Sunday 31 May 2015


Good morning, everyone.  I don't know about where you are but here it is raining and looks as if it has been for quite some time.  Good for the garden which is pretty dry.  There's a bit of a breeze and it felt so chilly in the night that I closed the bedroom window which is usually on tilt and turn.  That doesn't happen very often.  Yesterday, in contrast, remained lovely and sunny all through the day, just turning dully-grey in the evening.  I tried to have the big French window open but the papers kept blowing about after a while as the wind got up.  

It was mostly work yesterday but I did take a few photos so here we go . . .

Possible fruit later on - June drop permitting?  Who knows?

The irises are, again, lovely!  There's a couple of random ones elsewhere in the bed, slap bang in the middle of the crocosmia, and when flowering is done I must move them elsewhere.  I've been ruthless with the crocosmia this year and a lot is being pulled up as it dares peep through the soil's surface.  It can be quite invasive when it wants to be.

Poor tayberry.  After surviving for a couple of years before being planted in its forever place, it was thoroughly weeded by an over-enthusiastic young gardener about a month ago.  It must love me though - it is coming up again for more.  I like tough plants!
(At least, I am assuming it is the tayberry and not some vile, slow growing - is there such a thing? -  weed that has decided to grow in exactly the same spot.)

The chives are doing well and are being useful in culinary efforts . . .

. . . as is the oregano!  Must make pizza!

I also have two likely looking fuchsias in pots, bought (on special, obviously!) at Morrisons.  They are healthy, semi-hardy so who knows how long they will survive, growing well in the kitchen and need planting out soon.

Breadline: end of month 2

Already spent:  £55.58
Left to spend:  £6.42
Days to go:  1

Today's menu
Breakfast:  Oat pancake (paid) with bacon (10p) and soft cheese (paid)
Lunch:  Poached eggs (30p) on toast (paid).  Apple (11p)
Dinner:  Pork and apple burger (50p), roast sweet potatoes (9p), carrots (paid)

Total:  £1.10

It's very much a part of my routine now, doing this maximum of £2 a day on food and, usually, drink too.
I've been thinking about it all and here's some of the thoughts/strategies (in no particular order and in no way profound).

I keep a strict account of either what I spend or the cost of what I eat.  Generally, the everyday things like milk, oats, oil, and a number of other things that have to be used or go off like salad veg, fruit, etc are deducted from the total when bought.  They are the items that are 'paid' and it is why the totals from day to day don't necessarily match what the daily plan costs as recorded in here.

My sharpie pen is my new best friend.  Everything is marked with the price or p (for paid).  That way I don't get into a muddle and it is all done before I put any shopping away.

I round up as I really can't cope with calculating with pennies in three decimal places or more!  The fractions of pences go towards the cost of herbs, seasonings, spices, etc, that don't get costed.  I reckon it works out about even over the month.

I'm eating well, I think, and I'm losing weight.  A stone and a half since I started.  There's a way to go yet but it's a good start.  I know pennies don't equal calories but, when you are cooking from fresh as much as possible (and then freezing when appropriate) and not buying processed meals, it seems to balance out pretty well all round.

There's still way too much in my cupboards and in the freezers.  The stockpile is slowly decreasing but even so . . .   However, very little gets thrown away now and I'm pleased about that.  I always have a list in hand when I do go shopping now and usually stick rigidly to it which is good, I think.

There's a world of information and support out there thanks to the internet.  From places like 'Feed yourself for £1 a day' on Facebook, via helpful blogs and recipe sites, through to articles giving advice and strategies for frugality, there's so much to find.  Very helpful.

I could go on but will stop there.  Now I am looking forward to month 3!

Saturday 30 May 2015


Good morning!  It is sunny here, like yesterday, but it was deceptive and we had a right downpour during the day before it cleared up to give us a lovely evening.  It's still a bit cool, not as warm as it usually is, but no complaints from me.  I like cool.

Today is more work, sadly.  I've had a lovely half term but time passes quickly and things have to be done.  A right pain but there you go!

Better get on with it then . . .

Breadline: 30-5-15

Aready spent:  £54.01
Still to spend:  £7.99
Days left: 2

Today's food:
Breakfast:  oat pancake (20p), pineapple (6p), melon (paid) and yogurt (paid), drizzle maple syrup (10p),
Lunch:  Ham (30p) salad (paid), mayo (2p)
Dinner:  Salmon steak (71p), oven wedges (15p), mayo (3p)

Spent today:  £1.57

Friday 29 May 2015


Good morning, welcome to Friday!
It was very dull earlier today but the sun is just struggling through as I type so perhaps today will be nicer than originally promised.

Yesterday's tea (which was a family tea) went well.  When I looked over the table I was pleased that it was mostly home made/prepared.  Rolls, cheese, mushroom pate, two kinds of chutney, flapjacks and biscuits were all home made and the ham was home cooked.  I have to say it all tasted jolly good too, absolutely delicious.

I must mention the ham.  It was a little piece of gammon, unsalted and unfatty, from Aldi, £2.99, which took well under an hour to boil and which had a super flavour.  My parents commented on how delicious it was and they are hard to please where ham is concerned.  At that price I will be getting it again.

I follow mum's method for boiling.  I soak it overnight first, then put it in a pan with fresh cold water and bring it up to the boil, simmer it for the allotted amount of time minus about ten minutes, then take the pan off the heat and let the ham cool in the ham stock (as it is by then).  The ham stays beautifully moist and cuts really well.
I don't then roast it when we are having it cold, there's no need, we all like it just the way it is.
I threw away the stock this time as I still have some stock in the freezer from the last ham I boiled.  Yes, I feel guilty!

I managed to palm off most of the leftovers.  I kept one roll and a bit of the ham for lunch today and the sweet things went back in the tins for next week, although I might freeze some of them to get them out of temptation's way.  I bought some unsalted butter and some ordinary butter and what's left from that is in the freezer in small bits.  I bought some semi skimmed milk because I don't think mum and dad are that keen on skimmed milk and I shall freeze what's left (most of it), having checked that you can!

Long live frugality, that's what I say!  Now I must remember to write it all in the accounts!

Today is work, work, work.  Yawn!

Breadline: 29-5-15

Already spent:  £48.94
Still to spend:  £13.06
Days left:  3

Today's food plan:
Breakfast:  toast with jam or marmalade (paid), apple (11p)
Lunch:  ham (40p) roll (3p), soft cheese (5p), sliced tomato (paid), , yogurt and pineapple (6p)
Dinner:  Fish (37p) in tempura batter (1p).

biscuits (4p)

Today's spend:  £1.07

Just noticed I could spend £4.00 today, tomorrow and Sunday and be in budget but I'm not going to!  I shall use the left over this month to get longer term supplies for June such as bread flour, etc.

Thursday 28 May 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's another lovely sunny start to the day although it's chilly outside still and overnight I was glad to be snuggled under my quilt which kept me just right - warm and cosy but not hot.  It has to warm up soon - and then I will be moaning that it's too hot.

I had a great morning with a friend who came round for coffee.  We talked and talked and talked . . . and if she had been staying for lunch I reckon we'd have talked all afternoon too.  She admired the quilt and I shall make a similar one for her daughter.  I have plenty of time to make it, which is just as well.

After stumbling across an interesting blog I tried a recipe/method for making soft cheese from natural yogurt.  Very simple and straightforward and I now have a little pot of rather tasty soft cheese for tea.  I have blogged about it here.

I've also found a simple recipe for mushroom pate which I want to make for tea tonight, but I need to get some unsalted butter.  I looked in the fridge but the butter I had was dated February < blush > so that went in the bin and whatever I buy today and don't use will be frozen so as to avoid that happening again.

I've also just frozen some sliced mushrooms.  Because they were on special, I bought some and then some more and now, of course, can't see when they will be all used.  I know that they will only be OK for cooking but that's not a problem as that's how I usually use them; they will be there when I want them.

You might have gathered that I have some people round for a 'very light' tea today.  I have boiled a small ham that I got from Aldi and I shall also have the soft cheese, the mushroom pate, some lettuce and sliced tomatoes, cheese and chutney plus the biscuits and flapjacks I made yesterday.  Now I need to get the dough on for rolls.  It won't be a posh tea but it will be a tasty one!

Well, I'd better get going.  Dough doesn't make itself, although with Thermione doing all the hard work, you might think it does!
Have a super day.

Breadline 28-5-15

Spent so far:  £47.98
Still to spend:  £14.02
Days to go: 4

Today's food:
Breakfast:   Granola (2p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid)
Very late lunch:  rolls (6p), sliced ham (50p), soft cheese (6p),  Mushroom pate (mushrooms paid, rest of ingredients 10p), flapjack or biscuit (5p)
Supper, maybe:  apple and satsuma (11p)

Spent today:  96p

What I have learnt:
Milk:  it makes economic sense to buy 4 pints of milk for £1 only IF it gets used.  I poured it into five containers to freeze and use when needed but I still threw milk away because it had gone off.  Next time I need to buy milk I will use much smaller containers so that, hopefully, it will be used before it goes off.

Yogurt:  You cannot make yogurt with long life milk that has been frozen, darn it.  It separates and is all nasty!  So that's put paid to my idea of buying litres of long life (much cheaper), using half to make yogurt and freezing the other half for another time.

Soft cheese:  However, you can make soft cheese from yogurt without any hassle.  So from now on I will make a litre of yogurt at a time and convert some into soft cheese rather than buying it separately.

Don't buy things just because they are on special or yellow stickered unless they can be frozen.  Therein lies frustrating waste.

Wednesday 27 May 2015


Good morning, all.  Yesterday was very pleasant, weather-wise and I'm hoping today will be the same.  It has certainly started off very nicely so fingers crossed.

Yesterday I meant to get to Aldi at 8:00 when it opened but missed that target by - er - quite a lot.  Normally, when I go there, it is heaving but on a weekday it was just nicely and reassuringly busy.  I topped up with several bits and bobs including some flour, some of their 'super six' and, on an impulse, bought a set of six tortilla tins.  They are those tins that you press a soft tortilla into and then pop it in the oven and it makes a sort of fluted dish with the tortilla. 

Like these but not such good quality - they can't be at £6.99 for six!   (photo borrowed from Google)
OK, so it was very much an impulse buy but I bet I will use them, especially as tortillas are so easy to make!  In fact, as I have some veg to use up, I think that I will make some vegetarian chilli today!  And some flour tortillas!

Also I treated myself to some sparkling water.  I love sparkling water - it makes a meal special for me, especially with ice and a splash of lemon juice.  I suspect that I'm not drinking enough water at present so maybe this will help.  Anyway - it wasn't expensive!  That's my excuse!

Come the evening I set to and finished nearly all the ironing in the basket.  What a shame there were two loads of washing drying so now the basket is full again.  Ah, well!

The quilting is progressing.  I have one pot holder (with a loop too) and I was working on another but made a pig's-ear of the back of the edging so it will have to do as a place mat instead!  Can't waste all that hard work!

Today I have a friend round for coffee so I'd better get going and do a bit of tidying up!  Have a great day, whatever you are intending to do.

Breadline: 27-5-15

Spent so far:  £46.16
Still to spend:  £15.85
Days left:  5

Today's menu
Breakfast:  scrambled or poached eggs (26) on toast
Lunch:  hummus (14p) with carrot sticks (paid) muffin (6p)
Dinner:  roast chicken leg (50p), leftover (and rather old)coleslaw and potato salad (paid), apple (11p)

Also a biscuit and a flapjack (both home made) when a friend comes round - I'm estimating 10p although it's probably less than that.

Spending today:  £1.17

I really enjoyed the three little portions of different kinds of hummus that I bought last week in Aldi but it is rather an expensive way to buy it so yesterday I bought one pot and divided the contents into four little pots.  So that's 14p each instead of 33p.  Saving!!!  Of course, the most frugal way would be to make it myself, and I have tried in the past, but it never tastes quite right.
I also made some peanut butter so that I can get some reasonablky proved stuff without palm oil!  Very easy and I will continue with this!

Tuesday 26 May 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  Welcome to a slightly dull but brightening up morning that is not cold but not warm either.  I'm losing count of the days this week and had to check before entering today's title!!  I wonder if I will be like that in September.  I hope not!

Yesterday was one of those nice but nothing days.  I did work, I did sewing, I read, I snoozed, I watched telly and finally I went to bed.  Nice but nothing!

Today looks like more of the same.  I was going to have lunch with a friend but her little lad is unwell so I'm not going now - we will reschedule.  Disappointing but sensible.

I'm practising making quilted pot holders.  It is all very mathematical and I have made loads of errors but I guess that's how one learns.  It's a good way of using up scraps and I have some heat resistant wadding so I will stick at it until I have learnt all the lessons and can produce something as perfect as possible (including those perishing mitred corners which never seem to fit just right!).  It's all very mathematically accurate and one mistake has quite a knock on effect.  I know some of you are quilters and are probably chuckling in a kindly way at all this, but I bet you understand!

Once I have sorted it all out I can make some place mats for myself.

The other thing I need to do is prepare for next month's breadline - a sort of stock take of what I will have left, what I need to get in and so on.
However, I'm not sure whether I ought to keep posting about it in here.  The accountability has certainly helped me but I don't want to bore the socks off everyone and I've been posting about it for nearly two months now..  On the other hand, I enjoy reading the blogs of others who post similar things and maybe you do too.

I know I have a number of readers (followers and not-followers) who don't ever comment but I'd appreciate your opinion this once, if you could.  What do you think about it?

Breadline: 26-5-15

Spent so far:  £41.07
Still to spend:  £20.93
Days to go:  6

Today's plans:
Breakfast:  Forgot to have it!  Ooops
Lunch:  Poached eggs (26p) on toast (paid)
Dinner:  savoury mince with butterbeans (50p), crumble topping (10p), satsumas (paid), apple (11p)

Today's total:  97p

Monday 25 May 2015


Good morning, everyone.

Yesterday was a right mixture of weather.  It was dull, cool, sunny, warm, humid, raining . . . not all at the same time, of course!  At the moment it seems to be dull and dry but it is only just dawn, the sun hasn't risen and it's hard to predict how it will be once light comes properly.  It is bank holiday, of course, so that's asking for rain!

I had a really lovely day yesterday.  I drove over to a dear friend who is also an ex colleague.  She cooked a most delicious roast dinner and we spent the afternoon chatting happily about all sorts of things.  I looked at the clock and it was about 2:00, I looked again half an hour later and it was 5:30!  It was that sort of afternoon.

With her encouragement, I ordered a Senior Rail Card.  I got the three year one so now I HAVE to use it or waste the money!  better start looking at where I could go!  We also talked about what we could do once I don't have to go into work - visits, etc, and it was all very interesting.  Now I must get my bus pass organised!

If you use Morrison's, you will know that they have had this scheme going whereby you get a sticker for every £10 sent and when you have 20 stickers you can buy from a range of knives very cheaply.  I managed to collect some and the resulting knife is really not bad at all.  As the scheme drew to a close they started giving out a lot more stickers and when yesterday I popped into Morrison's for some flowers to take to my friend I was given what seemed like zillions (stickers, not flowers).  It turns out that yesterday was the last day for them although you can buy the knives for another month.  So I have to decide what I want from the range.  I have far too many knives, what I have got will last me out and beyond but what the heck!  You can never have too many really!

I was going to have lunch with a colleague tomorrow but it turns out her little lad has chicken pox and is still infectious.  I looked it all up and, as I had a little bout of shingles several years ago and really don't want to experience another, I have backed out this time.  Very disappointing indeed but there you go!  All the more time for reports (not!).

Do you have any plans for today?  Have a good one, whatever they are.

Breadline: 25-5-15

Spent so far:  £39.50
Still to spend:  £22.50
Days to go: 7

Today's menu
Breakfast:  Bacon (15p) and tomatoes (paid), apple (11p), melon (paid), yogurt (paid)
Lunch:  Mini quiche (30p), lettuce, coleslaw, potato salad (mayo 6p), fruit
Dinner:  Chinese leftovers (75p), fruit

So far:  £1.37

Do you have any kind of system or programme for being frugal?  Do tell!

Sunday 24 May 2015


Good morning, gentle readers.  It's a coolish, damp, gloomy morning here in (not so) Sunny Essex, with no hint of the sun whatsoever at the moment.  Yesterday was also gloomy with some rain around lunchtime and it suddenly got very humid and 'sweaty' around teatime although nothing came of it.

It was very nice being taken out for lunch yesterday.  I haven't been to Pizza Express for years so it was a real treat for me.  Thanks, Dave.  I had a chicken salad with crunchy bacon on the top followed by a honeycomb slice.  If I'd been at home I'd have been tempted to lick the plate, it was so delicious.

I did intend to meander around the shops in town but it was horrendously crowded so I decided not to bother.  Also, after yesterday's spending spree, better not really.  I looked on the fruit and veg stall in the market but there was nothing that looked particularly good value that I needed (or wanted) to get, so I didn't.  I spent some time browsing around the fabric stall and made some mental notes for the future (their plain poly cotton is particularly great value)and I bought some bias binding from the linked haberdashery stall because I want to make a thingy for lifting hot lids off pans (is it a 'pot holder', I can't remember?) without burning my hands.

Once home, I sat down and within ten minutes I was asleep.  Serves me right for waking so early!  I slept most of the afternoon and evening, on and off, and still got a great night's sleep.  Yesterday was obviously my 'catch up' day.  I always have one at the start of each break, after which I am fine!

I did start my next quilting project; another bag, smaller than the purple one, but useful (I hope).  I think quilted bags will be this year's Christmas present for my friends.  They aren't too much trouble to make and, while this current one has the same pattern as the first, the pattern is easily changed to suit the fabric.  I'll show a photo of it when I have finished it.
Talking of photos - here's the quilt (because I am sure the recipient doesn't read this blog!)
The colours haven't come out particulatly well but you get the general idea.

Better go and make breakfast.  Also, I think another coffee is definitely on the menu too.  Have a good day, everyone!

Breadline: 24-5-15

Already spent:  £38.64
Still to spend :  £23.36

Days to go:  8

Today's food
Breakfast: omelette with mushroom, baby corn and chives.  (eggs: 36p),
Dinner:  To a friend's for Sunday dinner.
Tea:  Nothing because I was still too full after a lovely lunch at my friend's.

Today's total  36p

Saturday 23 May 2015


Good morning, everyone.  After a good night's sleep, I woke early again this morning so came down and finished the quilt!  It's far from perfect, especially the binding around the edge, but it looks OK and I am sure it will be appreciated.  I now need to wrap it up and drop it off to my friend.  I think I will make a card to go with it, using the same fabric, which should be a nice finishing touch.

The weather today looks to be fine again.  It was lovely yesterday, warm and sunny for much of the time and it was a pleasure to open the French window and air the home.  It got a bit chilly later and the heating clicked on so I closed the doors and revelled in the cosy warmth.

It seems that we had an earthquake yesterday, very early in the morning.  Well, all I can say was that I was awake and downstairs and I didn't feel a thing so I guess Chelmsford was just that little bit too far away.  I gather that there was no structural damage although I read that people had reported china falling off walls and shelves and, presumably, smashing.

At midday Beth and I set off for our first trip to a needlework shop called 'And Sew In' which was sited in Blake Hall Craft Centre, not too far from Braintree.  And Sew On had been recommended to me by a Facebook friend when I showed some photos of the quilted tote bay that I made.  All I can say is wow.  A small but absolutely fabulous place, crammed from floor to ceiling with fabric, equipment, thread, etc.  We went in, I spent, we looked around the rest of the centre (some nice shops), had a snack, went back to And Sew On and I spent some more.  There were some great value remnants as well as on the roll fabrics.  I'm glad I transferred a bit of money over!
We will be going back there!

Once home, I was motivated to continue with the baby quilt which is why it's now finished.  I'm going to make another bag now, maybe as a gift.  It's time to think about Christmas, after all.

So - today.  On my list I have:
weed bed
sow beans
pull leeks
sow carrot seeds
Nowhere there does it say 'make quilted bag' but what's the betting . . .?

Have a lovely day.

Breadline: 23-4-14

Spent so far:  £37.59
Still to spend:  £24.41
Days to go: 9

Today's food:
Breakfast:  scrambled eggs (26p) and toast (paid), satsuma (10p)
Lunch:  Being treated to lunch.  So a great big fat zero!
Dinner:  Spanish omelette/tortilla type thingy:  eggs (39p), potatoes (paid), mushrooms (paid), baby corn (paid), peppers (30p), tomatoes (paid)

Total so far today:  £1.05

I find myself with loads of eggs so menus will be a little biased towards that for a few days.  No complaints here.

Friday 22 May 2015


Half term has started, more or less.  No school today (report writing day) so, of course, I woke at two this morning, wide awake and ready to bounce downstairs for a new day.  I'm getting a bit tired now so shall pop back up soon for another sleep but really, how stupid is that?

Yesterday was incredibly busy.  I got a lot done, both admin and teaching and left fairly quickly, so I will have to go into school next week to sort things out.  That's not going to be a problem as at the moment I am looking forward to a lovely long week off.

So today I will do some report writing and then enjoy the rest of the day.  I'm hoping that it will be as warm and sunny as yesterday so I can sit and sneeze in the garden.  Yes, I think the hay fever has landed at last!  It's tablets ahoy for me now!

This fairly short as I can feel myself dropping off to sleep again so I'd better get back upstairs pronto!  I hope those of you who live locally are all sleeping sweetly still . . .

Breadline: 22-5-15

Spent so far:  £35.59
Still to spend:£26.41
Days left: 10

Today's menu
Breakfast:  granola (2p, rest paid) with pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid), fruit salad.
Lunch:  2 savoury scones (4p), soft cheese (6p), chutney (5p), fruit salad and yogurt (paid)
Dinner:  (fish fingers (40p), 2 slices bread (paid), mayo (3p), fruit salad and yogurt (paid)

Total today:  66p

Thursday 21 May 2015


I think it warmed up a bit overnight.  I started off with the extra cover over my quilt, nice and cosy but not too hot, but by the morning (early), I tossed it off because I was  feeling too hot.  Yesterday was a beautiful day, sunny and bright, albeit not terribly warm, but I gather that we are in for some more settled weather to finish the month off.  I do hope so.  It would be nice to be able to sit out in the garden with the laptop and get on with the reports outside.

As expected, yesterday was interesting.  Not in a bad or unexpected way, just in an interesting way.
I managed to catch up on the long and short writing with two children who were away for one or other and we marked them, the TAs did some of the level 1 tasks, we got a risk assessment completed, we did the planning for the first week back over half term, decided on the work we will take to the external moderation meeting, the maths went well (practical capacity with real water!!!!) and only one child soaked herself (accidentally).  Oh, the joys of teaching.

The fleece arrived yesterday so tomorrow morning I will set to and see if I can get the quilt finished.  All that needs doing is adding the fleece as a backing and binding the edges.  I say 'all' but it's quite careful work and will take a while as I intend to hand sew the last bit.  Then I can get it to the intended recipient.  Only three weeks late.  Not too bad!

As I came out of school I met a 'mummy' friend (in other words a friend who is also a parent of children at the school).  You might remember that I used to buy fresh eggs from her but stopped when she didn't have any spare after making the cakes for her own company.  She has lots of little pullet eggs and is ready to sell them again so she's leaving a bowlful of them in the office today!  I'm thrilled - they taste so wonderful.
The only thing now is that I will have to make a lot of eggy things as I bought some last week.  There's no way I would say no to J though - no way whatsoever!!!

Last day of the half term today and there's quite a lot to do.  We're doing a Big Write, more practical capacity work, there's assembly and one of the houses is organising a sponsored goal and hula hooping thing so the children will be going out for that . . .

It's all go!

Breadline: 21-5-15

Spent so far:  £34.39
Still to spend:  £27.61
Days to go: 11

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Beans (12p) on toast (paid), melon (paid), natural yogurt (paid)
Lunch:  hummus (30p) with carrot batons (paid), muffin (6p), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Chick pea korma (60p), home made flatbread (flour 1p, rest paid), fruit salad (apple 11p, rest paid)

Total so far:  £1.20

I have quite a lot of fruit (apples, bananas, satsumas, melon) so I am going to make some fruit salad.  I might even splash out and add some savers pineapple.  It will keep for a few days, especially if I get out my vacupacker thingy and use that.  With yogurt on top it will make scrummy desserts and snacks and any that goes a bit squishy I can use in a smoothie.
What a treat!

I'm out at friends' homes for lunch several days next week but I have other friends coming for lunch one day so I reckon they will balance out.  I love half term!

Wednesday 20 May 2015


I was prepared last night!  After the shivering of the night before, I started off the night with an extra cover.  It stayed on all night too, despite the expectation that I would get too hot.  As a result, when waking this morning I was toasty warm and comfortable.  It still feels chilly so I'm wrapped up in dressing gown and boot-type slippers feeling fine.  What a change from yesterday!

While on the subject of weather, we didn't half have some torrential rain at times yesterday.  Hail too!  Anyone would think it was March rather than May but all the rain was very good for the garden.  We managed to miss the rain, more or less, at playtimes so the children got their fresh air and run-around.  That was a mercy because the level 3 SATs paper is a long affair, in two parts with a good break in between.

After that we did some science (habitats) and the day was more or less over!  Time is flying this week whereas last week it really dragged its heels.  Tests are now over apart from catching up with those who were absent on The Days.  I have most of the results collated (it takes quite a time) and all that remains now is the post mortem!!!

I must have been very weary because I fell asleep in my chair at seven, woke at eight and went to bed, read of under an hour and the next thing I knew it was morning.  That's my kind of night!

Today is the different day.  Reading revelry, violins, library, maths (practical capacity - groan) and then PPA in the afternoon.  Staff meeting comes after that.  A long day but an OK day!  I hope . . .

Two days until half term!

Breadline: 20-5-15

Spent so far:  £32.73
Left:  £29.27
Days left: 12

Today's food:
Breakfast:  banana and honey smoothie (14p), apple (11p), melon (paid)
Lunch:  beans (12p) on toast (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Chickpea korma (60p), flatbread (1p), satsuma (paid)

Spent:  99p so far

Tuesday 19 May 2015


Brrrr - it was jolly cold this morning.  I woke early and came down for a while but when I went back up again because I was getting tired, I was shivering.  The bed had cooled down so it took a while to get warm and if I hadn't been so zonked I'd have got an extra cover!

Never mind, I'm warm now, helped by a nice hot bath.

The sky is a gorgeous blue at the moment but I gather that it won't last and bad weather is on the way.  It was pretty dismal yesterday too, with a wet-so-inside morning play.  Much of lunchtime was inside too but they managed to get out in the afternoon, thank goodness.

Yesterday was maths level 3 SATs for those who achieved high enough on the level 2 paper.  I had those from both classes who weren't taking the test and did a nice rotational maths session: ten minutes or so at each table and then move on.  There were two tables with laptops, one with Hit the Button and one with coordinates activities, one table making 3D shapes, one with a symmetry activity and one with a dice and number grid activity.  They all seemed to go down very well and the children were all 'gainfully employed' as the saying goes.

Today is the Level 3 reading which is a much longer test.  More children are taking this so we will each take our own classes and the lovely TAs will take the others off for other activities.  Fortunately, at the moment we have a spare classroom so they can use that and the computer suite.

And then, apart from catching up with those who were absent, that's the last SATs over and done with for Y2.  Next year it will be the new tests which will probably be a lot harder and cause even more stress than the old ones.  Ho hum!

Well, must get going or I shall be late for school.  Have a good day!

Breadline: 19-5-15

Spent so far:  £31.07
Left to spend:  £30.93
Days to go:  13

Today's menu
Breakfast:  toast and marmalade or jam (paid), apple (11p)
Lunch:  hummus (30p), carrot batons and salad (paid)
Dinner:  burger (50p), roll (paid), salad

Today's spend:  91p

Monday 18 May 2015


Good morning.  Welcome to the last week before half term - a short week of four days as one is a non-pupil day.  It was a fine day yesterday but rather chilly so I only had one door open, not two.  It was a quilt snuggling night and I slept very well indeed.

Diane, you were right, I did like the fish very much.  A light flavour, not a 'meaty' fish at all and very easy to cook and to eat.  I looked in Google and made up a very simple 'tempura-style' batter which was actually jolly delicious, if not authentic and it went with the fish beautifully.  Unfortunately, being batter, cooked in oil, it soaked up a lot of oil so is going to be humungous amounts of calories.  I won't be able to have it very often and I was very strong and discarded the leftover batter rather than making scraps (which I love).  However, I will have the fish more often, cooked in different ways.

I got the quilting done and now just need to wait for the backing to arrive.  I used 'invisible' thread but won't be using it again unless I absolutely have to, it was a right pain.

Today is level 3 maths and 'group' (i.e. class/team) photos.  Another last time and one I won't miss as I hate having my photo taken but cannot get out of it!  It the afternoon it is my hour's PPA and there will be plenty for me to do.

Well, better get on and get started.  Have a good day.

Breadline 18-5-15

Spent so far £29.79
Left to spend  £32.21
Days to go 14

Today's menu
Breakfast:  Banana and honey smoothie (18p), apple (11p)
Lunch:  Soup (3p),  hot not-cross bun (10p), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Burger (50p), roll (3p), salad as yesterday (paid) satsuma (10p)

Spent:  £1.28

The sort-of-vaguely-like-tempura batter was very nice indeed and I shall make it again.

Sunday 17 May 2015


I woke this morning singing Gilbert and Sullivan after an evening at the Civic Theatre watching a performance of the Pirates of Penzance.  For a local group it was very good indeed and some of the singing was outstanding.  I shall definitely look out for their next performance.  It was more personal because a colleague and the daughter of a colleague were both taking lead roles.  Many congratulations to them.

After a very early awakening yesterday and a busy morning, I was pleased to have a snooze in the afternoon. If I hadn't, I would have been falling asleep during the second half.  I've stopped going to shows in London with colleagues because I do exactly that.  I can't stay awake after a busy day at work!

I used my 'square bread' tin for the first time and it works!  A really nice loaf that cuts easily into square slices, perfect for sandwiches.  It's all sliced and in the freezer now, of course, and there's another batch of dough rising at the moment to make a loaf for Beth and Alex.

Sometimes I am so dim.  Ages ago I lost the remote control for the TV.  I still have the control to the DVD player which controls some of the TV functions but it's a first-world nuisance not having the TV control.  It wasn't until yesterday when I was mentally flouncing about it that I realised that I could see if I could get one on Amazon.  I looked, you can and I ordered one!  Why didn't I do that ages ago?

I also found some nice fleece to back the quilt.  One of the fabrics I have used has little owls over it:  I actually got it to make a skirt but there's plenty so I used a bit for the quilt.  The backing fleece also has little owls, not exactly the same but in the same style.  I think it will look nice.  If I get the quilting done today I just have to wait for the backing before finishing it off.  It might even get finished in half term, you never know!

Today is a typical Sunday. Some work in the kitchen, Beth here for lunch, a natter and then a look over my work for the week.   It has started off sunny so I'm hoping it ends up as pleasant as yesterday afternoon was so I can have the back doors open and fresh air blowing through the house.

I might need to do that in the evening anyway because yesterday I bought some basa fillets from Aldi and for tea tonight I want to experiment with cooking it in some kind of frugal (and vegan, not that I am) batter.  I've looked tempura batter recipes up on Google and think I can create a way of making it without egg and without any other fiddle faddles such as sparkling water.
I shall have a go, anyway, and hope it doesn't stink the house out!  Fingers crossed.

Breadline 17-5-15

Spent so far £27.10
Still to spend £34.90
Days left:  15

Menu for today:
Breakfast:  Banana (8p) and honey (10p) smoothie, apple
Dinner:  Roast chicken (50p), cauliflower cheese (sauce 13p), new pots (paid), parsnips (paid)
Tea:  basa fillet (38p),  fried in a sort of tempura batter (flour 1p), salad (paid)

Today's total is £1.20

I'm researching the batter at the moment and will share if I get some good results.

Saturday 16 May 2015


At last it's the weekend.  The week that has been giving me sleepless nights for many months is past and over, thank goodness.  I suppose I have been very fortunate to avoid end of key stage SATs for the whole of my career really.

I slept very well but woke at stupid o'clock raring to go.  So I now have some bread dough rising and am just about to go and make some banana and peanut butter muffins seeing as I got some bananas greatly reduced yesterday (and you can see why they were reduced!).

Yesterday was spent out of the class working with my Y2 co-teacher on marking the long and short writing.  It was very hard work but we finished it.  I now have to collate all the results for my class and assign levels.  Deeelightful!

We marked the papers in the demountable that used to be my classroom for the two years I taught year 4.  It was a bit deja vue-ish in a way.  Some things don't change - it was always either too hot or too cold and yesterday it was definitely too hot!

Today is a rest day.  OK, so a no schoool work day.  Today I have a list of what I consider fun things to do/make.  I won't do them all, of course, but I will do some.

I have started to make some bread I saw on Jack Monroe's blog and am about to start some muffins I saw on the Frugal Family blog.  I want to make some more granola as I'm out of it and it makes a great breakfast with fruit and yogurt or milk.  I want to make some more sourdough bread and some pikelets but that will have to wait for tomorrow as I forgot to feed the sourdough last night.  I want to use my square bread tin and make a sandwich loaf.  Also I need to chop the veg I got in a reduced stew pack and freeze the results for soup and casserole bases.
And I want to carry on with the baby quilt.

Quite a nice day, don't you think?

Breadline: 16-5-15

Already spent:  £23.08
Still to spend:  £38.92
Days to go: 16

Todays menu:
Breakfast:  scrambled eggs (26p) on a sourdough crumpet (2p), satsuma (10p),
Lunch:  Ham (42p), salad, coleslaw (paid + mayo/salad cream), potato salad (15p plus mayo, probably 6p)
Dinner:  Beef burger (80p), grated cheese, sweet potato wedges (10p), salad (paid at lunchtime)

Today's spend so far:  A very expensive £1.95!!!

It's half way through the month now and nowhere near half way through the money so this morning I am off to Aldi to invest in some of their super six - I shall look first, of course, but I'm hoing to buy some baby corn, some grapes, some mushrooms and maybe some funsize apples as well.
I think a few healthy treats are in order and I shall be waiting on the doorstep when they open at 8:00!

The salad things (potato salad and coleslaw) are intended to see me through several meals, not just the one.

And, finally, yesterday I bought some slightly manky bananas.  I thought they were 29p for 6 but I've just looked and they are 19p for 6.  I shall make banana bread and banana and peanut butter muffins which will not only feed my young gardeners today but also provide me with part of my lunches for quite a while and make the last two into a smoothie for breakfast tomorrow.  Can't be bad!

Friday 15 May 2015


Friday at last.  It has been a wearisomely long week this week what with tests and marking, etc, but we are getting there.  The tests are now done, more or less, and today is marking day.  With 116 pieces of writing to mark, we need it and that's a fact!

As feared, the rains fell yesterday.  When the children went out for a break after the short writing it was drizzling.  That continued through morning play.  It was jolly cold too with a chilly wind blowing up and the damp air.  Before lunch it started raining in earnest and it continued all through the afternoon, clearing slightly fr a short time in the evening before starting again.

Of course, the inflatable afternoon was cancelled, much to the children's disappointment but even they could see that it was hopeless.  They didn't even ask if it would go ahead if the rain stopped.  It's a shame because they adore the inflatable events and happily queue for ages in order to have a go on their favourites.  The mums, dads and carers all gather in the middle with rugs, chairs and picnics and have a good chatter while their children play.

It may be rescheduled, if possible, but dates are limited.

When I got home I got on with the quilt.  I now have the backing, batting and top sandwiched together and have started tacking round to hold them in place.  It's tricky, even with a small thing, because one must try to avoid wrinkles and puckers.  At least - I find it tricky, but I am a beginner and I could do with some sort of frame to hold it all in place while I tack.  How people manage with larger projects, I really don't know!  And I haven't yet decided HOW I am going to quilt it.  I guess that is the weekend's task.

What I have decided is that I will re-back it with some fleece.  That will add a little more thickness and will also make it warm and cosy for baby so that will hold me up while I find somewhere that sells fleece.  I shall try the fabric shop in town on Saturday morning, I think.

Now I had better go and look over my planning as I need to be ready for the person who is covering my class today.  A nice easy day for them, if not for me, after the rigours of the week.  Have a good one and stay warm and dry.

Breadline: 15-5-15

Spent so far:  £22.24
Still to spend:  £39.76
Days to go:  17

Today's food:
Breakfast:  porridge (paid), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), orange juice (paid), apple (13p)
Lunch:  2 tomato scones (2p), soft cheese, (6p), chutney (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Roast chicken leg (57p), (didn't want anything else)

Today's total:  84p

Thursday 14 May 2015


Good morning!
It was another gloriously warm day yesterday although it started with just a touch of frost on the cars.  The children certainly enjoyed the sunshine.

The day wasn't as long as I feared.  Staff meeting was very short so I had time to get home, have my meal and then get back into school again for the evening meeting.  That was also quite short, making the whole day much easier than I had expected.

The week is dragging its heels rather though.  The SATs tests disrupt the normal timetable considerably and I am surprised the children are coping as well as they are.  Just today to get through and then they will be over.  Friday is a marking day, Monday and Tuesday will be the level 3 maths and reading tests and then it's just the post mortems.  I'm glad I won't have to go through it all again.  Actually, nor will anyone else as SATs tests are stopping after this year but there will be more (and harder) tests in their place, even for the little year 2s.

So, today is the short writing and then there is a nice practical maths lesson on 3d shapes and their nets followed by more papier mache in the afternoon.  I have a feeling there's a meeting after school but I need to check that.

Sadly, the weather is forecast to turn very bad around lunchtime and stay that way for the rest of the day.  It's a right pain because there's supposed to be an 'Inflatable Day' after school but if it rains it won't happen.  These sessions are lovely.  Families come and set up picnics in the middle of the field while the children play on the inflatables.

Whatever the weather, I hope we all have a good day!  Now I am kitchen and freezer bound to sort things out for the day after which I will look over my planning for today and sort out the food planning for next week.  Even at this time of the day it's all go!

Breadline: 14-5-15

Already spent:  £21.25
Still to spend:  £40.75
Days to go:  18

Today's food plans:
Breakfast:  Baked beans (12p) on toast (paid)
Lunch:   Soup (10p), rhubarb cake (10p), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  Turkey, apple and sage meatballs in tomato and veg sauce (53p), pasta (4p), grated cheddar (paid), satsuma (10p)

Spent so far:  99p

I ought to go to Morrisons in the evening more often.
Yesterday morning I loaded my yogurt maker with the necessary.  When I got home that evening it had all turned and was nasty.  I didn't think at the time and threw it away but I could probably have strained it, made cottage cheese and used the liquid in soda bread.  Ah well . . .  It's the first time I have had a failure and I wonder if it was because I had frozen the long life milk.

Anyway, I needed some yogurt so after governors' meeting I got some.  They also had some veg on yellow ticket and I got a cauliflower for 19p and a stew pack for 19p as well as two packs of satsumas at a price that made them 10p each.

I've accounted for them already which is why the figures at the top have changed quite a lot from yesterday.

Now I have to decide what to do with it.  I can do the cauliflower for Sunday lunch and I think I might make a vegetable stew with butterbeans and maybe kidney beans or chick peas, both of which I have in the freezer, or maybe some chicken!  I know it's more winter food than summer but when the weather is bad a warming stew can be just the thing.
Or I might just chop and blanche the lot and freeze them as mixed vegetable soup base.

Happy me!

Wednesday 13 May 2015


Good morning!

I was half right about the weather yesterday.  It did clear and we had sunshine but not before some rain which seemed to cool everything down considerably.  There was definitely a chill in the air yesterday and I was glad to snuggle under my quilt come bedtime.  It's too early to tell what today will be like!

The highlight of the day was, of course, the visit from Owls R Us.  They brought along about ten different breeds of owls including a large European eagle owl and a tiny little scops owl, a snowy owls a tawny owl and a barn owl.  I love owls and it was a delight to see them and hear about them.  The two gentlemen that came with them were kind enough to commend the children's intelligent questioning which was nice.

There was also distraction in the form of a young dove that had wandered, somehow, into the hall and settled itself on a high rafter to hear the talk too.  From time to time it took a little fly round the hall and I was glad that the owls were safely 'tethered' to their perching thingy.   A practical experience in how owls kill their prey would have been 'interesting' but not appropriate.

You will be glad to know that after school the dove did manage to get out with a little help from some staff.

Apart from the day work, in the evening I did a little bit more to the baby quilt I am making and I'm really hoping this will be a lot better than my first effort at a quilt which ended up a total failure.  I'm on the borders now and then it will be the quilting which is where it will make or break.  Photos may appear at some point!

Today is more SATs with violins, PPA, staff meeting and governors' meeting.  I will leave home at 7:25 and won't get home until about 8, maybe 8:30 pm

It's going to be a lo-o-o-ong day!

Breadline: 13-5-15

Spent so far:  £19.50
Still to spend:  £42.44
Days to go  19

Today's food:
Breakfast:  Toast (paid) with jam or marmalade (paid) or maybe peanut butter (paid) and soft cheese (7p), fruit juice (paid), apple (13p)
Lunch:  Beans (12p) on toast (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  tricky one, this.  It's staff meeting and then governors' meeting so I won't get home until late.  There will be free biccies at the meeting (not ideal) and I have the rest of yesterday's tuna mayo so I shall cook some pasta this morning (4p) and mix it with the mayo to make pasta salad and can have it on a bed of shredded lettuce (paid) and maybe some tomatoes (paid)

Today's possible spend:  36p.  That's stupid but it's because most of the food has been paid for already

Tuesday 12 May 2015


It was another glorious day yesterday and I was lucky enough to be on afternoon playground duty, which was good.  It's always nicer when the children can go on the field.  Today looks similar at the moment - a bit dull but no lowering clouds so fingers crossed.

Apart from that it was just an ordinary day really, despite the SATs.  The afternoon was messy art (papier mache) and most of them thoroughly enjoyed it all.  You never saw such a sticky lot!!!  The results will be worth it though!

Today is more SATs and in the afternoon a visit from Owls'r'Us which we're all looking forward to.

Have a good day!

Breadline: 12-5-15

Spent so far:  £17.48
Still to go:  £44.52
Days left:  20

Menu for today (which I had better stick to after yesterday's crash)
Breakfast:  Granola (a freebie), pineapple (6p) and milk (paid)
Lunch:  Tuna (62p) mayo (4p) with carrot and celery dips (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  beef pasta bake (50p),  apple (13p)

Total: £1.35

Yesterday I didn't eat the pasta bake (and have edited yesterday's entry accordingly) so I have it for tonight.  It is in the fridge and would have been frozen for most of yesterday so it will be fine.

I'm paying the full whack for the tuna, even though I won't eat all of it today.

Finally, I'm more than a third of the way through and haven't used a third of the money, so that's good.

Monday 11 May 2015


Wasn't yesterday lovely?  More or less wall to wall sunshine and pretty warm too.  It was lovely to be able to keep the back door open and thoroughly air the house.  I slept really well too - must have been that fresh air!

Yesterday was quite a busy day one way and another.  I had finished the quilted tote bag I have been making and just needed some 'feature buttons' so I dashed off to Hobbycraft only to discover that it doesn't open until 10:30 on Sundays.  Drat.  I wasn't wasting petrol driving home only to have to set straight off again. andI was sorely tempted to go into Costa Coffee, telling myself I ould use some of last month's left over money.   Thankfully, I managed to resist the impulse (and the aroma) and wandered around the retail park instead.  A few shops opened at ten so I looked around them (without buying, of course) until Hobbycraft was open.

There weren't any suitable buttons apart from some extremely expensive hand made beauties so I ended up buying some Fimo and made some buttons when I got home using a cookie cutter and a skewer.  They're a little lopsided and the holes are not dead straight, but I'm pleased with them and will make some more at some point.

The quilted bag is now finished and here's some photos.  I'm really rather pleased with it.
One side
and the other side

and the button

After a nice lunch with Beth, Eddie came round and we discussed my ICT requirements.  I am hoping to buy a new computer and a laptop as I won't have a school laptop in a couple of months' time.  He now has a pretty good idea of what I want and is going to put together and price up a shopping list for me.

After that I carried on with a quilt I am making for a friend who has just had a baby.  I'll show you when it is finished, assuming it comes out OK.

This week is SATs week for both Y2 and Y6 so I will be up to my eyeballs with marking.  That's life.

Breadline 11-5-15

Edited after a 'crash;' last night.

Spent so far:  £15.81
Still to spend:  £46.19
Days left: 21

Today's menu
Breakfast:  sourdough toast with jam/marmalade (both paid), pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid), apple (13p)
Lunch:  dhal (26p), yogurt (paid), fruit (paid)
Dinner:  crisps (large bag, reduced, oh dear)  £1.00

Total so far:  £1.45

Sunday 10 May 2015


Good morning.  It's cool here but there are no low clouds and it might turn out to be a nice day  as, in parts, yesterday was.  The wind seems to have died down again for now which makes things more comfortable and, with all the rain we have been getting, the beds are now much damper.

Today I am expecting Beth over for lunch and in the afternopon E is coming to talk about computer options with me.  Should be good.

I will leave you with a few photos from Hyde Hall last Monday.

Breadline: 10-5-15

Spent so far:  £14.87
Still to spend:  £47.13
Days to go: 22

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Bacon (20p), lettuce and tomato and sour dough bread (all paid) sandwich, fruit juice
Dinner:  roast beef (67p), bubble and squeak patties (20p), broccoli (garden), carrots (paid)
Tea:  3 pikelets, toasted (3p), jam (paid), hot cross bun (9p)

Total so far:  £1.19

The roast beef is some slices from a joint that I froze in stock several weeks ago.  I'm glad I did.

Saturday 9 May 2015


I said yesterday that I would be zonked by the end of the day and I most certainly was zonked.  Completely and totally zonked!  However, after I got home my lovely hair dresser arrived and after she had worked her usual magic I felt amazing!  Amazingly zonked!!

The SATs started off and as the day went on I started to feel better.  I didn't eat anything until the evening - no, I tell a lie, I had a chocolate biccie at playtime and wished I hadn't - so by 6:00 I was ready for something little.  I'm glad I abstained through the day.

I've had a wonderful night's sleep, thank goodness.  I can't even remember if I had a meander down to the loo in the middle of the night.  I expect I did as I always do, but must have been almost sleep walking.

Today is just going to be a usual Saturday.  Nothing special, just a nice, ordinary day doing nice, ordinary things.  Just what the doctor ordered, as the saying goes.  I might start off a small quilt and I will certainly finish the tote bag which only needs handles now.  Then maybe I can take some photos.

Talking of photos, I have some from Hyde Hall.  Maybe I can get them uploaded and processed and then I can share some.

I've just remembered, as I don't need to make bread for myself this week, I want to make some tortillas and have a go at baking them into crunchy snack-like things.  It sounds easy enough but you know how it can go.  Never as easy as it sounds.  Anyway, I shall try!

That's about it really.  Take care.

Breadline: 9-5-15

Already spent:  £13.34
Still to spend:  £48.66
Days to go: 23 (incl today)

Today's menu
Breakfast:  (blush)  home made tortilla chips (3p)

Lunch: Fried egg (13p) on toasted pikelet (1p), fried tomatoes (paid), fruit juice (paid) - this was originally breakfast but then I made those tortilla chips and had to sample them, of course!
Dinner:  Poached salmon (50p), sweet potato wedges (10p), soft cheese (7p), salad (lettuce, tomato, carrots, all paid), mayo (4p), orange (paid)

Spent today:  88p

It all looks very delicious today, doesn't it?  I was lucky with the salmon - a while ago they were on 'special' in Morrisons, two fillets for £1.00.  I bought two packs and froze them individually.  The problem now will be finding them in the freezer!

I made the pikelets with some sour dough.  Essentially they are crumpets without height - cooked without crumpet rings.

I do like the system of accounting for certain things when they are bought.  It means I don't have to weigh and calculate the price of some shredded lettuce, for example!  When it says 'paid' that's mostly why.

Friday 8 May 2015

Breadline 8-5-15

Spent so far:  £12.68
Still to spend:  £49.32

Today's menu (belated and sparse)
Breakfast:  nothing
Lunch:  nothing
Dinner:  Fish finger sarnies (nice and plain and settling, I hope) - bread (4p), fish fingers (60p), butter (paid),  mayo (2p)

Today's spend:  66p

Back to normal tomorrow, I sincerely hope.


Just a quick one today.  A bad night - stress related pains interspersed with unpleasant dreams.  I shall be totally zonked by the end of the day!

I'll do the breadline post later.  Just thinking about food is somewhat yuck.

Hope you all have a better day.

Thursday 7 May 2015


Another rather wild night with heavy rain followed a ditto day yesterday - at least, to start with.  At some point it all calmed down and this morning seems to be a lot better although it's hard to tell just yet.    I've rarely seen rain sheet down as heavily as it did yesterday, or, sometimes, as horizontal!  If one includes the cold, it has felt more like March than May in recent days.  However, this morning I went to the freezer in the shed without a dressing gown and it felt OK.

Thank you for all the kind enquiries.  I'm feeling fine now and eating normally.  I wolfed down some lasagne yesterday that I had made for my brother's 60th party - the frozen leftovers, I mean - and thoroughly enjoyed it.  As for the other thing, it came to nothing, thank goodness.

Tomorrow evening I am off out for a meal with J and L - the get together we have around once a month, although it can be longer intervals, depending.  As always, it's at the Hare and I will definitely go for a small plate option, that being the most frugal thing to do, as well as looking delicious!  I'm looking forward to a good catch-up chat!

Today is a normal Thursday.  Tomorrow the SATs start.  Ho hum!

Have a fantastic day and stay warm and dry.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Breadline 7-5-15

Already spent: £10.68
Still to spend: £51.32
Days left 25

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  Beans (12p) on toast (3p), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:  soup (10p), fruit (paid)
Dinner: out to the Hare with my two friends.  I've taken a look at the menu and there are some pretty frugal choices on the small plate menu that look absolutely delicious.  They're all vegetarian, of course.

Today's spend:  £2.00 (max amount)


After a wild and woolly night with rain and wind that blew in the curtains, it's rather dull this morning with a breeze and some threatening clouds.  More rain would not surprise me and would be awfully good for the garden.

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs although not too many of them, thank goodness.
I woke to find my tum was definitely unsettled.  Not a nice feeling at all.  I didn't have breakfast (didn't want any) and by lunch time I was feeling better but not in any mood for much to eat.  By the end of school I was feeling fine again.

Just to cap that, I did wonder if I was going down with a touch of cystitis.  You know the feeling - no need to go into any detail.  So I've been drinking lots of water and, again, things are now feeling much better.

They say troubles come in threes.  I was in school before the children had arrived when someone from the out of school club came to ask did I know I had a flat tyre!  Well, actually, no, I didn't.  After some unprintable muttering to myself, I spoke to our very nice ground manager who said he would pump it up which should be enough to get me to the tyre place.  Down I went after school and yes, there certainly was a problem with the tyre - it had a great big bloomin nail in it, that's what!   They repaired it, checked the other tyres and charged me £8.00 which I thought very reasonable.

They also wash cars for a very reasonable change - I shall be giving them my custom in the future, I can see. and if you live locally, why not give them a go?  It's on the right as you go out on the Roxwell Road, opposite the filling station.

I think that was quite enough for one day!  I was worn out come the evening!

Today is library day, interesting day, PPA day followed by staff meeting in the evening.  Well, you can't have it all!
(and it has just started raining again!)

Breadline: 6-5-15

Already spent:  £9.58
Still to spend:  52.42
Days to go:  26

Today's menu
Breakfast:  granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid)
Lunch:  beans (12p) on toast (paid),
Dinner:  Lasagne (75p), salad (lettuce, tomato, carrots - all paid), apple (13p)

Spent today:  £1.10

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Breadline 5-5-15

Already spent:  £9.47
Still to spend:  £52,53
Days left:  27

Breakfast:  none - gippy tum
Lunch:  Instant soup (11p) - still slightly gippy tum
Dinner:  Savoury mince crumble (free - leftovers already counted frozen for another time), bits of corn on the cob, found in the freezer and given to me last year.  Texture slightly rough but still delicious. (free)

Spent:  OK, 11p sounds daft, doesn't it, but what with no breakfast and a very little lunch, together with leftovers and freebies . . .

Tuesday (rather later than usual)

So sorry for the non-appearance this moning/  I was rather busy and just didn't have the time.  So I'm here now!

Monday was a lovely day.  It started off rather cloudy and I did wonder, but after a while the clouds lifted and by the time I arrived at Hyde Hall the sun was out and it was gorgeous.

You will be glad to know that I was very self controlled as far as the craft fair was concerned, just treating myself to some lavendar and something hand and body cream.  Unfortunately, the smell got the better of me and I bought a sausage roll to eat as I sat in the sun, reading and listening to a singer/guitarist who was rather good.  So that's £2.00 for yesterday and shame on me, although it was an outing and a treat was appropriate.  As a RHS member I didn't have to pay the entry fee!

I'll talk about today when I do tomorrow's blog.  It's been an upsy downsy day.

Monday 4 May 2015


Good morning, everyone.  Today looks as if it might be an OK day.  The sun is just coming up as I can see by the shadows and light on the houses behind mine (the sun rises at the front and my room faces the back) and the trip to Hyde Hall may very well be 'on'.  Three cheers for that, especially as the forecast for the rest of the week isn't wonderful.

Having said that, despite the rain we have had, the ground is still very dry.  I tried to pull up a leek yesterday and had to fork it up as it wouldn't come and the soil around the roots was pretty dry.

That leek tasted wonderful, as did the little bit of purple sprouting broccoli, even though I steamed it for too long.  I had them with mini roasties, carrots and an apple and pork burger and brown sauce on the side.  It tasted delicious.  The PSB is sending out side shoots now although the other isn't giving anything yet.

I had my third go at a sourdough loaf and this time it went well except that I think I over-baked it - well, I know I overbaked it, in fact.  It wasn't spoilt, it rose beautifully, it all went well and I autolysed the flour first.  I think I may have found my method which involved some hand work as well as using Thermione for the messy bits!
Good old Thermione (borrowed from Google)
Anyway, it is now in the freezer (the bread, not Thermione!), well wrapped in slices, so I have eating it to look forward to.  I did freeze the failures last week, the three little ones in tins that collapsed, but I have no wish to eat them and will probably bin them.  I don't have room in the freezer for things I am unlikely to eat!  Or no - maybe some bread and butter pudding would be better.  I wonder if it would be right for that.

I shall lovingly tend the sourdough starter during the week and will have another go when I next need to make some which won;t be next week, judging bu the lack of bread on the food plans and the amount in the freezer already!

In the time it has taken to type this, the sun appears to have disappeared.  Ah, well, what will be, will be and I can't change that!  Fingers crossed for a fine day for us all.

Breadline: 4-5-15

Spent so far:  £8.46
Still to spend:  £53.54
Days left: 28

Today's menu
Breakfast:  granola (4p), pineapple (6p), yogurt (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:  peanut butter sarnie (paid), muffin (6p), rhubarb cake (10p), fruit (paid)
AND a sausage roll.  I'm charging myself the full £2 and am trying not to feel totally ashamed of myself.

Sunday 3 May 2015


Yesterday started off cold and a bit frosty.  Today has started off milder and very wet.  It's raining and looks as if it has been for a while and is set to continue for a while too.  I'm hoping that it will clear by tomorrow.
Borrowed from Google!
Today is work day.  I have a heap of books and sheets to mark, I have bread to make (although that's not exactly work, is it? and I have some quilting to get on with.  I'm making a tote bag in various shades of purple.  It's not as eye catching as it could because I had a limited choice of fabric but I think my quilting is getting better, everything seems to fit and go together and there's no puckering (I think there's none anyway!).  Mind you, apart from the zig-zag quilting, everything is on the straight of the grain so that does make it all a lot easier.
It's a start anyway.

Now I feel a bit more confident again, I need to redo the quilt I made for a friend that turned out shockingly bad.  I learnt from it anyway!

It's a lovely feeling knowing that there's another day before school.  We don't get many bank holidays - well, we do, but they are in when schools are open, so the ones we do get in school time are precious, Although we know they take a day off the closed school time to compensate.  No problems with that here!

I wonder if 'they' will ever shorten the 'holidays' and lengthen the number of days in school.  If they do, teachers' salaries will need to go up accordingly as we get paid for the days we do, evened out over the year rather than paid at the 'right' time.  Well, all I know is that it won't happen in my working time now!

As it's Sunday, Beth will be over for lunch at some point.  I know she wants to carry on with her quilting so I can get on with my school work while she quilts!  We also need to start looking around at quilting machines.  I'm not going on a September holiday, nor do I plan to live it up, but my retirement treat to myself (and for Beth to share) will be a really good quilting machine.  I know I have a good machine already but quilting machines are different and they do make quilting life so much simpler.  So we have to look because, at that money, I am not going to make any hasty decisions.

It's time to go into the kitchen.  Sadly, I didn't leave it all that tidy yesterday evening so the first job is to put the bread on to knead and while it's doing that in Thermione I need to have a good tidy up before making breakfast.
Stay dry and have a good day!

Breadline: 3-5-15

Already spent: £6.51
Still to spend:  £55.49
Days left: 29

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  porridge (paid) with pineapple (6p) and yogurt (paid). 1 sp sugar (1p), fruit juice (paid), apple (13p)
Dinner:  pork and apple burger (70p), roasties (14p), carrots (paid), bit of PSB (garden), ketchup/brown sauce (5p)
cheg (30p, cheese paid for), salad (all paid), bread and butter (paid), rhubarb cake (10p)

Snack:  home made soup (11p)

Spent today:  £1.60

Saturday 2 May 2015


It's another chilly morning with a slight frost (they have to mild up soon, surely) but I can't tell if it is cloudy or not at the moment.  The forecast isn't good for the weekend either and even Monday now seems predicted to have rain.  I shall be sad if that is true because I am so looking forward to a day out at Hyde Hall as I haven't been there for ages.  I said 'no' to someone who asked me to do something on Monday because of my plans so maybe it is poetic justice!  :-(
Hyde Hall, borrowed from Google
Yesterday passed as well as most days do.  Thanks to some careful planning and sensible delivery, the art wasn't nearly as sticky as it could have been and everyone got it done.  Next week is the second layer and then the painting and after that the classroom will be filled with beautiful butterflies - that's the theory anyway.  We will see, won't we?

I'm feeling a bit yurk this morning after over-eating the Chinese takeaway last night.  Serves me right for having a second helping.  I don't usually nowadays and it was just too much.  There's some left over and I have scheduled it for dinner tonight but, right now, the thought does not fill me with delight!  I'm sure by teatime I will be more than ready to eat though!

Today is a day at home.  I want to clear some clutter from the kitchen for a start.  It's not messy but there's loads of 'stuff' in the corners and it looks cluttered somehow.  I think the vibes will be better after a sort out.  The tins cupboard is so full I can't see what's in there, which is not helpful, so I will move some to where I keep my 'stash'.

I don't think I will be doing any baking today.  Yesterday evening I forgot to feed the sourdough starter so I must do that today and make my loaf tomorrow.  Maybe Beth will want some bread - if so then I will bake for her, but I have enough for me in the freezer already.

It's time for another coffee so I will leave you and disappear into the kitchen.  Have a lovely day, gentle readers, and I hope you don't have too much work to do.

Breadline 2-5-15

Already spent:  £5.16
Still to spend:  £56.84

Today's menu:
Breakfast:  tomatoes (paid) on toast (paid), fruit juice (paid)
Lunch:  Fish finger sarnie: fish fingers (30p), bread (4p), butter (paid), salad cream (1p);
Dinner:  Take away Chinese leftovers (£1.00)

Total spent today:  £1.35

Friday 1 May 2015


Another chilly morning here and the skies don't appear to be clear although in the half light between night and day it's harder to tell than when it's completely dark.  I slept like a log last night after going to bed early and had a full eight hours' sleep so no complaints.

Today was on OK day.  The afternoon was a hoot - the children were starting to make papier mache butterflies and had folded card in half to get their shape.  The number of children who appeared with half a butterfly in each hand and a sheepish expression - well, suffice it to say we must have accounted for a couple of trees in the rain forest!

Today we start the gluey bits.  Oh, dear!

We're celebrating this evening.  S and M are still here and S had some brilliant news yesterday so it's takeaway Chinese and wine for us!  Very nice too!

I hope you all have a great day.  As for me, it's coffee time.