being thrifty, trEAsury

Recycling the magazines…

and gaining twice the pleasure…

County Living 2

 

As this year is my year to REDUCE everything in my life I had to make the difficult decision not to buy any magazines AT ALL, all year, unless there are extreme circumstances why I should need to.

As I usually head straight for the magazine isle when I enter Sainsbury’s to do my weekly shopping this was, I thought, a step too far but I have even surprised myself and after seven visits so far have managed to browse, but not buy, any magazines, and although I feel a bit guilty at reducing Mr Sainsbury’s profits I hardly think my ‘no magazine spend’ will send them into administration.

Of course this decision has been made so much easier because one of the Christmas gifts from my better half was a subscription to Country Living so I am not totally without my little bit of monthly pleasure and I quite like the surprise I get when I arrive home one day to find it waiting for me on the mat.

It was during the early days of my withdrawal that I suddenly hit upon the idea of rereading last years copies of  Country Living and Country Homes, that I had saved.  So at the moment I am rereading the March issues and when my new Country Living arrives for April I will pick out the April 2012 ones to read and it is just like having bought new ones.

This time round though, after cutting out any recipes and articles I want to keep, I will be putting the older copies in the recycle bin so that I do not end up with a magazine mountain, however I will hang on to the new 2013 copies so I can reread them all over again next year.

 

Country Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

exercising, fEAsible, hEAlth, healthy eating, my goals, trEAsure, wellbeing

Every step you take…

Sorry for the break in transmission I just had to put my blog ‘categories’ into some kind of order before moving on – I felt they were getting out of control.  When I started my blog I really hadn’t thought about categories or paid much attention to them and then soon realised that some of my headings crossed over making it hard to choose which one to assign a mixed post to.

It is so easy to forget just where I have got to when I have a break from blogging for more than a day or so but I will start with a progress report on my Healthy Eating plan.
On September 3rd, first thing in the morning, I weighed myself and also took a note of my muscle, fat and water content that my scales measure (posh scales reduced from £59.99 to £11.99 a bargain from TK MAX 3 years ago).  I also took a waist measurement (which I won’t go into publicly!!) as this is my worst area and the one that I am hoping will trim down.  It is thirty something inches (which is as revealing as I will go) and I want to get it to 28″ even 30″ would be a massive breakthrough.  I will be posting the results in a later post.

On Thursday morning I took advantage of the free Flora Cholesterol test at my local Sainsbury’s in town (they are running it for the two weeks if you are interested).  I booked in for 8.30am so I could do a fasting test (which is more accurate) before work and then have breakfast afterwards.  I will also post the results from this later.

I found this Bamboo Serving Platter for £15.99 in Wilkinson’s Classic White tableware range and thought it would go very well with my collection of white china for parties.  As it is quite large I have now discovered that it is wider than my cupboard is deep!

So it stayed on my table for a while waiting for a home but when I went and bought the extra fruit for my healthier snacks hey presto!…  it makes a great fruit bowl!!

I have been working on breakfast this week too – I usually take some supplements in the morning.  I have to take Vitamin D as a recent blood test revealed I was very low – I also take a pro-biotic and an oil capsule and at the moment I am using up a bottle of Ginko Biloba before it goes out of date though I can’t say that I have noticed any difference whilst taking this but can’t see them go to waste – supplements are so expensive these days.  In the small container is 25ml of Aloe Vera juice (good for digestion) – and a glass of water to wash the tablets down.

As I mentioned in my last post I am switching the Sainsburys 2% fat natural yoghurt (which I prefer) for the Yeo Valley 0% fat natural yoghurt which I used to eat until they changed the packaging and for some reason it seemed to have a different texture – slightly more slimy than creamy.

So this is breakfast – I whizzed some apricots in the food processor into a puree to have with the yoghurt and weighed out the cereal which is Rude Health mixed flakes in this case, though I also like the Weetabix Oatibix Flakes (shame they don’t do organic).  I often add a bit of wheat free museli in with the flakes and I top them with a dessert spoonful of Flaxseeds and some organic soya milk.

I have been getting a list of snacks together and going by Ian Marber’s book ‘How not to get fat’ you should always eat a complex carbohydrate with a protein.  These are my favourites –

  • Banana with a few Almonds
  • Apple and a few Walnuts / Brazil nuts
  • Apple with a small piece of hard cheese
  • Chopped egg with a small amount of Mayonnaise with Salad Cress on 2 Oatcakes
  • Goats Cheese on a slice of cooked Beetroot on 2 Oatcakes
  • Edam and grated Carrot in a small wholemeal Pitta
  • Cooked Lentils mixed with chopped Tomatoes and Rocket on Oatcakes

So I feel I have dealt with breakfast and snacks and I will begin to put these into practice during next week.  Whilst I am making progress on this aspect I am going to move on and look at how I can introduce more exercise into my daily life as well as more quality sleep.

For every 10,000 steps we take we burn 400 calories.

A small hot Chocolate from Costa has about 121 Calories – so I would need to walk about 2,500 steps to burn this off.  I am not even sure how far that is but I am sure I am not going to be doing many steps sat at my desk!  So I need to think of ways to incorporate more steps which might even include less blogging.  I am of course looking to become healthier as well as a little lighter and I like the fact that I can do both at once.

Lose weight while you sleep – The Dream Diet?

There has been an increasing amount of research suggesting that good sleep and weight loss are connected or rather poor and lack of sleep leading to weight gain due to a disruption of two hormones – (just try Googling it for an explanation)

I have poor sleep since having my Thyroid removed – I wake at around 4am each morning needing to go to the loo and then cannot get back to sleep.  I should drink my cocoa earlier in the evening but always forget (I cannot break away from my cocoa drink at night – it is my Enid Blyton comfort drink before bedtime!)

I should also try to get to bed at a reasonable time and that is why I am going to set myself up to do shorter 5-10 minute posts each evening instead of these essays I seem to keep producing.  Again the health benefits can only do me good.
I am grateful for all your ideas so far and look forward to any comments you might have on exercise and sleep.

fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, taking stock, to do list

Much ado about nothing in particular…

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
–  William Shakespeare 


This is the weekend for me that feels like the close to the summer and after the holiday everyone prepares to go back to school and back to work – holidays over we look ahead to the next season and the time spent gathering in before the pre-Christmas frenzy begins.  How soon I wonder will we see Christmas cards displayed in the shops?

It has been a really hard week at work this week and I have had to work over for two nights leaving me both tired and behind with a few household jobs.  I am ready for a little rest now over the holiday – we will be leaving for Scotland and it will be nice to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few days.

Before we go I need to take stock of what tasks I have to do – my Master task list for August was virtually a roll over of the tasks that didn’t get done in July.  Sometimes it is those little errands that keep rolling over and I find my self analysing why.  Maybe I need to structure or write my lists in a different way.  I have been coming back to the idea of ‘Do one thing’ and in fact if I did just one task a day I would have done 365 by the end of the year.  But I know that in reality I do more than one task a day – there are plenty that are not written on my list and some that are there just in case I have some spare time which never seems to happen – hence the constant roll overs.

My list this week went like this

  • Card and present to buy and give to friend at work
  • Recharge camera battery
  • Write cheque for C******** (who helps occasionally in our Scottish garden) and put in post
  • Pay cheque into Mum in laws bank
  • Contact C****** about helping to remove the hedge at the cottage and arrange a date
  • Reply to my friends email update
  • Take mum in laws watch for repair
  • Post electrol roll form
  • Email electricity reading to Scottish Power
  • Look for something to buy with Tesco coupons that have double value until August 29th- (I have £28 – I can exchange £25 x 2 =£50 in any department but food).
  • Buy mascara from boots No 7
  • Buy Jason Thin to Thick hair styling spray from health food shop
  • Buy small hair mousse (for exceptional bad hair days!)
  • Write out a supplement chart to keep in kitchen to remind me to take my vitamins and probiotics.

Nothing too taxing there you might say – probably 30 minutes to an hour and I would have it all done – yes I would have agreed with this but read on… this is what actually happened…

How did I do?

   I bought the card and present after two days of searching after work for a suitable gift only to find that another of my colleagues is celebrating her 40th this weekend – so a quick dash across to Sainsbury’s tonight to choose another card and a few flowers.  Double trip was a bit time-consuming I could should have been more prepared.  Just as a note Clintons Cards have now got a rewards card scheme – buy 10 cards get one free – they punch your card with a hole each purchase – but what, I ask Clintons, if you are less than honest is to stop you punching your own hole on these cards??? (If you have seen them you will know what I mean)

   I will recharge the battery tonight – because I really cannot put off this very quick little task off any longer!

   I wrote and posted the cheque tonight after work but it really should have gone last week.  Every time I thought about it I didn’t have my cheque book with me or the amount to pay and it is something I could should have prepared the night before.

   Pay cheque into mum in law’s bank – I had only just paid one in last week when this one arrived in the post at the weekend so I did this on Tuesday after work only to get home and find that another one had arrived.  That one is still waiting but had they all come together it would save a bit of time as the queue is always out of the door with often only two people serving.

   Delegated – my helpful hubby arranged for the friend to help with the hedge so the tick is really his.

X   Reply to my friends email – this will require a good half an hour as I haven’t written for a while and I have heaps of news – so I keep putting it off.  I need to set aside some time one night after work or encourage her to join Facebook!

X   I have taken the watch to work with me everyday this week but it is one of those specialist shops that has very short opening hours and still closes one day a week. Have not managed to catch it open this week.

   Electrol Roll form posted – this was easy – sign the form – put in prepaid envelope – drop in box – if all life was so easy!

X   Email meter reading – this is always a job I procrastinate over mainly because we have two accounts – one for the cottage and one for home and I never know which one they want as they go by an account number and not the property. I must type out the account numbers and keep them handy in my Filofax.

Pending –  Tesco coupons – £50 is a nice sum of money but what do I need – Don’t they know I am trying to downsize.  We will be passing through a 24 hour Tesco in Scotland tomorrow night at about eleven o’clock – but who can make a decision at that time of night!   I will try to look online first if time allows.

X   Never got to Boots for the mascara or hair mousse – I probably have a coupon too for No7

X   I tried to buy the Jason hair styling spray – I went to the shop twice and it is still out of stock.  I will buy this in bulk next time and replace when I get down to the last one then it won’t be so urgent and I won’t have to make a special trip across town.

I have remembered my supplements each day but I do need a prompt on the kitchen cabinet door – but haven’t done the list yet

These are all just simple tasks – no major project items here – and yet it has taken all week to do only a few tasks and some of them required me to go back and forth like doing the job twice.

One of the questions I keep asking myself is…’do my lists reflect someone who is trying to live a simpler life’?… because to me my life seems to get increasingly busier and my lists longer.  I have to stand in endless queues, make more than one trip because of low stocks in the shops and spend more hours than I care to choosing birthday cards and presents for people who already have everything or like me are trying to downsize their stuff.  I would like more time to make my own cards and individual gifts but at the moment I seem to end up dashing to Sainsburys or Clintons for something very mediocre.

That is the end of my moan – I did say it was much ado about nothing and I am now going to forget all about my lists and tasks and jobs and go where the pace is much more relaxed for a few days and just stare at the sea.  Have a great weekend. let me know what your plans are it is always a pleasure to hear from you.

 

celebrations, fEAsting, recipes

Bake me a cake as fast as you can…

Last Tuesday I baked cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday on Thursday.  The first batch of chocolate ones did not make the grade –  they were hard, dry and quite floury more like a craggy chocolate pudding so I tried a second time with a plain mixture to which I added stewed apple in the middle and sultanas.  On Thursday I added a vanilla frosting topping and an iced decoration courtesy of Sainsbury’s.   This time they were light and extremely delicious – I will definitely make this recipe again.

150g unsalted butter (I used Bertolli Olive Oil spread)

115g caster sugar

1tsp French Almond extract

2 medium free range eggs

140g self raising flour

50g sultanas

100g cooked Bramley Apple sauce

I mainly use Organic and natural products where possible.

To make

Preheat oven to 180C, fan 160C, Gas 4.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add Almond extract, eggs and 1tbsp flour and continue beating until combined.  Add remaining flour and sultanas and fold in.

Place 12 cupcake cases in a tin and fill each halfway with the mixture and a good teaspoon of apple sauce into each and top with remaining mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.  Leave to cool for a couple of minutes in tin then place on a cooling rack.

On Friday we had those Cheese and Leek Ramekins again.  This time I took a picture of them before they went in the oven and below is the recipe I never got around to posting last time.

Cheesey Leek Ramekins

My advice is to weigh and  prepare all the ingredients before starting to cook.

1tbsp olive oil

500g leeks, finely sliced

3 large eggs beaten

100g wholemeal breadcrumbs

125g mature farmhouse cheddar cheese, grated

1tsp dried tarragon or try it with a few stalks of freshly chopped chives

salt and ground black pepper

1-2 tomatoes sliced to place on top

To make

Heat the oil in a pan and gently cook the leeks for 10 mins.

Mix together the eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese and tarragon or chives.  Add cooked leeks and season mixture.

Spoon mixture into greased ramekin dishes. Place a slice of tomato on top of each. Bake at 200C or Gas 6 for about 15 mins until golden brown.  Leave to stand for a minute or two then run a knife around the edge and turn out.  Serve with a salad.  Can be eaten hot, warm or cold.

These are really good to take to work for lunchtime the next day with a salad.