Friday, 30 December 2011

~Last Post of 2011 and Last of The Turkey~

We're just finishing picking over the last of the turkey tonight, and for the second time this week we're having a curry.  This recipe is adapted from Gary Rhodes' quick chicken curry in his 1997 book Short Cut Rhodes, it's a quick and easy way to use up any leftover meat (even chicken or pheasant too.)
Chopped leftover cooked turkey
3 tbsp cold-pressed Rapeseed Oil
2 onions chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
Medium curry powder/ garam masala to taste
I can Carnation evaporated milk
Handful of sultanas
Dash of milk
Salt & Pepper
Soften onions in the oil until transluscent, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the curry powder and cook for a couple more minutes.  Season the chopped meat and add to the onions.  Keep stirring to prevent burning.  Add a dash of water to deglaze the pan, then add the can of evaporated milk and the sultanas (optional).  Simmer for about 10-15 mins, add a drop of milk to prevent sticking, if needed.

~It's Nearly Over For Another Year!~

Well, it's nearly New Year and all over again for another year!  Time to think ahead to 2012 and the joys and challenges it will bring. I need to really have a concerted effort to get back into my cycling and circuit training (cheap exercise, no need for expensive gym membership) as I've not exercised for a few weeks now due to my back  - and also not wanting to venture out of hibernation. 
We've had a busy family Christmas, very enjoyable with lovely get-togethers, food and drink; but now I need to *step away* from the Fox's biscuits, Christmas cake, cheese, Prosecco and sloe gin and consider my expanding waistline.
We've had more shopping in York, with time for China Rose Petal tea at Betty's...

Little Betty's in Stonegate, York
I've had a clearout of my wardrobe and drawers (destined for the Sue Ryder shop) and done a little bit -very minimal amount-  of sales shopping as I am not a big fan of malls/shopping centres and the bad-tempered crush that they bring.
Crafting wise, I am still knitting wristwarmers...the ones for my brother's partner were only finished late on Boxing Day prior to her visiting on the 27th.  How rubbish am I?
My current project is these lovely ones...

I'll show them when they're finished.
All that wishes is to say Happy New Year to you all and see you soon on the other side in 2012! I'm going to have a think as well about resolutions - I want to make some changes this year and am determined to be determined!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

~York Shopping & Cath Kidston treat~

Gosh it's cold this weekend. No snow here yet though; just a keen frost. Small Dog has needed his cosy jumper, even in the house...
I've treated myself to some new fleece welly liners from Seasalt - my favourite shop when I'm in Cornwall.

They were half price in the pre-Christmas sale - £7.50, free P&P and I got a free jute bag too. Free P&P is on until midday tomorrow (Monday 19th December) which is last chance to order for Christmas. My Festival Hunters are now 4 years old and have scrubbed up well for another year.  They've withstood allotment digging and are so comfy, even on long walks.
Yesterday we ventured into a twinkly and Christmassy York at 4pm - daughter L was at work and son J was at a party/sleepover - so it was just us two which is rare! We had some hot fruit punch from a street stall and wandered round the pretty streets ...

Minster Yard/Low Petergate,  York
...managing a decent stop-off in Cath Kidston in Stonegate, where OH treated me to this beauty...

Cath Kidston Carryall Bag - Stone Country Rose
It's a shopper, but big enough to use as an overnight bag. I love their pretty Christmas paper bags too.
Off now to do a bit of wrapping!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

~Winding down for Christmas~

Catching up with reading lovely blogs and their beautiful seasonal photos just now makes me feel very cosy, smiley and festive - and a little guilty that I haven't done much in the way of festive posting.  To be honest, I haven't had much time spare due to work and home/family day-to-day stuff, but I finish work on Thursday for the Christmas break! Hurrah!
 I'm admiring nostalgic decorations on other blogs (especially at Beyond the Nook today).  My kitsch mini-kitchen tree is home to my thifted vintage baubles...

 ... unfortunately they're not family heirlooms; I only wish I had kept my Nana's Christmas stuff.
(Excuse the overflowing drinks trolley, by the way!)
My mantlepiece has been jollied up with a garland I've made by stringing together handmade vintage wooden decorations on garden twine.  My Mum gave me them this week to take care of...
I just need to do some hedgerow greenery-snipping this week and add the holly and ivy.
Fairy lights are everywhere, on mirrors, pictures, even in the downstairs loo!
I get them from Lights4Fun, a Yorkshire company based in Harrogate.
And I bought 2 tins of this gorgeous stuff...

Peppermint Bark...yum! Half price in M&S at £4.   Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits blogged about this last December and has a recipe for the homemade version here .  Yes, I really should have made it myself, but coveted the lovely reusable red tin it came in, which will be used to store my ribbons and buttons.
Have a lovely week everyone - I'm looking forward to Thursday evening when J will be singing at the Primary School carol service in the beautiful village church.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

~Thrifty weekend & joining a knitting circle~

I've really tried to cut down on my food shopping bill - which is hard with a hungry OH and 2 growing children-  but I do try to take on board all the fab advice from frugal and thrifty blogs.  I'm not brand-loyal or supermarket-loyal; for a big stock-up shop I just go where's convenient at any one time, or as I see special offers.  However, for the last month I've had Sainsbury's vouchers for £8 off a £40 shop each week.  I've used the voucher every Saturday and have concentrated on spending as near to £40 as possible, on some fresh items, staples such as tins of beans and tomatoes and also Christmas food & wine that has been on offer. I've used the local Sainsbury's in Tadcaster, which is only small but costs me less in petrol.
On the Christmas pressie front, I've used my Boots Advantage card points to pay for aftershave to give as a present. I'm still on with my knitting too...if I know you and you're female, then you're either getting a homemade teacosy...

Another Christmas Pud cosy made from leftover wool, machine sewn felt holly leaves and felted holly berries.
On a vintage thrifted teapot.
 ... or wristwarmers (I've made a few pairs now).  Also this weekend in the supermarket frozen raspberries were 3 packs for £5, 1.2kg in weight. With a 1kg bag of jam sugar and 300ml of port, I've made lovely festive jam, by the method I've blogged about before,  in the microwave - quick and easy.    It made 6 and a half small jars which will be presents too.
I also resisted the temptation to shop, albeit at a Vintage Fair in Leeds.  Even though I love this particular fair I stopped myself by thinking about the cost of petrol, frosty roads, needless spending on stuff etc. 
Instead I did something good for the soul and went along to a knitting circle whilst I was in Tadcaster, at Needlecase . I'd chanced across this lovely wool and craft shop last month...
Needlecase is run by Jean and Judith, who are mother and daughter, and are passionate about knitting and needlework.  They also offer crochet and knitting workshops see here.
 Lots of lovely yarns and patterns, plus haberdashery, kits and craft supplies, and some ready knitted items to buy...

I had a lovely chat, cake and cup of tea and did a fair bit of knitting (only went wrong once because I was nattering) and will definitely go again.

Needlecase Limited,
22 Kirkgate, Tadcaster LS24 9AD
01937 830 422 
Open 9.30 - 3.30.  Closed Wed and Sun.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

~Link to a Lovely Giveaway~

'Tis the season for lots of exciting giveaways on the lovely blogs I follow.
The Christmas Giveaway on the blog Poppycock & Other Creative Nonsense is especially generous as there are 12 lots of goodies to choose from if you are the winner! All you have to do is pop over and leave a comment before 7pm on Sunday 11th December.
Sally is an artist and crafter from East Yorkshire who sells her textile creations under the name of Fabric Mountain on Folksy here. I passed on a Liebster award to Sally's blog, as it's one of my favourites.  One of the recent posts about a craft fair that Sally exhibited at featured some mini-journals that I coveted...they arrived today, wrapped beautifully in seasonal tissue paper...
along with this lovely Robin postcard which I will display on my kitchen shelf.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

~Recent thrifty finds~

I love reading other blogs because they make you think! I agree with Jane at Posy that the speed at how December advances usually fills me with panic about what's still to do... and I worry that I haven't managed to achieve all the practical housey stuff that I'd hoped in 2011. However this year I do feel a bit more laid back, as if I've jumped off the Christmas Consumer-Carousel and stopped my head from spinning... I've decided I'm unwilling to spend ridiculous amounts on food and presents this year, through necessity and because we do not actually need many things. I'm in agreement with Frugal Queen on that one. I know we're all different, and there's 'them that shop for leisure and them that don't'. However I do feel that whilst many folk are manically scurrying shopping in Meadowhall or the Trafford Centre, I'm content still pootling about in my local High Streets.  This also means I have time for a spot of gentle thrifting (yay!)..My recent finds...
White Stuff cardigan (wool and cashmere). Charity shop in Garforth near Leeds, £4.

Spotless Tupperware containers, £1.25...think these will be fab for olives, cheese and crackers for picnics or camping.
And, yes another blanket! This Vantona one was £3 from the Mind charity shop...I'm sure it's from the 1960s or 1970s, in lovely used condition.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

~Christmas Wreath~

The Christmas wreaths I fancy for the door are always too expensive.  If I spent a lot of money I'm afraid I'd be too worried it might get half-inched (sad but true).
So I've done what I've done before....
I bought the cheapest wreath of fresh greenery from the local greengrocers (£7.50), then removed the unwanted paper bow and fake poinsettias (yuk). Added a gingham fabric bow (last year's recycled ribbon). I then used craft wire to add 3 fresh red chillis plus greenery and berries from the garden.  I've used orange pyracanthus berries, variegated holly and fatsia japonica flower heads.

I wonder if people will think of their fuel bills and the credit crunch this year and think twice about putting their outdoor decorations and fairy lights up? I've just strung some battery operated LED lights on the box trees outside the front door, whereas in years past we would have had icicle lights and illuminated snowflakes a-plenty.  

Friday, 2 December 2011

~Christmas Giveaway Link~

Find some time over the weekend to pop across to Marmalade and Catmint to enter the free giveaway to win some lovely Christmas goodies.

For 3 chances to enter all you have to do is...

1. Leave a comment on Marmalade and Catmint's blog asking to be entered into the draw.
2. Become a follower of Marmalade and Catmint.
3. Link back to the post on your blog about the giveaway.

~Liebster Award - a hug from other Bloggers!~

I feel so lucky to be given the Liebster Award from 2 lovely bloggers!
I only discovered what this was yesterday.  I thinks it's like giving a *hug* and encouragement to fellow bloggers, spreading the word about us newbies with less than 200 followers who may be writing about stuff of interest to other lovely folk...It means dearest or beloved. And so the love goes on....I shall display it proudly thanks to lovely, lovely Anne at Marmalade and Catmint (who will get an extra slice of cake when she visits my tea event in February) and also Emma at The Log Cabin . Thankyou ladies x

The Rules
  • Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  • Reveal your top 5 blogs and let them know by leaving a comment at their blog.
  • Post the Award on your blog (proudly! yay!)
My top 5 deserving the Liebster award all are lovely friendly and humorous people - crafters, fabric & crockery collectors, thrifters, make do and menders....
Poppycock & Other Creative Nonesense Sally is an East Yorkshire artist, very clever lady.  Makes beautiful art and sends me encouragement and support.
Life on The East Coast Dawn has a lovely blog.  She lives in beautiful Suffolk. Fab way with words, very honest and inspirational photos.
Daffodils & Snowdrops I also love Em's photographs and write-ups of thrifty, retro and vintage places to visit.
Vintage Jelly Linzi makes me laugh out loud with her posts. Brilliant. Another blogger who loves fabric, crafting, being thrifty and growing your own.
Your Handmade Home Melissa is a clever lady making a living from sewing and crafting lovely homewares. She also has a teapot and vintage crockery obsession (like me).

 ~My first few months blogging has been a revelation - thanks to all you lovely people out there ~
*Sob* Kate Winslet eat your heart out!

~Christmas Foodie Treats~

Just wanted to share a couple of my favourite foodie treats that I bought today for Christmas. I visited Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, where I love the Little Delicatessen, which stocks deli food, local produce and local brewery ales (Sam Smiths & John Smiths breweries are in Tadcaster).
This is so gorgeous if like me, you love cherries...

Organic cherry fruit beer.
I bought a few bottles as Christmas day table gifts. How lovely is the artwork on the label too?
And Tracklements Chilli Jam....

Despite making my own Chilli Jam, this was the first one I ever bought years ago, and it remains top of my list. See Tracklements range here. Here it is in front of my Kitsch kitchen Christmas tree, and yes I have already had a spoonful! Hopefully there'll be some left for Christmas Day!
The Little Delicatessen
3 High St
United Kingdom
Tel: 01937 833244