Thursday, 25 August 2016

Lovely Peas .....

For the first year in ages our pea plants are doing really well and we are getting to eat lots of their lovely green peas, both snacking while we're working outside and bringing a few in to add to various meals.  We will never have a panful the way we have when we cook with frozen peas (which we still have lurking in the freezer) but they are enough to add their lovely freshness to so many dishes, things like fishcakes and salads.

However, the same can't be said for the Butternut Squashes  ;-)

Sue xx

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Bargains ... But Not for Us to Use

I've just realised that I have yet to get around to showing you what I bought from the garden centre when I called in there last week with Mum.  

We had our lunch somewhere else but decided on the spur of the moment to drive to our usual lunch venue Wyevale in Altrincham, as Mum had heard there were final reductions in the end of season sale there.

And as soon as we walked in I spotted these fireguards, reduced from £14.99 to just £1 each.  Brilliant I thought if I buy three of these and sell them at the car boot sale for £3 each that will cover our entrance fee and the fuel we need to get there and so make it a completely cost neutral day ... and still give any purchaser a really good bargain for the coming Winter.

As I picked three up an assistant who was restocking the area must have overheard our conversation and shouted over to us 'there are some more of them if you want more', I said no thanks that I was more than happy with three and I went to pay for them and put them in the car while Mum ordered the coffees.

When I got to the checkout the assistant rang them through the till and then knocked an additional 70% off as that is what they were doing with ALL the sale goods.

So I got the fire guards for just 30p each!!

Needless to say, I went back and got three more after we had finished our coffee  :-)

So now we have six fireguards with a usual selling price total of £89.94, that cost me just £1.80 and that we will hopefully be able to sell for a total of £18.  So that will be our costs for the day covered and a little bit of spending money too.  Result!!

Sue xx

Monday, 22 August 2016

Three Years Ago Today .....

One thing I love about Facebook, apart from being able to keep in touch with family and friends from all over the country, is the little box that pops up each day with your 'Memories' for that day for each year that you have posted on Facebook.

One of today's was the photograph above and a link to THIS post. 

Wow .. how far we have come in three years!!  

In that post I talk of carrying on with the savings and over paying on the mortgage.  For the first two years that we were here we were allowed, under the terms of our mortgage, to pay off an additional 10% as an overpayment once a year.  We did just that, and then this time last year we left that restriction behind and although our interest level went up a smidge due to being out of the special offer period,  we could then start paying off as much extra as we like and can now pay off the whole amount whenever we want to.

We have been paying a double payment each month since last September and we are now on track for paying our mortgage off sometime in the first half of next year.  It's been a big ask, but we have stuck to our guns and challenged ourselves over and over and this has helped us stay on the straight and narrow with regards to spending.

Yes we do buy things when we need them, but that's just it .... it's when we need something not just because we want something.  I can now go round shops and admire what I see but not have the slightest inclination to buy anything.  It's nice getting home and having nothing to put away.

It's not been a hairshirt couple of years either, we do still have the occasional cup of coffee when we are out and about, we've been out for a couple of meals and even had holidays, well long weekends away here in other parts of Wales, but all that has been budgeted for and  been designed to be at the times when things might have been getting too much for us.

After all it's no good reaching the finishing line demoralised and totally knackered is it.  It's been a good three years, and thank you to all of you who have been along for the ride, and there's even more still to come  :-)

Sue xx

All the photos in today's post were taken when we viewed this house for the first time in June 2013.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A Successful Day at a Very Wet Show

I'm happy, happy, happy ..... we had a really successful day at the Llanrwst Show yesterday.

As you can see from the photo I came away with five firsts, three seconds and a third, they gave out two thirds in the Two Fruit Marmalade section as there were such a lot of good entries, so I was extremely pleased to be one of the winners.

My cucumber got a second place.

As did my rhubarb.

My pot of 'Six Cut Herbs' got a first.

And my pathetic unripened green truss of tomatoes got a second.  None of my tomatoes are red yet, well except for the little Tumbling Toms and they don't have trusses as such.

My '2 bunches of Celery' got a First. 

The one on the right which was pretty damn perfect and came about as a unusual result of my celery experimentation, which I'll tell you about another day, was obviously the one that swung it ... well that and me being the only entry in that section!!

My 'Lettuce and 2 other Salad Ingredients also got a First.

Ta da .... as did my Damson Gin  :-)

The third placed Marmalade.
That's two wins in almost as many weeks for my marmalade ... I must be doing something right.

Our eggs got a second place in a category that had lots of entries.

A big thank you should go out to our newest girls the Calder Rangers who lay such consistently good and very matching eggs.  And I had the inspiration to line our little plate with some hay, everyone else had used wood chippings, it made our eggs look even better being in their own little nest :-)

So we had a very good day at a very wet show, as unfortunately the weather gods did not smile favourably on the show at all yesterday, it had rained very hard all night long the night before, and this and the high winds continued throughout the whole day.  It meant that lots of the outdoor classes were cancelled, exhibitors either didn't show up or took their animals straight back home.  The fairground couldn't run and the only tent other than the poultry and horticulture tents that saw any real crowds was the beer tent.  I should imagine the show has lost an awful lot of money this year and to rub their faces in it even more today the sun is shining and the weather has improved in every way.

Still there was a good atmosphere in the 'Horticulture and Homecraft' tent and I really enjoyed entering again, ... and of course it means we have lots of already harvested and washed food to eat over the next couple of days.

Sue xx

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Polished and Ready to Go

Well here it is all polished and ready to go back.

This is the cup I won last year for getting the most points in the Horticulture Section of the Llanrwst Show.  It's lived on the shelves in the conservatory since then with the occasional flick of a duster and wipe with a damp cloth.  So it was time to get it off the shelf and give it a bit of tender loving care.

I polished it up using the easy, peasy cheaty method of hot water, Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda), tin foil and a deep bowl, and as you can see it's come up a treat.  Some parts of it are very brassy coloured, where the silver plating has rubbed off mostly the top where it has had years and years of polishing, hence my not wanting to rub it with anything at all.  Although what looks like a huge brass patch on the front is merely the reflection in the now highly shiny silver of our wooden worktop!!

Here's a little Link to show you simply how to do it.  I used a washing up bowl half full of water straight off the boil from the electric kettle.  The part of your silver that is touching the foil cleans up really quickly so make sure you turn your pieces over until they are shiny on all sides and then dry with a soft cloth.  I've cleaned silver and silver plate this way for years, it saves the excessive rubbing, and subsequent loss of silver though regular cleaning with polish and elbow grease and it works every time.

I doubt this will be coming home with me this year as I am entering a lot less classes this time, but I have my fingers firmly crossed for a First and maybe a couple of Seconds :-)

Sue xx