decorating, drEAming, general chit chat, homestEAding, nEAtening

Tidy Friday…and catching up with myself

At last it is Friday and my day off or rather a day to get down to some tidying and cleaning, paperwork and planning.  Such a lot to fit into so little time.

This morning my book prize arrived from Sue and I have now put it by my bedside table ready for some early bedtime reading.

Book Prize

 It was tempting to sit down and start reading this morning but I really need to get a grip on my messy house.  I am having to work all hours at the moment as my colleague is off sick for a few weeks and I am doing both our jobs but this means not much is getting done outside of work hours.

I spent an hour or two this morning stripping our bed and putting things away – my usual TIDY FRIDAY – I don’t know how it happens but at the end of a week I find many things that belong upstairs end up downstairs and vice versa – I think perhaps it is the little dust fairies who run round in the night moving everything around and sprinkling their fairy dust everywhere!

After my mammoth putting away session I went into the office to look over the pile of paperwork.

Tidy Friday desktop

Even though I try to keep a tidy desk by the end of the week it invariably ends up with bits and pieces strewn across it waiting for my attention.

I sorted through the many leaflets that had dropped through the door – there was one for the local Pizza place, a made to measure blinds offer and a Councillors letter asking for volunteers to help run the local village library  which is under threat.  I only wish I had the time – I can’t help thinking that if I had been able to retire this year at 60 as was the case under the old rules (now it will be 66) I would have had spare time to do this and also look after my new baby grand-daughter.

After sifting through the pile I pulled out anything interesting and snipped the coupons and put the rest for recycling.

Today on the urgent pile I need to look at our house insurance for our home here in Yorkshire and the BT line rental which we pay up front to save £30.  I have still to finish the accommodation receipts for our cottage insurers and find the contents receipts to send.  Probably more than a mornings work in that lot.

It has been quite helpful that I signed up for a Sainsbury’s Credit card earlier in the year as it is interest free on new purchases  until 2015 and I get extra reward points.  It means that we can pay all the accommodation costs without dipping into savings until the insurers reimburse us – we are over £1,000 out-of-pocket from our stays over in Scotland since the flood.

 Working until after 6pm each night for four days a week means I am not spending money at the shops as they are well and truly shut when I leave work.  In fact I had to get my son in laws birthday card and pressie from Sainsbury’s last night.  My daughter tells me he wanted a Christmas jumper so now he has one – a bright red one with an elf and bells on! We wouldn’t want him to feel left out this Xmas!

I have over £155 on my reward points and this week is double up week so if I spend them wisely I can get items to the value of £310.  So far I have bought some clothes for myself and baby L, the Xmas jumper, and some Xmas decorations (will show these another post).  They have extended the range of departments and goods to select from this time and wine is included so I may be able to stock up for Christmas.

You may remember I bought a Lumie lamp last year – and it worked but we put it away during the summer and have only just put it back in our bedroom since the clock change plunged us into those awful dark mornings.   We found last year that the alarm was irratating and unnecessary as the rising sun effect woke us up on its own.  There is one problem though – I prefer our ordinary clock to tell the time – I particularly like a proper clock face to a digital one and I find the light from the digital ones distracting when I am trying to sleep.  Current research has found that sleeping in complete darkness is better for our bodyclocks, unfortunately the Lumie lamp has an illuminated digital clock face which you cannot turn off so I have stuck a circular piece of cardboard over the clock this morning to block out the light!  I will let you know if it works and if it does I will have to think of a more permanent solution.

Lumie Lamp update


The bathroom pumps that we ordered to boost the hot water pressure from the new taps arrived by post this week and the bath one has already been fitted and it has improved the flow – so our builder will be back soon to do the basin tap.   Once done we can fit the down lights and the fan and the bath panel and hey presto it will be DONE.  It has almost taken as long as my daughters bathroom 2 years ago.

Bathroom refurb 1


Tomorrow me, hubby, elder daughter and partner are going to Masham, North Yorkshire for the day to my younger daughters and meeting up with my hubby’s sister.  We will be celebrating my son in-laws birthday and also my sister in laws recent marriage to her partner of many years.   We sadly missed their wedding celebration in Oxford  because of the flood at our cottage.

It is also our yearly Crisis at Christmas Coffee morning at our local church so I might pop in for an hour before we set off for Masham.  It will be the first year that I haven’t made anything for them but with my extra hours at work and all the paperwork for the insurance claim and my dodgy knee I think I am quite over extended at the moment.

Hope you have a good weekend. x

being thrifty, fEAsting, meal planning, nEAtening, rEArranging, recipes, trEAsury

The Friday Feast…

A weekend at home at last – I felt so exhausted this morning that it took quite a while to get myself into gear – so my Friday Fling today was a sit down job and I went through a pile of magazine cuttings labelled ‘Home and Cottage decor’ and threw away any unwanted articles and outdated pictures.

Once I regained some energy to tackle my Friday Tidy I concentrated on getting my kitchen back to a presentable state and in the process I checked the fridges for leftover food.

I am always looking to be as Thrifty as possible and I hate waste so I make Friday my use it up day.  I was quite pleased with myself when I discovered there was nothing to throw away – in fact I was worried that I might not have enough food to make an evening meal but I always enjoy the challenge of making a meal from whatever I have leftover.  We have had some strange concoctions over the years!

In the Fridge

I found a few sticks of celery, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a bag and a half of carrots, some sweet potatoes and 1 egg.  I also needed to use up the end of the jar of tomato paste and the very end of some cheddar cheese.

In the Vegetable Rack

I had onions and a new bag of baking potatoes.

In the Store Cupboard

I had a bag of mixed nuts getting to the end of the best before date and a few slices of bread in the bread bin.

After looking through my recipe folder I decided on a Walnut and Tomato Slice – a recipe which surprisingly incorporated all the above items – I should also have put in a red pepper but I had to make do without.  I baked the potatoes and had peas from the freezer and made a little gravy.  I left the sweet potatoes for tomorrow to make soup with the full bag of carrots and more onions.

This was the result and below is the recipe.

Walnut and Tomato Slice

4oz Wholewheat breadcrumbs

4oz Walnuts ground (though mine was a mix of walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and almonds).

2 Stalks of Celery chopped (I actually used the left over 4 and it was still fine)

1 Onion finely chopped

4oz Carrot finely chopped and part boiled or steamed.

1/2 red pepper chopped

1/2 tsp Thyme

1/2 tsp Sage

1 free range egg, beaten

2 tbsp Tomato Puree

1 tbsp olive oil

Ground black pepper

a little salt to taste

2 Tomatoes thinly slice (I used Cherry tomatoes cut in half)

1 tbsp Sesame Seeds (I used a sprinkling of grated cheese as an alternative).

  • Cook the onion and celery together in the oil and add the red pepper until soft.
  • Mix the breadcrumbs, nuts, herbs, salt and pepper, tomato paste and egg in a large bowl.
  • Add the onion and celery mixture and bind all ingredients together. 
  • Turn mixture into a greased loaf tin and press down (Tip: place a greased strip of greaseproof paper running along the bottom and up the two ends of the dish for ease of turning out after cooking).
  • Arrange the tomatoes along the top, sprinkle with sesame seeds or cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes at Gas mark 6 (200C or 180 Fan Assisted) remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.
    Serve hot or cold

It was delicious and could be adapted depending on what you have available – next time I might throw in some mushrooms.

Have a good weekend – lets hope the weather is fine.


budgeting, fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, nEAtening, rEArranging, taking stock, trEAsury

Flourishing Friday…

My day to get things done and what a lot I have to do…

My Friday Fling will be concentrated this week around my ironing mountain, which at the moment looks more like a Volcano. Look away now if you might find this picture too distressing!

Sorted neatly into piles of like with like it doesn’t feel so bad.

As most of the clothes from our wardrobe (which is almost empty) are somewhere in this pile I will check as I iron for items I no longer wish to keep and discard them as I go along.

All finished and ready to put away.

My Friday Tidy will be concentrated in the kitchen and the fridge in particular – it would normally be almost empty too by today but I went shopping last night which is not my usual day as I purposely tried to delay it so that the money will stretch further and to force myself into using up items from the fridge, freezer and store cupboards.  It was a rather odd week with daughter and her partner and my husband all coming and going.  The only person I knew would definitely be in for tea was me!!

I urgently need to reconnect with my finances which have taken a back seat recently.  So let me introduce Finance Friday or maybe I will call it Fiscal FridayFiscal in the dictionary definition means ‘pertaining to financial matters in general’ …and it has a nice ring to it… and sounds very grand – probably as it is a word used mainly when discussing government budgets but as my own meager (or non-existent more like) budget is becoming as big a mess as the world economy  is at the moment I think Fiscal is appropriate.

So here we have my concentrated effort towards financial freedom –I hope it goes as well as my effort to leave work early.

Step 1 – Don’t Panic!

Step 2 – Look at the figures – go through all our spending and bills and statements

Step 3 – Panic (as I know even now they are not going to look good) but I will bear in mind that seeing the figures in black and white will help to diagnose where the difficulties arise

Step 4 – Look at what is working – then look at what isn’t working

Step 5 – Make a plan and develop a course of action to work on the areas that are definitely not working

  I refer anyone reading this to a marvellous piece of advise I read in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin –   No 8 of her Twelve Commandments –       Identify the problem.

In my mind a very clever little statement that I come back to time and time again for many issues in my life.  (thank you Gretchen!) 

If you can identify and isolate the problem then the rest falls into place.  So next week I plan to look at the figures and identify the problems then set a course of action.
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being thrifty, cleaning, decluttering, getting things done, managEAble, nEAtening, rEArranging, trEAsury

Tidy Friday…

I just had to take a photo of some of my gorgeous presents.

These little vintage cups, like a dolls tea set, are actually measuring cups for 1/2 teaspoon to tablespoon quantities and the birthday bunting  – isn’t it just so cute? –  it is teeny tiny and made out of thin painted wood.  The card is applique and embroidery and the stocks and roses in the background smell wonderful.  As well as the above I received a bottle of Neal’s Yard Seaweed and Arnica Foaming Bath (just in time as I have recently finished the last one), a book on running a small holding as a business, a beautiful silk top from ‘Mint Velvet’ and a goat from Oxfam which will add to my collection (so far I have Arthur and Annie goat and Alfie Alpaca).  I love all my presents – my friends and family know me so well!

After my ‘doing nothing’ day yesterday I felt quite refreshed but thought I had better get on with doing something today so I had a quick Friday Tidy with a bit of a Friday Fling thrown in.  The weather was back to its usual wet and dismal self so my plan to do a Friday Fling in the garden shed has had to be postponed but hopefully not for too long.

So I turned my attentions to the kitchen.  I do find cleaning and putting the kitchen back in order quite therapeutic – I like the gleam of the sink and appliances and the clear surfaces when I have done.  I learned long ago when we bought our first old house and the kitchen was pretty tatty and waiting a complete makeover that cleaning and shining all appliances and surfaces makes a difference and any kitchen can be transformed even if it is shabby.  This is the trick that they use on adverts for cleaning products – just watch one and you will see!

I always start with the sink and find that the best thing to use is a sprinkle of soap powder and rub with a non-stick pan scrub or one of those Eco pads that come with the Eco cloths.  I finish off by putting a couple of cupfuls of Soda Crystals down the plug hole followed by a kettle full of boiling water – this freshens and clears the drains.

At this point I empty the fridges of any old food and then do all the washing up including any recycling such as empty jars removed from the fridge.  When everything is clean and put away I wipe down all the surfaces with a cleaner and wash and polish up the kettle and appliances.

The kettle has seen better days and the limescale around the spout has built up again and now looking quite yucky – so out came the vinegar and after a few attempts it is now much improved although not gone altogether. A good wash with soapy water and a rub with a soft cloth and it comes up like new.

This Friday I had a mini de-clutter all around the kitchen removing bits and pieces that have accumulated over the last few weeks.  Items that needed returning to their rightful places or put in the recycle or just dealt with – I am never quite sure how all this stuff ends up in the kitchen or who puts it there (or should I say ‘leaves’ it there) – does anyone else have this problem?

Whilst decluttering I made sure anything that needed refilling such as the storage containers and cleaners were topped up and I checked over the cupboards where I keep the staples such as sauces, pasta, rice, cereals, supplements, etc to update myself with what I had in stock and make a note of any food we are running out of as well as removing anything that was past it.  Apart from an empty Mango Chutney jar and out of date Jelly to throw away all the cupboards needed were a quick tidy and a wipe down.

I have been trying to do this more regularly as time allows and find that it is less wasteful both on food and money as I can pull out things that need using up to prevent them going out of date.  Like on my dressing table I have a toiletries use up box’ I have started a kitchen ‘use up box’ – this week for instance I know that I will have to make a Nutloaf to use up some of the nuts that I have so I can build this into my menu plan.

Finally a quick once over the notice board, water the plants and sweep and mop the floor and I am done.  When my kitchen and cupboards are clean and in order I always feel better and more in control.

So my kitchen is ready for another week – I just wish I could wave a magic wand on the rest of the house.

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The Friday Fling                That Friday Feeling