Monday 30 September 2013

Simple September - Final Top Tip #20

How quickly has September whizzed by, it's been here and then gone in a flash.  It has in some ways been a Simple September but in many others it's been complicated and busy, busy busy.
The thirteenth of the month saw us finally owning our 'forever home', setting up camp there a day later and starting on the job of redecorating and renovating the house to the way we want it to be.  We're having the house simple and getting it that way takes time, so we are slowly and surely working our way through things.  I have a few photos to show you of how things are progressing, but they will have to wait until tomorrow, because today I wanted to see Simple September out with my final Top Tip and it's one I use each and every year.  To me it's an important one, it's the very basis of us being as self sufficient as possible in the foods that we eat for the lowest possible cost.
It's seeds.
The little powerhouses of goodness that turn into the food that we put on our table, that feeds us and keeps us alive and able to do everything else that we want to go on and do.  I buy my seeds at this time every year, it is the time of year that the garden centres want to start setting out their Christmas displays and folks minds turn away from planting seeds of any kind, so this is when in most garden centres and nurseries you will find huge tables or racks full of seeds at absolute knock down prices.
This year Lovely Hubby came with me and we each started at opposite sides of the huge table of packets of seeds that were laid out at our nearest Wyevale Garden Centre (here).  Our brief was simple, we knew we needed peas and cucumbers and then we simply had to find the fruits and veggies that we would like to be growing and eating next year.  Once we both had enough of what we wanted we compared our choices and put back any duplications or narrowed down to varieties that I knew grew better than others and of course kept a few things that we would like to experiment with. Because at 50p a packet we can afford to trial a few new things each year.
Yes all these seeds cost us just 50p a packet, we spent a total of £26.50 on the them and when we got home I simply couldn't resist quickly adding up what they would have cost at full price, it came to over £137, truly a bargain.  These seeds will last us a lot longer than one year as well, some of them will even last a few years if stored correctly. 
As we already had lots of seeds in stock, once home they were all sorted and filed into the right sections of my seed drawer and the oldest seeds will be planted first and then the others used in order.  For many folk the cold dark days of Winter are time to pore over the seed catalogues, but for me that is now all sorted and I know we will be eating home grown fruits and veggies for the next few years.
Something else I do each and every year is choose a 'cash crop', something I grow way too much of and then sell the additional plants or veggies to recoup the cost of the seeds bought the previous year, so next year I know I need to make £26.50 to make our entire home grown food supply free of charge to us.  One year I sold lettuces, the next Red and Green Basil plants, this year it was Tomato plants sold at one of the first car boot sales we did at 50p each they soon made us back the money we spent last year.
So my final Top Tip of Simple September is ...
Buy things out of season when no-one else really wants to be buying them, whether it be in shops or at car boot sales. How often do you see people trying to sell Christmas decorations or trees in the hottest days of July or August in a baking hot car boot field, no one is interested, step in with a ridiculously low offer and it could just be accepted.
Buy -
Seeds in August/September
Christmassy items in January/February (or during Summer at car boot sales)
Summer clothes in Winter
Winter Clothes in the hottest of hot weather in Summer
As we did last year snap up chocolate Santa's at Easter and then Easter eggs at Christmas, it's all chocolate and yummy at that!!
Wait until just after an event in supermarkets, Halloween for example ... buy next years Halloween costumes and decorations in the first week of  this November when they will all be being sold off for pennies and you will be sorted ready for next year.
I'm sure many of you do this already but for the few of you that don't you can save an absolute fortune give it a go.  It takes just one year to get yourself ahead for future years and then you will be in the routine.
Sue xx

Saturday 28 September 2013

Simple September - Top Tip #19

Top Tip #19 - Budget
If you get paid monthly, pay all the bills you can monthly.  If you have some that are annually paid work out how much they actually cost you monthly and pay this into a separate account that has these Direct Debits coming out of it, or at the very least know  exactly how much to keep in your account over the course of the year to meet these payments.
Once all your necessary outgoings are taken care of (mortgage, rent, gas, electric, insurances, car costs etc) what you have left will be your basic day to day living money.  Make sure you have enough cash for fuel for the car and car parks or bus fares and take out any cash you know you have to spend over the course of the month on essential purchases, a new pair of shoes, a birthday present for someone etc.  What is left from all this is your food budget for the month.
Now you could go mad and buy everything  for the entire month in one  big shopping spree, but only do this if you know you will make the food last for the entire month, or you can and this would be preferable for most people, split it into four equal amounts (five if it is a five week month) and shop once a week for the main things, leaving a little emergency amount in your wallet or purse for any daily top ups needed, fresh milk or bread etc.  This has the added advantage in that foods that are left over at the end of the first week can be incorporated into the meal plan for the second week and so on.  In fact with careful shopping by week four (or five) you could only need to buy a little bit of shopping if you have built a storecuboard or freezer full of leftovers.
If you do this you should not fall into the category mentioned at the top of this post of 'having too much month left at the end of your money'.
Budgeting is often learnt the hard way through necessity  ... but once learnt you don't forget and it will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life!! 
Sue xx

Friday 27 September 2013


I made a loaf last week that simply didn't rise much (I don't always get it right), and although it tasted wonderful and we did eat some,  it got a bit forgotten about and was left languishing in the bread bin.  When I did finally remember the poor thing it had touches of mould on the bottom.  Never one to waste anything I suddenly thought of THIS post over at my Blogging Buddy Karon's blog 'Larder Love', my loaf was the perfect shape to make handy little crispbreads with.
So the mould was sliced off and then the loaf thinly sliced and the whole tray went in the oven while I was cooking tea the other night.  As the oven was on quite a high temperature I took them out after a few minutes and then popped them back as I took our tea out and then left them in the cooling oven.
In fact the poor things got completely forgotten about again .... what is it with this bread !!  So the next night when I put on the oven to warm it ready for making tea I was surprised to smell the lovely aroma of toast filling the kitchen, aha something clicked in this tired old brain and my crispbreads were rescued.  All this shows just how forgiving the poor things are.
Once completely cold they were tipped into an empty glass jar, so I can bee the bl**dy things and they don't get forgotten about again. They are great for when you want a crafty little nibble with either a smear of homemade jam or curd or for dunking in homemade soup for that extra little crunch.
Thanks Karon you are a star!!
Sue xx
Simple September - Tops Tips #18
Never ever throw bread away, it really is as simple as that. 
Stale or leftover bread can be turned into so many different things the most obvious being breadcrumbs for coating foods or adding as a final layer to dishes like Cauliflower Cheese.  Either whiz them up in your food processor as they are and then pour into a bag or tub and label and pop into the freezer, or alternatively, whizz them with herbs for Herby Breadcrumbs or go a little bit further in the flavour department and throw in a clove of garlic or two and while they are whizzing round pour in a thin stream of olive oil.  These lovely tasty breadcrumbs can then be frozen as they are or lightly fried and then frozen to be used as a topping to lots of brilliant dishes.  I love them on what must be the most simple pasta dish,  pasta cooked in lots of salted water and then drained, sprinkled with finely grated Parmesan and then a final flourish of Garlicky Breadcrumbs - so simple, so divinely tasty.
There are lots of recipes that you can simply Google on what to do with stale bread and I also dip into The Leftovers Handbook by another Blogging Buddy of mine, Suzy Bowler if I ever want some fresh ideas.  She has lots of brilliant suggestions in the Bread section (the Amazon Link for this book is way down on the right hand sidebar of my Blog) such as 'roll out sliced white bread thinly and use to line a buttered muffin tray, brushed with melted butter and baked and you have wonderful little 'pastry cases' just crying out for delicious fillings'.
Whatever you do try not to throw away food, you have paid for it with your hard earned money, and you might just as well throw that money in the bin if you are throwing away food, learning to get the most from everything you have is the best thing you can do to save money and keep to a tight budget.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Pears in Brandy

Now I don't like Brandy, I don't like any 'shorts', I've been known to swish Whiskey around my mouth if I have had toothache and no tablets available but that's about the extent of it.  If you ask after a meal if I would like an 'Irish Coffee' I would recoil in horror, contaminate perfectly good coffee with alcohol ..... no thank you!
But I do like Pears in Brandy!!
The alcohol preserves the pears so well and gradually seeps into the fruit in a most warming and mellow way.  The longer you leave them the nicer they get, we are still eating out of a jar from 2010 that Mum made for us, and believe me you only need a couple of slices with a dollop of cream or ice cream to feel like you have really had a tasty luxurious dessert.
And it's so simple ....
..... peel your pears into a bowl of salted water (this keeps them white much better than lemon and doesn't make them taste even slightly salty don't worry) ...

... drain and then top and tail them cut them into quarters and remove the core and then slice in half again  ...
... simmer gently in some mild sugar syrup (just a couple of tablespoons of sugar and water) until just a little bit firmer than you would like to eat them, mine were ready in four minutes, ...

... and then using a slotted spoon place into your sterilised jars.
 I made these in two halves as I used my smaller pan, while I made the second batch the first lot of poached pears slid down inside the jars and found their own level so I topped two of the jars from the third.
Once you have packed your jars with as many pears as possible top up with Brandy.  The more pears you get in the less Brandy you will need.  Make sure your lids are on tightly and then turn the jars upside down once or twice so that the Brandy mixes evenly with any of the sugar syrup that was clinging to the pears.

I got six jars from my 35cl size bottle of Brandy which cost me £5.50 last year, so each jar has cost me around a pound to produce including the cost of the sugar, the pears were free off my Mum's tree - thank you Mum.  As each jar does at least four desserts (2 people x 2 Desserts) with either cream or icecream and occasionally some meringue as well, it means we are having a luxurious tasty pudding for around 50p including the extras.
Wow .... real luxury on a budget, I just surprised myself with that one.
 I've just checked prices and the cheapest you can get Brandy at the moment is around £1.50 per 100ml but that is in a larger 70cl bottle (Sainsbury's Basics) which would of course make you 12 jars at even less than a pound a jar or you could use half for bottled pears and half to drink.
Now ....  lurking at the back of the cupboard was this.   Lovely Hubby always seems to be given Whiskey as presents or as a 'thank you'  for doing a job or favour, it must be this Scottish accent, but he hates the stuff and is a Port man through and through.  So they get pushed to the back of the cupboard or re-gifted ... our milkman was VERY lucky last year with a bottle of the very finest vintage as his tip!! 
As this one is open I can't really get away with doing that ..... can I?   NOOOOOO that would be soooo wrong ...Lol !!
So I'm thinking Pears in Whiskey ..... I may just give it a go and see, but  just a couple of jars to be going on with.  I could of course always give one away as a gift if we're not keen on the flavour ourselves.
Oh and a little mention for Kev - none of these is suitable for baby :-)
Sue xx
Simple September - Top Tips #17
Take things you don't like and try making them into things you do.  If you really don't like the finished products (but it is completely edible, drinkable and safe) then give them as gifts.
My jars of Pears in Brandy (or Whiskey) would look lovely for Christmas gifts with a sprig of holly and a label tied onto the jar saying what it is and giving some dessert ideas.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Well it's Sort of Goodbye

It's sort of goodbye to the tractor, we won't be needing it in Wales, it's too big for the amount of flattish land we have so we were going to put it on the market, or trade it in for a much smaller one, but then a few weeks ago our landlord stepped in and made us an offer for it and some of it's accessories which we accepted.  It's good in that it does mean that we still have the use of it while we are here if we need it for loading anything. 
We hadn't really thought about the fact that we didn't own it anymore until last night, when our landlord sent an email asking if his handyman/gardener could use it for a job on Saturday and we had to send a reply back saying 'no need to ask it's yours now', I don't think he'd remembered that he now owned it either !
So although we've said 'goodbye' to it, it's still sat outside the front door reminding us daily of all Lovely Hubby's hard work in his complete renovation of it.  We got the animals to pose on it for posterity, some were more keen than others :-)
Suky sits shaking and terror struck, she has no head for heights and isn't a 'jumping down' sort of dog ...

... Rosy looks slightly worried ....

... then she decides getting off this is a doddle and makes a run for it.
In answer to some of the questions yesterday ...
 To bottle my apples I merely stew them as usual and then pour into oven heated, sterilised jars and seal whilst still piping hot.  As the apple cools a vacuum is formed and they will then keep indefinitely as all air has been excluded.  I always keep an eye them though  checking the jars that are left in the cupboard each time I take one out.  If you use a couple of jars with recycled 'poppy out button' lids you will know if you have reached the required temperature and a vacuum has indeed been made as you will hear the 'pop'.
Is the truck full .....
Yes we are moving ourselves bit by bit, load by load.  Using the back of the Mitsubishi on a weekly basis and towing a trailer load down whenever we have a bigger amount of stuff to take.  I will post some photos of our trailers one day (when I have taken some)  I did have some photos stored on the computer but we seem to have lost a few complete months worth of photos.
... not quite ... I can squeeze my ladder in ... look!!
Just when we though security might be an issue with all our abandoning of our house here at weekends it has all been solved in a very timely manner, the high fence between us and next door is no more, it is like living open plan with our neighbours.  Luckily all the dogs get on well, but we do have to remember not to leave our back door open when walking over to feed the chickens, or we have little, and not so little visitors that finish off all the cat food!!
Seemingly they are having a wall built eventually, but in the meantime wanted to get rid of a broken and dangerous in places fence, it suits us very well, visibility to our property and a whole gang of guard dogs is more than we could have hoped for.  Isn't it funny how things sometimes just all fall into place.
Sue xx
Simple September - Tops Tips #16
If you have things you love and are either having to get rid of them for space reasons, moving house or simply having a good declutter, take photographs of them for posterity.  Think of the things you do already have photographs of, your wedding dress for instance, children wearing their first little dress or tiny shoes.  As long as you have the photos to back up the memories do you need to keep the actual item in your closet or up in the loft taking up room.
Freeing your space frees your mind in the most amazing way. 
If you have lots of little useless items that remind you of happy days or times, souvenirs, children's toys etc arrange them on a shelf or table and photograph them individually or as a group.  Either print out and store the photos in an album or simply save them to your computer.  If you decide to take this option save them also onto a memory stick or device so they are never deleted by accident.
If they are ..... it doesn't really matter, learn to live in the moment not in the past, it's invigorating.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Apples, Apples Apples

This year has been a bumper year for apples, over most of the country the apple harvest is rolling in.  Here the weight of the apples on the oldest tree has been too much for it and the main trunk has snapped.  Peering inside we can see how dry and brittle it has become and there really is no salvaging the poor old girl, she has however gone out on a high. 

As it is close to our landlords posh office building behind the veggie patch we are having to have it carefully removed so that any remaining falling wood does not go crashing through the large walls of glass (who in their right mind builds such a structure so close to an old tree, there is plenty of room for the building elsewhere, but hey ho that was his decision).  We have a tree surgeon calling tonight to give our landlord a quote for a different job ... yes he also erected that lovely Wendy House under a slanted tree which is now leaning on the roof of said very expensive Wendy House, so we are going to ask him to carefully chop down the old apple tree and cut the branches into lengths we can take with us to Wales.

We took a trailer load of wood down with us last weekend that is usable now but this apple wood will give us a head start for next year and will make wonderfully smelling firewood for log burner.

Off course the apples off the tree are being used to very good effect.  Last year Lovely Hubby commandeered virtually all the apples for his Apple Juice and Cider, which we still have lots of sitting in dark corners all around the place.  This year it is mine, all mine and I have been happily stewing and crumble making.

Neatly labelled and ready to travel, this should see us through the dark days of Winter, well these and the next twelve bottles that I am about to make.  I have decided to bottle this year instead of freezing any more as we really do need to get the chest freezer emptied ready for the main move.

And my Top Tip #15

When moving house, fill containers up.  If you are moving them anyway they might as well be full.

Jars - full of food.
Plastic Containers - nestled inside each other in decreasing sizes.
Tins - full of biscuits or packets of biscuits ... or cakes ready for those first few well deserved coffee breaks

In fact anything that is hollow think ...  can I fill it?  You usually can, space is space and the more you save the less you need.  If the  bread bin is empty fill it with carefully wrapped things from the kitchen, tip packets of dried foods into any spare glass jars you are taking with you.  Everything helps.

I usually even wash out the kitchen bin, put a fresh liner in and then into that goes all the things you will need on arrival at your new place.  The tea, coffee and sugar, a packet of biscuits, enough cups for one each and the all important electric kettle.  On arrival you set up the brewing up area and you have the bin to hand for all the little bits that normally accumulate as you begin the mammoth unpacking session.

Luckily I even kept the box my jars came in, so everything is safely stored and will be taken this week.

Sue xx

Monday 23 September 2013

Our Money Disappeared up into the Loft

We went shopping, we spent lots of money and then Lovely Hubby put it all up in the loft .... now we'll never see it again, we don't store things in the loft as we don't have 'things' to store, so I hope we won't have to go up there for a long, long time. 
But hopefully now with double loft insulation we will have raised the energy performance of the house and saved ourselves lots of money in the long term, so it was a good investment, but still nearly £200 just vanished up into a little wooden hatch in the bedroom ceiling !!
We also managed to get the bathroom completely decorated this weekend, just a couple of final little green touches are needed as we've decided there will be touches of our favourite shade of green in every room of the house alongside a flash of LH's favourite colour orange.  LH also managed to buy parts for and mend the upstairs toilet and it's now completely usable so no more long treks to the downstairs bathroom in the middle of the night.  We also measured the flue for the new log burner to be installed, it turns out the flue already in place is perfect for our new larger log burner needing just an elbow shaped addition, so the money we have saved on not buying a flue will cover the cost of the slate hearth we have ordered to sit over the quarry tiles, which looked out of place and were not deep enough for the new log burner which is much bigger than the one already there (this will be reused in LH's super duper deluxe Manshed in the future, so no wastage at all).
 The man came to look at the oil fired central heating boiler ....
.... and the requiem mass will be held for it in a couple of weeks.   
We are now taking a scraper to our bank accounts to find the money required to buy a new one to replace it (this isn't really ours, just a 'tongue firmly in cheek' picture off Google Images, ours is slightly better).  We may as well get this done now while the house is being decorated and with a cold Welsh Winter on it's way we think it is very necessary purchase.
The ceiling in the spare bedroom is now painted and a new light fitting installed as the vendors took this one away with them and left us just the wires dangling.  So next weekend I will be doing the walls and woodwork and hopefully completing it by putting up the curtain rail.  We will then move our mattress into there and then start on our bedroom which will take longer as there are cupboards and wardrobes to paint. 
As well as all the work and shopping for loft insulation etc we managed to take time out to walk the dogs along the banks of the River Conwy and also along the Promenade at Llandudno.  There are lots of these 'Alice in Wonderland' inspired wooden sculptures there, I don't know the link between Llandudno and Lewis Carroll so I wondered why, do any of you know ?
Sue xx
Simple September - Top Tips #14
Do It Yourself Yoghurt Fruit Corners
How many of you load your supermarkets trolleys with a selection of Fruit and/or Crunch Corners, buying the offers and then stacking them all in the fridge.  Everyone in the family having their favourite and then sulking if it gets pinched by someone else.  Throwing all those weirdly shaped little pots into the bin or the recycling if your particular council takes that sort of plastic.
Well do it no more, save lots of money and waste ... and have more fun.
Either buy the extra large pots of plain yogurt , usually a cheaper option or make your own, either from scratch as I usually do or with Easiyo yoghurt mixes as I am currently doing to use up my stash, that was re-discovered at the back of the cupboard.
Once the yoghurt is made line up all the potential 'extras' so that whoever fancies some can customise their own. 
Fruit Compotes
Lemon Curd
Slices of Fresh or Dried Fruit
Stewed Fruit
Any Breakfast Cereal (Coco Pops,Cornflakes, Cherios etc)
Seeds and Nuts
Crumbled out of date Breakfast Bars
The choices are as wide as your imagination. 
You can also pot it into individual lidded pots once assembled for packed lunches and for travelling.
As well as saving you money you can add only enough, if any, sugar to the yoghurt and know that yours will be healthier than any purchased one.  The Fat Free ones all have added sugar and sweeteners to make them more palatable and isn't it just nicer anyway to know exactly what's in your food.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Happy Sunday

So true :-)

I try :-)

Awwww  :-)

Saturday 21 September 2013

Friday 20 September 2013

Anybody Want a Pet Boa Constrictor

Rosy, our little Jack Russell got fed up waiting for her tea last night and went out and caught herself a rabbit.

 She devoured it eagerly and as I'm too squeamish to take them off her and LH was too busy this time she got to eat the lot.   When LH came in for his tea he said "don't look out the window now she's just got the ears left to swallow", and sure enough all that could be seen were two ears sticking out of her mouth flapping up and down and she struggled to swallow them - yuk, yuk and double yuk. 

She obviously thinks she's a Boa Constrictor that dog of mine.

Picture from Google Images

Although she could also get a job at a gym, because every morning when she hears the words "it's time for crunches" on my 'Slim in 6' exercise Dvd she leaps off the sofa and gets into position for press ups and crunches.  I've been trying to get a photo of her for ages now, but she runs off laughing when I try.

This is the nearest thing I could find to give you an idea, but NO Rosy does not have her own exercise mat!!

Sue xx

Simple September - Top Tip #13

When making Scones don't bother with a rolling pin and a cutter, all that rolling cutting and re-rolling to get the most from your dough simply overworks it, instead pat gently into a circle and cut into quarters.  Your Scones will rise better and be wonderfully light and fluffy inside .... and you will have less washing up.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Not so Green Tomato Chutney

For me now's the time to start harvesting everything that needs to be brought in, especially all the things that won't survive these much colder nights and damp mornings that we've been having.  Yesterday the last of the tomatoes were picked, as you can see they are all green, there's not much chance of any ripening going on now so I thought I would make some Green Tomato Chutney.

I was lazy and didn't even look out my recipe for Green Tomato Chutney instead I found a Red Tomato Chutney recipe at the top of my folder so used that.  It can't be that different can it?  Chutney is chutney is chutney it's all basically veggies and sometimes fruits simmered long and slow with sugar and vinegar.

At least now all my tomatoes are used up and safely bottled for future use.  The kitchen smelled wonderful, it was strange I don't usually like the smell of vinegar but the mix of garlic and ginger seemed to make it a heady, warming smell.

Now they are all safely labelled so I don't forget exactly what's in there or the date I made them.  Simple food for our simple lifestyle, and the first preserves for my new storecupboard, once I've washed out the cupboards that is :-)
Now I am going to go and pick all the Sweetcorn which will simply be popped in the freezer, so no nice cooking aromas in the kitchen today.
I've put the recipe I used one the Recipes I Use Regularly page at the top of the Blog.
 Sue xx
Simple September - Top Tips #12
Play with your food!!
This is one of the best bits of advice I can give you.  If you are feeding yourself and your family on a budget do not be afraid to play with ingredients and make things up as you go along.  Looking at the recipe I did above, to be 'real Green Tomato Chutney' it should have had different spices, white onions and have turned out looking a little greener.  But I know the ingredients that went into it and they are all things that we like so the finished food will be something we will be happy to eat.
If you have something you want to use up put the name of it into your Search bar and see what recipes come up, and then experiment, if you don't have some of the ingredients listed  use what you do have or miss some things out.  I also use 'Eat Your Books'  (at the top of my sidebar) which gives me instant access to all the recipes in all the cookbooks that I own to save me from flicking through too many books and losing heart.   
If you make any item out of foods that you like to eat it will be fine.  Be braver than usual and try things out.  Make it fun and if the kids are usually unsure of new things give it a wacky name and arrange it on the plate in a fun way.  My chutney for example could be 'Mum's Slimeball Tomato Relish'.
My kids had some strange names for the foods they ate, their favourite meal was actually 'Trees and Pillows' .....  Can you guess that one then ?   :-)

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Project 333 - Round 3

I know ....  I'm late starting this third round of Project 333, but I've had a lot on my mind :-)

I like choosing my Autumn clothes, somehow I think you can cover all eventualities with Autumn items, I mean in this country we know we need something warm, something waterproof and something practical, and these are the sorts of clothes I like best.

The shirt I'm wearing in the top picture taken at the start of this round of P333 was one of the ten items that ended up at the car boot sales we did over the Summer.  Yes, you read that right ... out of the 33 items I chose for the season, 10 of them ended up getting sold.  If you have limited clothes at your disposal they have to be right, no more than that, they have to be perfect for you and that is why I love Project 333 it streamlines your wardrobe so that everything in it is perfect for you.

To tell the truth it all went a little to pot this season, with everything that was going on in our lives it was bound to.   The clothes I bought to replace the ones I sold were never photographed and if the truth be told I don't even know how many items I actually have in my collection at the moment, a quick glance tells me it's more than 33 !

This was the star of Round 2, early in the season and over the last couple of weeks, my waterproof jacket has been the most worn item alongside my usual jeans.

Now it's time to get my wardrobe away from looking all Summery and light and ready for whatever Autumn and Winter has to throw at us.  Luckily I won't have to count my decorating gear in amongst the clothes I choose.  It's very liberating packing away for next year what I know I will need and wear and getting out some of the favourites from last Winter, almost like shopping from home but with no money leaving my purse.

If you want to find out a little bit more about me doing Project 333, have a read HERE or click on the Project 333 link in the 'Labels' list.

Sue xx

Simple September - Top Tip #11

Sort through your clothes, do you wear all that you have, if not why not?   Does it fit properly, does it need repairing or is it just 'not you', if you have any doubts at all be ruthless, either sell things through EBay or something similar, give to family or friends or donate to charity.  Yes, you might have paid for it but if you're not going to wear it why keep it, either liquidate your assets or just take away the guilt that is hanging in your closet looking back at you.  I swear this is the most liberating thing about getting rid of things.

 Have your wardrobe looking neat and tidy and arranged to suit your way of life.  Wash, mend and then store out of season clothes and shoes out of the way.  Using your holiday suitcase for this is a brilliant idea and means that if you did need something you can lay your hands on it immediately, and if you were going somewhere warm or unseasonal you will have all the right clothes in the right place anyway.

After you have sorted through your clothes hang up whatever is going back in the wardrobe with all the hangers facing the way you do not usually have them hanging, then when you wear things put them away with the hangers facing the way you do normally hang them.  At the end of a month or so you will instantly be able to see which clothes are not being worn and figure out what to do with them.

Taking control of something as basic as the things you choose to wear means that each day starts simply and therefore better.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Outside Space

First of all can I just say a whopping big THANK YOU.
Thank you for all the lovely comments and emails we received yesterday wishing us well in our new home and saying how much you like it.  We are really pleased with it, it took us a long time to find but I think the wait was worth it.
This is the view from our bedroom window showing most of our land and woods. 
 In total we have around 4.5 acres including the woodland which makes up about half of that.  The land we own goes up to the far fence line that you see in this picture, with the rough scrubbier land beyond that currently on rent to the house for a nominal amount per year as it was purchased by the Highways Agency off the then owner of the house in readiness for moving the main road slightly further down the valley.  Yes we will be on a much quieter road in a couple of years with this one simply being the back road for properties on it, very good for us and the value of the house.  Once this work has been completed we should be able to buy back the far bit of land and then we will own up to the tree line at the bottom.
The woods start with a gradual incline and then rise up steeply, not good for growing anything but wood and pigs, so perfect for us.  For the next couple of years we will do a little bit of woodland management and stockpile fallen wood for the log burner as we work in claiming back little bits of land at the back of the house, but after that we will hopefully be able to let the pigs live in peace in the trees with their pig arks lower down .

The views are absolutely amazing and it will be oh so easy to spend time gazing into space. 
Even more so now we know there is pair of Red Kites living in the locality.  It seems they follow us wherever we go.  When we moved to Oxfordshire the skies were full of them as it had been a feeding area to help re-establish them, we were told when we moved to where we live now that we would not see many at all, but over the year we have been here they have moved into the surrounding woods and we see and hear them constantly.
We saw one of the pair that live near our new Welsh hillside on Sunday, it soared majestically over the valley and vanished into the distant trees.  It would seem that we are arriving at the same time as the Kites to colonise this particular Welsh valley :-)
This is the view from our neighbours side of the fence looking down on to our rooftop, her house is in the distance nestled in a little dip of trees.
As we gradually fill our new home with our possessions and new purchases we will find out just how spacious it is, comparing it to here I think it is very similar in sized just configured completely differently, well for a start we have stairs :-)
The main thing I think is the light, the little 1930's bungalow we live in at the moment is dark and dreary, our new home is filled with light and we will be maximising this even more by painting everything white, with splashes of a variation of my favourite shade of green.  Today we are going to get some paint mixed up that will be used to inject green into every room of the house in one way or another.
Exciting times.
Sue xx
Simple September - Top Tips #10

When is a bargain not a bargain - when the jar you bought last week on offer at £2 is 200g heavier than the jar you bought this week 'on offer' at £2.

Sneaky, sneaky Mr T*sco !!
Tip of the day keep your wits about you at all times when shopping.
Laura over at No More Spending fell for something very similar last week!
And also ..... grab a useful bargain when you can. 
All these were on fantastic offer at Approved Foods the other week, the chocolate bars are heading to Wales with us this week as nice little treats for the decorators ... that's us by the way.  You have to do something to make me wield a paint brush and I'm afraid bribery with chocolate is still known to work !!
The Naan breads will be lovely dipped into homemade curry, reheated in the microwave after a hard days work.
The biscuit mixes, in the jars, will be made up here and taken with us in a tin each week along with a homemade loaf and a homemade cake, I think this particular decorating army is most definitely marching on it's stomach.