Friday 31 January 2020

Something different for Valentine's Day.

I was gifted the Love Hearts personalised tube as well as the Hamper in return for this post. Why not go and look for some thing different yourself. Pop over to and see if there is anything you fancy. But wait a minute if you order between February 1st and 14th you can save 15% across the whole site by using code V15, this makes them an even better buy.

No matter where you go right now you will find yourself surrounded by gifts to give to your Valentine, funny gifts, serious gifts, chocolates. wine, flowers, soft toys and the like are all being plugged now. But I am sure I am not alone on not thanking you for any of those, I like to receive something different for Valentine's Day.

a display in the supermarket 

I don't do dairy due to intolerance, I am tee total, add to that being a hay fever sufferer so that rules out chocolates, wine and a bunch of flowers. Same with perfume and smelly candles, my body makes me very awkward to buy for.

But all hope is not lost as there are companies like Swizzels  Matlow. They are over ninety years old, still a family business who take pride in everything they do.We have all grown up with Swizzels in our lives, from Love Hearts, Refreshers, Squashies - my husband's favourite, Parma Violets - DD1's favourite Rainbow Drops as well as my favourites - double  lollies.  But have you heard about the personalised gifts they make?

They have two products that are new this year,  a  limited edition pink Love Heart rolls, yes the wrappings are pink but the love hearts are as multi coloured as they have been since Swizzels Matlow introduced them in 1954. You can treat you loved one to a gift set of 30 mini packs of pink wrapped Love Hearts in a clear bag, hand tied with a pink ribbon for £9.99 + p&p .

love the emoji ones 

They have also brought out  Love Hearts in tubes that can be personalised with either a name of a message of your choice and it contains twenty five mini rolls. I can see this being a nice way to propose as well as congratulating people, apologising to somebody or treating the children. These also come in at £9.99 + p&p.

the tube with 25 mini packs in

They also have hampers to suit every price range from £2.99 up to £21.99 which comes in a real wicker hamper.

The £7.99 + p&p hamper

the red hamper for £7.99

I used some last year to decorate (I use the term decorate lightly as I was still in a lot of pain in my arm and shoulder when these were made) Minky and Dinky's birthday cakes. Had four family cakes to make in that week.

blowing out candles 

We have a standing joke in our family, yes we are daft but hey ho, DD1 loves Parma Violets and so she tells the children they are dangerous for children to eat, and if the children find them in a mixed tub they have to give them to mummy and she will dispose of them safely to keep her children safe......she eats them when the children are not here is a picture I shared last year when I bought a tub.

the "dangerous" ones

Saturday 25 January 2020

Project 366 week 4

Not sure where this week has gone but gone it has. Have managed to add to my mileage everyday with my exercise bike as well as walking. As well as doing various exercises with my ab machine.


Was waiting for a delivery, a late Christmas present from a friend. Was due in the afternoon so we decided to go out for a walk in the morning. Decided to head to Troon as not been there for a while. Did a chilly mile along the beach then back to the car and went and did another mile along the cycle path. Home for the delivery. The sunset was lovely here tonight watching it changed colour.

nothing to line it up with. 


We went into town, I went and visited a friend and hubby went to friends house to pick up the few bits and pieces of ours that was still in friends house as he is moving up north to live with his mum.
Nipped into town after tea to pick up the few bits we had left in friends stairway before somebody else snaffled them. Did a walk along the river and treated ourselves to a mince pie supper as after 8pm the chip shop does suppers for the price of singles, so had  a treat and change out of a fiver.

The name of this Indian restaurant always makes me wonder from where the name comes from.

the name makes me chuckle


Went and helped an elderly friend who was having trouble setting up a new phone. Then went for a walk.

dog on a log


Spent quite a bit of the morning doing housework. Not sure how we get so messy with just two adults in the house. Stuck  prime music on the tv while I was working away.
The lyrics were about three songs behind, just as well I did not want it for karaoke.

A walk round the park later in the after noon.

Susan Boyle.
Some Susan Boyle to work to. 


Had a GP appointment this morning to discuss a few things and run a few ideas past her. Hubby had to wait in as friend was down with his mum for a meeting and we had his prescription he needed to pick up.
Then parked the car a mile away from the shops and walked into town to potter round the shops, first time I have had time to potter by myself in a long time. Spent less than £3. Then walked back to the car, all added to my mileage for the week.

Popped into Morrison's as had run out of dog food. Spotted some Soya ice cream while I was in there. Name brand soya ice cream normally costs about £3.50 for a 500ml tub, this stuff is only 80p and it is lovely.

dairy free ice cream
very reasonably prices dairy free ice cream


Got a phone call yesterday afternoon to say the car would be with us mid morning today. Not sure what time their morning starts but they were here at 5 past 8 this morning. Luckily I was up, have not been many mornings in the last few months as just got lazy and out of any any routine with not needing to get up in a morning.

So transferred everything from the courtesy car back into ours, gave their car a quick hoover and a wipe round with some baby wipes, to move a few dog paw prints off the door  inside the car, we had put the dog cover on the back seats of the car anyway so the seats were still clean, and took it back to them.

Our car has been sitting for weeks so wanted to take it for a good run to make sure the battery was well charged.

Took a run down to Ardeer beach, home to the only 'official' naturist beach on the south west Scottish mainland, in the warmer weather than today. We found a "matching " pair of left footed yellow wellies and a fisherman's outfit, sadly not both at the same area of the beach.

Went down to watch the kids while DD1 took Bob to gymnastics.

Minky loves his Lego and today's chosen game was build with Lego bricks. He did much better than I did. I much prefer Spuds choice of games, usually come in a box and I can manage them. 

Minky's designs 


In to do the cheap shopping, pick up hubby's prescription from the chemist and walk the dog. We did 2.3 miles as dog sniffs along at a rate of approx 1.5 miles an hour. 
You can read my post here about  the Food membership club which is where I get what I call my cheap shopping. 

10:10 Trust.
not a bad haul for £3.50, also got bread and vegetables as well. 

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Thursday 23 January 2020

Making the most of a Food Membership Club. #WotW

 I have been helped out lately by buying food through a food membership club. I think it serves a double purpose as a lot of the items would end up as waste at a supermarket so it is very eco friendly as well as helping people out. There are quite a few of them spread springing up across the country

This weeks word of the week is


I think a lot of us feel the pinch and much more so in January, it is a long month with most of us getting paid before Christmas and despite what we say we all dip into the Christmas wage for a "few last bits".

So what is a Food Membership Club?  

 food membership club is for families and individuals living in a particular catchment area which helps to reduce food bills. Food in the Storehouse will vary weekly but will always include fresh and frozen produce and other essentials.

So how does it work?

Members join the co-operative model food club, pay a small weekly fee and in return can visit the Storehouse once a week for a weekly shop.

Who can join?

Individuals and families who have a low income, are unemployed or facing financial challenges can join. 

This Club has made a massive difference to me, and to be honest I am not sure we would be managing to eat three times a day without it. Some people may see it as charity and feel there is a stigma attached but as you actually buy the food then I don't feel it is charity, but a win win.  

We pay £3.50 a week,  this buys us ten items which I choose for yourself  a maximum of two items out of the freezer, you can choose one item off of the luxury shelf, that is things like a box of cereals or a tin of biscuits or sometimes a cake and make up to the ten with a variety of tins, packets, jars, rice, pasta, stock cubes. They also have a fridge the content of which varies wildly, some weeks there is cold meat, eggs, gammon steaks, sausages, bacon and you can add these items as part of your ten as well if you wish to. They generally have some sort of dairy free milk in the fridges as well. Most of it is UHT milk so keeps for a long time, but if I can I pick up two a week to make my fridge porridge with, most of these are over a pound each if you are buying them. I try if possible to buy items I can use for main meals as I feel it is a good help towards eeking out a limited budget. 

I pick my ten items first and pay for them and pack them in my bag.  Then I go and see what they have in the line of fruit and vegetables as these items are add ons and you can take as much or as little as you feel you need. I like to stock up on both as I cook fruit before I can eat it it does not matter to me if it is a bit soft, once it is cooked sometimes along with a can of white label fruit that I have in the cupboard I bag it and freeze it so that if some weeks they don't have any I can use it from my freezer.  I have bought some reusable freezer bags instead of using these single use ones. 

cooked and frozen fruit 

I do the same with the vegetables. It can require a half morning in the kitchen time I peel, prepare and bag, but a small price to pay for the saving I make. I slice veg in my processor, makes them all a uniform size and then they all cook at the same rate and in a lot less time than left whole, again cutting down on power.  

Kingdom Storehouse Ayr
vegetables waiting on being prepped. 

food processor and veg peeler 

a bowl full of peelings 

sliced and ready for the freezer. Trying some tie handle bags that I hoping will wash and reuse. 

While I was preparing vegetables last week I made a pot of soup to which I added a tin of black eyed beans for extra protein.

vegetable and black eye bean soup. 

I also made a slow cooker full of corn beef hash that I picked up as a tinned item. The next night I made these into corn beef hash pasty and serves them with some extra hash on the side. The pastry was in the freezer as I had picked it up in the reduced section before Christmas. No extra veg needed as plenty in the hash.

corn beef hash pasty

While I  had vegetables on the go I also prepped oven cooked veg, sprinkled with some oil, seasoned, and covered lightly with tin foil and served with roast chicken and roast potatoes, means I am not using the hob to cook veg when I have the oven on already. A great time to pop a cake or a rice pudding in as well.

The oven cooked vegetables could alternatively be served with a tin of green lentils that are drained and added ten minutes before the end of the cooking time.

oven cooked seasoned veg

Once I have collected the fruit and veg I then go and pick up bakery items. Again these vary week to week, I quite like the M&S loaves, these come in various sweet loaves, the cranberry and pecan nut is a favourite of mine and the sultana, raisin and cinnamon is very delicious as well..

I also pick up normal bread as well. If it is slightly stale you can make it into bread crumbs and freeze it.

bread crumbs and grated cheese ready for the freezer. 

Or why not butter one side and use it to line a casserole dish and add your meat and veg and top with some more buttered bread always making sure the butter ( or oil or margarine) is to the outside and it makes an acceptable alternative to pastry. There is of course the traditional desserts like bread and butter pudding or a bread pudding. This one is great as well and you use older bread instead of dough.  The fruity loaves are great for this sort of thing. Then there is always eggy fried bread that could have some cheese added if you want to make a main meal with it, or why not just plain toast and beans? The still fresh bread can also be frozen until you need it.

different breads 

macaroni cheese topped with sliced tomatoes and a crispy top of cheese and bread crumbs 

They also have bunches of flowers every week that have past their sell by date bit often live for a week or so when you get them home. Nice to have a bit of luxury.

Why not look for something the same in your area. I am sure Social Work or maybe a benefit adviser will know if there is something you can tap into.

Word of the Week linky

Saturday 18 January 2020

Project 366 week 3.

A week of mainly rain with a few dry spells but have had massive winds here all week, probably like most of you at some point.


My free dishwasher has been playing up. Flashing intake/outlet error. So spent a few hours stripping it down, trying to clean it out as well as the filter on the inlet. Used you tube and found a extra filter to try and clean. Manage to get it working again but only works until it needs to empty and then it plays up again.

Today is Dixie's got ya day, we have had her for two years today.

Managed a walk along the river as well.

bike shed at the uni. 


Hubby had a funeral in the afternoon. I was going to go into town and take a walk while he was in but with #stormbrendan then there did not seem much point. Stayed home and made a pot of soup instead. If I am making soup to have as a main meal I will add lentils to it, if for lunches then it is just a selection of vegetables. I had some out of date lentil waves in the cupboard that were a bit soft so while not overly nice to eat straight from the packet they are great to add to a bowl of vegetable soup.

vegetable soup. 

Also spent time on the exercise bike.


Another rubbish day but spent time sorting out the freezers. Only took ten minutes. I have a fridge freezer and an under counter freezer and again they were a disorganised find nothing mess. Not that there is much in either of them. So I sorted one that now has in it cooked fruit, bags or prepared veg and bread, most of this was free from the community shop. They don't always have fruit or veg so I cook and freeze the stuff so I have a supply most of the time. Add some basic fruit from a tin and cook it in with the fresh stuff helps to bulk it out and saves it going off.

The other one now has uncooked main meals as well as the bulk cooked items that are then frozen into portions.

frozen fruit 


Bob had a hospital appointment for his asthma which has not been well controlled and there was a possibility he may have been kept in so I kept Spud to save DD1 having to worry about her as well. We went for a walk down the fishery to see the birds and feed the swans then played in the park on the way back up. It was rather chilly and very windy but we wrapped up well.
We sat and played games and she was really pleased with herself for doing a jigsaw on her own. She does not usually manage them in the past. Quite nice to only have one to pay attention to.

Spud wrapped up warm. 

Today is also baby Roos first birthday. Here is one of the pictures her mum sent us. An extra picture for you this week....

Happy Birthday not so baby Roo


Have a form to fill in to prove I am off ill. Thank goodness for the blog to remind me of what I did and when. Between GP, medication and total lack of being aware of anything due to the pain at the time I would not have remembered much without it.

Took me two hours to do the first six pages and I lost them when I went for a lunch break, luckily enough I had scribbled a lot of it down before typing it onto the form - needs to be filled in in block capitals on the physical form and I cant write in capitals.

Managed to do a mile on the exercise bike and a mile with the dog round the block.

We had a lovely sun set, nothing to line it up with here sadly.

nice sky, shame about the view 


Went into the town to do my cheap shopping, (for the new people it is a community food shop that collects bread, fruit and veg etc from local supermarkets and they distribute it as well as some in date tins/frozen food/cereals/eggs/and none dairy milk designed for people on a low income which saves food poverty and also saves landfill and believe me makes a massive difference eeking out the money we do have)   and a few bits from the supermarket. Walk the dog twice once before the shopping and one after. The sky might be a nice shade of blue but the wind was freezing.

Dixie exploring

Went down to sit with the three wee ones while DD1 took Bob to gymnastics. Dinky was in a tearful frame of mind as she was tired after a week at school and nothing pleased her.

Finished filling the form in ready for posting tomorrow.


Spent some of my Christmas money treating myself to an abs core fitness trainer. At the moment can only do the leg exercises and the sit ups but at some point will be able to do more. Need to start back on the walking HIIT you tube videos as well.

only time will tell if it works. 

Played catch up with Silent Witness this week. Finished watching No Offence, it was really good well worth a try if you like CSI type programmes. Started watching The Last Ship, the first 2 episodes were good but once I realised it dragged on for 5 series I could not see where it will be going apart from a vigilante gang style programme so gave up on that.
Now back into White Collar.

Hope you all had a good week.

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Saturday 11 January 2020

Project 366 the first 11 days.

I will do my annual introduction for any new members.

I have three daughters who feature on the blog and two sons who choose not to.
DD1 and SIL1 has five children, Fifi is 17, Bob is 13, Minky and Dinky the boy/girl twins are 6 and Spud will be 4 in March. They live just round the corner.
DD2 and SIL2 live approx 120 miles away, they have Ziggy who was 3 in August, and Roo who will be a year old this month. 
DD3, Auntie H  lives with Uncle M approx 7 miles away.

We have one rescue dog, Dixie, we have had her two years this month and she has become a delight to have. 
When I am not working, babysitting or dog walking I enjoy cross stitching, crochet, knitting and jigsaws as well as adult colouring, geocaching and of course my blog. .

So here we go for year nine of this project.

Going to start the #walk1000miles again as well as using my exercise bike regularly. This years motto is onward and upwards. Started using my arm more in the house for day to day things, feeling more confident on using it in the house as well as carrying light weight shopping when out. Little bits to strengthen it not big bits to push it backwards.

Wednesday Jan 1st

Today we did Christmas day, you can read all about it here.  Lots of fun, laughs, mess, noise and mayhem, just the way a good Christmas day should be. First time I have ever got all seven of them in one picture.

Minky was dragged away from his Lego, hence the lack of a smile. 

Dinky baked us a beautiful cake. Fifi measured the ingredients and put it on the oven and took it out for her and she did the rest all by herself. It was moist, light, soft and fluffy. Not bad for somebody who has just turned 6.

Hubby took Dixie dog for a walk to escape for a bit. She managed to hurt her leg somehow and came back with a limp.

Watched another episode of Chase The Bloopers, totally hilarious and would highly recommend if you want a good laugh.


DD2, SIL2 and the girls went to visit friends for the day. I hoovered and tidied and did a few miles on my exercise bike.
Took Dixie dog for a short walk round the block but still seems to have a minor limp.

This is the first visit we have had with baby Roo where she has been happy to interact and laugh with us when  her mum has been on the room, or stayed in the room when her mum left. Still not quite crawling but bum shuffling well.

she was playing with this before it was even out of the box. 


Went out to see Ziggy on her bike. She did really well considering she has only had four outings on the bike since she got it. Sadly where the live there are no pavements, straight out on to roads that are very very steep with cars parked both sides, a nightmare to drive or walk so will need to be put in the car to use at home.
We all sat and watched Tinkerbell.
Got a visit from my ex husband here to see all the grandkids and the girls.
The visitors headed off home once the girls were ready for bed.

we live on a hilly bit so pushed the bike back up to our house. 

aahhhhhhh hear the silence.....last few evenings have been anything but as Ziggy has been away from home for over a week, has been really busy and is well over tired and has been pushing her luck. Took DD2 over an hour last night of putting her back into bed every two minutes while she screamed with temper. Well done to her for persevering, can't change your mind and give in. Laughed as when they got her up this morning she ran back into bed again as she did not want to be up. She is not usually like this.

Also took a major strop as I said no to her getting more white paper to draw on ( need to buy more for the printer) when we have masses of coloured stuff. Such is the joy of three year olds. You love them regardless.


Dixie is still limping on and off  and lifting her back leg and walking on three legs. So going into town for my cheap shopping and doing the vet as the same time. Dixie has a luxating patella,  not much needs to be done about it unless it becomes a major issue. Many animals live with it all their life with no problems, and it is common in small dogs.

Friend often helps with carrying the shopping but he is moving up North at the end of the month so picked up a shopping trolley at a nearby shop while in the area of the recycling centre.
Was a bit peeved we separated out the rubbish  and then got told to put it all in the general waste that goes to landfill. Our bins were full to the top so easier to take it in bulk out of the bin than bit by bit.

will save my arms with heavy items. 


Had more rubbish to dump that would not fit in the car yesterday. So decided to head to Troon for a change. To say the least it was very windy. We did the best part of four miles despite the wind. Spotted some wind surfers but did not get a good picture of them as they were well out as it was low tide when we were there. Funny how round one bit of the beach the water was lapping the rocks on shore yet further round it was about a quarter of a mile out.

a very choppy sea.


Way to wet to get hubby and dog out for a walk but did a couple of sessions on my exercise bike.
Started knitting prem baby items for the hospitals again, small things to build the strength back up.
Had some vouchers for a none food shop I won a long while ago. Hubby keeps on about wanting a sausage I bought him roughly a hundred of them......could make a new film....
No I don't iron bedding hence the wrinkles.

101 dash hounds 


Still being frugal and making the most of what we have along with any bargains that I can pick up. The two blocks of cheese that I picked up for 10p each last week were grated and frozen and so tonight we had macaroni cheese. Added some cheesy breadcrumbs that I made with stale bread and froze as well - a crunchy topping adds a bit of variety and the layer of soft tomatoes saves wasting them.

eating home made is always good 


A run into town to pick up prescriptions get a couple of items we are running short on mainly my yoghurts as nowhere has had them on special for a while. Begrudge the £1.80 for a 500g tub when not that long ago they were nearer the £ mark. So got four while they were on special.

Went for a very cold as well as very windy walk along the beach at Prestwick while we were out anyway. There are a few rows of these brightly coloured benches that were painted by a local dementia group, make a change from the bog standard colour.

the benches cheer the walk up and contrast the moody sky.


The "new" car at the door confused a few people, I told them I had won the lottery....and so I did.....sadly not much change time I bought a second ticket with the winnings. The second one also won two numbers so will change it for a third.....and the third went in the bin.

Another appointment with physio. He is happy everything is still going the right way. Hopefully won't need to see him again, as lovely as he has been, as when I get back to work Staff Support will take over my care. Feels nice to be fully supported by work when off sick.

Did ask about going back out on the bike rides but he says not at the moment. To try my exercise bike and when I can do over half an hour on that with my hands on the handle bars the whole time with no ill effects then I can go back for short rides. I tend to ride indoors without my hands on the handlebars so going to have to start doing hands on.
 Also fancied a gym membership now I have turned 60 I get it at half price with the council facilities and they doing half again for six months if joining before the end of the month but that is currently a no go as well. I can use my rucksack as long as the chest strap is done up so will need to be content with walking.

Another walk along the beach. Flat calm seas and lovely blue skies but still chilly at 3 oC


Phoned the garage to see how the car was coming along as courtesy car only booked out originally till today. The parts have been ordered and will be 4-6 weeks before they get them so will be at least the end of the month. The new car is unnerving as it has stop start technology and I was not sure what was happening at first.

Needed a few bits and pieces and was a dry day so decided to take dog a walk and buy what I forgot yesterday, dog food...oops. Round here you have beaches or country parks to walk, I am not complaining, but the country parks tend to be muddy with all this rain so did the beach again. Bad enough we will be handing back a sand filled car let alone a muddy car.

Was no the most pleasant walk, a mere 2.4 miles, with the wind and the exposure but weekend suppose to be worse so making the most of it.

As of tonight I have done 38.04 miles in the first ten days of the year.

the boating pond at the beach park, a contrast with yesterday's flat calm.


A fellow crafting/comping friend from Facebook had this journal but says she will not used it so asked if I would like it, so she posted it to me, will need to mind and pay if forward again during the year.
Laughed to myself as it has space for 42 lots of wool you may have....think for my stash 420 is more like it. I particularly like the square boxes for you own designs.

looking forward to using this.

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Thursday 9 January 2020

Doing Christmas on New Years day

My word of the week this week is


We always do what we call second Christmas, a day where I have the growing brood, where they get their presents from our side of the family and we all have fun and create a mess and mayhem....a brilliant day. Not so sure if it counts as second was the first of the year....maybe 25th December will be second Christmas this year???

DD2, SIL2 and the girls came down on Tuesday afternoon and are staying for a few days.

We organised the living room, pulling the table out and pushing the couch right back to create more room.

DD3 and I walked down to get them, they are all very hyper and looking forward to this as it normally happens within a few days of Christmas and they have asked every morning since.

There seems a lot of presents but was for seven of them with presents from four different sources.

before they started opening. 

So we did present opening, first the bags from DD3 and SIL3. She makes then all various pieces of clothing with pictures, and slogans on, the children love them.

I had knitted some jumpers, Ziggy had one a while back as it was finished, was not sure all three of the others would be but thankfully they were. Spud and Minky spent the whole afternoon wearing theirs.

Spud kept her hat and jumper on most of the day

the older children are quite happy to play the younger games

There were a few balloons in one of the gifts I got for Minky and some of them spent a lot of the day amusing themselves with the balloons. Blowing them up and letting go of them so they flew off anywhere and everywhere.

blow, blow, let go Ziggy encourages Spud. 

more balloon playing 

trying to get it into the car it was suppose to propel. 

I have never known Minky have much attention span for anything. He starts playing a game and gets fed up of waiting his turn and such like but DD2 bought him a Lego dinosaur set. Make three models from the same set one at a time. He spent hours building first one model and then another. Uncle G ( SIL2) helped him for the odd bit but he followed the instructions by himself and made two dinosaurs

Ziggy and Uncle G helped for a while 

and then he ventured off and sat by himself.

got help with one or two bits 

Ziggy got a Rapunzel doll in a box, and loved both the box and the doll
Dinky made a cake, Fifi weighed out the ingredients she did the rest all be herself. Very light and fluffy it was to.
Dinky with her cake.

Dinky and DD2 making sticky pictures 

showing off the jumper I knitted

he must have grown since I measured him up a while back. 

half hour chill out time with a bit of tv

Roo eating frubes 

DD3 and Roo. 

Word of the Week linky