little cut up sandwich and loves tuna. Her mayo is dairy and egg free. It's quite stressful having the responsibility of looking after someone elses baby sometimes.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

What we ate last week...

Hi everyone!

Sorry this is late up, but Daisy was struggling in the heat yesterday so didn't find chance to blog.

Monday - Veggie rice

Tuesday - Chinese chicken

Wednesday - Burger, chips and salad

Thursday - Veggie lasagne

Friday - Sausage, boiled potatoes, cabbage, broad beans, carrots and gravy

Saturday - Indian takeaway

Sunday - Cheese on toast

The veggie rice was lovely, as was the chinese chicken and veggie lasagne. The Indian takeaway was a special treat to our lovely daughter who completely arranged for us to see Paul Weller in Northampton the night before. It was paid for out of money that she had owed me (not the household budget). Sunday was a very simple cheese on toast to take away some of the guilt. We didn't purchase any food or drink while we were at the gig because we ate tea before we left and took drink with us.

We have been shopping on Sunday and I'm buying a lot less of the packet things, trying hard to eat as much fresh as possible and less meat too.

What have been your favourite meals last week?

Mandy x

Friday, 19 July 2013

Guess where I'm going tonight...???

Hi everyone!

Well I'm going to see PAUL WELLER!!!

He's in Northampton and me and lovely hubby have been treated to an evening together by our lovely daughter Charlotte. She is going to babysit Daisy and has even arranged for us to park around the back of her shop (she works in an opticians in Northampton). We only found out about this on Monday when she bought the tickets off her boss who can't make it now. I have seen Paul weller once before at V96 when Alice was still a baby! 'You do something to me' was our wedding song and we have both been fans since his 'The Jam' days. I'm so excited!!!


Jane - How exciting, a holiday! We went to Yorkshire two years ago and took Alice (Daisy's mummy) with us, we didn't know if she would actually come until the day before we left and she wasn't living at home then. It was a very stressful time in our lives, caused by her behaviour. Last year we couldn't go because she was pregnant, she was ill all the time and we wouldn't have been able to leave her. She suffered in the heat too so we couldn't take her with us, so we went without. That was the first year in ages that we could have booked out of the expensive school holiday season because I wasn't at school anymore. We do plan on returning to Yorkshire in September for a few days to take Daisy on holiday. A cheap caravan, out of season for a short break.

I too am going to make Froogs' 'Shepherdess Pie'! Yesterday we had veggie lasagne and it was tasty.

It's funny, but we often look at our children and try to work out where we failed with one of them. Ashley is respected in his job and has bought his own house at 23 years old. Charlotte has overcome a lot of issues in her life and picked herself up. She is doing well at work, is easy to live with and does a lot to support me. Alice made us extremely proud when she gave us a grandaughter, but has gone straight back to her old ways. She came to visit on Wednesday, which was lovely. We played with Daisy in her paddling pool and she spent good quality time with her. It looks like Daisy is here to stay for a while now because Alice doesn't want to live where she is now. I think she has fallen out with her friends. Who knows what's around the corner for us. Alice can be a good person, but she is really hard to live with and can be exceptionally cruel in her words and actions. We hope that one day she will find happiness (with or without Daisy). Until then, we will continue to keep things going  and she knows there is always a home for her here with her precious daughter.



Mandy x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Chinese style chicken...a recipe

Hi everyone!

Yesterday's tea was chinese chicken.

  1. Cut chicken into strips with scissors and brown in a little oil (I used 2 breasts for 3 adults and Daisy)
  2. Add chopped spring onions and any other suitable veg you have (I used frozen chinese stir fry veg)
  3. Continue to stir fry until the chicken and veg are cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, I followed the packet instructions and made up a bowl of chinese savoury rice (AF use up), asda cheap chicken noodles and I heated sweet chilli sauce and hoi sin sauce (both AF use up) for dipping and pouring. Daisy's chicken and veg was removed as she obviously cannot eat processed sauces.
  5. Finally, I made a little sauce to stir into the chicken stirfry - a few squirts of tom puree, some honey and a couple of dashes of soy sauce ( this was a trial and error sauce so I tasted it until it was right), this was addded to the chicken before serving.
  6. We ate the meal with prawn crackers (AF use up)
I didn't like those sauces so that's why I added the final sauce (I hate dry food). They didn't like the hoi sin because it had a lot of ginger in it, so the other jar in the cupboard will be given to my son to try. The sweet chilli went down well, as did the prawn crackers!

This recipe could be adapted to what sauce you may have to use up or what vegetables need using too.


Jane - We had a rat after the chicken food once so we keep a poison trap down that the chickens can't access. We've never seen another one since.

Daisy woke at 4am this morning then again at 6. She was really hungry at 4 and gulped down her bottle. So it seems we are not there yet!

I used to teach reception children and we celebrated all achievements and hard work, academic or otherwise. We can ask no more of children than to try their best and he obviously does that. Most importantly is for children to feel safe and happy at school. Emotional well-being has a huge effect on a child's day and is paramount to learning. You providing a stable home environment for him is reflected in his recognition from his teachers. WELL DONE TO YOU TOO!!!

I just can't stop teaching (and learning), this week I have taught Daisy to show me where her ears are! She is nearly there with hair and eyes (mine). This is why no housework gets done! She's like a little sponge, soaking everything around her up. She's interested in everything and points to things so we take a closer look. She may be slow in moving around, but she chatters now and really listens, so I think she may be like her mummy - a chatterbox!

Ironing - 20 mins a day is all I can manage at the moment!


Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Hi everyone!

Daisy-May is obsessed with chickens! She can even say 'chickens' quite clearly now. While she was having her evening cereal before bed, she was watching the dales programme with Grampy. There were chickens on there and she went wild with excitement and kept saying 'chickens'.

It's a good job that we have three of them in our back garden

One comment to reply to and I'm off to do some housework.

Frugal in Bucks - we have planted the 'living' lettuce from asda and they're going really well. The tomato plants have just started to flower and we've got carrots, cabbage and beans growing too. The cucumbers I started off in the window have failed : (

Our strawberry plant spread out last year and we replanted the new ones and now we have loads of strawberries. 

Forgot to say... Daisy slept until 7 this morning!!!!!!!

Mandy x 

Monday, 15 July 2013

What we ate last week...

Hi everyone!

This is what we ate last week:

Monday - chicken salad with new potatoes

Tuesday - chicken pasta

Wednesday - quiche, mini jacket potatoes and peas

Thursday - quiche, new potatoes and salad

Friday - chicken breast, wedges and sweetcorn

Saturday - cheese on toast

Sunday - ham salad and new potatoes

There was a lot of chicken meals last week, but a little goes a long way in this house because I cut it up to stretch it out. Let me know if anyone wants the chicken pasta recipe, it was very tasty and cheap to make with leftover cooked chicken. the quich also did two days, but we don't mind eating the same thing twice. Saturday was so hot that we couldn't face a cooked meal and I didn't want to be in a hot kitchen! Yesterday's salad was lovely (made by OH). 

We are getting loads of strawberries now and I gave a tub full to my son and his girlfriend. They came to visit (as they always do on Sunday) with goodies for us too. There was new clothes for Daisy all the way from America, from Harriet's parents and they also gave us a huge cabbage and bag of broad beans from their garden. Fresh garden produce tastes so much nicer than supermarket bought fruit and veg and the smell of our strawberries is lovely. A nice little top-up to our veg this week - very thrifty!

Until next week...

Mandy x  

A hot but restful weekend...

Hi everyone!

I hope you had a great weekend with the lovely weather we're having here in the UK.

I hate being too hot and I hate being too cold, but it is far easier to get warmer than to cool down. Daisy is coping better than we expected, but not eating much at the moment. Our dogs don't like the heat. Flo is an American Bulldog (she looks a bit more boxer dog than British Bulldog) and only a year old. She is a large dog but inexperienced in coping with the heat. She wants to be outside all the time, but we have to restrict that because she gets hot very quickly. She has short hair, unlike Jake our Patterdale Terrier who is a scruffy dog, but he is coping better than Flo because he knows it makes sense to come inside!

Daisy was very busy on Friday, we had a few breakthroughs... she tried to crawl from sitting up for the first time, she pulled herself up to kneeling in her cot, she had an afternoon sleep for nearly two hours in her cot and she slept from 10pm until 6am!!! She is later than a lot of babies in crawling etc, but all of her gross motor movements have been delayed so far. She was premature by a month and so tiny. The Health Visitor is keeping an eye on things, but we're not worried because she does things in her own time, she didn't roll over until really late either. Normally Daisy will only sleep in her pram during the day, so the cot during the day is a big deal to her. She has a huge cot bed which we bought to last her several years. The trouble is that she went from still being in a moses basket at six months to a huge space and she has never really liked her cot. The longer than usual sleep meant she was happy and relaxed in the early evening and had a proper night-time sleep. We still don't sleep because she has decided to sleep on her tummy with her face against the sheet. This means we are up checking her, to see that her mouth and nose are to the side and not facing into the sheet. Saturday night she was very restless because of the heat, so we put the fan on all night (I dread to think what that cost in electric) and last night she managed 10pm until 4.30am. This is a huge difference and I'm sure her long afternoon naps have changed this. We can actually start using the rather posh baby listener that her Uncle Ashley bought her before she was born now. We are also giving her a little cereal before bed and that seems to help her hunger too. If she wakes before 4am, I either put on her lullaby and she settles or offer her a drink of water, but no milk. Hopefully we are on the road to getting her into her own beautiful bedroom!

With the heat, none of us have had very big appetites, so dinners have been light and simple. Daisy has had so much fun in her paddling pool and I've had chance to catch-up on some chores because Grampy had Saturday off and spent some lovely time with Daisy. She has also started really chattering this weekend and said 'chicken' (well we understood it!) She is absolutely obsessed with our chickens and we go out to watch them several times a day. Last night she was watching Countryfile with Grampy and there were lots of chickens. She was so excited, she didn't know what to do with herself - that's when she said it, three times!

Loo - you're right, the decluttering is hard work but worth it in the end because it makes cleaning the house much easier. At least your stuff is tucked away in the loft etc, mine is stacked in the utility room and I have to look at it all the time.

Lors - thank you for your kind words x

This post has been very Daisy, but she is a huge part of my life and I have chosen to share that with you. She's not a very thrifty baby, we spoil her with nice things, but also save where we can. She does cost us a lot but we think she deserves the more expensive nappies etc. She hasn't got a daddy and very rarely sees her mummy, so we are providing her with the best we can - love and attention. I'm about to do a post on my meal plan... lots of salad!

Mandy x 

Friday, 12 July 2013

How do you get rid of unwanted stuff?

Hi everyone!

As you know, I am trying to declutter my home at the moment. Last weekend we did a carboot sale and in the past I have sold things on ebay. When a charity bag comes through the door, I will fill it. The best one is the air ambulance because they take anything, which is good for books because I still have loads. So how do you get rid of your unwanted items?...

I use charity shops, but it is difficult because I have to rely on my daughter to drop stuff off for me when she's at work in town (we live in a village and I don't drive).

I use charity bags that come through the door, but this doesn't happen very often and half the time they are bogus made-up charities, although that hasn't happened recently.

I sell at the carboot sale, but this costs us £10 pitch, so you have to make that back before you start to profit. It's an early start because we travel to Finmere in Buckinghamshire which is a large one. This is still the best way for us though.

I used to do a lot of ebaying (buying and selling) but like Frugal in Bucks, I've had many bad dealings. First there's the time to photograph and list items, then there's the fees to pay, it has to be packaged and taken to the post office, you get a certificate of posting, but there will always be people who try and get stuff for free and say it hasn't arrived when I bet it has. These people are straight on to you, sending messages and threatening action. I just refund them because it's easier than losing 100% feedback. I just find it a hassle for 99p!

For now, I will stick to carbooting!

Thank you for your comment Frugal in Bucks. I am often interested in other people's lives because you pick up ideas to use yourself and also it entertains me because my life is quite dull, busy but dull! Daisy doesn't allow me time to wallow in my own self pity, but we have been through a hell of a lot in the past few years, and sometimes I dwell on it. Daisy has helped us through by giving us a positive focus, she brings joy to our lives every single day. She makes us grateful for what we have too. It does wonders for my sel-esteem that people out there are reading and are coming back to read again! It amazes me when you see the amount of comments that some bloggers receive on a single post, but I read some blogs every day and comment with the rest. I suppose it's what interests us and I'm more likely to spend any spare time I have reading blogs rather than watching tele now! When I hurt my back, I read Frugal Queen's blog from the start and took loads of notes. Some of her advice is part of our lives now and how we run our home - there's still so much to learn!!!

I probably won't blog over the weekend, so see you Monday...

Mandy x

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Nutty Chocolate Squares...a recipe

Hi everyone!

With good intentions to achieve a lot today, I'm shattered and it's only half past 9! Daisy-May was unsettled all night and we couldn't work out why. At 1.15 this morning, I was in the kitchen, sterlilising bottles and making up another feed for her. We have been offering her water if she wakes up really early so she goes back to sleep without wanting a feed (she got into the habit of waking up every 2-3 hours for a feed when she was teething), but that wasn't working! I gave in and she had a milk feed, but still she screamed every time we put her back in her cot. We are used to living with sleep deprivation, but today we are all tired. Daisy is currently snoring and I'm looking at where to start with the chores.

When you're tired or fed up, eat chocolate!!! (Not at 9.30 in the morning though)

Nutty Chocolate Squares

  1. Melt 100g dark chocolate, 200g milk chocolate, 1 tbsp unsalted butter and 2 tbsp golden syrup in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Stir and remove bowl from pan.
  3. Add a small pack of peanuts and stir.
  4. Pour into a foil tray and chill to set.
  5. Dust with icing sugar before serving and cut into squares.
I used salted butter and value salted peanuts (use up challenge) which was a bit too salty, so unsalted butter would have been better (but I'm doing a use up).

I also made another batch, but with a crumbled crunchie bar (use up) and this was lovely (not salty) but may be a bit sickly for some, so you could adjust the chocolate quantities to more dark choc. I used value chocolate (use up), but better chocolate would give nicer results!

You could use any nuts you like!

I used foil trays (recycled) because it's easier to get them out.

Taaleedee - Do you know anyone who would do a carboot sale with you? I go with my daughter (she drives and I don't) and we share the price of the pitch and petrol to get there. I've also been with a friend and the people opposite us last week were friends selling together. My daughter drives a mini and we mangaged fine, her stuff and mine! 

I used to ebay, but can't be doing with the hassle of it now. I was selling stuff for 99p with all the trouble that goes with it and now I sell for 50p and actually get rid of unwanted items. I still love looking on ebay though!

Jane - this is the most I have ever blogged, thanks to Frugal Queen. Sometimes my blog is more of an online diary and I think it was boring to readers when I go on and on about my life looking after Daisy-May. They are expecting lots of thriftiness and homemade things, because that's what the title says!!! Thank you for your kind words. I have tried to grow strawberries in our own garden and the one at school where I used to teach reception children. Both failed! This year is the first year of success and we have loads. I think they are a bit sharp for Daisy because she didn't eat the strawberry custard I made her yesterday. She will eat them with ice-cream though. I too have expensive fruit taste - melon, strawberries and grapes. I HATE bananas! I bought Daisy the cheaper pears and she refused did the dogs! I'm glad that you're reading every day, I need to write something worth reading now!

I hope you all have a good day!

Mandy x 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Harvesting the strawberries!

Hi everyone!

I am not a natural gardener, but my OH has had success in the past. In our last house, most of the garden was dug up for vegetable growing, but in this house we have lacked motivation to grow. When you think how much money can be saved by growing your own, this sounds silly, but the ground here is bad. We have two raised beds/plots for growing and they are finally doing well. We also grow in containers on the patio. Last year I tried to get into growing my own, but lots of things failed (especially my beans and new potatoes) and this disheartened me. This year we were a little late planting, but we have veg growing in the garden now! I took Sue's (our new life in the country) advice and bought and planted out the 'living' lettuces. These have down really well and we are enjoying them, thanks Sue!

One thing that has done really well this year is our strawberries. Daisy loves them! She went out with Grampy after tea and picked a huge tub full. She has them whizzed in her blender and drizzled over her soya ice-cream for pudding. 

My coriander is doing well on the kitchen window. I love cooking with coriander and fresh is so much better.

Loo - it certainly feels good to get rid of stuff doesn't it? We are normally at a carboot sale buying rather than selling though! I'll do one more I think for now.

Sue - you always do really well at carboot sales! You're the one who has inspired me to take one area at a time and declutter. I was worried that I'd miss things, but it really clears the mind. One area that I'm still struggling with is books. I've sorted and sold quite a few, but we still have lots! We love books here and read every day but I will never have the time to get through all that fiction!
You're right, the cash is handy and it has gone into our savings tins.

Frugal in Bucks - I will be posting our meals up, but not the food stocks audit updates. I too get bored of the same meals and it has put me off cooking in the past. Frugal Queen made me believe it was worth continuing my blog, as I never received much interest in the past (I know you've been here for a while Loo). Since that post, I have page views, comments and followers! She will always be an inspiration to a lot of people I'm sure. I have popped over to your blog and I'm a follower! I will be having a good read later!

The nutty squares recipe is coming up...

Thank you to everyone who has read or left a comment xxx

Mandy x  

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I've completed my decluttering challenge!

Hi everyone!

On Saturday, Charlotte and I did a carboot sale. I took £35, but was selling a lot of my stuff at 20p or 50p, so you can imagine how many things I sold. I was up to number 50 on my challenge, so I'm sure I've made it to 100! It was too busy to keep track of what I sold, but a lot of empty bags came home. Today I've started to re-price my remaining items, cutting everything by at least half. We will do another sale in a few weeks to clear all clutter, selling at silly prices to just get rid of it. Anything unsold will be dropped off at the charity shop. I need to make money where possible, but I also want a tidy home!

I will also look around the house for more unused things!

Is anyone else decluttering at the moment?

Mandy x

What we ate last week...

Hi everyone!

this is what we ate last week...

Monday - spag bol and garlic bread

Tuesday - fish, chips and peas

Wednesday - beef casserole and boiled potatoes

Thursday - beef and onion pie, boiled potatoes and peas

Friday - beef burgers, french fries, onion rings, sweetcorn and salad

Saturday - chicken kiev/fish, hash browns and beans

Sunday - we had a late lunch when the tennis was on so not hungry for a proper tea. We had cereal or crackers and cheese and cake.

There was a lot of quick (rubbish) freezer food this week, but this is a use-up! We wouldn't normally eat like this every week and Daisy always has fresh food.

I baked jam buns, cherry buns and choc chip buns. I made nutty chocolate squares too.

Breakfasts were cereal and toast and poached eggs.

Lunches were sandwiches and cake plus snacks/goodies that we still have.

This week will be healthier! It is hot and hopefully will stay nice all week, so salads are planned! Yesterday we had chicken salad and new potatoes (Daisy loved it!). Tonight we are having leftover chicken, stretched to make a meal, using pasta in a creamy sauce and other bits left in the fridge. I did buy fresh sald stuff etc when I went shopping.

I have updated my own spreadsheet for my foodstocks, but have decided no to post up each week what we have used because it's not very interesting.

If anyone wants the recipe for nutty choc squares, just leave me a comment, thanks.

I'm off to tackle the huge ironing pile now :(

Mandy x

Monday, 8 July 2013

I've been really busy!

Hi everyone!

I usually write my blog in the morning, when Daisy has a nap after breakfast. Today I've got so much to do that I have had to wait until her afternoon nap. I haven't got time to do my Monday updates for the use-up challenge, but I will quickly reply to comments left:

Taaleedee - I used to be really bad with food waste, particularly with salad and veg. We have got three chickens and would love some ducks. You are right, the jam buns don't need an egg, they are a different texture to a cake.

Grammyscraps - You didn't offend me Lynn, I was just annoyed that I had to change it all! You weren't the only one who couldn't read the pink and I didn't realise it would be a problem for some readers. My eyesight is perfect and I didn't consider others - I'm really sorry about the rest of my blog, I don't know how to change previous posts (apart from individually editing them) but I have changed all posts to black from now on. I hope that helps for the moment, but if there are any particular posts that you wanted to read and couldn't, please let me know and I will change those for you straight away. I hope you will continue to read my blog.

Sanny - The cup was a proper 'cup' as part of a measuring set I've got. I think they use this way of measuring ingredients in America (I've certainly since this on tv). The recipe is from the '70s (old like me!) I tested it and 1 cup of SR flour is equal to 4oz of SR flour.

I absolutely love cheese and onion pie! I have been trying for years to create the same pie that I used to eat in primary school, but have not achieved it yet.

We had a great weekend, thanks x

Shelly - Don't worry, you certainly didn't offend me! I had to be on benefit a long time ago as a single mum and it was awful! They seem to get given a lot more money now than I did back then and Alice is very bad at sharing. This is a sore point for us because she gets money but doesn't support Daisy. She buys her presents, but doesn't pay us back for all the boring but necessary things like nappies. We have been financially responsible for Daisy since she was in the womb! We bought everything for the pregnancy and everything for the new baby. Her mummy has paid for her shopping a couple of times and that's it. Since Daisy was born, I have looked after all the practical side of her care, while her mummy was able to cuddle and feed her. I washed and sterilised bottles, did her laundry, changed her moses basket bedding, cleaned and tidied her room and looked after her while mummy was in the shower etc. I also looked after Alice when she was pregnant, she had severe morning sickness then bad urine infections, then a problem with her hips that restricted her mobility and finally severe pre-eclampsia that came close to taking her life. She was really ill after having Daisy, so still needed looking after when discharged from hospital. She was on a huge amount of medication to keep her blood pressure down. Her dad, sister and brother all took her to hospital tobe monitored because Daisy would stop moving. Daisy was very slow growing and there were numerous scans and consultant appointments to attend. I don't drive, so it was left to the rest of the family to take her and stay with her for whole days at a time. Sadly she forgets all that we have done. The latest is that Alice hasn't moved into her new house yet, so Daisy stays with us for now. She will only go when she has a stable environment to offer. At the moment she stays with friends.

I'm glad you are enjoying my blog and really pleased that you take the time to comment x

That's it for now because Daisy is awake, but hopefully I'll be more organised for tomorrow.

Mandy x

Friday, 5 July 2013

Two bun recipes...

Hi everyone!

I did manage to make the buns yesterday, but didn't have time to post the recipes. Here they are:

Jam Buns

1 cup self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2 dsp marg (dessert spoons)
2 dsp caster sugar
2 tbsp milk
little jam
little milk for brushing over

  1. rub the marg into the flour and salt
  2. mix in sugar and milk
  3. mould in hands into 6 balls and pop on a greased baking tray
  4. make a hole in the top of each bun with your thumb
  5. fill the hole with jam
  6. brush the buns over with milk
  7. bake for 10 mins at 200oC
  8. leave to cool

All-in-one Buns

2oz marg
1oz caster sugar
1 egg
2oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp water
glace cherries/dried fruit/chocolate chips
12 cake cases

  1. put all ingredients into a mixer (could do it with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon) and whisk until combined
  2. Add either 2oz chopped glace cherries, 2oz dried fruit or 2oz chocolate chips and mix in
  3. put into cake cases and bake for 10 mins at 190oC
  4. cool

These recipes are great for children to make too.

I have a fan oven so they both took exactly 10 mins to cook. I made the cherry and the choc chips buns and will make the fruit ones another day. I needed to use up some cherries. I have stored them in an airtight tin. 

Yesterday I went through my fridges and took out any dodgy looking veg. I have peeled and chopped up swede, parsnips and carrots and put into stew packs ready for my next slowcooker casserole. I wouldn't be able to use them up fast enough this week. On Sunday, I will shop at Asda for fresh foods and obviously Daisy-May's baby things. I am doing well, using up what I have and hopefully cutting my shopping bill - reducing waste too!

I had several lemons in the fridge which I wanted to turn into puddings and cakes. I haven't had the time and rather than let them go bad, I sliced up the large lemons and open froze them. The smaller value lemons were squeezed and the juice frozen too.

I am really keeping on top of my food waste now. Any peelings go to the chickens and anything they can't have is recycled in our compost bins or in the brown bins we have to recycle all food waste with the bin collections.

Probably no blogging over the weekend - Charlotte and I are selling at a carboot sale tomorrow (Grampy is looking after Daisy all by himself!) Sunday will be shopping and family time. Have a good weekend!

Mandy x 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Strawberry and white chocolate trifle

Hi everyone!

Yesterday was a tiring day, Daisy was craving attention more than usual so I didn't get much done. We had a lovely day playing, but the guilt creeps in when I look around at the mess we have created! We had two visitors, my lovely son who lives in the same village, but I only really see him on Sundays now, and Daisy's mummy. She popped back to collect her post and some clean clothes (yes I do her washing, but I refuse to iron it so she wears it creased!) She obviously cuddles Daisy while she's here, but as she gets a lift over, she can never stay long because the driver is waiting outside (up the road and around the corner) to take her back again. Daisy is always happy to see her, which reassures me. She is back today to take Daisy for a check-up at the Doctors. She prefers to do these things herself, although I deal with the Health Visitor visits myself now.

Shelley - it was never our intention to have any legal hold over Daisy. We always wanted to be her grandparents, with her living with us and her mummy until mummy could get her life on track. We wanted her to get a career and learn to drive, gaining independence for their future together. We were going to help her get a little house so she could learn how to run it with our support. We never wanted her to be a 'benefits baby'. Sadly she will be one now. At the moment, we completely financially support Daisy's upbringing because we always wanted a good start in life for her (not on benefits).  Why make life difficult when it doesn't have to be? My daughter does have a part time cleaning job, which is a step in the right direction. Now we want to share her care and we are supposed to be having her with us at weekends when she has moved into her new house.

As yesterday didn't go according to plan, I didn't manage to make the buns, but I did make the beef casserole and trifle.

Strawberry and White Chocolate Trifle

284ml pot double cream
1tsp vanilla
sponge fingers ( I used 4 AF trifle sponges)
half a punnet of strawberries
few squares white chocolate

  1. lightly whisk cream and vanilla until spoonable
  2. cover the bottom of a serving dish with trifle sponges
  3. add a layer of sliced strawberries and then cream
  4. repeat the layers
  5. finely grate chocolate over the top
  6. decorate with remaining strawberries
  7. chill and enjoy!
Jane - well done with the dieting!

Taaleedee - every time I look on the AF website there will be different things available. Have a quick look weekly and I'm sure something will turn up. I get emails of their new products and current offers - it's easy to sign up for this.

Sanny - welcome and I.m glad you're happy with my blog. I will post the bun recipes up this afternoon when I've actually made them. I'm hoping they will be as nice as I remember! The tennis was good yesterday - edge of the seat viewing (actually I was sat on the floor playing with Daisy!)

Sue - welcome to my blog! I read yours everyday. Sorry about the pink writing, I had no idea what trouble it was causing! I have changed that post to black now for you x

All being well, I'll be back later...

Mandy x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The slowcooker is out of the cupboard!

Hi everyone!

I have taken Frugal Queen's advice and got the slowcooker out again. I only usually use it in the winter months, but I have been converted! The weather's not brilliant here at the moment, so we can manage a casserole. I got two packs of braising steak out of the freezer last night to defrost and I will make double beef casserole today. Today we will have it served with dumplings and tomorrow it will be turned into a steak and onion pie. I always think it tastes better the second day.

We are having pudding today! I have been looking for a recipe to use my trifle sponges (AF) up (apart from trifle!) Today we are having...strawberry and white chocolate trifle. It doesn't sound very frugal, but I have all the ingredients and the strawberries need using up too. I will put the recipe up tomorrow if it's nice! Our own strawberries growing in the garden are doing well and almost ready to start picking. I spotted a blackbird having a feast the other day on the only strawberry beginning to ripen!

I'm also hoping to do a little bit of baking and have two recipes from when I was a child. The first is jam buns and the second all-in-one buns (little cakes). These recipes will go up tomorrow - frugal and simple.

I got very little sleep last night, I don't know why Daisy was so restless, but it didn't help hearing boy racers charging out of the village at 1am. We live at the edge of our village, on the main road in and out and the windows are open at the moment. I shut the windows!

I have been playing around with my blog design but I'm not quite happy with it yet.

Jane - thanks for your comment, I have noted your likes/dislikes for future recipes. Do you eat potatoes?

Lean Thinker - Hi, I'm glad you are enjoying my blog! Just like you, I spend too much time on the laptop during the week, when daisy is asleep and I should be doing housework!!! But I love learning new things and sadly I then have little time to try them out. Sewing being my main one.

Right, lots to do today and the tennis is on too. Hopefully back tomorrow with those recipes if they turn out well???

Mandy x

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

I'm confused???

As far as I'm aware, I wrote the last post in black!!!

Let's see what happens to this one...

Meanwhile, I hope blue is ok for you grammyscraps because I haven't enough time to change my design page at the moment.

Mandy x

Recipe requests?

Hi everyone!

As requested by Grammyscraps, I am no longer writing in pink. I love pink and only used it because it's my blog and I'm free to choose the design of it. I hadn't realised that it caused a glare for some people - I'm sorry about that. Obviously I want anyone that finds me to be able to read all posts, so I won't be using the blue or purple either from now on. Welcome to my blog grammyscraps!

I didn't get a lot done yesterday because of the tennis, but while it's on I am spending time with Daisy playing. We bought her a playpen on Sunday and she is happy in it for about half an hour before wanting a cuddle. I never seem to finish a job that I start and the playpen means she is safely contained when the oven is on. Normally she will love to rush around in her walker while I'm cooking, but suddenly we are interested in the cooker and the cupboards and the chairs and the dog's bowls! I did manage to cook a tasty tea - spag bol. Simple but nice. Daisy really enjoyed it (I make a different version for her without the oxo and Worcester sauce etc) and was making happy noises while eating!

Daisy was 10 months old yesterday and had her first time in the big girl's bath! We also bought an aqua pod from Mothercare which is a bath mat with little seat attached. She still fits into her baby bath (she is so small) and we thought she may be scared in the big bath. Last week we put the baby bath inside the big bath and she was fine, so we moved on. She had all her bath toys in there and splashed away happily.

Thank you for all your comments. In reply:

Loo - is there anything you don't like in a cake (eg: I hate coffee cake), because I've got a lot of recipes?!

Jane - (comment from the other day) I meal plan as I go, shopping for offers and creating meals to suit. I love AF for the giant cake and bread mixes, but I struggle for storage. We're about to start decorating our spare room, but hopefully it will double up as my sewing room, so there won't be much space for food. I keep them on top of my kichen cupboards at the moment, but it does look untidy.

I love to be stocked up with food, but in the past I have had to throw away food because I just had forgotten how much stuff there was and it was past it's best. I am a lot less fussy when it comes to best before dates now.

I'm currently not working (had to give up my teaching assistant job because of family illness), so I can cook from scratch, although it can be difficult if Daisy is having a clingy day. A couple of months ago we were eating way too much meat, so I have cut it by half. I bulk buy, then portion it into the freezer. There's only Daisy, my daughter, OH and me now so we don't need to be eating as much. We have a lot of meat free days too now. My OH is a self-employed builder and works very hard, six days a week, so he needs man food to keep him going - a salad isn't enough really! We had cheese salad last week but that was a change of plan because he came home ill and wasn't eating tea with us.

We shop at asda fortnightly and the local butcher now and then. We never 'top-up' shop in our village like many people do. The asda staff always think we've got a lot of shopping until we tell them that this is what we buy for the whole two weeks. A lot of people go several times a week, filling a small trolley. Half of the bulk in our trolley is Daisy's nappies! We're doing Frugal Queen's challenge to get into the habit of cutting our food spend. We still buy a lot of what we like, rather than just what we need! Spare cash would be good for our savings tins (holiday, Christmas and home improvements) and we want to move so badly, but the house is not ready for selling yet.

Update with my daughter situation - we speak every day and she is making plans for her new house. She has an awful lot of stuff to buy for Daisy (we are keeping everything because we bought everything), so moving in for Daisy will not be for a while yet. I've suggested that she has her for the day once a week until she's sorted and I can send her stuff in the changing bag etc.

Jane - (yesterday's comment) I'm not shocked by four freezers, I used to have three until one broke. I've got a chest freezer in the garage and a fridge freezer in the kitchen. I also have a fridge in the garage too. You can never have too much freezer space.

Well done on your weight loss!

Do you still want meat based recipes? I assume that your OH eats meat, as you said Daniel is not a big meat eater. On a good day, I would make a dinner and pudding and bake once a week. I make simple cakes mainly - my OH loves plain cakes like victoria sandwich with jam inside and a dusting of icing sugar on top or fruit cake. My daughter is also quite happy with cake without icing, where as I love icing! These sorts of cakes I make without a recipe because I've been baking since I was a little girl, but I also love to try out different recipes and if we like them, I will make them again. I cut recipes out of magazines, I write them down as I read them or hear them on tele and I have a huge collection dating back to when I did Home Economics at school!

If I get any specific requests, I'm sure I will find suitable recipes for you all to try. I love to bake and need to make more time  to do it (instead of reading blogs!)

I hope you're all having a good day and I look forward to the recipe requests...

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Monday, 1 July 2013

Frugal tea-time...a recipe

Hi everyone!

Here's a frugal recipe for you:

Vegetable Risotto

frozen peas
pinch of herbs
chicken oxo
boiling water

  1. Put the rice on to cook (we use boil-in-the-bag not proper risotto rice).
  2. Fry the peppers, onion and mushrooms.
  3. Add the cooked rice, peas, sweetcorn and herbs and stir.
  4. Dissolve the oxo in a little boiling water and add to rice mix.
  5. Add water as necessary to prevent the rice from sticking.
  6. Cook on a low heat until the peas are heated through and serve!
You can put any bits you have in the fridge to use up. You can add tinned chopped tomatoes too (we didn't because I don't like them!)

We had this with chicken drumsticks that had been smeared with bbq sauce - a really nice meal that hubby cooked for us. We were supposed to be having a roast, but it was just too hot - see how meal planning just doesn't work for me???

Sorry no photos of these recipes - blogger won't allow me to upload from my laptop now. My daughter's gonna try and help me resolve this.

Do you want me to carry on posting up recipes? Any requests for baking ones?

Mandy x

What we ate last week...

Hi everyone!

Here is last week's menus:

Monday - pork chops, baby baked potatoes, carrots, broccoli, stuffing and gravy.

Tuesday - fry-up: sausage, bacon, hash browns, beans/tomatoes, mushrooms, egg and toast.

Wednesday - beef burgers, wedges, coleslaw and salad.

Thursday - cheese salad and new potatoes.

Friday - jacket potatoes, cheese and beans and sausages.

Saturday - chicken kiev and wedges/omelette.

Sunday - bbq chicken drumsticks and vegetable risotto.

Until next week...

Thanks for reading!

Mandy x

Monday Food Stocks Update...

Hi everyone!

Here is what I have used up:

Fresh - baking potatoes, new potatoes, lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, coleslaw, half pack cheese, Daisy's soft lactofree cheese, 9 eggs plus from our hens.

Frozen - 2 chicken kievs, wedges, mixed peppers, chicken drumsticks, granary bread.

Baking - none used!

Pudding - none used!

Treats - lemon madeira cake, angel cake, walnut cakes, some crisps, biscuits and choc bars.

Jars - none used!

Tins - 1 sweetcorn, 2 beans, 2 beans and sausages and 1 plum totmatoes.

Packets - 1 boil-in-the-bag rice

Other bits and bobs have been used like sauces, but nothing is empty or needs replacing yet.

Until next week...

Mandy x


Freezer Audit...

Hi Everyone!

This is simply my freezer audit, so may be a bit boring to read!

I will update my food stocks every Monday and write about our meals as they happen.



  • large pack chicken drumsticks
  • 6 x chicken breasts
  • 5 x packs minced beef
  • joint of beef
  • liver
  • pork mince
  • belly pork slices
  • large pack braising steak
  • 2 x 1lb bags braising steak
  • 4 x half pound bags braising steak
  • 4 x pork steaks
  • 4 x pork chops
  • cooking bacon
  • streaky bacon
  • 6 pork and red onion sausages
  • 18 sausages (in bags of 6)
  • 11 individual chipolatas
  • black pudding slice
  • sausagemeat
  • 2 bags diced pork
  • 8 lamb chops
  • 8 beef burgers

  • 2 x large bags frozen peas
  • bag mixed veg
  • stir fry chinese veg
  • spinach
  • half bag mixed peppers
  • few green beans
  • half bag cauliflower
(the following were fresh and I froze them)
  • large box sliced carrots
  • 2 x bags savoy cabbage
  • bag spinach
  • 2 x bags sprouts
  • 2 x bags swede
  • bag carrots
  • bag leeks
  • bag green peppers
  • bag parsnips

  • 2 x bags steak chips
  • half bag hash browns
  • few french fries
  • few wedges
  • 2 x bags sliced potatoes (were fresh, I froze)

  • tub of mint choc chip ice-cream
  • tub of vanilla ice-cream
  • punnet raspberries
  • black of blackberries
  • bag of gooseberries

  • 2 x burger buns
  • muffins
  • crumpets
  • 2 x pitta breads
  • 2 x potato cakes
  • 5 x granary loaves
  • 16 slices white bread
  • scotch pancakes

  • 4 x battered fish pieces
  • 4 x breaded fish pieces
  • 4 x chicken kievs
  • 4 x pollock portions
  • 4 x faggots
  • few onion rings
  • garlic bread
  • 2 x puff pastry
  • half bag yorkshire puddings
  • tomato juice
  • liver and leeks (cooked)
  • puree tomatoes (Daisy)
  • puree strawberries (Daisy)

That's it! Some of these things have been used which will be reflected in my update.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x