Saturday, 26 November 2016

Another pic


Dc of Frugal in Norfolk has asked about Betty's parentage.....sorry, I forgot to mention it.  Her dad is an English Bulldog, mum a Shar Pei....hence her being a Bull Pei (made up name I guess, like cockapoo, labradoodle, etc.).  We think she looks more like her mum, whereas her brother, who we were initially thinking about having, has more of a bulldog look about him.

Been busy researching vets and insurance, and looking around the house checking what we've got to move round/cover up/put out of sight.  My wool and WIPs I have in bags beside my armchair have definitely got to go upstairs!  And there are some trailing and loose leads for electrical things that OH needs to deal with.

Oh, and when we have her home, we shan't be putting xmas jumpers or reindeer antlers on her, like the breeder keeps doing when she sends us photos!  Oh well, each to their own I guess - it's not us though  😒

Friday, 25 November 2016

Puppy pic


Our little Betty.  The breeder is going to send me more pics and videos regularly, until we go to collect her after Christmas.

Puppy!

Thanks for the comments on my meat post, it seems lots of us are eating less meat and more veggie meals.

After much deliberation over the last couple of weeks, we've decided to have a dog.  We always used to have dogs years ago, mainly large ones - German Shepherd, Red Setter, couple of large mongrels.  After the last one passed away we got a caravan and decided not to have any more dogs for a while.  Whilst I know loads of people take dogs away in their caravans, we felt a van was just too small really for a dog, especially the large ones we favoured.  Having got rid of our caravan a while ago now, we've decided we want a dog again. 

We worked out what we want in a dog now, bearing in mind the fact that we're both getting on a bit(!!), where we live, our lifestyle etc.  Basically, we want a smaller dog who isn't too lively, doesn't require hours of energetic exercise, is placid and easy-going, friendly and loyal.  But not a handbag dog!  Oh, and we also want a puppy, not an adult dog (we've mainly had adult rescue dogs in the past, but they can be a bit challenging) - a puppy should be much easier to train than an older dog who may already be set in its ways with bad habits.  Plus the life span of an older dog is obviously less.  Having researched breeds, an English Bulldog seemed to fit the bill - and I've always liked them anyway, their ugliness and grumpy expressions make them just beautiful in my opinion.  However, the prices put me off - a purebred English Bulldog puppy would be upwards of £2000!!  REALLY?!  I even saw one on sale for £6,500 - for goodness sake!  No way would we pay that, even if we could afford it - which we can't.

Anyhow, to cut a long story short, last weekend we saw some puppies advertised for sale, they're crossbreeds, look adorable and are a price we're willing and able to pay.  I rang the breeder and had a lovely chat with her, she sent me loads of pictures, so we went to see them.  She answered all our questions, showed us everything we wanted to see, she owns and showed us both parents, who are both lovely friendly healthy dogs.  She also has 2 adult dogs she kept from the previous litter, so we know what the puppies are going to look like when they grow up.  And of course the puppies were gorgeous, we've chosen a cuddly, wriggly, squeaky little girl who we are calling Betty.  They're just over 4 weeks old at the moment, so we'll be collecting her just after Christmas.

We can't wait!



Saturday, 19 November 2016

Making the meat last

I had a good look through the freezers yesterday and noted down exactly what meat we've got in there, it's more than I thought:-

1/2 a lamb (that's 16 chops, 4 joints, rolled breast, liver and kidney)
20 chicken thighs, divided into 5 packs of 4
12 pork steaks, in packs of 2
2 packs of steak mince
3 packs of back bacon
1 pack of pork mince
20 pork sausages, frozen as 4 packs of 5
1 whole organic free range chicken (bought for half price as it was on it's date)
1 small gammon joint

I'm going to set a mini challenge to see just how long I can make this meat last, without buying any more until it's all used up.  Having said that, OH has said he'd like a beef joint for Christmas, so we will be buying that.

We are big meat eaters, we do tend to eat meat most days, although I have been trying to do a veggie meal once or sometimes twice a week lately.  But there's no reason why we can't have more veg-based meals, and I'm certainly going to try using less meat in recipes, bulking the recipe out with more veg or pulses.  The pork steaks, for example, are big thick ones....we could have just half of one each with more veg.  Or I could use one diced up in a risotto or something, and with plenty of veg added that could even stretch to 2 meals for the 2 of us.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

My (not so secret) vice

I love crochet, especially in the winter, there's nothing nicer than sitting crocheting in my recliner armchair, with the lovely blanket WIP on my lap keeping my knees warm, and watching a good film.

I mainly crochet baby blankets, bed size blankets and lap throws, some for us, some as gifts.  I keep thinking about maybe trying to sell some on Etsy or ebay or at craft fairs, but just haven't got around to it.  I do fairly straightforward things now.....when I was in my teens I used to make tops or cardis, and once made a very fine cotton lace tablecloth as a present for my mother - don't have the patience for that sort of thing now.  And in any case, my eyesight's not that good anymore!

When we were away last week, I went in a lovely wool shop and bought some beautiful yarns, 3 different lots, enough to make 2 or 3 throws plus some hats with the clever Loom Knitting kit I also bought. I can't knit to save my life, but the loom knitting frames are like giant versions of those French Knitting things we used to do as children.....cotton reels with 4 nails banged into them.  Even I can manage that sort of knitting!

And I noticed yesterday that Lucy of Attic24 is going to start a new Crochet-a-long blanket in January, she's just made the wool pack available in Wool Warehouse.  I love Lucy's designs, so of course I just had to buy that as well.

OH keeps having little digs about the amount of wool I've bought, but I tell him it's all useful, it keeps me happy and occupied whilst he's at work, and at least I'm not buying clothes or shoes or unnecessary crap!

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Bargain shopping and meat order

We've got quite a few outgoings this week, so I decided to use the nectar points I've been collecting since January for the shopping.  I've accumulated £46 worth of points, pretty good going.  Shopping came to £40.29, so it cost me 29p in real money - bargain. 

We collected our meat order today, I generally reckon on spending around £100 on meat every 3 months - as I said in a previous post though, the meat has been lasting us longer than that, more like 4 months, so it'll be £100 ish 3x a year now.  We got 1/2 a lamb, chicken thighs (19 or 20 of those) and 10 large lean boneless pork steaks, it came to just over £90.  All the meat is from local farms, we've had it all before and it's delicious, the pork steaks are the best we've ever tasted.  The lamb was a big one, it's come as 16 chops, 4 big joints (shoulder and leg, each cut in half), huge breast which the butcher boned for us, I stuff and roll it myself, liver and kidney.  We've still got 2 packs of steak mince, a pack of back bacon, 2 pork steaks and 4 chicken thighs left from the last order, we're having the chicken tonight. 

We don't bother much about Christmas, I don't like all the commercialism of it and object to paying overinflated prices for stuff that gets used once a year.  We don't buy each other Xmas presents, we have everything we need or want.  Since OH only ever has 2 or sometimes just 1 day off over Christmas, we don't go anywhere or have anyone to stay (our relatives all live quite far away), we just prefer to stay in, eat some nice food, watch something good on TV and enjoy spending time together.  We don't have turkey since neither of us particularly like it, we have a roast of something we really do enjoy.  We're thinking about beef this year, we don't have beef that often.  Or maybe a nice big gammon joint.  Think we'll go back to the butchers next week and have a chat with him.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Back to shopping, stocking up and budget

Thank you for the birthday wishes.

Now we're home and getting back into some sort of routine after a bit of a disrupted few weeks, I'm thinking about our budget and shopping habits again.  Planning, putting money aside, and stocking up I think is definitely the way to go - well it is for us anyhow. 

For the past couple of years now, we've been saving all our £2 coins, and some £1, this is used to pay for diesel when we go away.  This year we'd saved enough to cover all of our fuel for our Scotland trip, Torquay this week, and we still have £24 left in coins, which I'm really pleased about.  By the time we go on our next trip, which most likely will be around next Feb/March, we'll have more than enough to pay for that too.

We have 2 bank accounts, the main one and another which is the car account - a standing order goes from our main account every month to the car account, this is used for tax, mot and insurance, plus an amount to pay for any parts or work needed for the car.  We also have a savings account - if OH's done some overtime, the extra pay gets paid into there.  Also, every couple of days I check our main account balance and transfer a bit over to the savings account....I round the main account balance down to the next £10 - i.e., if we had, as an example, £258.30 in there, I'd transfer £8.30 into the savings account.  I find this a very easy way of adding to the savings, and hardly notice the difference in the main account.  The savings account pays for our breaks away and for replacing any household items that break down (we need a new kettle, eg, as it's on the way out).

For a couple of years now I've been stocking up whenever I see a good offer on something we use regularly.....our favourite antiperspirant, toothpaste, coffee, etc.  Luckily we have the space to store extras, we have a good sized utility room (it's an outhouse actually, brick building tacked onto the side of the kitchen, used to house a loo, coal cupboard and fire with bread oven, all long since gone before we moved in....now it's just a large room with a cupboard for the boiler, plus kitchen cupboards and worktops installed by the previous tenant, with my washing machine, tumble dryer, extra fridge and freezer in there).  This year I decided to experiment with getting a bulk order - supermarket delivery - of all the toiletries, washing up stuff and non-perishable foodstuffs, I aimed for 6 months' worth of goods, estimating the quantities.  It's worked really well, the 6 months are now up and we have almost run out of some things (coffee, baked beans, washing up liquid), but still have plenty of other stuff (tinned tomatoes, sweetcorn, chickpeas, toothpaste).  So now I know what to get more of, and less of, when I put in another order next week.  I'm going to set up another account to put money into to do a bulk order twice a year of the non-perishables, and a bulk meat order too.  We get our meat from a local butcher, he knows us and always gives us a good discount for buying in bulk and being regular customers.  We've been doing this every 3 months, but in practise the meat lasts us longer than 3 months, so will now do it every 4 months, or even 6 if we can. 

Next I'll tackle the weekly shopping, I want to see if I can get it down to fortnightly.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Just back

It was my birthday last Sunday, and a few days before we made a spur of the moment decision to go away for a short break.  Having done a bit of googling, I found an apartment near the harbour in Torquay that was very reasonably priced, so it was booked and paid for.  Torquay's not very far for us to go, it only took us about 1 1/4 hours to get there, so was ideal for a quick short break.  We had a nice time, friends of ours also happened to be on holiday down there and so we met up with them a couple of times, and my brother (whose birthday is also this week) and sister in law came up from Cornwall to spend the day with us too. 

We've decided that we're not really bothered anymore about having one long holiday, with perhaps a couple of short breaks, each year.  Both of us feel we'd rather forego the long holiday and have more short breaks - brother and SiL are always happy for us to go down and spend a few days with them, which is lovely.  We do tend to avoid going there during the summer holiday season though, Cornwall is just far too busy during summer nowadays.  We're also thinking of spending 3 or 4 days at a time in neighbouring counties....we feel we don't have to drive 100s of miles anymore to feel like we're on holiday, it's the break from routine in a different place that's important.  So that's what we're going to do next year.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Yes I've been!

Thank you for the comments....and yes I did mention my cough to the nurse when we went for our flu jabs yesterday.  She said the current cough doing the rounds does seem to drag on for weeks, she also said it could be down to catarrh.  I do have what feels like a pool of thick glue stuck in my throat, and no amount of coughing seems to shift it.  She mentioned an amino acid she'd heard of that apparently is good at dispersing mucus.  I googled it, it's called n-acetyl cysteine, it comes in tablet or powder form and you can get it in health shops.  It has glowing reviews for mucus dispersal and is apparently also used in hospitals following paracetamol overdose, and for liver or kidney complaints.  I've ordered some, should be here in a day or two. 

Meanwhile, the nurse said we may get a headache or some nausea after the jabs, as well as a slightly sore arm.  I don't normally get much of a reaction to them, but she was right about the headache....it came on in the middle of the night and it's lingered literally all day, still got it now.  Although I don't suppose the coughing helps.  One lot of paracetamol early this morning did dull it a bit, think I might have to take some more soon.

We're trying to eat a really healthy diet this week, in an effort to perk ourselves up a bit, I'm also cutting down drastically on dairy stuff to see if that helps with the catarrh problem.  Yesterday for dinner we had cod baked in a foil parcel with lemon and thyme, today we're having roasted organic chicken thighs (a reduced to half price bargain in the supermarket yesterday) with veggies.  I also did a beetroot and feta pearl barley salad for lunch....it was nice but I think I'd rather have had something hot - it's quite grey and chilly today.

The forecasters are saying it's going to get a lot colder this week....winter has arrived, I think!