Sunday, 31 August 2008


I received the latest Suma catalogue yesterday, and already I am excited about the special offers and Christmas food! Yes, I know we have 3 months to go!

In this catalogue, it is now cheaper for me to get good Organic juice than buy normal juice in the supermarket (not the cheapest one, but the normal shops own brand).
And the pulses are on offer too, so I will stock up with a couple of crates of each of them.
There are lots of christmas goodies, but I will need to find someone to share the order, as I dont think we will get through 6 stollen on our own! etc.

There are also some nice gift sets for Christmas, so I will need to start thinking about who I need to buy for this year!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Holiday. £52 and a tank of petrol

Last week we had a holiday, with a difference!!!
We had planned to go camping at Beddgelert in north Wales, but as it got closer to the time that we were to go, and time we really should think about booking the campsite, I became concerned at the costs.
Not neccessarily the cost of camping, or activities while there, but the 4.5hr drive along winding roads and the cost of petrol. I remember when we went last year that I was shocked at how much it had cost us in petrol compared to a run straight down the motorway at a fairly good speed to Cornwall - In cornwall we usually drive down, run around all week visiting places and then fill up again before we come home. In Wales we had to fill up shortly after arriving and then fill up again on the way home. I know we had an older car last year, but petrol has gone up and we would be looking at around £150 in petrol including visits. Plus £100 to camp, plus day trips. Plus food.
I then thought about somewhere like Exmouth, straight down the motorway! At least the petrol cost would be less.

In the end we had a holiday at home!!!! Cheaper, and we didnt need to find anyone to look after the cats and chickens.
The rules were - we get up early, we work together to get lunches packed, we go out as if we were on holiday, in the evenings we sit together and watch cr*p telly/play games, no playstations, no computers.

This would have been our travelling day. Instead we chose the Forest of Dean, I love the Forest, we lived there for 4 yrs, and I really miss the green, the trees and the countryside.
As we are National Trust members we decided to do to Westbury Court Gardens. We had a great time, we arrived there as it opened and we had the whole place to ourselves. I loved walking round the gardens, happily naming the trees and plants and flowers (to myself and anyone who was listening), the colours, the shadows, the tranquility was beautiful.
We then went on to Cannop Ponds, initially considered having a long walk, but I have not walked far since I damaged my foot (and it still isn't right) so we decided to take it easy and see how I get on. We had a lunch on a picnic bench overlooking the ponds, and then went for a walk. Spend a good 30mins resting watching the swans. Walked back to the car and went home.
For tea we cooked Curry.

We went to the Beach. A trip down to Weston Super Mud! It was cold, or should I say I was cold, I am a person that is cold most of the time!! It was nice to see the children playing, but i sat on a towel, the wetness came straight through, so I sat watching them, cold with a wet bum! After a few hours we decided to go to Tyntesfield, a National Trust property a few miles up the road. If you have never been there this place is well worth a visit. The gardens are gorgeous, the kitchen gardens, and the parkland. The house is in gothic style, it looks very nice from the outside. The tour around the house was pleasant, full of old portraits, luxurious furniture and a step back in time. The kitchens were more familiar!! With items and style similar to that of our old house in theForest of Dean. Our old house was built in 1861, while Tyntesfield was renovated and occupied by the last owners in 1869.
For tea we had a take away! Pizza Hut! £19.99

On Monday we went to Toddington Railway, we rode on a steam train from Toddington to Cheltenham Race course and back. It cost £27 for a family Ticket and £5 for ice creams all round! When we finished at the Railway we went to Hailes Abbey, again free for National Trust members.

On Tuesday we went to Cardiff, it was free entry to the Museum. The Museum was very nice, lots to see. And then we spent a little while walking round the shops, but didn't buy anything.

This would have been our day travelling back. I was back to work on Thurs. So needed to spend the day catching up on things - the washing, the allotment and baking. We also went into Gloucester to do the 'back to school' thing - shoes, uniform etc.

Thanks to our National Trust membership, we had an exciting, relaxing and active holiday from home with minimal cost!!

Sunday, 10 August 2008


I have now decided to do a weekly post, if I get time I may post more often, but once a week might be manageable!!

At the moment for breakfast there is a choice of muesli, porridge, home made granola or oat meal. And once or twice a week we have boiled eggs or poached eggs on toast.

It is becoming difficult to calculate the costs of breakfasts, the granola is costing around £2.34 a week to make, muesli and oat meal has not been popular this week, with only one portion eaten this week. The poached eggs on toast are very cheap, using around 1/8 of a loaf of bread and 2 eggs per person, the eggs are free! Well we have to feed the chickens, but the eggs are an added bonus to having chickens as pets! We also feed the cats! Each loaf of bread is still costing only 30p to make, thanks to a store of flour, but the price of flour this week has gone from 58p for 1.5Kg (organic dove flour) to £1.09!!!! Porridge works out at 50p a Kg, and the average weight per serving is around 30g!
So to have a go at working out the cost of breakfasts for this week....
Hmmm, £2.60 and then there is bread, milk and yoghurt on top ( I will add this in at the end)

Bread and butter or sandwiches, a homemade biscuits or piece of cake and dried fruit and nut pot.
Again, I am not sure where to start calculating this now, it is only a few pence so maybe 20p per person, per day - £7 a week.
Yesterday we had pea soup and bread for lunch, I used up the glut of peas from the allotment, some carrots and onions.

Evening meals.
Sunday was vegetables from allotment with a cheese sauce (80p)
Monday was pasta and left over cheese sauce (£1.90)
Tuesday was lentil soup (80p)
Weds was lentil soup (from yesterday so 0)
Thurs was lentil bake - the lentil soup plus cheese and eggs (80p)
Fri was omelette with courgettes and mushrooms (80p)
Sat was curry (2.80)

So £19.50 plus 6.36 in milk and 2.10 in bread.

Waste -
Lots of cat food wrappers!!
4 plastic lentil bags
And thats about it!

Although we went for ages without emptying the bin, it is already smelling from the cat food wrappers, so the bin will be emptied today and put out for the bin man this week.

As you know, I do not like using cat food in wrappers, I buy tins and boxes of dried food, but Mum's cat is so fussy that it will not eat certain flavours of the sachets, so we get these. I have tried to convince Mum to only buy dried or tinned, but he doesn't eat that either! I'm glad our cats aren't that fussy. They'd starve!!!!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Todays pickings

We took a blue basket and my trug to the allotment, unfortunately we still didn't have enough containers to carry the produce!

We picked a couple courgettes - as youcan see in the picture, but left another 6 marrow sized behind to pick another day!

Then theres the beans, I only picked a few! These are 'prize' runner beans, and I can't remember what the purple ones are, they could be purple queens (but I also planted purple dwarf beans). Today I didn't even get around to picking the dwarf beans!

We also picked some chard, when washed it filled 6 steamer pans, now steamed and it will go in the freezer.

Hidden under the chard are the other runner beans, teenie beanies, more than 1kg of them (that's 1kg of topped and tailed and de-strung and another couple of handfuls that I might put in tonights curry), I am in the process of preparing them for runner bean chutney! I just need to slice them and they are ready to cook down.