Down Memory Lane…


Today I have been surrounded by memories, special memories…so many kind words written by family and friends over the years in letters and cards;  happy stories and sad events and little everyday notes from the girls.  I have been through every emotion from tears to laughter and back again, remembering people that have been part of my past, remembering good times and bad and reliving capsule moments of my life.


I have been transported way back to my first school report (promising B’s – not sure what went wrong after that!), our first house, our first bills (I just kept our very first as a piece of history –  as we will never see these prices again – electricity £19.16 for the quarter year in 1978)  and our first baby born in 1980.

As you can guess I have been delving into my treasure boxes they are an assortment of bits and pieces that have special meaning to me and our family.  I wondered how minimalist I could go and although I have reduced the contents very slightly there are some things that I will never part with.

Birthday cards

This is one of them – a large padded birthday card the kind that came in a box and was thought of as quite lavish.  It was given to my grandma from my grandad probably in the late fifties, early sixties and has his very distinctive copperplate  handwriting inside.  Grandma died in 1992 at the grand old age of 89 and when going through her bits and pieces I discovered she had kept this card all those years so now I continue to keep it for her.

The little plaque beside it I have had since I was quite small, it is also a birthday card encouraging the recipient to ‘Carry on’ though things go wrong!  It had a place on my bedroom shelf for a long time and I would often find myself reading it if I was troubled by one problem or another.

Cup of Tea cards

These are my ‘Cup of Tea’ cards…so named because they have been sent by a good friend of mine who I do not get to see often enough.  Usually when a few weeks have gone by one of us will drop each other an invitation to come for a cuppa and a chat and we have always managed to find a card with a cup of tea on it.  We have both got quite a collection now.



Helen Hedgehog's Party

Of all the books we read to our girls when they were young this is by far their favourite, even more than Each Peach Pear Plum.  Helen Hedgehog’s Party by Wendy Wilkin  has definitely earned its place in our treasure box to be cherished until the next generation comes along.  This little book went with us everywhere; in the car to Grandmas and on holiday, wherever the girls went this book went too, like an old teddy bear, and I am pretty sure that even at thirty if I gave this to them right now they would sit down and read it!

Mugs Gallery

I have giggled my way through my concertina strip of ‘Photo Booth’ pictures.  I have been collecting and sticking them together since I was twelve when Photo Booths were quite a novelty and no trip to town with my friends was complete without dashing into ‘Woollies’ and cramming into one of these booths for a picture.

Mugs Gallery 3

It is now 4 0r 5 yards long and includes myself, friends and my better half of course from when we first got together at college and also the girls and their friends when they became teenagers and they piled into the booths in just the same way.  I call it my Mugs Gallery – they are not the perfect flattering photo album shots as you can imagine but they are hilarious to look back on and say ‘did we really look like that’?

Mugs Gallery 2

So everything is carefully packed away again for another rainy January day.  I am trying hard to limit the collection and keep only very special things.  Sometimes I wish I could be like those people who are not in the least bit sentimental and are able to throw everything away but then again after my lovely day today I am glad I am not.

(Apologies for picture quality – not that they are brilliant normally-  it has been such a dull day outside I have had to resort to flash)

being thrifty, fEAsting, food shopping, meal planning, trEAsure

When is a bargain not a bargain?

This week I have been most careful with the cash and shopping.  I had to buy a few extra groceries to get us through the week which cost me £17.76 – this was extra cheese and milk and a few veg.  Feeding four adults is quite costly and I did not have the time to make Nutloaf so instead we had –

  • Chickpea curry and brown rice
  • Mushroom and spinach omelette and salad
  • A pasta meal
  • A homemade pizza
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli bake.

I also made a different version of the Apple and Sultana Cupcakes that I made a while back but this time I adapted the recipe to make Chocolate and Pear which we had as a pudding with Creme Fraiche – yummy – but needed a bit more pear.

Tonight I will be doing some kind of bean stew or casserole to use up any left over vegetables and at the weekend I will definitely make a Nutloaf and use up the nuts in the cupboard.

During the week I had to buy two birthday cards for friends at work and being in my ‘money saving mode’ I went into The Works where they have a selection of cards 2 for a pound, which I thought was a good saver, however, I got sidetracked and ended up with one or two must haves – but in my defence they were very cheap (I know cheap is still spending money!).

The first item a book on Baking that is presented step by step in photo pictures.  I like this because I can see what the mixture is supposed to look like at the different stages then I am able to figure out where I might be going wrong if a recipe doesn’t work out!  Of course there are some nice recipes too and I can’t wait to try some out – Cost £3.99

The second items are a matching metal Seed Tin and Garden Twine Dispenser – Cost £1.99 each (but they are so cute and I just couldn’t resist).  Much better than the old plastic ice-cream tub that I had at the cottage.

So if you have done the math you will have worked out that the two bargain birthday cards of only 50p each actually cost me £4.48 each!!  I could have bought one of the dearest in Clinton’s cards for that – but not as much fun.

I promise myself to do better next week and may even leave my debit card at home and only take a little cash with me to cover any unforeseen expenses such as extra food shopping or even worse those dreaded brown envelopes that are passed around at work – you know the ones I mean – they come round asking for a £1 for the Birthday Club or Bonus Ball, then another for a leaving present and yet another for a donation to someones preschooler who has done a hop, skip and jump to raise funds for their playgroup!!  Like magic they always appear just after a  visit to the card cash machine and before you know it you find yourself back at the dispenser again!

Now my bank balances are all up to date I am beginning to make a note of my daily spending again.  I usually withdraw £20 a week to cover any day to day expenses but have no idea if this is considered normal or over the top.  If anyone out there has any suggestions they are always welcome.