Thursday, 4 February 2016

Free mini-greenhouses ...

It's that time of year again if you want to get an early start on your seed sowing.  If you have a heated greenhouse then you're off to a flying start, or a conservatory serves the same purpose, but if you've neither of these, try these free mini-greenhouses.  I bet you've thrown lots of these away.

They're the plastic boxes you get when you buy 'squashable' food items, i.e. cakes as above, soft fruit and veggies and salad items.  They are perfect for seed sowing because they have a hinged lid which you can keep closed until the seedlings appear and are big enough to have it left open.  Mine have a yellow reduced sticker on (naturally).

Fill about two thirds with compost, you will need to leave some growing space for the seedlings so they don't get crushed when the lid is closed. Water initially, then no need to water again until the seedlings are through because keeping the lid closed will stop it from drying out.

Add your seeds, here are some I dried out on a piece of kitchen paper last  year, watering over this will start it dissolving before covering with more compost.

There you have it, free mini-greenhouses, pretty soon there will be a good crop of blueberry muffins white strawberries in this pot, the other one contains tomatoes from seeds I saved from last year too.

It works, try it.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Fancy your chances at winning cash on a TV quiz show ? - it's not as easy as you think ...

We're always being told 'come and have a go if you think you're clever enough' - The Chase, and most all other money-winning programmes send out a similar message of how easy it is to 'get on the box', this is so misleading.

I know when 'Millionaire' was popular, you had to answer questions over the phone before you even got a look at the criteria to appear.

A friend of mine recently applied to appear on 'Tipping Point' and she had to jump through hoops and have to wait several months before being told she 'wasn't needed'.

First was the application, then a trip to London which involved an overnight stay at her own expense.  She had to be at the studios at 3.30 am !! with a load of other hopefuls, she also had to take a change of clothes.

Then there was a general intelligence test, followed by photographs and a 'piece to camera' made up 'on the hoof', not easy if you haven't been informed and had chance to prepare anything.  More camera tests before heading home being told 'we'll be in touch'.

Over three months later she was told, via text, that she wouldn't be appearing.

I think it really is a case of 'if your face fits' and I honestly don't know how some of the muppets that appear on these shows get through, but I guess that's part of the criteria, you have to be a bit of an oddball I think to make the presenter look good.

Anyone out there appeared on a quiz show ?

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bargains this week in Poundland ....

I always call into Poundland when I can, there always seems to be something I need.  It's a pity some people still think it's full of rubbish, but it's surprising how many 'brand' names there are to be had.   I've had lots of kitchen items in the past, and the gardening season is coming up soon, so I'll be bagging seeds, trellis, supports, etc. etc.,

I got three bargains this morning:

These looked good at 2 for £1.  Aloe Vera health drinks, they're delicious, one bottle gives two x half pint servings.  I've used them as the liquid base for smoothies.  I'm going to get more tomorrow because you never know how long these things will be available.

I don't know if these eggs are going to be permanently available, but just in case I got two packs at £1 for 15.

I've never heard of this shampoo, but it's such a big bottle, I couldn't walk past it.  I needn't have worried, it's lovely and creamy with a delightful fragrance.  I've washed my hair with it and it looks nice and shiny.  It's a shampoo and conditioner in one apparantly,  I never know how that works, but at that price I'm not arguing and will be getting another bottle tomorrow in case they go quickly.  I wonder if it's hairdressers bankrupt stock ?

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

All change ...

I know it's still Winter but I'm doing a bit of Spring cleaning on my blog, I'm removing some things, have moved to a different template, and am introducing some new money saving opportunities for you.

To start with, is '£5 for everything' - a great site where everything is - £5 !!  hope you find it interesting.

As I'm technically challenged, it will take me some time to make everything fit and look good, so please bear with me, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible - I hope !

Monday, 25 January 2016

Wartime parsnip pudding ...

I posted a recipe for a delicious parsnip pie a short while ago.  If you didn't see it, it's here:

Anyway, I found a sweet parsnip dish that makes a great dessert.  I can't claim this recipe as my own, it's from a collection of wartime recipes, those gals could certainly show us frugalistas a thing or two!

It's quite basic and very easy to make:

Peel and chop your parsnips, quantity depends on how big you want your pudding to be.

There are no definate quantities here.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice this is the same picture I used for the parsnip pie !

Steam them and put aside to cool for a while.
Add butter, cinammon, nutmeg, sugar or honey, there wasn't much sugar around in the war years, but the sweetness of the parsnips more than made up for it.

Just heat  through in the oven until the top is golden, then enjoy.

I ate mine with natural yoghurt and some raspberries that I had frozen from the garden last year - definately moorish.

This is the basic recipe, but to make it more substantial, you could add a crumble topping, or pastry crust, or even put it inbetween two slices of bread and make a sweet toastie.

I'll be doing this again, cheap, healthy and quick.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Over £2,800 a month from blogging ? ... well done that man !

I read a post recently on Skint Dad's blog saying how he had made over £2,800 a month from his blog (he provided evidence).  Well that's pretty impressive don't you think ?  I don't know many people who earn that from a 'proper' job let alone blogging.

Admittedly, it's not all from ads although a sizeable amount is, he also has affiliate ads on his blog, he offers his freelance writing services and more.

Now while I'm full of admiration (read 'envy') for what he's doing, I'm at a loss as to how it's done, I mean I have ads here on my blog, and I'm lucky, very lucky, if I make 5p a day, yes you read that right, a day !  sometimes I can go a whole week without earning anything.  Sometimes I think I will take the ads off because I'm not earning any money from them, but I think they add to the blog with a little more interest, and I'm the eternal optimist (I won't rely on them to pay for my food though, I'd have starved ages ago !)

 I use Google adsense, you don't have much of a say as to what ads appear on your blog, but on the whole they seem to relate to what is written.

I also have a few affiliate ads on here in the right side bar, and from them I get the princely sum of :  nowt, zero, zilch, nada, nuffin'.  Surely someone must be interested ?  oh well ....

I can only assume that there are readers who click on ads, and those who don't.

Do you use Adsense or affiliate ads ?  I'd love to know if it works for  you.

Anyway, hats off to Skint Dad - well done that man !

Monday, 18 January 2016

Pretty earmuffs with crochet flowers ...

Thought you'd like to see these, they'll be heading off to Etsy later today.

I love these and am really pleased with the way they have turned out.  I bought the earmuffs, they're velvetty fabric on a headband, I like the shaped ear sections too.  I crocheted the flowers and knitted the leaves, I'm going to make  lots more flowers and make a wallhanging.

This is how the flowers are made: (not instructions)

a few leaves

Here are some more flowers for different projects, I'll post about those soon.

Are you all keeping busy crafting ?  I'd love to hear what you are making.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Frugal pie recipe - yummy !

I haven't posted a recipe for a while so thought you'd like to see how I made a yummy pie for last nights dinner (and tonights) and one for the freezer.
It's a veggie version, but if you are a meat eater, you could easily add bacon bits, left over chicken etc. etc.,

The basis for this was a 39p pack of parsnips and a small tin of carrots, the rest of the ingredients I had in the cupboard.

pack of parsnips or 5/6 loose
small tin of carrots or fresh (I didn't have any fresh last night)
1 onion
cooking oil
cream cheese (I make my own) or grated hard cheese
Turmeric/black pepper/salt

Chop the parsnips up into small cubes, they cook much quicker this way, I steam mine.

while these are steaming, chop up an onion

Fry this in oil with one teaspoon of turmeric mixed with half teaspoon of black pepper.  I keep a small spice pot with the mix ready to use.

You can see them taking on the yellow colour of the turmeric (see my note about Turmeric at the end of this recipe)

When the onion mixture is soft, add the cooked parsnips and tin of carrots, if you're using fresh carrots steam them with the parsnips.  Mix it altogether well so the mixture absorbs all the flavours.  Tip the mixture into an oven proof dish.

Prepare the topping -  (I cheated here, it was supposed to be Parsnip crumble, but I was tired and couldn't be bothered to mix up a savoury crumble topping)  I grabbed three slices of bread (seeded - should have been £1 but I got it for 30p ) cut it up into chunks, then fry it off in the same pan as the
parsnip/carrot mixture, add a little more oil and turmeric/black pepper mix first, cook until crispy.

While this is cooking, add some cream cheese (mine is home made) or a layer of grated cheese for protein, then top with the crispy bread cubes.

Here is the finished dish, I cooked it in the mini-oven, I didn't time it, it was done when the topping was browned.

I ate it last night with green and yellow beans.  For the very hungry a baked potato would be nice with it, or chips, and it really tastes as good as it looks.

So for a 39p bag of parsnips and 14p for the carrots (I don't count the stuff I already have in the house) that works out at approx 18p per meal - now that's what I call frugal !

About Turmeric.  Some people think you can just chuck turmeric on everything willy-nilly to get the best out of it, well you can't.  In order to get the full nutritional benefit, it has to be mixed with ground black pepper and oil, any cooking oil will do.  The recommended mix is half and half, but I find this is too peppery for my taste, so I use two thirds turmeric and one third pepper.  This mix can be added to the pan when you are frying onions for soups, stews, etc., it can be mixed to a paste and added to omelettes, scrambled eggs and many other recipes.

Hope you give this a try, it's worth the effort.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

I had a dream ...

I woke up crying this morning - I had an upsetting dream.
I dreamt about my oldest son (about 7/8 in the dream) he was as clear as day in a school sweater I knitted for him, I can see it so clearly, grey 'V' neck with red and white border around the 'V'.  There had been some sort of dispute and I had had to give him up, he was in a school/institution with loads of other children but I couldn't find him.  The hurt was palpable, I woke up crying and it took some time to calm down and assure myself that all my children were grown now with families of their own.

I have three happy healthy children and 9 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, I've found out, through the grapevine that there is another great grandchild on the way.

I only see my youngest son now and his two beautiful girls.  He and his family are a constant source of pride for me.  He still wants me in his life, the other two don't.  I have to say that most of the time I can push the hurt that they have caused me to the back of my mind and get on with life.  It's their choice, they have to live with it.

I wrote about family upsets here back in 2014.

Well, strange sort of post to start the day - it can only get better.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Off with the Fairies again ....... (and more bargains)

That's not me, it's the computer again - doing it's own thing.
I've had to have Word re-installed and also Norton Security, and between the two of them it seems my computer couldn't stand the shock !  I've been offline for two days and another day trying to get it to co-operate, hope it's OK now.

Anyway, I got some lovely pictures from a local charity shop, here :

They're pictures of old embroideries, prints, not the real thing, if they were, we'd be talking hundreds of pounds !  but they're lovely anyway, they only cost £3.99 each

On the back is a label, they were originally from Harrods, and cost £29.99 each - I'm well pleased with these finds

I got a genuine Victorian picture too, it's three small pictures on one frame

It only cost £2.99 - another great bargain.  I won't put these up in my present house, I'll stash them away until I move later this year.

I also picked up a hand knitted blanket for 50p - now there's sooooo much yarn in it and it's very  Someone has spent a lot of time and effort not to mention the yarn to make this, but I am unpicking it to re-use the yarn.

It's been sewn up with an unusual stitch which means I can't unpick it very quickly, I have to cut through each individual stitch, I put all these little bits together and they looked so good I'm saving them for a future project (waste not want not)

My Christmas flowers are almost at an end, they lasted really well, here's what is left of two large vases full

I've made another pair of wristwarmers for Etsy (eventually!)

Here's another couple of pieces from my home you might like to see, first is a lovely Morroccon (sp?) mirror, it has a metal grid on the front, the price ticket is still on because I've never had it hung in the house, it's been in the shed, I brought it in recently because it was beginning to get damp.  Also here is an Indian carved horse made from one solid piece of wood, it's very heavy.

It looks like he's watching the television.  See the scratching on the unit ?  I have to sandpaper that down and put a little stain on it'  It's Edwardian, so worth the effort.  The cats don't appreciate it though.

That's my waffle for today, hope you are all well.


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