Friday, 28 March 2014

Using Things Up

I haven't done many food related/frugal cooking posts lately, so I thought I'd show you today's dinner.

I'd forgotten to get anything out of the freezer last night, and I had thought of making a sort of macaroni cheese using creme fraiche, but in the end I didn't fancy pasta. Then I remembered Sarina's recent post about a frugal creamy rissotto made with pearl barley and soft cheese, both of which I had in stock. ( 

On looking in the fridge I found a third of a chorizo sausage and some peas and sweetcorn left from earlier this week that needed using up, and the veggie basket contained onions and some smoked garlic that DD3 and BF had left behind. Sarina soaked her pearl barley overnight and then boiled it before adding sauted veg and the cheese. Since my barley hadn't been pre-soaked I decided to cook it in the slow cooker all day to get it nice and soft. I also used twice the amount since I have 2 men with huge appetites to feed.

So, I used:-

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (AF 10p)
400g pearl barley, washed (AF approx 25p)
2 small onions, chopped (Morrisons Savers, 50p for 1.5kg, so approx 10p)
2 cloves smoked garlic (doesn't have to be smoked, and as this was left behind by DD3 it was free)
1/3 Aldi Chorizo Sausage Ring (£1.49 so 50p for 1/3rd)
200g mixed peas and sweetcorn (leftovers but originally £1 for 1kg so approx 20p)
100g (1/2 tub) Aldi Light Soft Cheese (55p so approx 28p)
Black Pepper
Boiling Water

Toss the barley and onion in the oil in the slow cooker, mix in all the other ingredients except the soft cheese. Add approx 2 pints boiled water (I didn't measure it, just poured in enough to cover it to about 1 inch above the barley). Cook on High for 2 hours, reduce to Low for 3-4 hours. Check every now and then and top up the water if it starts getting dry. I had to top mine up twice with about 1/2 pint of water each time. Mine cooked really quickly so I ended up turning it off after 3 hours of cooking and then putting it back on an hour before we were ready to eat but that left the onion a bit crunchy so next time I'll cook it for an extra hour. If you're using pre-cooked peas and sweetcorn you might want to leave adding those until about an hour before serving up so they don't get overcooked. 20 minutes before serving mix in the soft cheese (you can use more than the 100g if you want it creamier) and allow to heat through before dishing up.

Total cost of Rissotto:- £1.43
Per serving (4 servings) :- 36p

Partially cooked in the Slow Cooker

On the plate with the soft cheese added.

We were going to have it with salad but there was tons of it; it filled up my smaller 3.5 litre slow cooker, so we had it on its own. There was enough leftover for DS1's lunch tomorrow even though DH went back for seconds. It was pronounced delicious and one to make again, although next time I'd add a little smoked paprika or cayenne to give it a bit of a kick. Many thanks for the idea, Sarina, another easy, frugal meal to add to my repertoire.

I have to confess that the pearl barley was dated June 2012. It was one thing I didn't throw out when I had the purge of my stockpile a few weeks ago. It was totally fine, but I know some people might cringe at the idea of using something that old, and I would certainly be careful with a lot of food items, but dried beans, grains, pasta etc. last a very, very long time past their sell by/use by dates. 

Today's bargain was an unopened bag of soft toy stuffing bought in the Hospice charity shop for £2. 

I don't often make toys any more but I like to have stuffing in stock in case I do and it's expensive to buy so I was very pleased to find this.

Anyone else got ideas for easy main meals at under 50p a serving?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Handmade Mother's Day

Last summer, when we visited my mother-in-law in the nursing home in Bridgend, she was kind enough to inform us that she didn't want us to send her flowers for birthdays, Mother's Day etc. because they are a waste of money.

With that announcement I'm having to come up with alternatives presents for special occasions. That's not an easy task for a 93 year old lady who doesn't get out, who has no real hobbies or interests and doesn't even do much reading.

DH suggested she might like a pair of bed socks as she suffers from swollen feet and finds it hard to get socks to fit. So I made her these:-

I had also intended making her a special bag to fit over her invalid walker and even got a pattern from Ebay for it...until I remembered she has a folding walker and none of the bags were suitable. So, I had to come up with something else. In the end I found a tutorial online for a tissue holder, and also remembered I had a pack of dried lavender, perfect for lavender sachets for her clothes' drawers.

And then I made a card:-

Combined with a box of Terry's All Gold milk chocolates on offer for £1.50 in Morrisons I put together this little selection to send off to her:-

I managed to pack them tightly by reusing a cardboard wrapper from Amazon and the whole lot went as a 'small parcel' for £3.

I hope she likes everything, and she certainly shouldn't have cause to complain I've wasted money since nearly everything (except the chocs) was made with supplies I already had. And that pattern I bought will still be used as I intend making some bags for my local Age UK centre.

My own Mother's Day will be spent at a Wedding Fair in Broadstairs with DD2, and I will be meeting her future mother-in-law (also called Helen) for the first time.

Anyone else have plans for Mothering Sunday, or made anything lovely for their mum?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Meet Oscar

I collect dolls.

There I've admitted it.

I also have quite a collection of inexpensive teddy bears, although I do have a huge replica Steiff bear that was bought for me for my 50th birthday. I have some very expensive, very lifelike dolls and I have some cheap and cheerful vinyl dolls, including Cabbage Patch Kids and play dolls. I suppose they are my substitute children now all mine are grown and, just like I used to do for my kids, I sometimes knit for my dolls.

This is Oscar. He's a 15inch, all vinyl, anatomically correct African boy. He cost me £20 from Ebay and I also got an Asian girl doll at the same time. Unusually for this type of doll he and the girl both have a full head of lifelike hair which is why I bought them as I don't care for bald-headed dolls.

 As you can see Oscar is now sporting a nifty hand-knitted, all-in-one with a pointed pixie hood. Oscar is very pleased to be finally wearing this garment since he's been lying around in my bedroom stark naked since before Christmas waiting for me to finish off his clothes. I finally sewed it all together and knitted the front bands a week ago, and then it got left again while I hunted for suitable buttons that wouldn't cost the Earth. Why, oh, why do I never have just the right sized buttons in the correct colour in my button tin? Anyway, my local wool shop came up trumps and I paid just 48p for the 4 buttons; the wool for the all-in-one was from my stash. 

Oscar is very cosy in his new clothes and now his adopted Asian sister would also like something warm to wear as well. I'm currently working on the second of a pair of socks for my mother-in-law as Mother's Day gift, and when they're finished I'll look through my collection of  vintage doll's clothes patterns and make her something pretty.

I do have pangs of guilt about spending money and time on making things for dolls when there are real kiddies out there who need clothing, but I do also make things for charity although the cost of postage makes it very expensive to mail things off nowadays. It cost me over £9 to mail a few bits last year for KAS (Knit a Square) and nearly £6 to send some teddies and cloth bags for the Teds to Zimbabwe Challenge. It makes me wonder if its worthwhile when that money could simply be donated instead.

I wonder if anyone else on here collects dolls or teddies/soft toys or am I the only one who has never grown up?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Birthday Card and Baking

Firstly I want to say thank you so much to Attila for her kind, encouraging words about my weight issues. She really helped and I'm intending on trying to keep my weight steady for a while rather than fret myself silly over losing the last stone. If I lose a few more lbs then that will be a bonus, but otherwise I'm pretty happy the way I am and I'd rather stay here than regain because I'm stressed about losing more and bingeing because of it.

I slept well last night and I'm in a much better mood today. I've made the most of the energy I have by keeping busy. Another load of laundry hung outside and there was a good breeze so it all came in dry. Nipped round to Aldi for coffee. Now that DH takes coffee to work we get through so much more instant and we like Aldi's decaf. I vacuumed through the downstairs and I also made DS2's birthday card. I heard from him this morning and he's spending the weekend of his birthday with his girlfriend who lives near Rochester, but will be over for his pressies on Monday, so I'll bake him a cake then. I'd already suspected it was wanting to spend his brithday with his GF that was the issue over the family dinner; I just wish he'd made the decision earlier before everyone else rearranged their lives on that day.

Anyway, here's his card. No prizes for guessing what his favourite tipple is.

The images were found on Google, and then I manipulated them to create an insert and also sheets of paper to line the envelope. I think a lined envelope adds a nice finishing touch.

DD3 called earlier asking if she and BF could come for dinner tonight before going to rehearsals. Of course, I had to say 'yes' especially as she has the money to return that she borrowed towards her new car. LOL!!! Fortunately I'd already got a large steak pie out of the freezer intending it to make two meals for 3 of us, so instead it did 5 of us (2 girls and 3 guys) one dinner served up with mash, cabbage, carrots and sweetcorn. As DD3 is still cutting out dairy the pastry was made with vegetable fat and she had a jacket potato instead of the mash which had milk in it. Tinned steak and pastry mix were both from Approved Foods, cabbage and potatoes were yellow-stickered (no point buying a sack of potatoes now for just 3 of us), the sweetcorn and carrots were 3 packs for £2 from FarmFoods. I've estimated the meal cost around £1 per serving. 

I also made coconut flapjack to a new Vegan recipe so that DD3 could have some. It had a lot more golden syrup in it than I would normally use, but it was lovely and squidgy in the middle and a bit chewy around the edges, though that might be because I cooked it a bit too long. Here's the recipe if anyone's interested.

Gooey Vegan Flapjacks

200g Dairy Free Margarine (I used Vitalite)
200g Demerera Sugar
200g Golden Syrup
300g Porridge Oats 
75g Dessicated Coconut
1/2 tsp salt

Melt the marg, sugar, salt and syrup together in a pan over a low heat or in a bowl in the microwave. Stir in the oats and coconut. Spread in a 10 x 6 inch well-greased tin and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 C or Gas 4. Cool in the tin, but while still warm ease away from the edges of the tin and slice into bars or squares.

Tomorrow is my volunteering day so once again I'll be busy, and as DS1 will be at his Anime club for the evening we're having a sandwich night instead of a full cooked dinner. 

That's all I have for today. I hope everyone is well and enjoying better weather.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mistaken Identity

Hello, Shirley, nice to have you on board.

Another dry day, so I got the bedding washed and out on the line early this morning before my Slimming World Meeting. 

I shouldn't have bothered going to the slimming club; another 1/2 lb on. I was gutted since I've mostly been good this week and we've had a couple of longer walks. I felt I'd at least lost a pound. My reaction? I came home and ate two big bowls of crunchy muesli followed by 2 bags of crisps (they were squares which are only 99 calories a bag). I really have lost the plot lately and can't seem to get back on plan for longer than a few days at a time. I'm doubly gutted because I checked my progress graph and it seems I was this weight back in October, so despite having lost in the interim that's all been wiped out by recent gains. I'm so worried I'm on the slippery road to regaining it all; I just can't seem to stop eating some days.

Other news is we got a call from Admiral (our car insurer)  about an incident that was reported to them. They wouldn't talk to me since the policy's in DH's name so I gave them his mobile number. He just called me and apparently there was an incident in a car park in High Wickham on 2nd March. Well, for a start neither of us has ever been to High Wickham and I don't even know where it is, and DH certainly wasn't there on 2nd March. Apparently our car was picked out by the number plate on CCTV but the guy from Admiral said it must've been read wrongly. Too right. I hope it gets sorted out soon and then gets erased from our insurance record so we don't lose our no claims for this year. I was already in a dark mood over the weight issue, so this is another one of those annoying things I didn't feel like dealing with today.

On a lighter subject I'm knitting yet another pair of socks, this time for Mother's Day for DH's 93 year old mum, the one in the nursing home in Bridgend. I'm doing a different design with a ribbed turnover but stocking stitch foot. The turnover will be a dark purple and the foot mauve; her favourite colours. I'm also hoping to make her a hanging fabric caddy bag for her wheeled walker. I saw some patterns online, but decided to buy this one from Ebay as it will have been tested.

I'll be making one of the two bottom right hand designs and hoping it will suit her particular walker. I'm sure she'll find it useful, and the socks will be nice and stretchy to go over her puffy feet. As I already had the wool and pattern for the socks, the pattern for the caddy cost under £6, and I'll be making her card from supplies I already have, her presents this year will be very cheap, that's if the postage isn't astronomical.

Dinner tonight is leftover quorn bolognaise sauce redesigned as chilli con carne with the addition of red kidney beans from the freezer, tinned creamed corn (Approved Foods) and a part pack of chilli sauce mix bought from AF ages ago. It will be served with rice also from AF. 

The definite plans we had for a celebratory meal out for DS2's 21st birthday next Sunday have been shelved because he changed his mind this Sunday. He'd been umming and aahing for about a week on whether he wanted it that day, even though we'd already agreed it with him a few weeks ago and had let everyone know so that they could keep it clear. I'd been trying to get him to finally confirm it all last week. At present I'm not even sure whether he's coming over at the weekend so don't know whether I need to make a cake, or if I'll have to post his card to him. He's in the mire with his siblings for leaving his decision so near the event as they'd already rearranged prior plans, changed work shifts etc, and DD3's BF had even booked a day's holiday. It is his birthday, but it's so difficult to get everyone together these days, so he's not the most loved brother at the moment.

Anyway, that's my little bit of news for now. Not very exciting and a bit gloomy (like my mood), but there's far worse that could have happened so I'll count my blessings and I know I'll feel better about things tomorrow. Hope all is right in the world with you and yours. Hugs, Helen X

Friday, 14 March 2014

Proud Mummy

If you don't like loud rock music please ignore the links to YouTube videos, but I couldn't resist posting the video footage taken on my phone last night of my son singing at the Canterbury Christchurch Uni bar. They perfomed some excellent cover versions. Pity the microphone connection was a little shaky and my videoing even more so.

The River part 1

Wings Of A Butterfly


Harder To Breathe

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Cupcakes for Charity

Hello there to Lindjemp. Welcome to my little corner of blogland.

Well, what a change in the weather. From going out without a coat on Sunday to wearing my winter coat and gloves and wishing I'd taken my scarf with me today. It was really chilly when I went into town to my Slimming World meeting. Gaining 1 1/2 lbs didn't help me feel any warmer.

Something that did warm my heart, if not my body, was that my cupcakes sold at £1 each at the college fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer raising £20 towards the predicted total of around £1000. (BOAST ALERT!) DH said they were really popular and a lady from the catering department joked that I could go in and teach a cake making lesson any time I liked. At least, I think she was joking. I wouldn't take her up on it if she wasn't; standing in front of a class full of people would be my worst nightmare. I'm really pleased, though, that I've managed to help the charity, and it's spurred me on to finally register for this year's Race for Life in Folkestone on 15th June (which happens to be DD1's 30th birthday and Father's Day). I doubt I'll be running it, but I can walk pretty fast when I want to. I'll be doing it in memory of my mum who died in 2005 after suffering for 2 years with mouth cancer. Since she never smoked in her life it's a mystery why she got that strain of cancer.

Another thing that's made me happy is that DS2's scrapbook is very, very nearly finished at last. I started work on it at 6.30 this morning, only taking a break to do 2 loads of laundry, until I had to leave for my slimming class at 9. Then I started up again at about 1 pm and did another couple of hours. All the photos are now stuck in and most of the lettering is done. I just have to add a few embellishments to a couple of pages and then it's complete. I'm extremely relieved because I had doubts I'd get it done in time, but now I can relax and have a change of craft and do some knitting or sewing instead. 

Mind you, I do have a 21st birthday card, a Mother's Day card and an Anniversary card to make by the end of the month. But first I think I'll get my neglected sewing machine out and make myself a couple of new tote bags since the nylon ones I've had for years and years (so long I've forgotten where I got them from) are finally starting to wear out. It's ages since  I made anything for myself so I'll have fun going through my fabic stash and deciding what to use. I've also got about 6 cushion pads upstairs so I might have a cushion making marathon.I also received my copy of Mollie Makes today and my Woman Alive magazine yesterday so tomorrow I'm intending to take time to read them both.

With so much time spent on the scrapbook, and my back aching from bending over the dining table cutting and glueing for so long, dinner tonight was a hasty affair of chickpea burgers from the freezer and savoury rice with extra veg and a little diced chorizo added. it was actually quite delicious.

Right, I think that's about all from me for now. I'm going to indulge in my vice of watching rubbish TV in a moment when the latest episode of Honey Boo Boo is on. I hope all is well with you and yours tonight. Hugs, Helen x

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Family Reunion

Lovely weather today. I went out this morning wearing my thin nylon jacket and even had to take that off and walk around in t-shirt and cardigan it was so warm. 

I've had an extremely busy but thoroughly enjoyable day.

All the kids (except DD1) plus two boyfriends were here for dinner, and I had a visit to a wedding fayre at a hotel on the seafront with DD2 this morning. 

I was up at 6.30am baking cakes and preparing a meatloaf and a mushroom roast. Apart from having vegetarian DD2 to cater for, DD3 has decided to give up dairy for lent so that added to the cake making challenge. It wasn't really a problem, I simply substituted Vitalite dairy free marg for the butter and chose recipes that didn't need any milk since I'd forgotten to buy soya milk.  I made an Apple Crumble Cake from a recipe I found on the internet, and Mary Berry's Victoria Sandwich Cake. 

Both were delicious even with using marg instead of butter. I made custard to go with the apple cake, and there was also squirty cream and ice cream if anyone wanted it. DD3 had thought she wouldn't be able to have cake so was really pleased I'd made them with the dairy-free marg. 

Apple Crumble Cake

Cake Base

100g butter or marg
100g soft brown sugar
150g plain flour
50g cornflour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond essence (or vanilla)
6 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used canned apple as I had a catering-sized tin in stock)

Crumble Topping

150g plain flour
125 g butter or marg
125g demerara sugar
tsp ground cinnamon


For the cake - beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.Mix in the flours and baking powder, and then the eggs and essence. Spread the mixture in 23-25cm springform cake tin and spread the apple over it.

Crumble - rub the butter into the flour, cinnamon and sugar until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the apple and cake in the tin.

Bake at 180C/Gas4/ Fan 160C for 45 minutes to 1 hour until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin and then carefully remove the tin from around the cake so that the crumble does not get disturbed. Serve with custard, cream or icecream.

The meatloaf was yummy too. I got a lovely heavy, extra big loaf tin from TK Max yesterday for £3.99 reduced from £11.99. Just what I needed to make a meatloaf big enough to feed 7 of us meat eaters including 5 men. 

I used a very simple recipe mixing together 800g lean minced beef, 400g minced pork, a large packet of red onion and sage stuffing mix, beef stock, and 2 beaten eggs. I lined the tin with raw bacon rashers, piled the meat mix in and baked it for about an hour before turning it out onto a plate then returning it to the tin with the bacon side up and cooking for another 15-30 minutes.

The mushroom roast was just a medium onion and 6oz mushrooms blitzed in the food processor, a packet of stuffing mix made up and added to the mushroom/onion mix with 2 beaten eggs. Press the mixture into a well-greased loaf tin and bake for about 45 minutes. You can top with grated cheese and bake for another 15 minutes until golden but I left that off so DD3 could also have some. We had mixed roasted vegetables, mixed boiled veg, yorkshire puddings and gravy with it. Sorry for lack of pictures, I was so busy preparing it all and just managed to snap this picture before it was eaten. The meatloaf is to the right and a small portion of mushroom roast to the left of the plate.

There was tons of food and very little leftovers, so it must have been a success. 

It was lovely to have everyone here but also nice to get back to a bit of peace and quiet once most of them left. DS2 is staying overnight and will go back to Canterbury tomorrow with his dad when DH goes into work.

The wedding fayre was very small with only about a dozen stalls, but it was great for getting some ideas. Really, DD and I are of the same mind, she wants to spend as little as possible, make as much as she can herself (or ask me or her fiance's mum to help), but have an enjoyable day. We came back home and spent an hour or so on the internet trying to find materials and ideas similar to some that we'd seen that we could make without too much difficulty. We're almost agreed on the invites and we plan to spend time together crafting which will be lovely. Her fiance's mum has recently retired and taken up cake decorating as a hobby so she will probably make and decorate the cake, and I'll make cupcakes that she'll decorate since fancy stuff really isn't my forte. 

It's early days yet so nothing is set in stone; they don't even have a venue and are still debating whether to have the ceremony in Las Vegas and just have a party over here afterwards. It is exciting  but I have a feeling I'll soon be all weddinged out. DH and I had a very simple registry office do with just his parents (he's an only child) and my parents, grandmother and sisters and our 6 week old baby girl (DD1). We went back to my mum and dad's council house for a buffet meal afterwards. I never wanted a big do that cost the earth and if I had it to do over again I'd probably try for something even cheaper. Since we've been married 30 years in July I don't think we suffered for not having a big wedding celebration.

Apart from today's activities, I've spent my week shopping but spending very little (Folkestone on Weds, Westwood Cross Shopping Centre at Margate yesterday), volunteering on Thursday and working for hours and hours on DS2's scrapbook. Honestly, I was either sticking stuff into the scrapbook or copying and printing photos for 5 hours on Friday. I think (I'm hoping) that it will be completed in time for his birthday in exactly 2 weeks today. I don't recall the other scrapbooks taking so long but then I think I was more enthusiastic about doing them. Thank goodness I didn't have any more kids.

Tomorrow will find me baking my cupcakes yet again for DH to take to college on Tuesday for a Macmillan Cancer fundraiser. And more work done on that scrapbook...I hope.

Here's hoping you all had a lovely day and the sun shone on you. Hugs, Helen x

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Chickpea and Coriander Burgers

I had a lovely couple of hours in Folkestone but that was enough for me. I found it tiring going around the shops and was back home by 12.30. 

I didn't spend much, but got quite a few bits. As well as Poundland, which we also have in Dover, there was a 99p shop and a Wilkinsons. I've been wanting a second deep muffin tin for a while since one of my Lakeland ones went missing (I expect one of my girls borrowed it but all deny having it). I got a lovely one in Wilkinsons for just £1.50. 

I spent £6.93 in the 99p shop on envelopes,a jar of sliced red Jalepeno chilli peppers, poaching pods for eggs, a double pack of scissors (something else that mysteriously disappear), some plastic storage tubs, double-sided sticky pads for card making and scrapbooking and a box of All Bran.I've yet to try the poaching pods, but I do love a poached egg and haven't had one for ages. Has anyone else used them?

Then I went into Primark and ended up buying two long-line ribbed cardigans, one beige, one dark blue, that were originally £10, reduced to half price and finally went through the till at £3 each. 

And that's it, all I bought. But I did have a good time and I'm pleased with my purchases. It makes a nice change to go somewhere different for a while since Dover isn't exactly endowed with a great choice in shops. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my purse) both the wool/craft shops were closed for some reason.

Dinner tonight was Chickpea and Coriander Burgers from a recipe in this month's Easy Cook magazine. I took out a trial subscription of 5 issues for £5. Although I do like the magazine I shall probably cancel it once the trial is over as I don't want to pay full price for it. Here's the recipe. I doubled it, made 12 burgers of which we had 6 (2 each) tonight and the others will be frozen for another time.

400g tin of chickpeas, drained (I used a bag of the ones I cooked up last week)

rind of 1 lemon, plus juice of 1/2 the lemon (I didn't have fresh lemon so I omitted the rind and just added juice from a bottle) 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

small bunch of coriander, chopped (I was lucky enough to pick up a reduced bunch for 32p)

1 egg

100g fresh breadcrumbs (here's where I got to use up the crusts that nobody but me eats)

1/2  medium red onion, diced (I used a regular brown onion)

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 bread rolls of choice

Sliced onion, tomato, cucumber etc. to serve

In a food processor whizz together the chickpeas, lemon rind and juice, cumin, half the coriander, the egg and some seasoning. Scrape down the bowl and then mix in 80g of the breadcrumbs and the diced onion. Shape the mixture into 4-6 burgers (depends on the size you want) then coat them in the remaining breadcrumbs. Chill for at least 10 minutes before frying for 4-5 minutes on each side in the olive oil. (I chilled them all day and they were nice and firm and held together well when I fried them). Serve in the rolls topped with the remaining coriander, sliced onion, cucumber, tomato and any dressing you require.

They were really nice and not dry as I'd anticipated they might be. We had them with Caribbean potato wedges (on offer for £1 in Morrisons) and baked beans. 

I can't really price out the recipe exactly because I'd already had most of the burger ingredients in stock for a while, but it can't have cost more than 20p per burger (so 40p for 2), then another 25p for 2 cheese-topped rolls (pack of 4 for 72p or 2 packs for £1 in Morrisons), 33p for 1/3 pack of wedges and 12p for 1/2 can of Aldi baked beans. Total cost per person = £1.10p. Would have been less if I'd made my own rolls and potato wedges.

Tomorrow is volunteering day and wonder or wonders the forecast is for sun. I got absolutely soaked to the skin last week and had to dry all my stuff off over a radiator in the office. Is spring finally on its way? Let's hope so.

Day Out

I've not been blogging lately because there's really not much to report. But today I have a day out all to myself and I intend to thoroughly enjoy it. 

I used to do this about once a month when the kids were younger. DH would look after them on a Saturday and I'd hop on the bus to somewhere like Canterbury or Folkestone and have a good old browse around the shops and treat myself to a coffee or sometimes lunch if funds stretched to it. But I can't recall the last time I did that. 

Mostly now DH and I go out together for the day, but today he's taken the car to work so he can meet up with DS2 afterwards, and I'm making use of his weekly bus pass to have a wander around Folkestone. I'm going to go into every charity shop and spend as long as I like rummaging through everything. Usually I'm either with DH or DD3 when in Folkestone and neither of them like charity shopping, so today I won't feel I have to hurry because I have a bored person wating impatiently in the wings.  

I'll also be clothes shopping in other places (dare I mention the dreaded Primark) because, apart from underwear, a couple of pairs of jeans, a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts and a couple of cardis, I'm still slopping about in size 20 clothes on a size 12-14 body. I've been holding off buying new stuff until I lost the final stone, but it's getting ridiculous now.

By the way, my weight stayed the same at weigh-in yesterday after another week of half and half being good and cheating. I count myself pretty lucky I haven't been gaining but I feel like I'm back in the zone again now and hopefully I'll stick with the plan all this week and lose something next Tuesday.

Right, I'm off to catch my bus now. I'll pop back on again later to report on my day if I'm not too knackered after all that shopping.