Monday, 30 January 2012


Time goes so fast I can't believe I am thinking about my baby's 6th birthday already. I haven't had much option she has been planning already. Stephanie divulged some of her ideas to me beginning with her description of the birthday cake. I asked her to draw it for me. She then had other ideas for her party so we sat together and this is what she came up with;

It's a very detailed party plan, it tells me exactly how Stephanie would like the party to go. From the crafts she wants to happen to the food and table decorations. As well as the presents for her friends to take home. Now I need to get the materials etc and start making :-)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

our weekend

Take a peek at our weekend; Saturday we went to Knole park for a walk and to see the deer. Then today we went to the allotment.

What is it that makes sticks appeal so much to children?

Now I must admit I get the walking along a log thing- I like to have a go too

Both children were amazed at the amount of Deer we saw and just how close we got.

My little poser

They were entranced by this magpie trying to eat an apple

I decided that I would make a special breakfast to start our Sunday. I made waffles- Jamie Oliver style. Then we headed off to the allotment. The potato bed is almost ready. You can see where we are planning the potatoes to go in the background of this picture of our hot choc break. Boy were we glad of it today was rather nippy.

While we were having our break we were amused by watching this little robin hopping about. Not a very clear picture but I couldn't get any closer without frightening him.

Bargain hunting!

I have been intending to go to supermarkets less and use local farm shops etc more. I haven't managed yet this month to do that mostly because I drive past the farm shop on the way to and from work however the times I am driving past the shop is not open. Then at the weekends the farm shop is in the opposite direction to anything else and so I end up driving past the supermarket and popping in.
 I have however been considering my spending in the supermarket, so that where possible I am buying local produce. So yesterdays little excursion meant that I bought Kentish (what do you mean is that a real word?!) apples and potatoes. On items that I can't get locally I consider my intention of saving and buy as cheap as possible so smart price pasta, reduced sticker bread etc etc.
As I was wandering round I saw a coat for Stephanie on the sale rail for £5, I am intending to make more of our clothes ourselves however there is no way I could make a coat for £5 myself so I bought it in a larger size ready for next winter.
And the top for myself was also very reduced. I have lots of summer tops and lots of jumpers but not much for the in between weather I am hopeful of getting soon.

These are the reduced bread items I got, some of them only I will eat, some Stephanie will share, others Dylan will eat. I just freeze them in 2's and remove what we need from the freezer each day. The plates and napkins you can see were reduced to 38p because they were apparently Christmas stock. They are not Christmassy (of course that is a word!) at all. Stephanie's birthday is 3 months away and she wants a crafty princess/castle type theme ( we are working out the details currently). So I thought the gold plates and napkins were perfect for this theme. Those are squirrelled away ready for April.

I love shopping for bargains, I am sussing out the best times to go to the supermarket to get the bargains that I need. In my local one evening time is best for bread. Early morning if you want meats/fish.
I also found that the butchers in the town by the library has good offers on with different meats. I went last week to get something for a Sunday roast and got a large pork joint for £10, the supermarket sell half the size joints for the same price. This large joint was far too big for the 3 of us so I cut it into 4 pieces; cooked one and froze the others.
On the subject of frozen foods we are nearing the ends of our leftover turkey ready meals I made at Christmas. I have found it so much easier to manage dinner times on work days since I had such a large bake-off at Christmas I am planning on doing the same thing in a fortnight when half term arrives. One of the half term days will be devoted to making enough meals for the next term.

I am planning on working out my budget for the coming month today, I will then be able to reveal the total I have saved this month through shopping this way. All savings are going towards the much needed new car!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

swoon block #1

Remember here when I said I was going to join the swoonalong? Since I joined there have been loads of fabulous entries to the swoonalong flickr group. Katy showcased some of them here.

Finally today I got around to sewing together my first block, I cut it out over a week ago and have put off sewing the little pieces together as I thought it would take ages and I wanted to dedicate some time to it. I have just sewn together my first block in the past hour. take a peek I am rather impressed

It's far from perfect, but I like it.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

allotment update

Today Dylan and I spent all afternoon at the allotment. It was a lovely peaceful afternoon there, and only rained a little.
We sorted out one of the compost bins, and I am very pleased with the amount of compost we have made. The compost bin we emptied today produced 4 wheel barrows, and it was one of the smallest bins on the site. I should have plenty of compost for the year once I have sorted the other 3....

We are reorganising the bed system on the plot. Last year we used the existing system due to the timing on getting the plot. Today we have used wood chipping to map out the boundary of what will become this years potato bed.

Dylan laid the wood chips after we marked out where the path would go. We also laid wood chips under the apple and pear trees in an effort to suppress the weeds this year.

Have you noticed a theme of late, hot choc is becoming a very regular feature at the moment.

Expect lots more allotment posts in the next few weeks as we get it organised.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Winter walks

Today we went for a very lovely walk along the White Cliffs. The children love it here, lots of slippery paths to fall on, friendly dog walkers, a lighthouse if you walk enough miles, a ferry port to observe and The Fear Factor. They love to run along the edge of the cliffs with me trying not to nag them constantly to slow down/ be careful, come away from the edge etc etc

It was a lovely walk we made it to the lighthouse and back today.

a perch found along the way

A lovely warm hot choc once we got back to the car.

Nothing like a crisp walk along by the sea to blow the cobwebs away!

Monday, 9 January 2012


Inspired by Katy and her call out on twitter I have decided to join the 'swoonalong' and make a quilt. I have bought the pattern from Fat quarter shop. I have only made basic square quilts before, I am hoping that this will help me to move on in my quilt making.

I am going to make my quilt into a picnic rug, I have been planning for something like 18 months and have not even started, well unless you count collecting at eighths of various fabrics that have taken my fancy along the way. I have these to use;

These are some of the fat eighths I have collected, there are some more in the cupboard- I need to organise my stash.
I need to get the plain fabric for the background and then I'm good to go! I can't wait this is the first quilt a long I have joined.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

a new blind

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon sewing this is what I made;

I used the channel 4 tutorial as a guide. However I changed slightly by cutting an old wooden curtain pole to the size I needed rather than buying a new piece of wood for the purpose. I am very pleased with the end result, I never thought I would be able to make a blind, now I am contemplating one for the kitchen window when I settle on a fabric.

I set out in my New year aspirations that I would like to complete this blind, I am so pleased to have achieved one item off my list already. I am not going to achieve one item off of January's list- i set out that I would go swimming twice, however I have broken my toe and been advised not to go swimming for at least a month. I did however dig on the allotment for an hour and half (Shh I was told not to swim no said about digging....) so I got my exercises in that way.

I also made this for my dinner, it is a risotto using some leftover ingredients from the fridge. I used this JO recipe as a starting point and added half a red pepper, a mushroom and some prawns I had left over in the fridge.

It was very scrummy and a fab way to use up leftover foods.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Last years successes

OK so on the 3rd January last year I blogged about my New year resolutions for 2011. I set myself 5 targets to achieve over the year, here's how I got on with them;

  1. to be more organised, I set this target with the intention of following an American site called FLY. I decided FLY was not for me somewhere around March, I just don't have the time at home daily to follow it. However from trying I have fallen into a sort of routine. I definitely have become more organised over the year, however there is still room for improvement during 2012.
  2. To spend more time with the children, again I feel I am getting better at spending quality time with the children. By organising my routines I am able to focus on the children when I am with them and do my paperwork etc outside of our family time, I also do not spend as much time worrying about when I will get my work done as I am focused on the designated task of the allotted time.
  3. I have so far redecorated the living room, the downstairs bathroom and both children's bedrooms. I have some work to do on each of these rooms still but they are definitely beginning to show our personalities more. I am planning on beginning the kitchen next.
  4. I made several outfits for Stephanie last year, I also managed to make myself 2 dresses, this is an improvement on previous years, I am aiming to continue this in 2011. I have already bought a length of material with the intention of turning it into a dress/skirt for me. Lets see if I can manage 3 items for me this year!
  5. Debt reduction. Definitely getting there, I have reduced a large debt by 1/2 and am working towards clearing it hopefully by the end of this year. I have cleared one smaller debt. Also in the transitions from student to unemployed to employed, there have been confusions over household bills such as rent and council tax due to ever changing then disappearing (thankfully!) benefit needs. I have cleared the back log from these. Also the confusion over the water bills from when we moved in to this house- I didn't receive a bill for over a year of living here, Thankfully this was a difficulty at the water company not mine as I had informed them when I moved in. So in getting the complications with the muddled water meter serial numbers unmuddled I had a large water bill in August, which I managed to clear by Christmas. In short I reduced my debt in 2011 considerably, however am not debt free yet I will continue working towards this through 2012.
In short I did not complete any of the resolutions from 2011, however I am pleased with the progress I am making towards them. I am aspiring to continue working towards them over the next year. Did you spot that I have changed from resolution to aspiration? It is part of my new positive look on what I am achieving. I am trying out a new positive mental attitude which I am hoping will carry me through 2012  and help me continue to work towards becoming debt free and having a degree of self-sufficientness. Expect to hear more about these aspirations over the coming year.

Want to see what I have achieved so far in 2012?

Well I hope so cos it's coming next in this post;
I have completed my repair pile, in it was a school shirt needing a button, a cushion with a split seam and Hello kitty with a slit throat! All now fixed and ready for use again. A monkey ear headband  from school which was broken in half, I made a small slit pulled out the broken headband and inserted one of Stephanie's unwanted ones before stitching the hole back up.

I also made these two bags for the children in my class using some of my stashed fabric. They are destined for use as rhyme bags. One will have transport in it, you can see some of the modes of transport thrifted from one of Dylan's old toy boxes. The other will have animals in, I have lots of these in the classroom already so will be able to easily acquire some of these tomorrow morning. We do have lots of transport items but I wanted some that are different from the everyday ones the children have so that they are easily recognised as mine when put in the wrong place.

This is my new note book. In it I am planning on keeping any project notes for things I make throughout the year. Details of things I read and find interesting, mostly things I find from various sources on the Internet as I see things I would like to do/ind more out about but then can't remember where I originally got the idea from in order to see it through effectively. These 2 pages are detailing tonight's thoughts. They include information on the bags I made. The roman blind I am planning to make (I'll tell you more of this at a later date.) As well as thoughts around veg growing and foraging plans for the year, again I will write  a separate post full of these ideas later in the week. Now though I need to go and make the lunches as it is back to school for all members of the littlefamilyof3 in the morning and getting up is unlikely to be a fun experience as we have all got used to our lay ins!