... because life's too short to do anything ALL the time . Creativity and positivity are my "hiraeth"

Monday, 19 January 2015


I wanted a maternity pillow.

Nah, don't be daft. I'm not expecting! (Never!) But I wanted a maternity pillow. Fancied one for ages but just never got around to getting one. They cost a few quid!

I have been doing some tidying, decorating and trowing out recently and I had a load of pillows and cushions that I no longer needed. SO I washed them, took them all apart and made my my massive pillow with a dress lining fabric remnant, and I made 2 covers for it with my favourite print cotton remnant.

Et voila! A lovely maternity pillow for those with a bit of a sore back and a love of comfort! That's me. Especially happy as it cost no money. I like that!

And I want curtains! Since we moved into this house 2 1/4 years ago we've never had curtains on the back window. When we decorated the dining room though, I decided I might like to put some up there. But me being me, I'm not just going to go out and buy some curtains. Where's the fun in that?!

I was in Ikea when I saw the fabric and LOVED it. I love the bright colours and European graphic design. I then noticed it was reduced to just £1 per metre - so I bought 4 metres. I could have easily bought more, but I reasoned with myself and just came away with the 4.

I already had some curtain tape from some old curtains, so I didn't have to buy that either.
My beloved machine has recently been serviced by Pontypool Sewing Machines - and it's now like a flying machine!

SO again, a bit of measuring, a bit of creative thought and I have the funkiest most colourful dining room curtains for £3 - I had a metre left over! Now what to do with that?!

I just love these - the happiest curtains in the world! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Big up the Healthy Slow Bargains

This post is dedicated to the slowcookers, the Slimming Worlders, the tight budgeters, the healthy eaters and the time poor. Oh and the snow sufferers!

We had a bit of the white stuff overnight. Some of us were quite happy about it...

I didn't really plan to go out, but then the roads cleared a bit and I went - I'm flipping glad I did.

I had to pop to get something for tea. Morrisons happened to be the closest. I don't usually go there, I must be honest. I noticed they had some nice 3 for £10 meat pack so I thought I might as well grab a set - it'll keep us going a few days. Got a busy few days coming up. But I soon put the 3 chosen packs back (nice and tidily - I worked in a supermarket, you can't unlearn that stuff!) when I saw the reductions section. I got this...

3 trays of cubed turkey breast, 1 tray of minced lamb, 1 tray of frying steak, 1 tray of turkey breast steaks, 1 tray of spare rib chops and a sirloin beef joint - all for £11.41. This can only mean one thing.


I love being organised. Sadly I'm not organised enough to be organised most of the time. It's ver much a "fits and starts" situation. Oh and I'm fat. Me and my Chosen One have put a few lbs on over Christmas, which is a shame as he'd lost 17 kilos on Slimming World prior to that. We need to get back on it, big style.

I'm a massive slow cooking fan. Low cost, easily healthy and it fits in beautifully with a busy household. Makes your house smell lush too! So, combining my love of Slimming World scran, slow cooking, partial organisation and budget good eating, I have set about my creation. 

I use Home Bargains roasting bags. 10 for 79 or 99p, Can't quite remember which. But they're the ultimate in pre-thinking organisation. Whole dishes go in one bag, in the freezer. Out of the freezer the night before you want them, plop it all in the slow cooker in the bag the next morning. Done. Sans effort.

22 portions I made from my £11 haul. I just used basic fridge and store cupboard ingredients to make different, convenient, tasty meals in a bag.

Lots of people talking about how to get good supermarket bargains. Sadly it's not an exact science, just trial and error with a bit of insider knowledge, if you can get it. For example, I used to work in my local Asda. Every morning at about 7am, the date code boys and girls start to gather up all the imminent sell by dated fresh foods. Once they have them all, they all get reduced. A bit. So 10ish is a great time to pick up the bargains that have just been reduced. There's usually a fair bit there, but it won't be reduced greatly. Throughout the day, at periods, the remains of it gets reduced further and further, so it's a bit of a trade off, go early for a bit of a reduction but a fair bit of choice, or go later for massive reductions but not usually on a great deal of fresh produce, often none.

Like I said, trial and error. Visit your local supermarkets and see if you can suss out the pattern.

Or you could just go to the butcher, which is usually much cheaper, and better quality so you need less. I like to do both - there's room for everyone and like it or not, we need our supermarkets to sustain a busy modern lifestyle.

Firstly. Tonight's tea.

I used the spare rib chops with all the fat trimmed off (there's only 2 of us for tea tonight) with onions, peppers, that sort of thing, and a generous helping of chinese powdered curry sauce from my local butcher. It's super low in fat etc and has minimal syns, but you could use a 0 syn easily. Chucked in, on for a few hours. The Chosen One is currently cooking the rice now to go with it - smells flipping lovely.

This is the beef joint, in a roasting bag, with red and white onions and a big splodge of wholegrain mustard. I can't wait for this one!

This is a turkey and spinach fakeaway curry off of the Hairy Bikers. Zero fat, zero syns. Tonnes of taste and gorgeousness.

Next to that on the right is spicy cajun steaks. They're frying steaks but I don't think it's treason to not actually fry them. Homemade cajun spice mix with leeks, onions, tomatoes, that sort of thing.

You can't see it too well but on the left is sweet chilli turkey and veggies. Onions, leeks, peppers, all of that good stuff, with a good splodge of Aldi sweet chilli sauce.You'd have to count the syns on that, but per person it'll work out very reasonably. And there's loads of super free veggies in there too. 

I gave away my chinese turkey curry. My daughter was off down her boyfriend's for a night or two so I gave them a ready to cook bag of turkey cubes, peppers, onions, all that, with another good splodge of the magical curry mix from the butchers. I think she was happy with it. Cost me less that £1.50 in total, saves them a load of time and effort.

I just had to remind her not to put her bag on the heater in the bus!

So a few labels later  (we've all done the "I'll remember what's in here" thing - and promptly forgotten what's in there) and the freezer's full of healthy, low syn meals for the next week nearly. For very few quids.

The only down side to doing all that prep in one go is you get to clear up a weeks worth of prep all in one go! The only thing I haven't yet used is the minced lamb. Someone made a good point on the Slow Coker Saddos group that it does make an excellent kebab. I think that might be how it ends up. But, to be honest, I ran out of energy and further ingredients for the time being.

That's quite enough organisation for one day! I'm going for a lie down with a damp flannel. Well I would if I could get to my bed for all the laundry that's on it...

You can't have it all!!!