Thursday 30 April 2015

Breadline 1-5-15

New month, new budget - 31 days' worth this time.  I'll hold what I have left over, money wise, in reserve, just in case it is needed.
Already spent:  £2.91
Left to spend £57.09 (which looks pretty healthy from this end of the month.

Today's menu
Breakfast: granola (4p) with pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid)
Lunch:  tomato scone x 2 (6p), soft cheese (8p), chutney (5p), fruit (paid)

Dinner:  We (my guests and I) have a super whizz fantastic celebration for something wonderful that has happened so it's take away Chinese with (gasp) alcohol!  Off Breadline, of course, so the total today will be the full £2.00
(because that's how it works!)

(Yes it does!)

So, spent today £2.00

Left over from April I have:
jam and marmalade
skimmed milk
grated cheese (quite a lot plus I have more that I bought very much reduced what I haven't accounted for yet)
fruit juice

And bought in preparation I have
peanut butter
sweet potatoes
white cabbage

Plus the left over cash!

The 'rules' will stay more or less the same.


Good morning, everyone.  It's a lovely early morning here, very cool with just a slight frost touching the roofs of the cars so that one feels a bit like a puffing Billy when breathing, but the skies are clear and the air smells wonderful.
I've sneezed six times already so must remember to take the antihistamine this morning.

Yesterday was odd.  It was staff meeting after school and it was about something I don't need to know so I didn't have to stay.  It just felt very strange and a little bit not nice to walk off and get on with other work, knowing that the meeting was still going on behind me.  And they are interviewing for 'my' post today.  It's just - strange.

I need to get on with some work so I'll stop now.  I hope the day goes really well for us all.

Breadline 30-4-15

Last day of the first month!  And I have survived.

Already spent:  £49.61
Still to spend (in one day???): £10.39 (that would be fun!)
Days to go: 1

Today's menu
Breakfast:  Beans ((12p) on toast (paid), fruit juice
Lunch:  Saturday soup (10p), bread and butter (paid), apple (15p)
Dinner:  Beef keema (75p), rice (15p), banana (paid) and custard (13p)

Spent so far today:  £1.40

It's funny how certain patterns have established themselves over the month.  For example, I almost always have beans on toast for lunch on Wednesday.  That's because I have PPA on Wednesday afternoon so don't have to have a quick lunch and go back to prepare - there's time to toast the bread, heat the beans and eat it in a leisurely manner.  Because I split a tin of beans in half, I therefore have the other half on toast for breakfast on Thursdays.

I always plan in some fruit juice for breakfasts but I don't always then have it.  It's planned and there if I want it though.

Therre's quite a lot of stuff that I account for before actually using it.  How I choose what to account for beforehand is somewhat unmethodical, but it works for me so it's worth continuing.

I put above that spending £10.39 in a day would be fun but, you know, it wasn't that long ago that I would spend that without blinking.  A take away and a bottle of wine would more than use up that.  I'm really glad I started this and intend to continue with some flexibility when it comes to using up freezer stuff.  Works for me!

Wednesday 29 April 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  Despite feeling quite cold yesterday, this morning is fairly mild (i.e. not frosty) and I was comfortable walking to the shed in bare feet which was just as well as my shoes were upstairs.  The sky is clear and the stars are shining.  I love the early mornings before the street lights come on; they are dark and mysterious but not threatening.

Oh, I was so tired yesterday evening.  I came home and dived into a bottle of birthday wine which was remarkably silly as I then spent the evening prowling round the kitchen trying to find something 'bad' to devour.  I didn't because there wasn't anything and, truth to tell, I don't know what I would have fancied anyway, just something!  I was so glad I am doing Breadline and didn't have anything of that sort under the roof.

Yesterday was an OK day except for one thing.  After lunch we had science and I had found a game  called the food chain game online that was just the ticket.  Out came the iPads (they love using the iPads) and they found the game via Safari, only to discover that the actual game didnlt work on an iPad.  Grrrrr.  Of course, I had found and checked it on a PC.

Fortunately the trolley of laptops was available so we did a quick swap over and away they went with the game.  I could have kicked myself for not checking the actual game but I don't know much about iPads, not having one myself.  They're good at logging on, etc, now so minimal time was waster, thank goodness.

Today, being Wednesday, is my 'interesting' day.  It's violins as it is every week, but not library this week.  In the afternoon it is PPA so that will get next week's planning more or less done and dusted.  There's staff meeting after school so I will come home rather frazzed again, I suppose.  It's just as well dinner is just out of the freezer and will only require heating up!

Have a gread day, everyone.

Breadline 29-4-15

Already spent:  £48.54
Still to spend:  £11.46
Days left:  2

Today's menu
Breakfast: granola (4p) with pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch;  beans (12p) on toast (4p), muffin (6p)
Dinner:  savoury rice (75p), fruit (paid)

Spent so far today:  £1.07

Tuesday 28 April 2015


After a chilly start, yesterday turned out very pleasant.  Not all that warm at times but sunny and cheering.  Today it is chilly again but skies are clear so I'm hoping.  I gather parts of the country have had a little snow but I doubt we will get any hint of it here.
I was pretty cold yesterday evening and, for once, turned the heating up which sorted that out very quickly.

The children did some writing yesterday, a non-chronological report about minibeasts.  There were some very funny sentences, especially about spiders, but I think my favourite was one about ants where the writer commented that ants 'tear apart the queen ant and eat her which is a pritty disgusting thing to do but there you are thats what they do.'   Classic child's POV.

Today is just more of the same.  It's all go, isn't it?  It will be nice to wake up and feel that the day's my own and I can read, sew, bake, whatever.  It's also nice to remember that we're coming up to a long weekend.  I might even take a trip to Hyde Hall on the Monday, weather and opening hours permitting.  It will be packed but that's OK, I will take lunch with me.
Better go and check with Google  :-)

Breakfast time so off I go.  Have a lovely day.

Breadline 28-4-15

Already spent:  £48.07
Still to spend:  £11.93
Days left  3

Today's menu
Breakfast:  toast 4p, butter (paid), jam or marmalade (paid),  fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:   bean and veg soup (15p), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Same as last night because there was plenty left over so all I have to pay for is the rice (15p), custard (13p), banana (paid)

Spent so far today:  47p - pretty good for a filling menu.

I despair!  A few pots out of the freezer and four pots of good ham stock in to more than take their place.  I couldn't throw it away though, could I?  It is such good stock that cooled to a jelly.  Ham and pea soup, here I come!

Monday 27 April 2015


A dry, mild-ish morning today with clear skies and bright stars.  Some sun later on would be a good idea.

Yesterday was pleasant.  I tried out the Aldi wholemeal bread flour and the results are great.  Excellent.  The dinner was good too - very nice ham and the trimmings were all very acceptable.  Today I am making a substantial pasta sauce with the leftovers and a few additions.

I had a nice afternoon with Beth.  She altered some clothes while I chatted and snoozed and chatted.  We watched some TV and generally chilled.  Very nice too.

Now it is back to school todal and hoping it's a good day.  Fingers crossed.

Breadline 27-4-15

Still to spend:  £13.26
Already spent:  £46-74
Days left:  4

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:  Dhal (26p),  yogurt (paid) fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Shredded ham (42p), onion (3p), peppers (15p), peas (8p), mushrooms (20p)tomato sauce (paid), 50g pasta (4p), grated cheese (paid), marmalade cobbler (5p), yogurt (paid)

Spent so far today £1.33

Been doing a bit of thinking about the contents of my freezer and am going to change things a bit, purely for practical purposes, because at the moment I'm choosing not to use some things up beccause of possible cost - which is daft because they are already bought..

Also I had sweets left over from my birthday and they are in the freezer so kind of inaccessible.  That will be good for the old calories even though I'm not counting them.  :-)

Sunday 26 April 2015


Good morning, everyone.  I hope you slept well.  It's a bit chilly this morning and rather wet again but if it cheers up like yesterday cheered up, I will be happy.

Yesterday was a very pleasant day.  As aforementioned, it did start off very chilly and wet although we could have done with more rain as we've had very little recently and the beds are very dry.  I made an early dash to Aldi to get things on my shopping list and bought one more thing - a little fold up mini step.  It's perfect - fold up to very little and when I step on it I can reach my top cupboards easily.  I'm very pleased I saw it.  Apart from that, I am glad to say that I stuck to my list.  There's definitely improvement there
This is it - I bought the grey one.  It's much stronger than it looks.
I was also VERY pleased to see that Aldi had wholemeal strong flour in.  I know they sell it because it's on My Supermarket but I've never managed to get there when it is on the shelf.  Either it's decidedly popular or they don't stock all that much.  Yesterday I got the last two bags and, with two bags of white, that's me stocked up for a while.  Maybe I need to go early on Saturday more often.

Then I whizzed home to make breakfast.  I know they say don't go shopping when you're hungry but now I am doing Breadline it doesn't seem to make any difference.  The sausages I had were reduced and weren't the best kind but they were OK and teamed with some fried tomatoes they made a great brekkie.

I made two batches of bread.  One using the usual recipe and one using my sour dough starter.  I used the autolyse method with both with mixed results.  The usual, yeast based recipe was fine and I do think the bread tastes extremely good to the extent that I did eat rather a lot of it in the evening (ooops).  The sourdough bread was not an unqualified success but I think that was me.  Perhaps I shouldn't have changed the recipe when I'm still struggling to master the basic bread.

The problem was that I think I over rose and over proved the dough and just before I put it in the oven it collapsed in on itself.  After googling a bit, what I should have done is re-knead and re-prove but I didn't, I just put it in the oven and crossed my fingers which, as eny fule kno, is not a terribly effective baking strategy.  The loaves baked and the crumb is - well - not terrible.  I will eat them.  However, I hope to do better next time.

I will try autolysing the sourdough bread again but not until I have mastered basic sourdough bread rather more than at present, because it adds to the time and also makes the dough a lot firmer and Thermione was struggling to cope.  See, I'm not a genuine baker who kneads by hand.  Genuine bakers suffer for their craft!  Not me!

The rest of the day was spent in a lazy hazy state of relaxation, supported by birthday wine.  I told myself it was because I had worked on my birthday but really it was just laziness and very nice too.  I treated myself to a paper, read a rubbish book with great enjoyment and had the telly on in the background.

Today Beth and Al are over and I have dragged a gammon joint out of the murky and chilly depths of my freezer.  Now, that might sound very extravagant when one is on Breadline but actually it was in the post Christmas sale and the whole joint cost just under a fiver so brilliant value.  I have to feed the teenager well so it will be just the ticket with plenty left over for Al to take home and for me to freeze and use later in rolls and sandwiches.  Being a fake-Breadliner, I will only cost in what I use, not what I give away!

And now I must bake some more bread.  Yesterday's will go to Beth and today I want to try the wholemeal flour.  And another coffee seems to be the order of the day.

Apologies for going on somewhat today and have a good 'un yourself!

Breadline 26-4-14

Already spent:  £45.36
Still to spend:  £14.64
Days to go: 5

Today's food:
Breakfast:  Granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:   ham (42p),  roasties (10p), sweet potato (8p), peas (8p), carrots (6p)
Tea:  mini quiche (30p),  coleslaw (12p), cucumber (6p), celery (paid), muffin (6p)

Spent so far:  £1.38

The ham was a great find.  Beth and I went a-shopping after Christmas and found some greatly reduced hams so we bought.  I think I still have another one in the freezer for later on.  Today's one is gammon and should serve at least ten portions.  Alex will take some home and I will wrap the leftovers in individual portions and freeze them for future meals.  Ham and egg with home made fries sounds rather delicious, for starters.

I'm starting the accounts for May.  Exciting stuff < cough >.

Saturday 25 April 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's the weekend and I'm feeling very relaxed after a very pleasant birthday yesterday.  I didn't even hit the alcohol too hard either so the head is clear, as is the conscience!

Lots of kind words yesterday and what seems like hundreds of Facebook greetings.  All very pleasant indeed.  Of course, it will be my last school birthday.  Rather sad really.

And today - just the usual pleasant and gentle Saturday stuff.  Bread making, washing, ironing, and so on.

I think it is going to be good.

Breadline 25-4-15

Already spent:  £43.54
Still to spend:  £16.46
Days to go:  6

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  2 sausages (15p), fried tomatoes (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:  Saturday soup (10p), croutons (paid), 
Dinner:  Indian takeaway (£1) - leftovers frozen earlier

Cost so far today:  £1.25

Friday 24 April 2015


And here we are again at the end of the week (nearly!).  Two down, eleven to go.  It doesn't seem very long really!  It's chilly out there again with a beautifully clear and starry sky but I gather it will warm up during the day and be lovely.  I hope so - we have outdoor games.

Yesterday was very dull for a while but cheered up amazingly as the sun came out.  Unfortunately, I didn't get as much done in my coordinator time as I hoped but, dear me, no-one will die as a result so I can cope.  There's a weekend coming up, after all.

You may remember, gentle readers, that I had intended to get into school last Saturday but a much needed afternoon sleep got in the way.  Well, thanks to some hard work by my lovely LSAs and me, we managed to get most of the stuff done and dusted so this weekend should be a free one!  That will be nice.

Well, I say 'free' but am not counting the usual housework, washing, ironing, etc   There won't be as much because today is cleaner day so I should come home to a shiny clean house this evening.  Excellent!  And thinking of the day's planning, I won't have all that much marking either which is double excellent!

I will be making my second sourdough loaf.  Last week's may have been full of mistakes one way and another, but it was delicious - well, still is, in fact, because I sliced it and froze it so I can take off one slice at a time.  I have to say the flavour was something else entirely - absolutely delicious and quite different from my usual bread (which is also tasty, I hasten to add).  I also find that it doesn't give me a slightly indigestible feeling afterwards either, as ordinary bread sometimes does.  If I can remember to get some strong wholemeal flour, I might try making a half and half with the white flour starter and adding wholemeal.  I might also try the autolyse method which, as far as I can gather is basically mixing the flour with the water and leaving it for a while before adding the starter and salt.
As it says on a blog elsewhere:
 'I’m going to discuss the easiest, fastest way to improve the flavor of any bread, or, the autolyse [awe-toh-lees] method.  This is the fancy term for “mix only your flour and water together, and let it sit for twenty minutes before adding salt and yeast, and kneading”.'
I'll let you know.

I'm afraid I shall be cheating (and sourdough experts - look away now - warning).
(whispers)  I will be using loaf tins this time.
(speaks normally again)  There.  Isn't that shocking?  You see, last week's effort spread all over the tray it was on and threatened to escape so I had to put it in the oven early.  I cooked it from a cold oven and actually it worked extremely well, rising beautifully as the heat increased, but all the same . . .

I don't have a basket or banneton as I believe they are called.  I may, at some point, get one, but maybe not.  So for now it is investigation!

So we come to a name for my sour dough starter as I have been told every baker ends up doing.  I'm no baker but have been considering it.  I thought of 'Paul' after Mr Hollywood but didn't fancy that.  I'm wondering about Charlie or Henry but I think it will end up as 'starter', poor thing!  After all, it is alive.

After July I will be able to make my bread any day I want, not just weekends.  Lovely thought.  The only problem will be of the supply and demand kind.  I wonder if anyone local would buy artisan bread from me?

And now I must look at the lessons for today!

Breadline 24-4-15

Spent so far:  £42.89
Still to spend:  £17.11

Today's menu
Breakfast:  Granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), apple juice (paid)
Lunch:  cheese and chive scone (1p), soft cheese (7p), chutney (5p), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  dhal and rice (42p), dollop of yogurt (paid),

Total so far:  65p

It's a bit misleading really because today was my birthday and I was given some munchables and drinkables which cost me nowt so I'm not counting them!  So there.  :-)

Thursday 23 April 2015


Good morning!  It's not very cold this morning although it is chilly enough to make me glad I had my dressing gown on when I went to the shed to get the day's supplies.  There are a few gaps showing in my upright freezer now, which means I can move a few more things across from the chest freezer.  Maybe this time I really will make some inroads into the pile of stuff.  If I was feeding a family of six for a fortnight there would be no problem but I'm not.  Talk about first world problems!  It's rather shaming really.

Yesterday was a good day.  I got lots done and the classroom is now in an OK shape.  We did some work on adverbial phrases and the resulting independent work was pleasing.  

Today is coordinator time and I have three fairly major things on my list so I will need to get going straight away or I won't get them done.

I've just remembered it is bin day today so I must take the rubbish out.  Have a good day, one and all.

Breadline 23-4-15

Already spent:  £42.87
Still to spend:  £18.13

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Beans (12p) on toast, apple juice
Lunch:  Tuna mayo sandwich (paid), carrot batons (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Turkey curry (75p), 1/3 pk rice (15p),

Spent so fat today:  £1.02

Wednesday 22 April 2015


It's Wednesday already!  Where does the time go?  It will soon be two down, eleven to go.  And this term has two non pupils days - a bank holiday and a report day.  There's only twenty one days left before the half term break.

It's chilly again this morning but I can't see if there's any frost yet.  The last two mornings have had a very light frost just showing on the shed and house roofs.  It's not been all that warm out of the sun either and I reads that there may be a little snow next week.  Now that I can't believe!

Yesterday went OK.  It's a bit of a long slog now until the SATs are over and then after that we can perhaps relax just a little bit.  Afternoon playground duty did go well - it was sunny, we can now use the field, of course, since it dried up properly and the children are happy in the sunshine.

Today, being Wednesday, is my interesting day.  Word workshop, violins, library, English and then PPA for the afternoon.  The day finishes with staff meeting which M and I are leading.  And then the week will nearly be over again:  more than half way over anyway.

And now I must get on with some marking!  Lovely!!!!!

Borrowed from Google and, no, not my sort of marking at all.  I know the marking workload is horrendous but really, how does 'could do better' actually help the child to understand where to improve?

Breadline 22-4-15

Already spent:  £41.07
Still to spend:  £18.93

Today's menu
Breakfast:  granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), apple juice
Lunch:  beans (12p) on toast (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner: turkey apple and sage meatballs (53p), pasta (5p), grated cheese (paid), natural yogurt,

Spent so far today  80p

I've been thinking of the advantages of doing all this and there are several.

In no particular order:
1.  I've made some new 'friends'.  I put friends in inverted commas because it's all online so carries a different meaning, but nevertheless, well worth having.

2.  I'm eating better - by that, I mean what I put in my mouth may be more frugal but it is also healthier.  It's way to easy to trough through extra rubbish when one is not accounting for every penny.  I'm very much more aware of what goes into my mouth and the weight is slowly dropping off.

3.  Frugal hasn't equalled junk, it has equalled home made stuff.  I love home cooking, as readers may have guessed.  This way I am indulging my hobby in creative (not fancy) ways which I am finding very satisfying.

4.  I'm slowly working my way through the freezer.  It's amazing how old things can be and still be good.  Thank goodness for freezers although I have to say it is ridiculous - one woman and two freezers!

5.  I'm saving money, of course.  That should go without saying.  With what I am saving this month I have sponsored several friends for doing what I haven't done this year which is Live Below the Line.  I think I am still quids in.  Can't complain.

3.  The need to plan (and one does have to plan, a haphazard approach just doesn't work) really focuses the mind.  Once the day is set and the stuff is ready, I don't have to think about it any more.  For example, today the granola is weighed out, the lunch is ready and in my lunch bag, the meat balls are out of the freezer and in the fridge and all I have to do is weigh out the pasta and that's it, done for the day.  Works for me!

I'm sure there are others but at this time of the morning I can't think of any!  Thanks for listening to a ramble!

Tuesday 21 April 2015


Good morning and welcome to a pretty chilly early morning here in darkest Essex!  Yesterday there was a very slight frost on the roofs of the houses and sheds and I wouldn't be surprised if today were the same.  I won't be risking planting my runner beans yet-a-while!

Yesterday was an OK day.  The usual lessons during the day and a meeting after school.  After school meetings are becoming few and far between now that I am not SENCo, so this one (a KS meeting) wasn't a pain at all, it just took time.  I brought books home for marking but my brain refused to work properly so I need to get stuck in this morning and get them done.

In the meeting we sorted out such life changing things as ordering stock for next year, what to change for infant sports day, the dance for the June Fair and so on.  All stuff that needed doing and I am glad some decisions were made.

Today is more of the same (without the meeting) so I'd better get going!

Breadline 21-4-15

Already spent:  £39.60
Still to spend: £20.40

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Toast and jam, natural yogurt, apple juice (all paid)
Lunch:  Tuna (61p) mayo* (4p), bread (paid), carrot batons (5p), tomatoes (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Roast beef (67p)**, roasties (paid), peas (5p), marmalade cobbler (5p), yogurt (paid)

Spent so far:  £1.47

* half the tuna mayo today, half on Thursday - all paid today!
** slices off a joint roasted some weeks ago with the left overs carved and frozen in stock

Monday 20 April 2015


Yesterday was a nice day.  Beth came round for lunch and afterwards we chatted, she sewed and then she had a phone call from a friend so she chatted again while I went into the kitchen.

You see, when I sorted out the freezer I found four pots of raspberries that had been in there, frozen, for < cough, cough > years.  I thought it was about time to use them up so I made jam and now I have six and a half pots (it was seven and a half but Beth took one home with her) of delicious, almost seedless raspberry jam to enjoy with my sourdough toast!  Raspberry jam is one of the easiest jams to make and one of the loveliest so I will blog about it on Teacher's Recipes.

It won't be that long before it's fruit pick'n time again, will it?

That was about it really.  I was pretty tired come the evening so went to bed early and woke early this morning.

Today is back to school day, friends arriving to stay day, hope I stay awake day!  Not too difficult then!

Have a good 'un!

Breadline 20-4-15

Already spent:  £37.96
Still to spend:  £22.04

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Jack's granola (4p) with pineapple (6p) and natural yogurt (paid)
Lunch:  Bean and vegetable soup (25p), slice bread and butter (paid), fruit (paid) or muffin (6p)
Dinner:  Savoury mince and veg (75p), pastry topping (3p), mushy peas (paid), marmalade cobbler (5p), natural yogurt (paid)

Snack: fruit (paid)

Spent so far:  £1.24

After a quick glance in the fridge, I can see I will be eating a lot of granola in the next ten days as it needs using up!

Sunday 19 April 2015


It's cold again this morning.  When I went to bed last night it felt so chilly that I put an extra cover over my duvet.  Admittedly I had a window open a little bit, bit I do like the fresh air.  This morning there was a very slight frost!

Yesterday was quite a day.

A shame I woke so idiotically early but I did manage to keep going until the afternoon when I'm afraid I crashed.

First of all I got going with the sour dough starter.  I measured out what I needed and made a loaf - rather a large loaf as it turned out.  Next time I shall use my baking tins and see how that works.  I'm not sure I added quite enough salt and I didn't cook it completely the first time (Sorry, Sonja) so popped it back in for another 20 mins or so.  The final result was a very odd shape as I don't have a basket but the flavour was pretty good for a first time with young starter.  I think I will make rolls again next time.

I then took a bit more and used it to make sour dough pancakes (using a very over ripe banana instead of an egg) - also extremely delicious and I am glad there are five in the freezer.

I had some rather manky looking vegetables so I piled them into Thermione and made a Saturday soup - also now in the freezer.

Finally I used the other too ripe banana to make a marmalade cobbler that has been split into four helpings.  No need to freeze - it will keep in the fridge for the time I need it.

By 10:00 I'd finished and cleared up.  Then my young gardener arrived and I guided him round what I wanted him to do.

After that I went into the shed, got each shelf out of the upright freezer, one by one, and sorted everything out, updating my lists as I did so.  I'm glad I got that done - I do try to update as I take something out but it doesn't always happen and there were a number of changed to the 'current' list.  It's all up to date now though and I managed to move some more things from the chest freezer to the upright.  I try to organise it so that the upright has all the 'ready meals' (home made) and the chest freezer has the raw meat, bags of vegetables, stock, cheese, etc  That's the theory!

Unfortunately, what I didn't do was go into school which is now worrying me considerably but by the afternoon I was zonked and I fell asleep and slept for ages.  It was a right pain but I obviously needed it.  I slept well all trough the night too.

Today is planning, etc, Beth is coming round for lunch and I need to sort out the fridge and generally tidy up.  I hope your day is good!

Breadline 19-4-15

Spent so far:  £26.79
Still to spend:  £23.21

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Bacon sandwich (bacon 10p, bread paid), apple juice (paid)
Dinner:  roast chicken and gravy (41p), roast potatoes (14p), roasted sweet potato (10p), carrots (6p), mushy peas (8p)
Tea:  mini quiche (12p), a few oven chips (paid), tomatoes (paid)

Snack:  possibly some marmalade cobbler (5p) with custard (11p)

Today's spend:  £1.17

The pizza yesterday was great and one to do again.
I used some dough I had made and frozen a few weeks ago, consisting of SR flour and yogurt with a little seasoning and it worked extremely well indeed.  I didn't want to faff around with making tomato sauce that would be too much requiring some to be frozen, so I mixed some tomato puree with some ketchup, a dash of brown sauce and some herbs.  It worked surpringly well and wasn't yuck at all.  The toppings were some of the chopped bacon from the pack of cooking bacon, some frozen peppers and mushrooms and half an onion, sliced.  The cheese was from the grated and frozen cheese I have already costed for the month.
The resulting pizza was satisfying and it was filling and it definitely contributed to my veg intake, something that's dropped a little low at times.

Being a thirty day month, the end of today will see me two thirds of the way through the month.  It seems as if the spending is OK - I shall hopefully be a little bit 'in' by the end of the month.

I'm already thinking about next month and on Friday I bought some good strong cheddar that was extremely great value.  I shall grate it and freeze it as it has been excellent having cheese available and knowing it's already paid for.

Here's to the last eleven days!

Saturday 18 April 2015


One week down, twelve to go!  I did my last ever early morning duty yesterday!

The temperature has dropped several degrees in the last few days but it is still warm enough not to feel cold when I wake at two o'clock ready to go!  I've weighed myself, planned the food for the coming week, had a coffee (nice) and I think I will go and start the bread soon so it doesn't cut too much into the day ahead.

Yesterday was OK.  Busy, of course, with some frustrations, but OK.  The weather was perfect for outdoor PE which was lovely after so many weeks when the weather spoilt things.  It seemed a long time ago when we last did outdoor PE and I suppose it was, as we've had the Easter break, no PE on the last day, a 'special' the week before that and rain the week before that.  They love outdoor games and worked very hard which was nice.

Today is going to be busy.  Apart from the new bread making recipe I intend to go into school as the place needs a good going over and, with a 'climate walk' on Wednesday, I need to freshen things up a lot.  There's also marking and various assessments that need to be done and school is the best place for that as everything is to hand.  I might also clear some of my stuff.  The children don't play with the puppets, etc, any more, sadly, so I can hand them on.

As well as that there are the usual Saturday chores to do.  I have to admit, it's going to be lovely when I don't have to ram loads of chores into a single day any more, not ever again.  Getting the ironing done as it dries rather than having a pile at the weekend, for example.  More flexibility will definitely be a very good thing.

Better go, I suppose.  The dishwasher needs emptying (such hard work!!!) as well as starting the sourdough bread (me, not the dishwasher).  Wish me luck and have a great day!

Breadline: 18-4-15

Spent so far:  £35.11
Still to spend:  £24.89

Today's menu
Breakfast:  sourdough pancakes (8p), yogurt (paid), pineapple (6p), apple juice (paid)
Lunch:  tuna mayo (paid last Thurs), carrot batons (6p), tomatoes (paid), lettuce (5p), cucumber (paid), salad cream (4p),, marmalade cobbler (5p) with yogurt (paid)
Dinner:  home made pizza, bacon bits, onion, peppers, mushroom, tomatoes, cheese,  (47p)

Extra:  sour dough loaf (30p) (- no, I haven't eaten all of it - yet!), soft cheese (7p)

Spent so far (to be updated as costs are calculated)  £1.18

Sourdough pancakes - oh, my word, how delicious!  I used around 100 mls starter, a little more (by volume) skimmed milk. about 150g plain flour and a pinch of salt which I whisked together.  I had a really black banana which previously I'd have thrown away but not now.  It was soft and luscious inside and I mashed it up and used it instead of an egg in the pancake mix.  Waste not . . .
I brushed my non stick pan with oil (yes, I did miss using butter but . . . ) and cooked the pancakes.  I served two of them folded over with pineapple inside and natural yogurt drizzled over.  Very filling and absolutely scrummy, even without the butter!
It made seven at (under) 4p a pancake.  A slightly rough working out, perhaps a little overestimated and next time I will measure carefully.

Friday 17 April 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's another rather chilly morning (nowhere near freezing though) and the last day of a week that has sped past so quickly that it's quite scary.  Just sixty two teaching days to go now.

Yesterday was a much better day, thank goodness.   The sun shone, lessons went well, the technology behaved itself and our celebration takeaway in the evening was lovely.   It was a huge relief.

This week I am on early morning duty.  In a way it is a bit of a pain to have to rush out early when there might still be things to do, but actually, when the sun shines, it's quite pleasant to be out there chatting to parents and greeting children.  Today will be the last early morning duty ever!

I guess I will get some comments this morning - the news was out in the school newsletter yesterday.  I'm not the only retirement - there's three of us, all long serving teachers, so there will be a lot of new faces on staff come September.

Apart from that it is just an ordinary Friday with ordinary Friday stuff.  And then it is the weekend.  I plan to make my first sourdough loaf tomorrow which means that this evening I need to remember to feed the dough and let it stand out overnight.  I wonder if it will work OK?  We will see.

Well, I'd better go and make breakfast at some point soon, I suppose, and then look over my planning for today.  Have a good day, everyone, and may the sun shine.

Breadline 17-4-15

Already spent:  £33.64 (including £2.00 for of each the two days away)
Still to spend:  £26.36

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  2 eggs, scrambled (28p), toast (paid), apple juice (paid)

Lunch:  2 cheese and chive scones (2p), soft cheese (7p), chutney (5p), tomatoes (free)

Dinner:  burger (30p), home made wedges (paid), coleslaw (8p), baby tomatoes (paid), mayo for dipping (4p), chutney (10p)

Spent so far today:  94p

The scones are so cheap because some of the ingredients had already been accounted for before I made them.  The chives are from the garden.
In fact, most of what I have seems cheap because it is almost all home made.  It does make a big difference.

I've got into a right muddle with the baby tomatoes I bought on the market in half term.  I have been trying to account for them as I use them but I think I have got the maths wrong.  What I should have done and will do from now on is take the full amount off as I have done with things like oats, cheese, etc.
At the moment I am pretty sure I'm over-charging but I can sort that out!

Thursday 16 April 2015


Another lovely day weather wise yesterday.  Today is expected to be cooler but, I hope, just as sunny and pleasant.

I expected a good day yesterday but, unfortunately, it wasn't as good as hoped.  I came home feeling rather down but not long after there was some amazing, fantastic news that really cheered me up no end.  As a result, we (my guests and I) will be celebrating with a take away this evening - how decadent of us having take away on a Thursday!!!

Apart from that it is a normal day and fingers crossed that it all goes well!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Breadline 16-4-15

Already spend:  £28.85 (I opened a refill pack of coffee this morning so that's £2.00 up straight away!)
Still to spend:  31.15

Today's menu:
Breakfast on toast:  beans (12p) on toast (paid), apple juice (paid)

Lunch: Tuna (61p) mayo (4p) with carrot batons (6p), tomatoes (free), fruit (free)
(half of the tuna mayo will do for another meal b ut I have included the whole cost here)
Dinner:  stepping out of breadline for a very major and happy celebration with my guests.

Spent so far today:  83p - sounds very little but it doesn't count dinner!

By the end of today I will be half way through the first month of Breadline (allowing for last weekend away) and I have  spent about half.  Looking good!

Of things I have paid for, I still have oil, butter, jam, marmalade, cheese, oats, potatoes and milk - oh, and coffee.  Most of these should last out the month or nearly so.  However, working towards a date that is not the end of the month is slightly doing my head in so I might just take off two day's worth of money instead.  That would work better for me which is what it is all about.  It might seem very inflexible and in a way it is, but within that there is some leaway!  As long as it isn't all that often.

Oh - one more thing - I'm losing weight!  Yay!


Good morning, gentle readers.  Wasn't it a lovely day yesterday.  I was on playground duty in the afternoon and I really didn't want to go in afterwards.  It was wonderful.  When I got home we had both French windows open and the gentle breeze was freshening the house wonderfully.  Hope today is just as lovely!

It was a pleasant enough day in other ways too.  The children were happy, I was happy.  There was good news when I got home.  I have friends staying.  All good things.

That's about it.  I've just had breakfast and now I need to look over today's work.  Have a great day!

Breadline 15-4-15

Spent so far:  £25.45
Still to spend:  £34.55

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), apple juice (paid)

Lunch:  beans (12p), toast (paid), raisins (free)

Dinner:  Take away Chinese (leftover) (£1.00) glitterberry x 2 - approved foods (24p)

Spent so far today:  £1.46

Tuesday 14 April 2015


Good morning, everyone.  It's a cool, dry early morning here and I am hopeful that it will be as lovely as it was yesterday when the children ran out to play without even bothering to ask about coats and came back in joyfully smelling of sunshine and grass.  They were so pleased to be allowed on the school field again after months of 'sorry, it's too wet' and carried the class football aloft like a triumphal banner.

I'm on early morning duty this week - another 'last time' thing although I am sure that sometimes I will have to do it when I am on supply.  We take a week turn and turn about and it's very pleasant when the weather is good, not so much so when it is bitterly cold or raining.  Yesterday was perfect!

I prdered a book last week that a friend recommended as excellent.  It's called The Quilter's Bible and is jam-packed full of information, easily understood diagrams and projects.  It came yesterday.  I haven't had time to look at it yet and it's not one I will want to read in the bath (I know, disgraceful to read in the bath, but at my age I don't care!) but it really doesn't matter if I don't get a chance to really read it for months, does it.  It won't go away!

I nearly had a 'disaster' yesterday - hardly a real disaster and a 'first world' thing, I have to admit, but . . .
This weekend I've been away so off Breadline and very nice it was too having all my meals prepared for me and eating out with friends, but how quickly habits can be destroyed.  After forgetting my school lunchbag, I had to fight the impulse to go over to Morrisons (that shop is just way too convenient for me sometimes) to buy something and then, after school, I really wanted to pop over there again.  It's a sort of habit, I think, built up over decades.  I didn't, thank goodness, and once home I was very glad that I didn't because I could very easily have destroyed the rest of the month's money on one careless shop.

My reward was a nice big drop on the scales today!

Swimming has stopped so I now have hall PE this afternoon until the juniors want the hall for their rehearsals.  Better make the most of the moments!  Next year we - I mean they - won't have that problem as there will be two halls but I can't see the new hall being finished and ready for use before the end of this school year.

I shall miss the funny little things that the children say.  Yesterday we were all waiting in lines to get into the hall for infant assembly, very quietly and patiently when Chatty Little Girl piped up.

Chatty Little Girl:  Oh, I am glad to be back at school, Mrs Clark.  I did miss you.
Me: (with a slight frown because they're not supposed to talk when lining up for the hall)  Oh, are you, that's nice.
CLG:  (not noticing the frown)  Yes, I am because I love you.  Mummy is glad too.
Me:  Is she?
CLG:  Yes - she says I talk too much and she can't get a word in edgeways.
Me:   Shhhh (with a smile and finger on lips)

And a little ripple of laughter, speedily suppressed, trickled around the adults . . .

Well, better look again at today's planning and check those resources.  Have a great day and may the sun shine on you.

Breadline 14-4-15

Spent so far:  £24.22 (including another carton of juice, apple juice this time)
Still to spend:  £35.78

Today's menu
Breakfast:  toast and marmalade (paid), apple juice (paid)

Lunch:  butterbean and veg soup (20p), muffin (6p) - from yesterday

Dinner:  Savoury mince with butterbeans (75p), jacket potato (paid), mini tomatoes (10p), marmalade cobbler (free), yogurt (paid)

Spent so far today £1.11

Note to self:  make some more yogurt overnight

ps: I also had some lovely alcohol, but that was a gift!

Monday 13 April 2015


Well, that's the holiday done and dusted for another few months before I start  the last, long holiday (ha ha).  You can't count half term at the end of May as they are crammed with report writing.

I'm getting in the mood.  Yesterday evening I went onto the local theatre site and booked a concert for October - 'an audience with Lesley Garratt' - and I am contemplating one the following week with Russell Watson.  What's stopping me there is that the tickets are £45!!!  I suspect that's a couple of tenners too far.

The thought of being able to go to a concert or show on a weekday is pretty alien to me right now but I bet I will get used to it fairly quickly.

Anyway, I have stuff to do, so better get on with it.  Have a wonderful day!

Breadline 13-4-15

Back to school today.  Much more regimented plus some free fruit or carrots.  Oh, and coffee!  No complaints from me!

Spent so far:  £22.46
Still to spend:  £37.54

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  toasted sourdough crumpet (oooh, posh!) (3p), poached or fried egg (14p), orange juice (paid)

Lunch:  butterbean and veg soup (20p), apple (14p), muffin (6p)  Very cross with myself - I left my packed lunch at home.  I always keep some cup a soups in my locker so I had one of those (30p) and thanked my lucky stars that it was someone's birthday and there were some biccies (free).  Not perfect but it stopped me from going over the road to Morrisons!
The lunch won't be wasted as I will have it tomorrow instead.

Dinner:  cheese pasta (56p), peas (free - left over from Sunday),  1 portion marmalade cobbler (free), a good dollop of natural yogurt (paid), apple (14p)

Spent today  £1.17

Sunday 12 April 2015


Good morning.  I'm now back at home after a few days with my favourite people, Mum and Dad.  As always, I had a lovely time - thanks very much to them both.

As mentioned yesterday, we went to Wrest Park and spend a delightful two hours walking around the part after a simple picnic lunch in the sunshine.  It was beautifully warm when the sun shone but when the sun went in, the wind got up and there was a brief and light smattering of raindrops as a front passed over, it was quite chilly and I was glad of my jacket on top of my cardigan.  Fortunately it lasted only a few minutes and soon after that the sun came out and all was warmth and fragrance again.

I was very pleased that at no point did my knee give me any trouble whatsoever and even afterwards there was no stiffening or discomfort.  It's definitely well on the mend, whatever 'it' was.  I honestly do think if I'd been to the GP he'd have told me to lose some weight and he'd have been well justified.  I am losing weight now and the knee is not troubling me.  A lesson for the future, for sure.

In the evening we went to a local eating place that Mum and Dad often use.  It wasn't as good as usual (although the food was perfectly acceptable) - for example, there was a lot crossed out on the menu and their lighter bite menu wasn't available - and it was only after the meal that we discovered that it is closing on Monday for two and a half months for a complete refurbishment so goodness knows what it will morph into.  Hopefully nothing trendy and high end with associated high prices or it won't suit Mum and Dad at all.
On the other hand, I had a couple of glasses of the house white and house white it most certainly wasn't, it was far too good for that.  Using up what they, I suspect, and I was the gainer.

After the walking exercise and helped by the glasses of nice dry white stuff, I slept soundly all night long.  Now I'm off the alcohol again.

Saturday was the reason I went over.  It was the Arcadians show, Fiddler on the Roof.  I've mentioned the Arcadians before:  an excellent local amateur operatic society whose performances I always enjoy very much.  It was very good indeed.

It must be musical season; I saw via Facebook that a friend is in The Pirates of Penzance at the Civic Theatre in the middle of May so I have booked for that too.  Something to look forward to amidst the doom and gloom of report writing (last time - yay).

The weather changed but after the rain had passed over out came the sun again.  It wasn't as warm as Friday though.

An easy journey home, helped by very light traffic.  The rest of the day has, sadly, to be set aside for work.  Such a shame it is all over, done and dusted - the holiday, I mnean.  It's been a lovely half term, a forerunner of things to come.
Never mind, the sun is shining, the French window is open, the house is clean and tidy . . . and dinner is made and just needs cooking.

Sixty six more teaching days before my life changes for ever!

Breadline 12-4-15

I 'm back on breadline today from lunchtime onward.   I had intended to count Friday's breakfast as part of today's menu but, in fact, I didn't have any so that's that sorted.

Spent so far:  £21.77
Still to spend:  £38.23

Today's menu:
Dinner:   Savoury pork crumble (36p), carrots (6p), peas (8p), marmalade cobbler and custard (19p*)

Tea:  Cheese on toast (paid),

Spent today:  69p which doesn't seem an awful lot but I've checked it through and it's right.

Back to school tomorrow.

*  The marmalade cobbler was 8p for the lot as the marmalade had already been counted.  I've counted the whole lot today and any I have another day (and it will make at least three desserts) will be 'free'.  The custard is 1/3 of an sachet of instant that I got from Approved Foods.  I will just make up 1/3 at a time.

I still have to taste the cobbler, of course.  If it's OK I will blog about it (if I get permission) because it really is remarkably frugal.
(update: it was and I did! )

Saturday 11 April 2015


What a lovely day yesterday.  I went to Wrest Park and had a delightful, gentle time there.
Here are some photos to enjoy.

Friday 10 April 2015

Breadline: 10-04-15

Didn't have any breakfast this morning and I'm now off Breadline until Sunday.  So no updates until then.  :-)


Another beautifully sunny day yesterday although it was none too warm despite the sun and the air pollution was pretty bad.  Certainly my eyes were suffering and I ended up taking an antihistamine which helped a lot.  I gather today will be as bad or worse so I shall pop another tablet in advance!

I went into town as planned and was amazed at all the changes.  Shops gone, new shops come and a number of shops in different places.  I was lucky to spot Holland and Barratt as it was nowhere near where I would have gone.  Lakeland is still there, thank goodness, and I was sorely tempted by a quiche tin that promised no more soggy bottoms, but I resisted, you will be glad to know.   In fact I was jolly moderate all round and more or less only came back with what was on the list.

The rest of the day was a sort of pottering day really.  A few arrangements made, a few changed.  That sort of day.

Today is a spoiling me day.  I shall be with good friends and so breadline is off for two days and will resume after breakfast on Sunday.

Have a great day - I know I will!

Thursday 9 April 2015


Yesterday was lovely and sunny but, in the shade, it wasn't anything like as warm as it looked.  OK if one is moving but when I sat in the recliner with the back door open I was glad to pull my owly fleece over my legs.  I could have shut the door, I know, but I wanted to air the house.

That being so, my choice of dinner was inspired.  A few week ago Beth and I had a cooking afternoon and one of the dishes she made was a lentil and vegetable dhal which we froze in single portions with rice, some for her and some for me.  I had some for dinner yesterday with a cooling dollop of my natural yogurt on the side and it was absolutely deeeelicious.  Thank you, Beth.

It was a bit of a baking day, really.  I 'fed' the sourdough and made a couple of rolls with what I took off.  I didn't add enough salt but, for a first time, when the dough isn't really 'sour' at all yet, I was quite pleased.  It was certainly a better use than just chucking it away - 'discarding' as all the recipes call it.

While searching on Google, I found a very simple recipe for biscuits so made some.  They were most successful so I blogged about them on the other blog.

Then, as I was low on savoury scones, I had a go at varying the tomato scone recipe by cutting out the tomato puree and adding some mustard, some chopped chives from the garden and some grated cheese.  That also worked very well and they are now in the freezer waiting to be planned into my menu.

Today I want to pop into town.  I haven't been into town very much because my painful knee has made it a rather unpleasant experience and I couldn't get very far at all but, fingers crossed, it's all a whole lot better now and I expect I will be able to get about without much trouble.  I need (yes, need) to go to Lakeland and then I want to go to the market to look at the needlework stall so will need to go to the cash machine first!  I could also take a look at the fruit and veg and take note of their prices and quality.

I'm looking forward to today!

Breadline 9-4-15

Spent so far:  £20.56

Still to spend:  £39.44
(not too bad - I'm about 1/3 of the way through and have spent about 1/3 but some of that is for longer term items that I still have some of for the remainder of the month, such as the contents of today's breakfast, so I guess I am on target pretty well)

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  porridge with apple sauce* (3p)and yogurt, orange juice (all pre-paid apart from the apple sauce)

Lunch:  Savoury pork mince (26p), pasta (5p), grated cheese (paid), apple (14p)
and very nice it was too.

Dinner:  1 Jackburger (10p), wedges (28p), coleslaw (12p), shredded lettuce (8p), tomatoes (12p), mayo for dipping (3p)
. . . as was this!

Coffees (paid)

Today's total:  £1.21

*I had a jar of Savers apple sauce that I used for something else and which contained just the dregs.  Rather than waste it, I spooned what was left into the oats as they were cooking and added a little pinch of cinnamon.  It was very tasty and one to remember.

Wednesday 8 April 2015


After a really lovely day yesterday it's flippin' cold again this morning.  I suppose that's only to be expected at this time of the year when the skies are clear.  Anyway, it's cold but not frosty and it should warm up pretty quickly.

Yesterday morning I went for coffee and a chat with three ex colleagues  Of course, by now they all knew that I'll be retiring and they were all for it.  We had a great chat about all sorts of things and I went home feeling cheered up and happy.

I've started a sort of sourdough.  It seems to be the in thing right now and, as usual, I 'cheated' (and no, I'm not saying how, I don't want to invite wrath my innocent and unprotected head) but we will see.  It's a confusing thing and there seem to be as many ways of doing it as there are people using it but the main message seems to be 'it's hard to go wrong'.  Wanna bet?  Watch this space, as they say

I'm also following up on a few frugal recipe ideas but not too much as they're somewhat calorific.  I might report back, depending.

Today I will be going into school to get things ready for the new term - my last term.  That feels odd.  Apart from time off to have my family, I have taught for all my adult life.  When I think about not teaching there's a great big gap and an empty feeling.  Really weird.

Oh - one more thing.  I popped into Morrisons yesterday to get some daffs to take to June and they had parsley plants that looked pretty healthy.  So now I have one, sitting in state on the kitchen window sill until I think it's OK to put out.  I'd like to get it established and maybe even into a larger pot before sticking it in the garden.  It might even stay in a pot on the window ledge: I haven't really decided yet.

And now it is coffee time!

Breadline 8-4-15

Spent so far:  £19-33 (made some more yogurt and added that to the total)

Still to spend:  £40.67

Today's menu

Breakfast:  peanut and honey granola (4p), yogurt (paid), pineapple (6p), orange juice (paid)

Lunch:  2 rashers bacon (10p), 2 rolls (bit hard to price this one because I'm playing with sourdough, but let's say 5p), shredded lettuce (5p est), a few tomatoes (20p est)

Dinner:  dhal curry and rice (42p), spoonful of yogurt (paid), apple (14p)

Coffees (paid)
Tea (2p)

Today's total £1.03

I made some biscuits and counted the whole lot in because, let's face it, they're going to be eaten quickly!  That will show on tomorrow's post.

I shall be off Breadline at the end of the week but will resume on Sunday.  This month's accounts will therefore go on until the end of May 2nd.

Tuesday 7 April 2015


I thought I was getting better at not waking so early but today was a pre-4 o'clock wake which is always rather a pain.  It was a bit of a restless night too.  After all the lifting and carrying and generally being physical yesterday, I was expecting to sleep well but it was not to be.  Never mind, I am sure I will atch up tonight.

After a cold start yesterday the sun came out and for a while it was lovely.  Out I went and started sorting out the pit I call the shed.  It's a shame the bin was nearly full anyway because I now have five bags of rubbish to take to the tip or to hold on to and bin a few at a time until they are gone.  The plus side is that I can now get to my gardening stuff, the things on the shelves and both freezers without any hassle.  I also found a few missing things while I was at it.

After a while I started feeling quite chilly and it looked suspiciously like rain.  When my feet are cold, even when I'm walking around, some of my toes have a funny habit of cramping.  It's a very odd feeling, not exactly painful but very uncomfortable and not terribly nice.  Beth will remember the same thing happened a few times in the pool at Center Parcs last year and I had to get out and warm up my toes.  Anyway, they got a bit crampy yesterday but I had nearly finished so it wasn't long before they warmed up..

Before I started on the shed I popped round to Wyvale and picked up some seeds - carrot, mixed lettuce and radish, simple stuff that I can grow in pots.  I had a good look round but I guess it's a bit early for the interesting stuff.  I looked carefully at the herbs but there wasn't anything I want particularly as I have mint (3 kinds), thyme, oregano, sage, parsley (which needs replacing but there wasn't any there), bay and rosemary.  I don;t have room for all that much more anyway.

Dinner was nice.  I used some of the left over chicken with some veg and made a pot pie.  For the lid I mixed up some SR flour with yogurt and a bit of salt and it was good.  It came out a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy underneath and I will definitely make it again.

Today I will be seeing some old friends and we will no doubt talk about my retitrement as they are all ex-colleagues and we go back a long way!  Should be good!  More garden in the afternoon.  I want to sort out the grow bags from last year and tidy up all the pots which seem to have taken up residence in various parts of the garden!

And now I need to sort out today's food, get the yogurt on and, most importantly, make the first coffee of the day.

Breadline: 7-4-15

Spent so far  £17-72

Still to spend: £42.28

Today's menu.
Breakfast:  scrambled eggs (26p) on toast (paid), orange juice (paid)

Lunch:  tomato scone (2p), soft cheese (7p), chutney (5p), apple (13p)

Dinner:  chilli con carne (75p), yogurt (paid) and pineapple (6p)

Today's total:  £1.34
(will be edited through the day as necessary)

Monday 6 April 2015


Good morning!   It's going now but when I looked out earlier there was a frost!  I was umming and ahing about seeds and so yesterday on but realise that it's actually rather too early unless one has a greenhouse (which I haven't).  Hopefully today will be rather more bright and sunny than recently and I will enjoy pottering around in the garden, doing more clearing and tidying.

Yesterday's roast dinner went down a treat and there was nothing left apart from chicken.  It's amazing what you can get out of a chicken - Alex and I had a leg each, which was plenty, I carved enough for four more portions and there's two pots of 'bits' and a bowl of jelly stock.  OK, the portions are not huge but they're not stingy either and it forces some portion control.

As Beth wasn't here, I used last week's beef fat to roast the potatoes and they really were delicious.  I can see why people rave about using meat dripping but I can rarely indulge.  The Yorkshires weren't as good as they usually are and that was my fault - I failed to shut the oven door properly when I put them in.  Ah, well, they were certainly more than edible despite that.

Come the afternoon I'm afraid to say I sat down and snoozed while the telly droned away in the background.  A waste of a good afternoon but, seeing as I slept well all night, I must have needed it.  It's a fine thing when cooking a simple roast dinner makes one so tired but I am grateful for the time and the comfortable chair and snuggly fleece!

On to today.  I am just waiting now for two friends to pop in for an early coffee and to pick up some mail that they need.  Then I would like to pop down to Wyvale to look at what they have in before the crowds build up.  I've checked and they open at nine.  While I'm out, I might meander over to Lathcoats and check on the price of their eggs and get some more Dove dried yeast which I know they stock.  Recently I have been using the yeast you need to start off as I'd run out of the other.  It's dead easy, no hassle, but I like to have both kinds to hand.

Then it will be back home for coffee and some gardening (fingers crossed).

Hope you all have a good day too.

Breadline: 6-4-15

Spent so far: £16.51

Still to spend:  £43.49

Today's food:
Breakfast:  porridge (paid) with pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid), orange juice (paid)
Lunch:  toast (paid), beef paste (13p), toasted hot crossless bun (10p)
Dinner:  chicken pot pie - chicken (42p), peppers and mushroom (27p), half an onion (3p), braised leeks (free), carrots (5p).
Topping for the pie - I tried a mix of SR flour (2p) and yogurt (paid) and it was rather nice.  A bit crisp on top and soft and fluffy underneath.  Great for soaking up the pie gravy.  I will make that again.
Apple (13p)
Coffee (paid)

Current total: £1.21

It occurred to me that a brief explanation on a regular basis might be a good idea, in case there are visitors who haven't a clue what I'm on about.
Breadline can be found here.  Scroll down for more information and yes, some things have been adapted to make is a more sensible long-term project.  It is fairly self-explanatory and when the 'actual week' comes along this year I will be fund raising one way or another.
In the meanwhile, Beth (daughter) and I decided that it would be a good thing to do in the longer term for several reasons.
1.  It saves money, always an attractive proposition in this day and age.
2.  It forces us to consider very carefully what we choose to buy and eat, in order to maximise flavour and minimise waste.
3.  I am finding that a side effect is that I am losing weight - also a good thing for someone my size!
4.  It forces us to use our cooking/baking skills to make from scratch rather than buying pre-packed, pre cooked and expensive (and not as nice!)
5.  It's a challenge!

Did I say 'brief' explanation?  Ooops!

Sunday 5 April 2015


Good morning.  It feels chilly but I'm hoping it will be a nicer day than yesterday.  Not that there was anything particularly bad about yesterday, it was just dull and dismal all day.

It didn't stop me sorting out a bit more garden though.  I'm taking it bit by bit so the mess where the growhouse was last year is now clear and I will move round to the area beside the shed and the compost bin and, maybe, if I keep going, along the fence.  None of it is shocking, it's all just generally not as tidy as it could be and as the days get longer and because I am at home during the day, I see it more and it's irritating me..

Indoors I made some hot cross buns and have blogged about it elsewhere. My, they were delicious - the one I ate was, anyway.  The others are safely out of harm's way in the freezer for now.

I did some washing and ironing but that was about it really.  A somewhat lazy and purposeless day.  I need today to be livelier.  It ought to be as Alex is coming over and I shall be cooking a roast chicken dinner.  Roasts are not difficult, just a bit time consuming.  He has already had his Easter eggs from me but I do have two creme eggs that have been calling out to me over the past week.  Oh, the temptation.  I shall be glad when Al has eaten them!  Silly really because I don't particularly like (or dislike) them - they are just there.  Calling!

That's about it really.  Breadline continues and I've blogged separately about that as usual.

Have a very happy and satisfying Easter Sunday, everyone.

And now I'd better put the dough on as I didn't do it yesterday.  Loaves for Beth . . .

Breadline 5-4-15

Spent so far: £15.38

Still to spend: £44.62

Today's food:
Breakfast:  1 English muffin (11p), 2 rashers bacon (10p), 1 egg (14p), orange juice  (paid).

Dinner:  roast chicken 42p*, Yorkshires (6p), roast pots (paid), carrots (5p).

Tea:  toast (paid), tuna melt (made with leftover tuna from yesterday, already paid) and grated cheese (paid),
The tuna melt was delicious and I will post the recipe tomorrow.

And then I only went and finished off the Yorkshires (12p)!  It hasn't hurt the budget much but it won't have done the calories much good. Ah, well!

Current total: £1.00

*  I roasted a chicken (three for a tenner) today and got eight portions out of it, plus a good stock.  Two for lunch, four portions are sliced meat and two are 'bits'.  Great value.

Saturday 4 April 2015


Was it a dull and dismal day yesterday where you live?  It was here with seemingly non stop rain or drizzle, lowering clouds and a chilly feeling in the air.  Downright miserable, in fact.

Indoors it was much brighter as I did some loads of washing and ironed what needed ironing.  Mini-quiche was on the menu but there were none left in the freezer so I set to and made a couple more, one for yesterday and one for the freezer.  It gave me the opportunity to price it out properly which was helpful as I had grossly over-estimated how much it would cost!  I also made some butterbean, leek and potato soup so now have some lunches for next week prepared.  It made a scrummy soup even without butter, milk and cream.

Today is another day at home, I suspect.  More washing and more ironing, some clearing out, some hot crossless buns to make (the dough is rising as I type - I hope) and some telly to watch.  I might go for a walk if it's not too dismal and I have to do my time in the garden.

I hope you all have a good day, whatever your plans.

Breadline: 4-4-15

I'll start off with a doh, Homer Simpson style.
I went back to my list of What I Have Already Paid For to check that cheese for the mini quiches was indeed there, which it was.  I also realised that coffee was also on the list!
So here's me charging myself 12p a day for four coffees when I've already paid.  So that's 36p back in the kitty!

Just to explain - it's good quality decaff, Millicano, which I love, but it's so cheap because they were on special at half price and when I see that I stock up.  Nothing to do with Breadline, I just do.

Yesterday's food cost me: £1.22
Refund of 36p
Total spent so far:  £15.36 (which includes stuff to last the month or as long as it can)
Still to spend:  £44.64

Today's food
Breakfast:  toast and marmalade, natural yogurt, orange juice (all paid already)
Lunch:  leek, potato and butterbean soup (14p), bread (paid), hot cross bun (10p)
Dinner:  small jacket potato (paid), tuna and mayo (66p), small salad (30p - a guess, using up old salad veg)

(added pm) Snack:  Stewed rhubarb (4p for the sugar, rhubarb from Beth's allotment) with yogurt (paid)

Coffee (paid!!!)

Today's total (so far): £1.24

Friday 3 April 2015


Yesterday was amazing - really the first spring day of the season, warm, sunny and a day for being outside.  Absolutely gorgeous.

I got cracking good and early so I had time to almost finish the skirt, start some gardening and make some tomato scones (yum) before Beth arrived.

I lugged the clothes horse outside and got my washing dried in the fresh air.  Beth couldn't stay for long after lunch so when she left I went out again and gardened leisurely for an hour or so before getting stuck into the ironing.  I also made some bread for her (I will have to deliver it this morning or afternoon) and it was so nice to pop the dough in a warm sunlit spot and see it growing almost visibly.  The small pleasures are the best!

It really was a lovely day.  Well, lovely apart from the fact that as I carried the garden rubbish to the bin via the path at the side of my property I was viciously attacked by a stem of old bramble that had obviously been there for a while, just hiding and waiting for me to come along and disturb it.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  It took me about five minutes to disentangle myself and my lower legs are now covered in scratches which took ages to stop bleeding.  OK, not covered exactly, but enough to look quite startling!

Fingers crossed that today will be as nice as yesterday. Not the weather as it is dull and raining and iPod tells me that it is likely to continue all day, unfortunately.   I have no specific plans, just hoping that what I do will be pleasant and productive.  And that the bramble will go away and leave me alone!

I do have one plan - to go to Aldi.  When I was last there I decided to try their deodorant as the one I used was so flippin' expensive.  So I did and am very pleased with it so I want to get some more.  I also need stuff like dishwasher powder, etc.

Have a good day and stay dry!

Breadline update is in a separate entry.

Breadline: 3-4-15

Spent so far: £14.50 (a nice convenient sum to calculate)
Still to spend:  £45.50
(it won't necessarily tally with yesterday's because there's things to buy in and bits to take out if Beth has them . . . and so on!  Nit picking?  You bet!)

Today's food plans

Breakfast: 2 boiled eggs (28p), toast and butter (already paid), orange juice (already paid)

Lunch:  leek, potato and butterbean soup 14p, apple 13p

Dinner:  mini quiche (12p*), wedges (already paid), mayo (20p), peas 12p, yogurt (paid) and pineapple (6p)

4 coffees (12p)
carrot batons (5p)

Total:  £1.22

The soup was made like this:
half a smallish onion:  2.5p
1 potato (already paid)
1 leek 9p (two for one in Aldi and I used as much as I could, no cutting off the green bits and discarding)
butter beans  18p (no idea how much in weight, it was home soaked and cooked butterbeans)
stock pot  25p
Dash of garlic, dash of salt and pepper (taken from that extra 20p a day)

Bung it all in a pot, add water, boil it up until vegs are soft, zizz to a smooth consistency, check seasonings and adjust if needed.

Very nice indeed and it made four portions,.  You could add some milk when re-heating, if you wanted.

*re mini quiche.
found I had no more in the freezer so made a couple and worked out the cost properly.  Because the oil, the milk and, most significantly, the cheese had already been counted in, the rest came to just under 24p for two so what I have to account for the quiche is a stonkingly frugal 12p per quiche.

Thursday 2 April 2015


Four days in and I'm starting to have little prickly, panicky feelings.  That's teaching for you - for for me anyway.  I have no idea if other teachers feel that way.

Enough of that!  It feels much milder this morning and, although it is very dull, it is dry.  I think there's space to do some gardening today, long overdue.  In fact, as soon as I've finished breakfast and cleared up, I might pop out and do some.

Beth came round yesterday and we had another pleasant time together.  She worked on an idea for a small quilted hanger thingy while I took control of the pile of ironing and managed to clear the decks.  Unfortunately there's another pile today, that being the nature of washing, but never mind.  As the wind has died down and as long as the rain doesn't fall, I can dry some stuff outside, which is always nice.

Here's what she did.  For someone new to quilting and new to using a sewing machine, I think it is pretty good, don't you?

It looks a bit wobbly because it is on a cushion.  Beth's coming round again today to practise quilting on some scraps before tackling the real thing!  Before she takes over the sewing machine, I want to stitch up another skirt.  Oh, it's all go around here.

Breadline is going well - more info in a previous posting.

Have a super day.

Breadline: 2-4-15

All good so far.  In fact, yesterday I had to pop 11p back in because Beth had lunch here and that was her share of the toast, butter and coffee that I had already accounted for!
Apart from that it was all pretty easy except that I swapped a coffee for a tea so that's 1p back in.  Take care of the pennies, as the saying goes.

So . . .
Total so far (out of £60)  £12.94
Paid back  11p

Total spent:  £12.83
(being slightly dyscalculic, it's a headache working out these figures so please be kind with any errors.  They are either accurate or pretty close)

B:  3 slices streaky bacon 15p (reduced), 2 slices bread (paid), orange juice (paid)

L:   tomato scone 3p, 1/8 tub of soft cheese 7p, small spoonful chutney home made so no idea but am guessing 5p, 

D:  Turkey curry  75p, 

And 12p for coffee!

Already spent:   (including money back and a carton of orange juice because once it's open it has to be used)  £13.41
Today's spend:  1.09

Spent so far:  £14.50
Left to spend: £45.50

Wednesday 1 April 2015


Oh, dear, the positive effects of the clocks going forward has faded and I was up at worse than stupid o'clock today. Fortunately I can snooze later on, if needed.  It feels jolly cold so I'm snuggled up in my fleecy dressing gown with my owl fleece over my knees and it's cozy.  The heating will come on soon.  The strong winds seem to have subsided (for now), which is a blessing.

What a lovely day yesterday was!  OK, so the weather was none too great.  The wind didn't let up at all and there were some very short, sharp showers, some with hail, but when you're enjoying yourself it doesn't matter.

Firstly, I finished A's quilt.  It is very bad but it's my first ever so I'm pretty chuffed with most of it and I have learnt a lot while struggling through it.  I hope A understands and accepts it in the spirit it will be given.  I also finished one of the skirts I am making for the summer.

I popped over to Morrisons to get some korma paste to make some chick pea korma for me, Beth and Alex.  Luckily, they had Patak korma sauce at half price which meant it would be better value than using paste, coconut milk, etc, so I got two jars of that.  I must look up a recipe for making my own korma paste.  Any ideas?

Once home, Beth arrived and we had lunch and then set to.  She continued to gain experience on the sewing machine as well as making some pinwheel blocks and I made the korma - very  nice and 36p per portion so can't be bad!  It was just a lovely, friendly afternoon.  Nothing 'special' but it was very special because it was relaxed and pleasant and - well, lovely!

I had a lazy evening so didn't get that cupboard sorted out but, dear me, I am sure it won't go away.

I hope your day was good too.

Today is, I think, more of the same.  I hope so, anyway!  One thing about having Easter so early is that I don't have to look out for getting April Fooled by the children at school.  Y1s were pretty unsubtle, along the lines of 'your hair is pink, Mrs Clark' but I suspect my Y 2s would be much more adventurous!

One of the halogen lights has just popped and I don't think I have any LED replacements.  A while ago I said that I would replace all the halogens with much longer lasting LEDs and I am doing so.   This means a trip out to B&Q, I think.

Breadline stuff is in a separate entry!

Breadline: 1-4-15

And here we go.  Day 1

Today's food is.
Breakfast: porridge with yoghurt and pineapple.  Oats, yogurt and milk already accounted for, pineapple 5.5p.

Lunch:  beans on toast and muffin (the American kind).  Bread and butter already accounted for, beans, 12p (half a can, savers), muffin 5p

Dinner:  turkey meatballs in tomato and veg sauce 53p, pasta 8p, pineapple and yogurt 5.5p

Coffees through the day x 4 = 12p  I have it black with no sugar.

Total for day:  96p plus things already accounted for.

Already accounted:  11-98
Today's spend:  96

Total so far (out of £60)  £12.94