Thursday, 31 July 2014

What I've baked Wednesday...

I know this is late but my internet has been playing up the past few days :(

Not as much baking as I would have liked done this week. It has been so hot here and I've been avoiding having the oven on any longer than need be. 

I have tried something new and failed! It was a fatless sponge, but the texture was of a bathroom sponge! It looked fine though...

It had risen well...

A slightly odd shape but I'm not entering into a competition! 

I decorated the top but obviously hadn't tasted it yet!

am trying to recreate the lightness of a bought sponge cake. I love to bake cakes but actually prefer the texture of a bought sponge like a Madeira cake or I choose to make a melting method chocolate fudge cake...lovely.

Has anyone else had any baking day fails?

Has anyone got a lovely recipe for a fatless sponge that you'd like to share?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Top Tips Tuesday...

Hi everyone,

Here are this weeks top tips...

Leisure Time

1). Walking...I love to go walking. Not only is it good exercise, but I think it helps to clear your mind and relax. It gives us chance to chat and Daisy can explore without having to be in her buggy. The dogs love to walk...Flo wants to run and Jake (who is nearly 13) is happy to wander along (sniffing everything!) We will walk locally. We have a reservoir close by and a public footpath literally just across the road. Sometimes we travel a short distance in the car to find a different walk, so that would be our only cost.

2). Reading...I've talked about this before, but we all love to read in my house. You've seen just how many books I've got to get through! Books don't have to be expensive. I have a huge amazon wish list, but I rarely buy new books, they are normally Christmas or birthday presents. Carboot sales are the places to go for cheap books. People just want rid of them and you can pick them up for as little as 10p. Charity shops always have a good selection too. Another idea is to pass books on to friends, family and work colleagues. You can share yours and borrow from others. We used to do this at my work with DVDs too. Finally, there is obviously the local library.

3). Watching...television is something I don't do that often now, but when I do, it's not sky tv! We have free view for the television, we watch old films and tv shows that we already have on DVD or video (yes we still have a video player, almost retro now!) and I watch YouTube. YouTube is fantastic to find tv shows from the past and to learn new skills. I sometimes buy DVDs at Carboot sales, but mostly I use my amazon rental service. When I buy a DVD I need it to be a film or tv show that I know I will want to watch over and over again like the 'Darling Buds of May' for example. With the DVD rental, it is a cheap subscription fee and I can have two DVDs at a time and watch many throughout the month if I want. If I need to be even more thrifty in the future, I can simply cancel this, but at the moment this is our treat. We never go to the cinema.

4). Eating out...picnics! Daisy loves a picnic and so do we. We went for a lovely walk and picnic on Sunday...

The swans were very friendly! We fed the ducks and ate a lovely picnic. We simply took what we would normally eat for lunch, so no extra cost.

5). Do something you enjoy...around the house there is always something that needs to be done, but it's also important to have hobbies and interests. It could be something like gardening or DIY and these can be done as cheaply as possible or really expensive. You may be interested in sewing, knitting or crafting, again this can be expensive if you want it to be or you can look out for cheaper alternatives. Sadly I don't always practice what I preach! I am trying to make more time for myself, I've got a lot of the resources I need, I just lack time! 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Monday, 28 July 2014

Meal Plan Monday...

Hi everyone,

Here's what we will be eating this week...

Monday loaded potato skins and salad.

Tuesday spag bol

Wednesday sticky pork slices, HM wedges and coleslaw

Thursday cheese and ham potato bake and veg 

Friday sausage pilaff

Saturday baked bean, bacon and cheese slice and HM wedges

Sunday meat and potato pie, mash and veg

Any recipe requests?

Mandy x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Feeding the Family Friday...

Hi everyone 

Here is some of the food we've eaten since Friday...

Potato Cheese Pie

One Pan Pork Chops

This was lovely but the baking dish needed a soak!

Cheesy Gammon Rolls

4 slices gammon or ham
4 leeks
25g butter
1tbsp plain flour
150ml single cream
1/2 tsp English mustard
Pinch of ground nutmeg
75g granted cheese


1). Boil leeks for 5 mins. Drain well (reserve 150ml of the water)

2). Roll gammon around the leeks and put into a shallow ovenproof dish.

3). Melt butter and add flour, stirring. Gradually add leek water, cream, mustard and nutmeg. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Add most of the cheese.

4). Pour sauce over leeks and gammon and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

5). Bake for 25-30 mins @ 190oC

also made a really simple cheese cake...

Bash some digestive biscuits (depends how big you want to make it) and add melted butter to bind it together. Press into a serving dish with the back of a metal spoon. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling...empty a tub of soft (philidelphia) cheese into a bowl and stir in some lemon curd. I used 8 heaped teaspoons to get it right. Spread over the chilled base and chill until ready to eat (photo at the end because once again I couldn't type under a photo!)

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Thrifty Thursday...

Hi everyone

This week I have done all my normal thrifty things, but I have also made the best of a bad situation. I accidentally knocked a tray  of eggs off the worktop when I was putting the shopping away. I had to make a cake out of the cracked eggs straight away (baking was not my priority at that point) so they weren't wasted. I would have used the eggs to bake, but when I decided to! 

Daisy has decided that she hates bibs now. She isn't really a messy eater but obviously I will protect her clothes where I can. I have saved a couple for the really messy dinners like spag bol, but the others have been recycled...

I cut out the pretty patterns to use for a craft project and thought about what to do with the rest.

They are now rags for cleaning! I hate throwing things in the bin as you know.

We were kindly given a home grown cabbage by a farmer that hubby is working for at the moment...

Home grown tastes so much better and if was free!

Talking of veg, I had some rather wrinkled  carrots and broccoli that wouldn't last much longer in the fridge. The meal plan was for beans with our meal, but I changed it to use these up...

I'm always aware of what needs using up.

I hope you're all having a good week and thanks for reading.

Mandy x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What I've Baked Wednesday...

Hi everyone,

It's been so hot here that I haven't really been in the mood for baking. Today is baking day but as I don't need the oven on for tea I have decided to bake tomorrow instead. Tea is cooked in the oven then and I can use the empty space for a cake and possibly some shortbread. 

I have baked since last Wednesday though, a spur of the moment thing because I accidentally knocked a shopping bag off the worktop and cracked some eggs :( I took out a loaf of bread and made it off balance (pretty unlucky I think) and the eggs were in with the bread. Two were on the floor, but another four were cracked, I managed to save the rest. I cracked open the four and kept them in a bowl until I'd finished putting the shopping away. I then made a Mary Berry Victoria sandwich cake for hubby's pack-up...

This is his favourite, plain and simple...sandwiched together with jam and a dusting of icing sugar on top. Sorry that the photo is of inside the cake carrier, but I'm paranoid about flies getting on our food. That's probably why I have forgotten to photograph Mondays and yesterday's meals! I'm so keen to get the food dished up and onto the table before the flies land. If must be quite funny to watch me flicking them away and moaning. Does anyone else find the flies a nightmare? The windows and patio doors have to be open because it's so humid, but they keep on inviting themselves in! I'm going to have to get some of those sticky things to catch them.

This time of year is not my favourite...I have a phobia of spiders and wasps and both scare me. The big spiders will be showing themselves anytime now (I saw enough of them in the garden) and the wasps seem to smell my fear. I'm not afraid of being stung because that has happened to me before (it sat on my shoulder and I only realised it was there when it stung me!) it's the way that they fly into my hair and hover around my face. Once they arrive in full force, I start to wish for the first frost so they'll disappear! 

Does anyone share my fear of wasps and spiders? 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Top Tips Tuesday...

Hi everyone,

A later post today because I try to get my jobs done around the house first thing while it's not too hot. It's been a scorcher here again today and I've just finished my ironing. Tea is cooking so I thought I'd do this post quickly before we eat.

It's top tips Tuesday and I'm going to talk about the garden and growing. I am no gardener, but I'm learning!

1). Grow your own...I have had successes and fails here, but strawberries have worked really well in our garden. I bought some mesh netting to keep out the snails and birds, but we've been lucky and only a few nibbles. They were a little sour but lovely with cream or ice-cream!

2). Use your kitchen windowsill...I grow the living lettuce bought from asda and my fresh herbs (parsley and coriander at the moment) on the windowsill. 

3). Composting...our council takes away all good waste, but we do have two compost bins in our garden. You can throw on all potato and vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg shells etc and use it on the garden.

4). Tidy the garden up (fencing)...we are saving up for new fencing but we have just painted the old fence before to keep it looking fresh and tidy. The wood preserver/stain can be quite expensive, so we wait until it's on offer somewhere. You can even pick it up at the supermarket!

5). Tidy the garden up (patio)...our patio was filthy! Luckily my son has just invested in a power washer and he cleaned it for us, but we don't own one ourselves. Another way to clean it is elbow grease! I've used a scrubbing brush and hot soapy water and thus brings the slabs up well.

Has anyone else been tidying up the garden?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Monday, 21 July 2014

Meal Plan Monday...

Hi everyone,

This is what we'll be eating this week...

Monday cheesy gammon rolls and jacket potatoes

Tuesday calypso chicken and rice

Wednesday potato cheese pie and beans

Thursday one pan pork chops and roasted veg

Friday cheese and onion quiche and homemade coleslaw

Saturday chicken tikka naan toppers and vegetable curry

Sunday ham and cheese tart and green salad

I also have plans for some light summer puddings, recipes to follow...any requests from the meal plan this week?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sewing Sunday...

Hi everyone,

Second post today...catch-up!

Sewing Sunday has been a fail :-(

I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. It's so hot and humid at the moment that it's a struggle just getting the chores done. I would love to sit down and sew but like I said before, I feel guilty when there are other jobs to do. 

Daisy and I have been creative in her activities throughout the week...I will always make time for that and baking is a craft too!

Sorry not much of any interest this weekend. Hopefully I can have a more productive week ahead.

Has anyone managed to sew, knit, crochet, craft this week?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Shopping Saturday...

Sorry it's late! I had a lazy day yesterday, no shopping, no carbooting. We were up really early (4am) with the thunderstorms. 

I have shopped today in Asda and last Sunday we received our first online shop for quite a while. We have switched to weekly week online and one week instore. This is hopefully a change for the better. Our fruit, veg and salad bits are fresher and we don't run out of sandwich fillings. My meal planning which is saving us money and helping us to eat healthier, means I have a list and I'm sticking to it! Last fortnight our shopping trip was fast and cheaper. Today was slow... The Asda at Leamington Spa is being refitted and EVERYTHING has been moved around. It was so disorientating. 

Last Sunday I photographed my shop. It's so good to see just how much fresh food we are buying now. Here is what we got...

These photos didn't improve with or without the flash on, but you get the picture.

Dairy and other fresh foods.

Bread and meat. I only buy what I need now...not stockpiling anymore.

Store cupboard and other bits and bobs.

I'm not going to photograph my grocery shopping every week, but it does show how my shopping habits are changing for the better. Having a meal plan...then a list really stops impulse buying and saves money.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Friday, 18 July 2014

Feeding the Family Friday...

Hi everyone,

I am hopeless at remembering to take photos of our tea! Only two so far this week...

This is Mondays tea as I was making it...chicken risotto.

The wedges meal was a really lovely recipe but I ate it before taking a photo. Here's the magazine clipping...

I'm including the recipe because it was cheap and tasty. I made my own BBQ sauce too.

Wedges and Beans with Cheese

Potatoes cut into wedges (enough to feed your family as a main dish)
1tbsp oil
A shake of paprika
1can baked beans
1-2tbsp brown sauce
3tbsp chopped parsley
100g grated cheese
BBQ sauce - 2tbsp soy sauce, 3tbsp honey, 1tbsp vinegar, 1tsp Worcester sauce, 4tbsp passata (mix together in a jug and adjust to your could add a tsp of Dijon mustard but I didn't because Daisy is allergic to mustard seeds) 

1). Toss wedges in the oil and sprinkle with paprika. Put in an ovenproof dish.

2). Bake for 30 min @ 200oC turning once, until crisp and golden.

3). Make the BBQ sauce (see above).

4). Mix together the beans, BBQ sauce, brown sauce and parsley.

5). Remove wedges from the oven and cover with the beans mixture. Sprinkle over the cheese and return to the oven for 20 mins until pale golden and bubbling.

This is well worth making!

This is the sausage and tomato bake. The recipe was requested by Jane...

Sausage and Tomato Bake

Pack of sausages (I chopped each sausage into 3 pieces)
Little oil
1 chopped leek or onion
1tbsp plain flour
Beef oxo
3floz water
Dash of Worcester sauce
1tsp mixed herbs
Tin of chopped tomatoes (I used passata)

1). Fry sausages and leek/onion in oil.

2). Add flour and cook for one minute.

3). Stir in oxo, water, Worcester, herbs and tomatoes. Bring to the boil and stir until thickened.

4). Transfer into an oven proof dish with a lid. Bake for 30 mins @ 180oC.

I served this with small baked potatoes and broccoli.

This was really lovely too.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thrifty Thursday...

Hi everyone,

Since last week I have been doing all my normal thrifty things which I write about on Tuesdays, but on Thursdays I want to focus on things I have started to do or I am trying to do more.


I love to read, I always have, but just lately I've been unable to get into a book and end up giving up. Reading before bed is relaxing but I find it hard to stay awake!

I have a huge collection of books and nowhere to store them. I have been through them when I declutter and really want to read them all. When I find an author I like, I will try to collect books by the same author. 

These are just some of my books, as you can storage!

Another pile of unread books...again no storage!

Finally, some non-fiction books, some read and being kept and some storage!

These books actually do have storage in the kitchen where cook books belong!

That is my aim for all my wanted and needed books, but book cases are not high on my list of priority purchases, so I will have to put up with the clutter or get reading!!

Well I have made a start. This book is so easy to read and to pick up and only read a little bit too. 

So how is this thrifty?

Almost all of my books have been either given to me or I have bought for a small amount...normally 50p. If I don't like a book or I know I won't want to read it again, then I will either donate it or sell at the Carboot. I get some money back to buy another and someone else gets the chance to enjoy that book too. 

Reading is entertainment and costs very little. Reading is education and I love to learn new things. New skills can be beneficial to the thrifty lifestyle too! 

Is anyone out there like minded when it comes to a love of books? How big is your book collection and how do you store them? Any ideas?

Daisy and I have done lots of crafty messy play this week too...

One last thing I wanted to share is this...

The hens are laying properly again after being broody. I wonder which one laid this cute little egg?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What I've Baked Wednesday...

Hi everyone,

A late post today because I have been so busy! I have baked though...

Lemon Cake

Not a very good photo! This is the lemon cake left plain how my hubby likes it. Daisy made her own lactose-free version (with a little help from auntie Charlotte) and decided to throw in her snacking raisins to improve the recipe! I also iced one cake and cut into squares...

Yeah it did run over the edges a little but it's fine!

Cut up and ready to eat. Here's the recipe...

225g marg
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
275g self-raising flour 
2tsp baking powder
2tbsp milk
Juice of 2 lemons (save a bit back for the icing)

Icing sugar and lemon juice to make icing

Oven 180oC for 40 mins

Wednesday is now baking day! 

Anyone else been baking?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Top Tips Tuesday...

Hi everyone,

One area that we need to consider is our energy consumption. The gas bill is lower during the warmer months, but our electric bill is still too high. The bill shows that we have reduced since this time last year, but we need to do a lot more! 

There are some things that I already do that I've already mentioned...laundry and cooking, but a couple of other things to think about are...

1). Lights - we only light the rooms we are in. We have lamps and use candles in the winter (up high obviously). Every room has energy saving bulbs too.

2). Switch off appliances - I used to leave things on standby but not any more (every penny counts) and make sure the washing machine is turned off as soon as it's finished. The red light flashes to tell me it's done, so this must be costing something! I make use of my cheaper electric at night so can't always turn it off instantly though. 

3). Be really conscious of how much the kettle is boiled - I am at home all day with Daisy, but I only boil what I need.

4). Think about how to use the cooker less - as I've said before...I use the top (stove) when I can, rather than the oven, when the oven is needed, I fill it up and I use my steamer so I use less rings for veg. I am always aware of his much electric a cooker uses.

5). Use elbow grease when you can - I own a dyson, a food mixer, bread maker etc, but I don't always need to use them! I am able to sweep the floor and beat a cake mixture or knead some dough. The choice is there.

Do you have any tips to share on energy saving? I have more but I only want to share five at a time so I don't run out too quickly!

Thanks for reading, 

Mandy x

Monday, 14 July 2014

Meal Plan Monday...

Hi everyone,

It's meal plan Monday! This is what we'll be eating...

Monday - we had chicken risotto 
Tuesday - wedges,beans and cheese
Wednesday -sausage and tomato bake
Thursday - deep pan potato pizza
Friday - bacon pudding 
Saturday - BBQ at my son's house
Sunday - ham salad and new potatoes

Just leave a comment if you fancy any of the recipes.

Sorry this is late going up...I've had an interesting day...Daisy's got more teeth on the way I think.

I was a bit annoyed earlier... My charity bag was half collected. The bag was covering a box of donations and it had been ripped open and rummaged through. What wasn't required was left behind. This has never happened before as they just take everything away. Is it now common policy for the collectors to decide what they want to collect? I followed the instructions on the bag and the air ambulance collect bric-a-brac along with almost everything apart from electricals. All of the videos I sorted yesterday were left. Now does anyone know how I can recycle these? Are charity shops not collecting them anymore? We actually have two video players and still quite a collection of video tapes, but these ones were not needed. I hate chucking stuff away that I know will end up in landfill. Any ideas anyone? You can't give them away at Carboot sales so maybe the charity shops have the same problem.

I won't be donating to that charity again simply because of the way in which my donations were handled. Sadly that clutter is still in my house :(

Top tips Tuesday tomorrow (ooh, alliteration!)

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sewing Sunday...

Hi everyone,

Today is sewing Sunday. Although I would love to be cutting bits of fabric to make Daisy's first quilt, I have had to turn my attention to my clothes. Some are literally falling apart! My first thought was to throw out a pair of trousers that are really bad, but actually they would do for gardening. I'm not a keen gardener as you know, but I do need old clothes to wear when I'm tidying up and pottering in the garden. So, I have decided to sew them up and keep them a bit longer.

I have a basket that is full of clothes that need mending...a simple case of replacing a button or repairing a hem that's come down. Nothing too difficult and I need to just get on with it! When my mending is done, then I'll get back to the quilt preparation. 

Have any of you entered Frugal Queen's fabric giveaway? I have Froogs! Such a generous gift to the lucky winner...fingers crossed!!

Changing the subject...

I have been decluttering today. I donated a lot of stuff recently to the charity shop and we've had another collection bag through the door. Today I have filled a very large box with videos and clothes for the air ambulance charity shop. It'll be collected tomorrow. It makes me feel so good to be rid of unnecessary possessions, decluttering stuff does really declutter the mind. I am definitely succeeding in this area. I have changed...gradually the hoarder in me is disappearing! The house is so much easier to clean too!

Back tomorrow with my meal plan. Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Shopping Saturday...

Hi everyone,

I've been carbooting today! I love getting things for 50p that I will sell again when Daisy has grown out of them...for 50p!

This is what I picked up for Daisy...

Jake from the tweenies...50p
A peppa pig character...50p

(Excuse the weeds, I am getting there!)

Popoids! Daisy doesn't really have any construction toys and she actually spotted these first...£1

Apparent this is fifi and the flower tots? Daisy is really into small world play and although there are some bits missing, she loves it already!

I've been looking for this book for ages as Daisy loves anything to do with the moon and stars (Alice I know you used to have this book when you were little but we haven't got it now)...50p

Converse shoes...£2.50...bargain

Little next winter skirt for her to grow into.

Minnie Mouse romper suit
Floral romper suit
H&M dress
Minnie Mouse top
Red spotty top
Stripe top
Floral top
Little shorts
Sun hat (not in photo)
All this for £3

Navy romper suit
Lemon print leggings
Floral leggings
Pastel stripe dress
White top
Gingham top
Pink gap top
Strawberry print top
Heart top
Purple gap top 
Pink cards
3 x vests
2 x swimsuits

All this for £5.50 the man was tidying away so he did me a deal!

Finally, a few little treats for me...

DVDs...I'm trying to replace my video collection with DVDs and I love Foyles War...£1.50

Three tops for £1.20

Has anyone else been carbooting? Any good bargains this week? 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Friday, 11 July 2014

Feeding the Family Friday...

Hi everyone,

Here's a few pics of what we've been eating this week...

Corned beef hash pie.

Pasta carbonara...I'm not going to make this again (Daisy had a lactose free version, but really doesn't like a white sauce). Yo be honest, if didn't have much flavour!

I am terrible at remembering to photograph our meals! Tea time is such a busy time, but I will try harder.

Two recipes were requested from my meal plan this week...

Sausage and Sweetcorn Quiche

8oz short crust pastry
1oz butter
1 onion (chopped)
6oz Sweetcorn
4 sausages (cooked and chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1/4 pt milk or cream or a mixture of the two 
3 eggs
1tsp mixed herbs
3oz cheese (grated)


1). Look at the ingredients list for preparation...particularly that the sausages need cooking first for this recipe.

2). Roll out the pastry (you can make your own or buy ready rolled like I did because it's still on offer in asda) to line a 10" flan dish.

3). Melt the butter and cook the onion until softened. Put in pastry case.

4). Add the Sweetcorn, sausage and tomatoes to the pastry case.

5). Put the milk/cream, eggs and herbs in a jug and beat.

6). Pour over the pastry case filling and sprinkle with the cheese.

7). Bake @ 180oC for 35 mins or until filling is set.

Rooftop Pie

Both of today's recipes are magazine cuttings from the '80s! I love a bit of retro cooking.

Serves 4

2 tbsp oil
1 onion (diced)
3 small potatoes (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1/2 green pepper (chopped)
450g mince
275ml beef stock
1tbsp tom purée 
50g button mushrooms (sliced)
Pack of puff pastry
1 beaten egg


1). Heat the oil and fry onion, potato, carrots, pepper until browned. Remove from the pan and put aside.

2). Brown the mince then return the veg to the pan. Add the stock and tomato purée. Cook gently for about 20 mins until the sauce has thickened.

3). Add mushrooms and pile mixture into pie dish. 

4). Roll out pastry to 1/2cm thick. Cut out rounds and arrange them overlapping , over the mince, sticking down and glazing with beaten egg.

5). Cook @ 200oC until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.

I hope you like these recipes and thank you for reading,

Mandy x

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Thrifty Thursday...

Hi everyone 

Since last week, I have been cooking from scratch and eating far less processed food. It takes longer than just chucking something in the oven, but I am improving with my time management and getting into a better routine. Our shopping bill has reflected that meal planning has made me more thrifty. 

I have also been spending some time in the garden. I'm trying to make it a special environment for Daisy as she is out there for most of the day while the weather is so nice, but I also need to concentrate on utilising the space better for growing. We have two large raised beds but not much going on except for the strawberries at the moment. This needs serious attention! I also grow herbs in patio tubs which are looking messy at the moment. I want to grow a wider variety as I'm back to cooking from scratch all the time again and trying out new recipes. I bought a living parsley plant on Sunday and I will put that out soon (on the windowsill at the moment).

There's a lovely walk over the fields opposite my house. We literally cross the road and the footpath is there! Daisy is free to explore without being in her buggy or having to hold my hand all the way. The dogs love walking too! I don't know why I've never used this footpath before, but Charlotte takes Flo all the time and we decided to join her after tea...we will probably go again today. Free entertainment and exercise too! 

I have also started reading properly again...I want to make sure I make a habit of this, I don't allow myself time for hobbies...I always feel guilty because there is always something else that needs to be done!

 I'm going to be kinder to myself.

Cooking, baking, walking, reading and sewing are all things that I enjoy...I hope to report back that I've done them all by next week (regularly). I've made time to cook properly every day and bake when needed. I've been out for a walk and I'm starting a new book tonight. It's the sewing that I want to do! I've managed to keep up with my daily blogging so I know I can do it :)

Anyone else been trying to be extra thrifty this week? 

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

What I've baked Wednesday...

Hi everyone

Well I've discovered that thrifty tips is my most popular of posts. Yesterday I received 400 page views! I normally get less than 50, so I'm thinking you want me to share more of these?

On to today...

Lately I've been trying to reduce my grocery spending and reduce my food waste. This means I only bake small amounts so it all gets eaten. This week Daisy and I have baked chocolate cake! Daisy was in charge of her lactose free recipe of little chocolate cakes and I made a chocolate sandwich cake...

It's a moist cake and doesn't rise much!

Tastes good though :)

Here's the recipe...

Dark Moist Chocolate Cake

125g marg
125g sugar
2 eggs
75g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
3tbsp cocoa

Icing sugar, cocoa and real butter to make the a little icing sugar to dust on the top.


1). Beat the marg and sugar until pale.

2). Add beaten eggs slowly with a little flour.

3). Add remaining flour, baking powder and cocoa. Fold in.

4). Spoon into two greased and lined sandwich tins. Level the top.

5). Bake for 30mins @ 170oC until it springs back when touched. Cool.

6). Make the icing and use it to sandwich the the cake together. Dust the top with icing sugar.

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Top Tips Tuesday...

Hi everyone

Here are this weeks top tips...


1). Washing machine...I only put my machine on if it's full, at night (timer) because my electricity is cheaper then and if the weather forecast is promising. At this time of year there is never a build up of laundry in my house because the weather helps me keep it up-to-date. 

2). Washing powder/softener... I have been using half the amount of these for quite some time now. My washing is fine with this.

3). Drying... I dry my washing outside all year round. If it's cold but windy, it will dry enough to just need airing in the house. I am lucky to be at home, so I can dash out if it starts to rain (like yesterday) and get it in. If rain is forecast, then I won't put any washing on unless I'm desperate. I hate having laundry around the house and I won't use my tumble drier unless an emergency!

4). Bath towels...I don't wash the big bath towels every time I shower. I hang them at the top of the stairs over the bannister. Daisy still has the hooded baby towels, so these get washed after every use.

5). Wear clothes twice... If they are clean then I wear them again the next day. I will wear jeans for two days and cardies or jumpers if they look clean (not always possible with a busy toddler about!)

Does anyone have any more laundry tips to share?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Monday, 7 July 2014

Meal Plan Monday...

Hi everyone

Here's this weeks meal plan...

Monday chicken chasseur, rice and green beans.

Tuesday corned beef hash pie, new potatoes and sweet corn.

Wednesday pasta carbonara and salad.

Thursday rooftop pie, broccoli and carrots.

Friday cheesy potato bake, ham and peas.

Saturday sausage and sweet corn quiche and salad.

Sunday macaroni cheese and salad.

Recipes on request!

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sewing Sunday...

Hi everyone

Well Sunday blogging is supposed to be all about sewing or crafting that I have done...oh dear...I have failed on this one!

I always feel guilty if I do stuff like hobbies when there are other jobs to be done. I haven't found the time for hobbies this week.

I have been grocery shopping today in Leamington Spa and cleared a huge pile of ironing...sadly no time for sewing.

This is my current project...

This basket contains my patchwork. I'm making a quilt for Daisy. It's a slow process!

Daisy and I do lots of crafting together, so maybe I will start sharing that with you instead.

Has anyone else managed to fit in some sewing or crafting this week?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Shopping Saturday...

Hi everyone

Saturday's are when I usually shop at a Carboot sale or the charity shops. Well we don't go every week and haven't actually been today or last weekend because of the weather.

I have done a bit of online shopping this week though...

A new stroller for Daisy...this one for everyday use. It was a thrifty purchase because although it was expensive (you sometimes have to pay for quality), I waited until mothercare had a sale on. It was reduced by £40.

Some necessary purchases here and some bits and bobs I have started to collect for Daisy's birthday present.

Asda shopping tomorrow...

Has anyone picked up any bargains or reduced items this week?

Thanks for reading,

Mandy x

Friday, 4 July 2014

Don't know what happened there??? Plus finished pie photos

At the end of the last post are two empty photo boxes. I tried to put a pictured up of the pastry I used but it failed...then I tried again and failed...please ignore!

I gave up with the finished pie...but let's try again...


Again, not a very good photo...sorry...I was rushing around dishing up xx