Monday, 18 November 2013

Cold Weather and Good Food.

Why is it, when I could do with the occasional burst of heat, my hot flushes have pretty much dried up now the temperature’s plummeting?

I hate the cold. Hate, hate, hate it. I even felt the cold badly when I was nearly 4 stone heavier; so much for fat being insulating. I’d gladly hibernate throughout the winter months and never leave the house, although with our icy house and trying hard not to put the heating on for more than thirty minutes twice a day, it often feels warmer outside than in. 

Sad but true, my favourite time of day in the winter is getting into bed at night, wrapped up in a thick nightshirt worn over pyjama trousers - I tend to curl up in bed and a PJ jacket always parts company with the trousers and leaves me with a chilly back so I opt for a long nightshirt instead. I have 2 hot water bottles – one for my feet and one to hug. Yes, I do have a husband to cuddle but the problem is I sleep best lying on my right side, and he snores less lying on his left so we generally end up bum to bum. For me the heat from my hotty botties is pure bliss.

During the day I might also be found hugging a hot water bottle if I’m just sitting watching the goggle box or on my laptop. In addition, on my feet today I am wearing 2 pairs of normal socks plus a pair of fluffy bed socks and my slippers. And on the old bod I have a long-sleeved t-shirt, a long-sleeved brushed cotton dress over that, then a thin cardigan, and on top of all that a big thick cardi that's long enough to cover my bum and reach almost to my knees. This snazzy enemble has kept me just warm enough today, and so far I haven’t had the heating on at all.

Of course, another great warmer is a hot meal. Today’s dinner was a smoked sausage pasta bake. 

I used 500g of tri-colour pasta twists bought in a big 3kg bag from Approved Foods (approx 50p), a cheese and bacon sauce mix (4 for £1 AF – so 25p), 2 heaped Tbsps dried skimmed milk (approx 20p), 1/3 pkt each of frozen peas and sweetcorn (Aldi 89p per pkt – so approx 60p for the 2 portions), some dried onions (from a massive AF bag – approx 10p), and 1/2 a Mattesons low fat smoked sausage (on offer for £1 in Morrisons – so 50p). If my maths is right that’s a total of £2.15 and easily made 6 large portions at approx 35p per portion. We had it on its own as there was so much of it, but you could serve with salad or extra veg. 

 It was full of flavour and filling on a chilly night.

This last week has been quite expensive with having to buy the big bags of kitty litter (our cats prefer wood chip litter which is 2 x 30 litre bags for £16), put petrol in the car and buy another sack of potatoes at £7.80, plus we had a day out in Hythe and Folkestone on Saturday and had a lovely lunch in The Old Willow Restaurant in Hythe. DH deserved the treat as he’s been working so hard lately. I had liver, bacon, mash and veg and DH had the all day breakfast and we each had a pot of tea. All for £18 including a tip. The staff were lovely and accommodating especially since DH doesn’t like eggs so they swapped for extra sausage and he doesn’t have butter or marg on his toast. The food was presented nicely, like in a posh restaurant but there was plenty of it and it was yummy. Will definitely go there again.

We didn’t have dessert so later in the afternoon we went into McDonald’s and had one of their Mississippi Mud Pie McFlurries. Once again, yummy and only £1.29 each.

Walking back along the prom at Folkestone as it was getting dark we were treated to this spectacular sunset. Isn’t nature wonderful?


My youngest DS visited and stayed Saturday and Sunday nights. He’s been missing his mum’s cooking with living in student digs so yesterday I made a chicken pie, and also my version of bakewell tart; basically the left over pie pastry lining a brownie tin, spread with jam and then topped with almond flavoured sponge. Nothing fancy, just cheap strawberry jam (Aldi – 29p a jar) and Mary Berry’s traybake recipe for the sponge with a teaspoon of almond essence added. Custard was made to go with it for DH and we were all stuffed once the meal was over. So…if I’ve lost any weight this week it will be a miracle; I’m expecting another gain at my weigh in tomorrow. 

Heigh-ho, never mind. Next week probably won't be any better as Sunday 24th is DD3's 23rd birthday and she's requested vegetarian meatballs with spaghetti, a coffee and walnut cake and my American cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I wish I didn't enjoy eating my own baking quite so much!



  1. Helen, I do exactly what you do with your hot water bottles. I also wrap up in many layers at night, plus a set of fluffy bed socks. We only put the heating on for half an hour on occasions as we can`t afford to use it more than that. I also hate the cold. It creaps into my arthritic bones and makes me feel painful, mainly in my arms and my right elbow that suffers from it most. I`m a summer girl. I can tolerate the heat as long as I don`t roast my pale body on the beach. I`d rather live somewhere like Morocco as the temperatures there never go below 23C. Wish we could all afford to pack our bags right now, fly away for the winter and then maybe think about coming back here during March, just as we enter spring time again. Comforting winter meals are my favourites, too. I`m planning savoury and sweet suet puddings, steamed sponge puddings with hot custard, lots of plum and apple crumbles as well, but not good for the waistline, I know. Then there is a rabbit pie to think about, as I have two jointed rabbits sitting in the freezer. Fish pies are also lovely and warming if you make the sauce with a little colmans mustard powder added. I also love soups this time of year. Home made mushroom soup with freshly ground pepper is delicious. DB`s favourite is my curried parsnip soup and butternut squash soup. I usually cook some potatoes in those two soups. It helps to thicken the soups without the need for cream. I also fall pray to home baking. And this time of year I love to make banana cake and short bread biscuits. We do like a small nibble with afternoon tea or coffee.
    As I cycle to and from work every day and use the bike quite often during the rest of the week I have been lucky not to pile the pounds on anymore, but have come to a grinding halt with weight loss for now. I`m at 11 1/2 stone at present, but do hope to kick start it all again in the new year when I hope to feel more like eating salads again.
    Keep hugging the hot water bottles and keep warm!

    1. Ooooh, Haven't had rabbit on forever. That's another of those meats that used to be so cheap when we were kids and is now practically a gourmet item. Fish, too is mostly beyond my budget except for when I make the occasional fish pie for DD3's boyfriend using cheapy frozen white fish and smoked haddock. Even tinned tuna is expensive now, but I got a good deal from AF a while back at 50p a can so I have some in stock. I managed a stay-the-same weightwise this week. Pleased with that considering how much I'd eaten. I'm curretly 11st 12lb and aiming for 10st 6 eventually, but I'm already 3st 9.5lbs lighter than when I started so to me being this weight is great. I do want to eventually reach my goal but not in too much of a hurry. It's cold and very, very wet here today so the heating's been on for a bit but it might be time for a hottie bottie soon.

  2. I was nodding and laughing through the whole part describing your house and day and night attire because it really hits home here in my cold, drafty house.

    1. As soon as all my kids have left home I want to sell this place and buy a nice little house with modern insulation and heating system...and hopefully no draughts. I love the idea of old houses, but as I get older I think I'd rather opt for comfort.

  3. I feel the cold too, have layers on during the day. I do like to take it all off at night though, whilst holding a hot water bottle. I soon get hot under the covers.

    1. I take most of the layers off too for bed. I'm fine as long as I have those hottie botties to snuggle with. I've found my hot flushes have practically disappeared with the cold weather, so I don't get too hot at night and once I'm warm enough in bed I'm actually sleeping a lot better than during the summer when the flushes would wake me up in the early hours.