29 November 2012

Thrifty Thursday

Where has this week gone? The time is going so quickly and I'm starting to panic slightly about Christmas which is galloping towards me at great speed, but, nevertheless, it's once again Thrifty Thursday.

I think I probably mentioned that at the moment, I'm decorating my house. It's usually a job I quite enjoy but the ceilings are driving me a bit mad at the moment! I have to confess to being an extremely messy painter so I cover everything liberally with old sheets. My biggest problem though is that I always buy paint in bulk from my local discount store, Trago Mill, because it's much cheaper and much better value but the downside is that it comes in really really big containers. When I'm painting the ceiling, I use 3 chairs which I put in a line so I can walk from chair to chair while I'm painting which is easier than having to get down and move the ladder every five minutes. Unorthodox I know but it works for me and they seem to be steadier than step ladders, which I have a habit of falling off! So the problem with such a huge tub of paint is that I either have to lug the tub from chair to chair or I need to pour a smaller amount into a container. 

Anyway, I used to have a paint kettle, a small metal pot to decant the paint into, but it went walkabout and I have no idea where it went so rather than spend money on a new one, I found an ingenious use for my old milk cartons. By cutting off the spout part of the carton and leaving the handle intact, it makes a perfect pot for my paint, with a handy handle still attached making it easier to hold onto while painting the ceiling. In addition to this, it avoids the messy clean-up when I finish painting because I can just throw the carton away.

In true Blue Peter tradition, here is one I made earlier, it's just waiting to be filled with paint so I can carry on painting.

I also have one further brilliant idea for using plastic milk cartons, something useful for growing things, but that will have to wait until I have saved enough cartons to complete it so ........ watch this space.

26 November 2012

Ta Da ...... My Battered Old Piano Is Now........

PINK!!!!!! Yes I said pink :-) I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea but I absolutely love it. I had initially painted it a sort of pale-ish greeny, grey, blue which I mixed from some Annie Sloan Old White and some tester pots I had and it was actually quite a nice colour but, it made the far end of the living room look really cold. I didn't really want to paint it in Annie Sloan Old White because, being a bit of a wimp, I seem to paint everything Old White and besides, it would just get lost against the white walls.  I'm still decorating the living room and some of the beams aren't painted with the top coat yet and the lighting wasn't brilliant but you get the idea so from this ............

To This ..........

The plan initially was to Annie Sloan it, distress it and then wax it but as I still haven't quite mastered the wax ageing process yet, I was a bit dubious about attacking it with the dark wax. So, after a thorough rummage in my paint cupboards, I came across half a tin of satinwood paint in a fabulous pale pink colour called Sweet Sundae. After taking a few deep breaths and before I could change my mind, I slapped a big patch of pink paint on the front of the piano so I couldn't chicken out and it looked so fabulous, I carried on and painted the whole thing pink. I absolutely love it. It has really warmed up the room, it goes perfectly with the curtains which are a lovely floral pattern and it goes beautifully with my Cath Kidston cushions on the sofa. 

25 November 2012

The Aftermath of the Rain

I was sitting on my sofa last night, snuggled up with a couple of cats on my knees and a dog sitting on my feet listening to the rain lashing the windows. The weather here in Cornwall, as in many places, has been truly horrible. It's rained and rained and rained and before that the wind was so strong that the top of one of my trees snapped off and a huge branch from another tree broke off and squashed part of the fence in my field. As soon as the weather improves, I will have to move the branch and repair the fence although how I'm going to move it my myself I haven't figured out yet. Never mind, I'm sure it will be ok.

Well, it's now Sunday morning, I have just been out to check on the llamas and to check the state of the field. The llamas are ok, I moved them into the small field further away from the river yesterday so they are fine. My field, however, is not so fine. The river burst it's banks and the resulting torrent of water that swept through my field has covered three quarters of it with leaves, logs and other debris and there is now also a thick layer of silt covering all the grass. In addition to all the debris, a very large tree was washed through the field and has demolished about 25 feet of fencing and the sheer volume of water has washed away a good two foot of river bank. The river, usually a nice gentle burble is now a raging torrent so I will have to wait until the water goes down before it's safe enough for me to fix any of the fencing.

My river went from this ........

To this .................................. in about 24 hours.

The clean-up from this is going to take a while, although, I am really very fortunate. My family is ok, my animals are ok and my house is ok and for that I am very thankful. It could have been a lot worse and I'm sure there are many people who have not been so fortunate. The forecast for today and tomorrow is still looking a bit grim but hopefully the weathermen will be right and there will be a some fine weather next week and I will be able to start clearing up the mess ....... fingers crossed!

Courtesy of the Met Office

23 November 2012

Inspiration For My Piano

I mentioned in my last blog post that after I have grappled with the living room ceiling I am going to paint my piano. It's a very old, very battered and very out of tune upright piano, which was bought by my ex mother-in-law for about £40 about 12 years ago for my kids to play on when they were younger. It's been moved several times since then and it's not been tuned for years and no-one has ever really played it but, it will apparently cost a fair bit to get someone to come and take it away and quite honestly, it looks nice with my family photos on top of it and it fills up my living room, which is quite big. It's just very very ugly, although there is a very beautiful inlaid rose with gorgeous leaves which I am planning to pick out in a different colour.

To be fair, it's looking a little more battered than usual at the moment because it's really dusty from all the furniture moving I have been doing while painting the ceiling and also because I didn't bother to cover it while I was painting and it got a few splodges of paint on it but as I'm painting it anyway it won't really matter.

This is the beautiful inlaid rose that I'm going to pick out in a different colour.

Sooooo in order to get some inspiration, I was looking on-line to find some ideas and I have come across some really awesome painted pianos. I'm hoping to mix some Annie Sloane Chalk Paint to get the perfect colour and I was thinking of painting it a lovely muted French Grey, I thought it would look nice against the newly painted white walls but then I found these pictures and now I'm not so sure. I really love them ...... What do you think?





Ceiling Painting and Hideous Artex

Sorry there are no photos with this post but my camera has been stashed away in a box while I'm painting and I didn't feel like rummaging through them all to find it but here is a picture of the weather yesterday ......... NOT NICE!!

Well, things here have been a bit hectic here, which is why there haven't been many posts this week. I have finally begun the mammoth task of painting my ceiling. My living room is quite large. It's about 17 foot wide by 35 foot long and the ceiling is covered in hideous artex!!! Not only that but the ceiling has beams, millions of beams (well that's what it feels like!) all about a foot apart so painting the ceiling is a truly horrendous ordeal! My house was once foundry workers cottages and was converted into one house back in the late 70's early 80's. Sadly, the guy who did the conversion went artex crazy. Most of it isn't too bad when painted with white matt emulsion but the ceilings are a nightmare. I have had quotes for re-plastering all the artex in the house but the cost is enormous and at the moment I just can't afford it so painting is currently my only option.

I'm also painting the beams white. I know there will be people out there screaming that it's a crime to paint beams and if they were beautiful original beams made from fabulous natural wood I would agree but they aren't. I love the look and feel of natural wood however, along with his artex obsession, the previous owner was also under the misguided impression that all woodwork should be stained dark brown. When I moved into the house, every skirting board, door, beam and window frame was stained a horrible dark brown, even the staircase. Sometimes not even the same shade of dark brown. It's as though he was on a mission to use up all his spare, half-empty tins of dark brown stain in one house and none of it matched. I don't even think the beams are original, I think the guy who converted the house decided that he had a picture in his head of how a cottage should look and that's what he did.

Anyway, it's going to be a long job. It will probably take about 10 days, maybe two weeks, to get everything painted and the room put back to the way it should be. I also have plans to paint some of my other furniture, including my old and battered piano (again I can hear people screaming nooooooo but trust me, it will look much better once I have finished with it). I will try and post some photos when the room is back to normal, assuming I can find my camera again in all the chaos :-)

A quick mention for a fabulous site Sew Sweet Violet. If you pop over to her blog before the 26th November, you will have the chance to enter a fabulous giveawey. 

22 November 2012

Thrifty Thursday

Right, it's that time of the week again and time for my Thrifty Thursday Tip. Growing your own veg is immensely satisfying. It tastes fabulous and you know exactly what you're eating but, buying the containers to grow things in, even the little trays to plant the seeds in before planting them out can be really expensive so here is my thrifty tip. Fruit and veg crates, which shops are more than happy to give away for free, are perfect for growing veg. If you only have a small garden, container gardening is perfect. I have quite a large garden but things like lettuce and cut and come again salad leaves I like to keep off the floor so they don't get eaten by slugs (the slugs set up camp this year and munched their way through practically everything .... nasty little sods!). All I do is line them with plastic, any kind of thickish plastic will do, I used a llama food sack cut down the side and the bottom and stapled into the box and then I simply add a few drainage holes with a skewer, fill them with soil and away you go. You can even grow herbs and winter salad leaves on a window ledge during the winter months like this and you don't have to stop there. I also planted up an old wicker basket with herbs and an old enamel bread bin without a lid that I found in my field with a tomato plant. 

Another tip is that I save any plastic food trays from things like pre-packaged veg or the odd takeaway or ready meal that we might have and I use these as seed trays to start my veg plants off in. Just a few drainage holes in the bottom, made with a darning needle or a skewer and you're ready to fill with compost and sow your seeds. 

This year, I also planted potatoes in llama feed sacks. A couple of years ago I managed to get some potato growing sacks from my local garden centre but they were about £15 for three and this year I wanted to grow more potatoes but didn't want to spend any more money so I used some of the feed bags I had saved on the off-chance I would find something to do with them. I simply rolled down the bags and added some compost. Then I put four chitted potatoes in each bag and covered them with a bit more compost. As the potato plants grow, just unroll the bag a bit and add some more compost to almost cover the plants and keep going until there is no more bag left to unroll. When there is no more bag left just let them keep growing until they are ready to harvest. Simple and cheap. Any really strong bag will do. I used llama feed sacks but large plastic dog food sacks, the 15kg ones are fine or really thick rubble sacks. Just rinse them out and put some holes in the sides about two inches from the bottom and maybe one or two in the bottom of the sack for drainage and get planting. 

18 November 2012

The First Frost of the Year and a Garden Tidy-Up.

Where I live, in Cornwall, the weather so far this year has been all over the place. The summer was a total washout, it rained almost non-stop from about April to September, caused by the shifting Jet Stream (you can read about it on my post here), the garden was so full of slugs and snail that all my vegetable patch ended up being was an a la carte picnic for the greedy little buggers and now, when the weather should be turning wintery and cold with sharp frosts and air cold enough to make your nose go red, it's been just dank and grey and drizzly and not very wintery at all. This morning, however, I got up to a lovely crisp frost and piercingly blue skies with a lovely glimpse of the sun. I love days like this. I don't mind the cold, in fact I prefer very cold and sunny to damp and dismal because at least I can get out into my garden and attempt to put right the months of neglect caused by such an awful summer.

My garden is a mess. That's the only way I can describe it. I follow some fabulous gardening blogs and I'm a member of UK Veg Gardeners, a brilliant site for all things garden related and full of people with the most amazing gardens and allotments and when I read their blogs I just have no idea how they do it. It should be so easy for me to keep my garden tidy, well maintained and weed free with so much time on my hands but in my defence, it's very difficult to mow the lawn in the rain with my teeny tiny electric lawn mower without risking life and limb and electrocution. There is also only so much gardening in the pouring rain that I can tolerate before I give up and go inside for a cup of tea and a cake! Rain dripping down my neck while battling enormous, slimy molluscs is not how I like to spend an afternoon in my garden!

No rain today though. So today is a gardening day. The inside jobs will have to wait. While there is sun in the sky and it's not raining I will be pottering in my garden trying to take back control of the chaos and get it back to how it was before the summer.

I did get slightly side-tracked by the gorgeous frost covered plants though :-)

15 November 2012

Kirsties Vintage Home and Chalk Paint

I'm really, really sorry but someone needs to tell Kirstie Allsop about the wonderfully, magically, totally brilliant benefits of Chalk Paint!!! Whilst I loved the effect of the room makeover that she did tonight, the sugar soaping, sanding, priming and top-coat-painting, not to mention the final coat of varnishing of the chairs in this weeks program was way too painful to contemplate! Please please please could someone mention to Kirstie the benefits of a decent chalk paint so I don't have to keep yelling at the TV .......... CHALK PAINT!!!!!!  :-)

Thrifty Thursday

Right, I have decided that in light of the fact that I'm not very keen on the word "frugal", from now on, I will be moving "Frugal Friday" to "Thrifty Thursday". I think it's more in keeping with my way of life and the environmental ethos I follow so, this weeks Thrifty Thursday is a Christmas idea. I love the build-up to Christmas, I love the whole sending cards, and decorating the house and looking forward to a Christmas with family around. It's not about the money and how much gets spent, Christmas doesn't have to be expensive and it really is about the thought that goes into the cards and gifts that we give. 

This year, we are having a home-made Christmas and I have to say, I'm really looking forward to it. I am making my own Christmas cards this year and I'm also going to be making my own Christmas decorations too. I really wanted some Christmas bunting this year but I didn't have any Christmassy fabric and I don't have any spare cash to go and buy any so, in my crafty stash, I found some Christmas wrapping paper that I had left over from last year (I always seem to have too much wrapping paper!). I cut strips of paper double the height of the flags I wanted to make and then folded it in half lengthways. I then cut flag shapes from the paper with the fold at the top of the paper. Fold the flag over a piece of cord or string (I used some cord that I had left over from making roman blinds last year) and and glue the two sides together. Leave them somewhere flat to dry and Voila ....... Christmas bunting for just a few pennies :-)

Kirstie's Vintage Home

I am a huge fan of Kirstie Allsop. I love all the fabulous ideas on her programs and I love the gorgeous ideas in her crafty books so it was with great excitement, last Thursday evening, that I sat down with a lovely glass of wine to watch her latest offering, Kirstie's Vintage Home. I loved her Vintage Home Workshop. I wish my craft room was half as fabulous as that and in general, I really loved her ideas but I have to confess to I was slightly disappointed by the program. I felt slightly let down that the crafts were very similar to the crafts that have been featured in previous series. I also felt that while some of the up-cycling was nicely done, some of the spending was a little excessive, such as spending £50 on new knobs for the chest of drawers in the bedroom, not to mention how much the wallpaper in the bedroom must have cost!. Although ..... I guess it's their money and they can spend it how they wish and bedroom did look absolutely beautiful. I have to say though, I am really looking forward to the rest of the series and her latest book will most certainly be on my Christmas Wish List.

As I have said before, I'm a bit of a thrifty person, mostly out of necessity, and I prefer to find bargains for the things I need in my house, even if it means waiting a while for the right thing to come along. I love charity shops, junk shops and car boot sales and I love eBay both for buying and for selling things I no longer need. Earlier this year, I manage to find some fabulous ceramic knobs with Cath Kidson-esque flowers on them for the bargain price of £1.00 for 25 knobs from a local car boot sale (thats 4p per knob!!). I was utterly overjoyed because the cheapest I had found in my local DIY store were £3.99 per knob and as I have 21 doors and drawers in my kitchen, it would have cost me £83.79 to re-vamp my kitchen cupboards, an expense I couldn't possibly justify and certainly couldn't afford. And here they are, my mega-bargain door knobs ....... one of my best car boot sale finds I think.

14 November 2012

All Bran Cake

I have been asked by a couple of people to post the recipe for the All Bran cake that I showed in a post last Friday. It's really simple, it's also fat free and it's great for using up any All Bran that might have gone a bit soft and lost it's crunch because once it's soaked in the milk no one will be able to tell. The recipe says cups. It doesn't necessarily have to be a standard "cup" measurement. What it actually means is .... grab a cup or a mug and as long as you use the same cup or mug for all the measurements it will be fine. Just remember though, the bigger the cup or mug, the bigger the cake. Also, in the recipe it says use mixed dried fruit but I don't particularly like the mixed peel part of he dried mixed fruit so I added some glace cherries and some chopped dates but you can add currents, sultanas or whatever you fancy. A tip I got from The Barefoot Contessa is that if you coat your fruit in a dusting of flour, it stops them sinking to the bottom of the cake. Now I have never actually tried because usually, my fruit doesn't sink to the bottom but if anyone has tried this ..... I would be interested to know if it works or not. Anyway, here is the recipe, it's probably the simplest cake you could possibly make and I think it tastes fabulous sliced and spread with butter. Delicious!


1 cup of All Bran 
1 cup of mixed dried fruit (or whatever you fancy)
1 cup of milk
Three quarters of a cup of sugar ( I use a combination of white and brown sugar so it's not too sweet and obviously if you don't like it too sweet add a little less sugar)
1 cup of Self Raising Flour.


Put the All Bran, fruit, milk and sugar into a bowl and leave to soak for at least an hour, it doesn't matter if it's longer just as long as it's at least an hour.

Mix in the the flour and put into a greased loaf tin

Bake on the oven on 180C, 350F of Gas 4 for about an hour or until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

13 November 2012

A Bit of Bling With a Cottagey Twist

Earlier this year, while rummaging through Zero to Vintage, my favourite vintage shop in the town near where I live, I found a very cute chandelier. Now I'm not usually a chandelier type person. They always seem to be too flashy and bling for me but this one, I instantly fell in love with and at £15 it was just too good to miss. It had a kind of vintage feel to it and it was painted with a fabulous distressed finish. It came complete with crystal droplets, which I initially planned to sell because I thought they might not fit in with my house, which is quite old and quite shabby chic, in fact sometimes more shabby than chic, especially when the dogs are tearing round the house like loonies and the cats are shredding the rugs!  

It is an electric chandelier. It's all ready to be wired into the house electrics but my ceilings are quite low and I have beams which means that people would be bumping their heads on it if I actually dangled it from the ceiling in the middle of my living room. So, instead of using it as an electric light, I stuck metal bottle tops from wine bottles, the screw top kind, into the holes where the light bulbs were supposed to fit and I put some candles into the metal caps. I then screwed a hook into one of the beams above my dining table and hooked the chandelier over the hook, which is in the far corner of the room and well out of head bashing range. It looked fabulous but it still needed a little something more. Today, I finally gave in and added some crystals but I also added my own cottagey twist by adding some red and white gingham ribbon. I am thrilled with the result. 

12 November 2012


A few weeks ago my youngest daughter came back from the USA after a two and a half month trek around the country. One of her favourite places was New Orleans. She loved the food and in particular she loved Jambalaya. So much so that she brought me a cookbook so that I could re-create some of the food she ate while she was there. 

So, this weekend, I went to get the ingredients to make Chicken Jambalaya, a recipe taken from the "Taste of the South Gourmet Southern Cuisine" cookery book. I altered the quantities because the recipe says it feeds 4-6, however, even with the reduction, there was enough to feed  a small army. 
In addition, although the jambalaya was delicious, it is apparently not quite authentic and so next time I will be giving the recipe a bit of a tweak to see if I can make it more authentic.

Jambalaya piping hot and straight from the oven ....... Delicious 

The resulting dish was really delicious, however, as I said before I will be giving it a bit of a tweak. My daughter says that the jambalaya she had in New Orleans had chopped chicken not large pieces of on-the-bone chicken so I will use chicken breasts, chopped into pieces next time and apparently, it also had prawns or shrimp stirred into the dish as well so next time, I will be adding these too, along with a good pinch of Cajun Spice to add a bit more depth of flavour. 
As I said, I can only imagine how big the portion sizes would be if I had stuck to the recipe quantities because even though I reduced the recipe quantities when I made it, there was still loads. On the plus side, it does taste very scrummy as a cold rice salad so nothing will go to waste. 


The recipe is in USA measurements and apparently, a cup is about 1/2 pint or 8 fl oz in liquid or 8oz or 225g in solids. There is a good conversion chart HERE if you want to check.

1 Chicken Quartered (I used chicken pieces)
1lb sausage (I used Chorizo to add spice)
2 medium onions finely chopped
5 cups of water
6 shallots chopped
2 1/2 cups of rice
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tablespoons of salt (Use however much you think it needs)
1 green pepper chopped
1/2 cup sherry ( I used white wine)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I missed these out as my daughter doesn't like them)
Hot pepper sauce
1 small can of tomatoes (I used a normal 400g sized can)
1/2 cup of Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 400F 200C or Gas 6
On the hob, brown the chicken and sausage in olive oil over a Medium heat.
Remove chicken and sausage ans then saute the onions. mushrooms, green pepper, garlic and shallots in the oil that you browned the chicken and sausage.
Cook until slightly brown. 
Add salt and pepper, bay leaf, tomatoes and a few dashes of hot pepper sauce and cook slowly for 6-7 mins.
Add the chicken and sausage back to the pan. Add the rice. water and sherry, turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to boiling point and then add the mushrooms.  
Cover the saucepan and put in the oven for 45 mins until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. 

Photographs Courtesy of:

10 November 2012

Fabulous Finds

About a week ago, I went to visit one of my favourite places in the town near where I live. It's called Zero to Vintage and sadly, they don't have a website as yet so I can't give you a link. It is the cutest little shop and they stock the most gorgeous second hand and vintage treasures at fabulously reasonable prices. I have bought several things from them since I discovered it about a year ago and last week I managed to grab another couple of fabulous bargains. Two gorgeous cookery books.

I love books. I love the feel of the covers, the texture of the pages and I will read pretty much anything. I especially love crime and thriller books, Kathy Reichs is a particular favourite and I even read fluffy chic lit too on occasion but, basically, I will read anything as long as it holds my interest from the first page right through to the end. I particularly love vintage books and they are my favourite things to buy at car boot sales and in charity shops. I find the thought that a book could have been around for a decades totally fascinating. As I read it, I always wonder who has read it before me, what were their lives like and did they enjoy reading it. I don't know why but I always kind of picture a Jane Austen type person sitting in her beautiful drawing room, maybe with a shawl around her shoulders to keep her warm with snow softly falling outside. Whimsical nonsense, I know, but it's one of the things I love about actual books and it's also one of the reasons I will never buy one of these electronic book things. I'm sure they have their place but they're not for me. I mean lets face it ..... a book never runs out of battery!

Anyway, I found two amazing books and although neither is old or vintage, they are, nevertheless, gorgeous. The first one I came across was "Wise Words and Country Ways For Cooks" by Ruth Binney.

It's in great condition and is full of amazing tips and advice and it also looks lovely, which, in my opinion, is always a plus. And it was only £2.00. A total bargain if you ask me.

The other book I found is called Falling Cloudberries. It is beautifully presented and the cover has a beautiful tactile quality with raised detail on the spine and it has the most fantastic photographs inside. The recipes are mouthwatering. Even more amazing, it was only £5.00 and looks lovely on my kitchen dresser, just sitting there waiting for me to start cooking up a storm.

9 November 2012

Frugal Friday

I know that there are loads of fabulous blogs out there on the internet about frugal living and how to be economical and I am an avid follower of several of them. I find them fascinating and would love to be as dedicated to frugal blogging as some of my fellow bloggers but personally, I find that writing about lots of different things on my blog keeps it fun for me to write. However, I saw this wonderful idea on one the blogs that I read recently called "A Cheerful Living Adventure". It's called Frugal Friday ..... where each week, the blogger shares a frugal tip or idea with her blog followers. I think this is such a good idea that I'm going to give it a go. 

Now, that's not to say that I don't live frugally anyway. I do. Mostly out of necessity, but I thought that I might start sharing some of the things I do to keep the cost of living down. Most of the things I do are second nature to me and I don't consider them frugal, just prudent. In fact, I don't really like the word "frugal". I think it's quite a negative work. I much prefer thrifty (maybe I should do a (Thrifty Thursday instead of Frugal Friday) frugal, to me, sounds like a very mean word. As I said, there are lots of little things that I do to make the most of my money and make it stretch just that little bit further. For example, as I expect many of us do, I buy extra items of things that I use all the time, like toothpaste and washing powder, when they are on special offer, and store them for when I need them. At the start of the month, I buy all the cat, dog and llama food I will need for the whole month. That way I know that there is always plenty for them to eat if money gets a bit tight. I also buy things like loo roll and store cupboard items like stock cubes, tinned tomatoes, pesto, pasta and rice and whole host of other items at the start of the month so that they can be stored in the cupboard and used throughout the month. I then only need to buy fresh fruit and veg and butter and milk each week. 

I bake my own bread every other day and I bake all the biscuits and cakes that we eat (not that we eat them all the time). I recently started to grow some of my own veg, with mixed results, something that I am hoping to do a lot more of in the coming years and I am also considering getting some chickens next year. I hardly ever buy ready meals, maybe once in a blue moon. They are far too expensive and I prefer to cook from scratch. It tastes much better and I know exactly what has gone into my food. I also make sure that every single bit of food that I buy is used and that none is wasted. There is nothing I hate more than wasted food. It irritates me beyond belief. I find it a challenge to come up with delicious meals from left-overs, I find it oddly satisfying. The delicious cake below, a sort of fruity, tea bread type of thing, is made using Allbran and is fabulous for using up any that has gone soft and lost it's crunch because it gets soaked in milk and goes soggy anyway. 

Anyway, here is my first Frugal Friday tip. It's not rocket science and it's not life changing but it's quite a good tip if you have an open fire and don't want to buy fire lighters. I save all the insides of the toilet rolls, the cardboard middle bits ..... and then I stuff them with newspaper until they are almost solid. If I don't have any newspaper, I use old envelopes or letters that I don't need any more and any junk mail I get (although some junk mail is no good for this because it doesn't burn). Then, when I need to light a fire, I just use two or three of these and a small handful of sticks and I have a lovely roaring fire in no time at all. Ta daaa! Like I said, not life changing but useful nevertheless, and also free. I promise to try and make my next Frugal Friday tip a bit more dynamic.

Loo rolls stuffed with old envelopes in my log basket waiting to be turned into this.

8 November 2012

A Walk in Looe

Well. I know it's been a week(ish) since my last post but the gloom set in again and I felt like hibernating in front of the fire, which is basically what I did. Today, however, I decided that I needed to get out of the house and go and do something. After feeding and watering the llamas, giving the cats their breakfast and taking the dogs out for a run in the field, I set off for Looe. The weather is  chilly and grey and not very pleasant and I really didn't want to leave the house but I wrapped myself up and forced myself to get in the car and drive. The sight  of the sea always cheers me up and the smell of the salty sea air makes me feel invigorated, even though today, the weather mostly looked like this ......

Since I started to blog, I always carry a camera with me in my handbag, in case I see something interesting and today I took some lovely pictures of the little lanes in Looe, the beautiful boats moored along the quayside and I managed to get a picture of a buzzard, although it's a bit blurry. Occasionally, the sun kept peeping out between the clouds and I managed to snap some pictures that look a little less gloomy. 

I love boats, I would love to live on one.

I adore these multi coloured flower pots on the steps outside the Pasty Shop.

And this cute little restaurant on the quay with the gorgeous red geraniums. 

And finally I managed to pull over into a layby on the way home and hang out of the window to snap this picture of a buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole.