Allotment Diary

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Grocery Shopping Rant and other bits

K is feeling a lot better today, thank goodness! We went to the Lottie and planted peas and runners. We had to give everything a good water, the weeds are getting out of control!

Grocery shopping - this month we have spent £323, that's a horrendous amount for 2 adults and 2 children and our budget is £250. We have overspent by £73 and we need things. K and I sat down tonight and decided to do the following
1. use up what we have, we have 1 large freezer and 2 smaller ones and they are FULL, stuffed to the gunnel's with food, how terrible that is too have so much food in, its what I call dead money - we've paid a supermarket money for food that we can then store for months! All those deals come around time and time again and yet we have fallen for the trap they have set us, well no more Mr Moneygrabbingsupermarket, we buy what we NEED and that's it.
2. We are drawing out cash each week for the shopping we need [£75 per week for June] and what we don't use goes into the car tax/insurance pot. If we need more money one week for shopping and we don't have enough then we have to wait till the next week till we can buy it.
3.Take advantage of offers but realise that the offers always appear again and again and again, we don't need to buy enough for 6 months, we need to shop smartly.
4. Get rid of the freezer in the garage, we've given ourselves 3 months to run it down, this will also save on the leccy to run it.
5. Use the money saved to buy car insurance for the year, pay upfront and then save for the next year, it may take us a couple of years to get to the point where we can pay in one instalment instead of 12 but this will happen and its cheaper to pay once a year [avoid those charges for monthly payments] we also want to pay for the car tax yearly instead of every 6 months as its also cheaper to do that.
6. Remember that every pound saved is ours and not the supermarkets

I can't describe how angry I am that we have fallen into the traps set by the supermarkets - we know better but we still got sucked in by them. We struggle every month, especially for the last 2 weeks and that's hardly surprising given how much we are spending on food! There are areas of expenditure we can do little about - petrol for example but where we can we will save. Lidl and Aldis will be our new bestest mates and Tesco can go jump, petrol is what we will use them for and also offers that suit us not them. We will also buy more from the Market - fruit and veg etc, we don't make enough use of the market, that's another change about to happen.

Nice part - I used Groupon the other day to buy tickets to take Mum and the children to a Medieval Day on Monday 4th June - day out for £12 plus petrol, we'll take our own food and drinks [we always do] and I'll buy the children an ice cream. They have pocket money to take with them if they want to buy themselves something but I buy nothing for them, sounds hard but they are happy with this. Their Dad gives them a lot of pocket money and they get to keep it and spend it on what they want to [within reason] everything they want to buy has to be okayed by me and its always discussed in detail and we scour the Internet to get things cheaply [D really "gets" this, C sometimes struggles and wants things NOW] Even if the weather is poop I'm sure we'll have a nice day.

Yesterday it was Mums birthday so we went for a walk at Harold Odell Country Park, boy was it hot, we were really daft and didn't take water to drink so had to buy a drink there, £4 for a tea and a hot chocolate, expensive, cake was £3 a slice - didn't buy any. We had a lovely, lovely walk.

The weather is due to cool down for a few days, that will make weeding at the Lottie a lot easier

Helen x

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cold, Hot, Red Hot

Cold - K has been poorly now for 3 days, he's in bed as I type this, he has a cold and a cough but its really dragging him down and he's fed up, this is his long weekend off and he's spent the majority of it in bed!

Hot - boy its hot here, even in the shade its too hot for me to sit out in

Red Hot - C has gone to a friends birthday party, talk about a pressie on the cheap - bath set from Boots 75% off sale and a make up set from the same sale, wrapped in reduced paper from MrT and put into a gift bag I was given for my birthday, card was reduced to. Value should of been £29 actual price was £8! They are going bowling and then out for a meal at "Red Hot" - the cost of this party must be [way too much for me to think about] C doesn't have a party anymore as I think that they should stop when they are 10, at least that's what I've told my 2. The cost of entertaining out is out of our league and the children are at the age when they don't want "home" parties anymore - shame as I loved doing them, oh well :{

Helen x

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Birthday, Lottie, Coughs and Colds


On Wednesday it was my 47th birthday - yeah!!

I was given lots of lovely presents. K and I spent the morning and some of the afternoon at the Lottie, planting things, weeding and generally tidying up. We took the camping stove and K made bacon butties whilst we were there - a lovely way to spend a day. We then went to my Mums for Tea. K stayed at home because by this time he was suffering badly from a cold which has now turned into a chest "thing". Poor man is really suffering now - and that's what happens when you give up smoking.

The weather here has turned very hot, I shouldn't complain but its a tad too hot for me - I like Spring and Autumn days and the snow, this heat makes me tired, it zaps my energy.

Today is another Lottie day if K is up for it, we'll see. He's currently snoring on the sofa lol.

I hope that you are all planning something nice to do this weekend and that you are enjoying the sunshine

Helen x 

Monday, 21 May 2012

My New Shopping Bag

Evening All

I was making a patchwork cushion but I couldn't get the sqaures to line up properly and it looked awful once I ironed on the interfacing stuff. K thought I was making a bag so today I decided to turn it into one :]

Step 1. Getting all the bits together

Step 2. Choosing the back material

Step 3.Making handles

Step 4. Make an inside pocket or two, to cover up the parts that don't line up

Step 5. Making the front

Step 6. Completed

Step 7. Liking the inside better than the out!!

First time I've made a bag. I once told a sewing teacher at school that the skirt I was making looked like a bag, she was very upset by my comments, I think that she thought it was a personal reflection on her teaching but it wasn't, it was all about how rubbish I was at this when I was at school. Now I have more patience and time. I'm pleased with the bag and I'll use it when we go on holiday

Helen x


Not alot done this weekend
We went to the Lottie and managed to get some bits planted
I did a stack of ironing
I made some headway with the cushion I'm making

Don't you sometimes look back at what you've done and feel that you wasted time!!

The weather today is overcast and quite chilly but the forecast is for it to brighten up and I for one can't wait to see some sunshine, I always feel better when the sun is out

Helen x

Friday, 18 May 2012

St Ives - K's painting, Tomatoes, Migraines, Clematis

D has been diagnosed today with "Abdominal Migraines" This explains alot about his health lately and whilst I'm not happy about it I am glad we've a name for his problems, he's likely to suffer from Migraines when he gets older so that's not good. We are cutting out Chocolate at the moment as he was troughing his way through his Easter Eggs, a complete ban on choc is in force to see if this will help, he also has to go for an eye test which was on the cards anyway and he has to have a fasting blood test at the hospital when we get the appointment through.

In the space of 2 days we've gone from 1 Tomato seedling poking his head out of the compost

to several all vying for the light and heat that the window and radiator are providing

Its taken 3 lots of sowing seeds to get to this point - woe betide anyone or anything that upsets them

My Clematis in bud. I've had this plant for years but its not been happy for the last 7 or 8 of them, last year I gave it the pruning of its life and then it was moved to a place for the Winter that gets plenty of light, in the Spring it took off and its really loved all the rain we've had [well something had too] and its about 6ft tall and has about 20 buds on it. When it does flower more photos will be taken as it produces very pretty purple flowers that I love.

I've planted some Broad Beans in a bed at home and some at the Lottie, I've had to put chicken wire all around the beans to stop the cat from next door using the bed as a loo and to stop our dog tramping all over it

Tomatoes that were bought from a Garden Centre have now been put into the big trough that K made from pallets a couple of years ago, the seedlings will go to the Lottie if they survive

And now for the exciting [to me] bit - K has done a painting of how we see St Ives, Cornwall. We love it there and would love to be nearer so we could visit more often, but we don't so we can't. Instead he has painted this picture for me, the photos don't do it justice - its colours are jaded as opposed to the vibrant colours that they are in real life.

Its got the seagulls, boats and harbout wall that I love, the blueness of the sea is brilliant and the house are all higgledty piggledty just like they are in real life. I love, love, love my man for painting this for me, he's framed it and its going up in the Dining Room tomorrow

Helen x

AMAZE ing Photography

I've borrowed this link from another blog - Life After Money, its a great blog about a lady who lives on next to nothing, anyhoo, she put the following link on her blog and I've borrowed it - these photos are STUNNING, Kirsty is a very, very talented lady

Linky -

I hope this has worked as its the first time I've put a link in

Helen x

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Life is . . . .

Arwedd at stepping out in faith has written a very interesting post today about why she blogs about her life, this made me think about why I blog. I started a very long reply to Arwedd but deleted most of it because it became a ramble about me, so I answered Arwedd's question and then thought I'd pop on here and ramble away to my hearts content over here.
I blog to keep a record of our lives, whether it be the boring day to day mundane jobs or the more exciting [to us] things that happen. I don't expect anyone to read it [although it is nice that some of you do  :}] I really want to show the children when they are older that having no money does not stop us from doing things, we just adapt what we are doing to suit our purse. My daughter really struggles with not living nearer her school so she can see friends after school but to be honest I'm more concerned with her getting a good education and I don't think that she lacks anything from not always seeing her friends after school. My son struggles with not being in the football team for the area that he schools in but again, education comes first and he'll get football practise next year when he moves up to year 5 at the next school. These are 2 areas that comprimses have to be made but we manage.

As for blogging, Arwedd - I like your blog and I like reading what you have to say. I shall continue to blog even if K is the only one reading it.

Helen x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Last night I checked on Tesco Clubcard site to see if I had any vouchers. I'd seen the advert for the "double up" scheme they are running again and I wanted to see which departments you could double up in. I had £7.50 worth of vouchers due to be hitting the door mat any day now. I was pleased as I'd thought we would be lucky if we got £5!! So an extra £2.50 of vouchers was pleasing.

What to do with them?????
Double up - not interested in toys or electronic devices.

Days out - that's the one I want!

£5 of vouchers got me entrance for the 2 children to the Eden Project - somewhere K and I have always wanted to go to, we already have the Gardeners World Magazine to get free entry for an adult with a paying adult. So to get in Eden without any vouchers would of cost us £65 - way too much for our pockets, but with the vouchers it will cost £23 for 2 adults and 2 children.
The Gardeners World Magazine cost £3.80 - cash outlay, vouchers cost us nothing as they are an incentive from Tesco, so for £3.80 and vouchers we got entrance to Eden Project  - a saving of £52.

What to do with the other £2.50 voucher - Wicksteed Park here we come. Alton Towers is too far away [3 hours drive to get there] and the cost of petrol puts it out of our league. The children really want to go to a theme park and Wicksteed Park is the nearest. A £2.50 voucher has given us £12.50 towards wristbands for the rides. Cost of getting in would of been £40 but now its down to £27.50 - affordable for a day out in the summer holidays.

These trips would of not happened if it wasn't for the vouchers so as much as I don't like Tesco we will continue to visit them occasionally and make the most of their offers to continue to get points to help pay for days out.

Helen x

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

York Pud Recipe

I'm putting the recipe on here so I don't loose it!!!

Makes 12 mini Puds

70gr Plain Flour
2 Eggs
100 ml Milk

Oil each case on the baling tray - put it in the oven so it gets REALLY hot.
Flour and eggs into a bowl and beat together, add milk and beat until lump free.
Pour into the baking tray

Oven [fan] 210 for 16 mins until risen and brown

Cool - can be frozen for a month

Weather today hs been raining with some very large hail storms

Toms might not have blight as we picked off the infected leaves and the plants are reviving themselves although the cold wind won't help

Just made a Coffee Cake, unfortunately I'm the only one that likes it hey ho I'll have to eat it all - a slice a day me thinks

Helen x

Monday, 14 May 2012

Out for a walk, Yorkshire Puddings

Yesterday late afternoon and the kiddies are starting to get on each others nerves so a long walk was in order. Off we go . . . . .

Start of the walk - lovely and sunny
Playing nicely

 Waiting patiently

 Walking the Labyrinth

 The view

 Top of the Peace Pagoda

 Guess who cheated and who didn't

 Finally - made it to the oak tree in the middle

 Looking up

 Looking around

 Taking a break on the way back

Yorkshire Puddings!!

I've never made York Puds but D loves them so I decided to have a go and I have to say - I was very pleased with the results - 2 have been tested and pass the mark - the rest will be frozen ready for when he wants them.

H x

Friday, 11 May 2012


We popped over to the Lottie this morning - just to have a look at how bad the flooding was - the water is starting to go down and the Potatoes are looking good - they will need earthing up next week. We plan to spend Tuesday over there providing the weather holds, there is a alot of weeding to do and we really need to get some of the plants from home over there and in the ground.

Our first produce we picked -

K has already eaten them

H x

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Art - Watercolour

My very talented husband K likes to paint and these are photos of his latest paintings, any quality issues are with the camera and not with his artistic talents.

Photo's, cushion

New cutting board and new cutter - never had these before so need a play!

I've had a play and I just love cutting material

Some of the material I ordered from Ebay

My 1st cushion - there are some minor mistakes but I know what they are and how I did it wrong!

My 2nd cushion!!

The back of 2nd cushion

Helen x


I'm about to have a play about with my camera and the computer to see if I can remember how to load a photo on here - if I can there will be a lot of ohoto's to wade through!!

Helen x

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cushion, Lottie

Its been raining again lol, its now getting quite funny really, we're still in drought conditions but local rivers have burst their banks the next local town [NP] has been put on flood alert and has suffered some flooding near the river but there is still a hosepipe ban!

I've had to buy some Tomato plants, I don't like doing it but this year I've been unable to get any to set from seed and I do like growing Tomatoes so I gave in and bought some

Cushion - I've managed to do a cushion - patchwork design in mainly Red and Green, its not perfect but then neither am I but I like it. I've caught the bug now and I've just started cutting up more material to make another cushion, this time in Pinks, Greens and Purples. I need to start scouring the charity shops for clothing in colours that I like so I can cut them up - gives me more material for my money, the problem is that the Charity Shops around here are expensive and to go to cheaper ones I have to travel and use petrol!

Tomorrow the children are at their Dads so K and I are going for a walk somewhere - weather permitting hehe. Blows Downs is where I think we're going - Bluebell hunting

I've just bought this months Gardeners World magazine because it has a 2 for 1 booklet in it that allows 1 free adult entry for 1 paying adult. I intend to use it when we go to Cornwall so that we can visit the Eden Project.  K and I have always wanted to go and this will save us £23 on admission - well worth the £3.80 I paid for the mag and it allows this 2 for 1 entry at LOTS of other Gardens throughout the country so we plan to get more use out of it :]

Have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend and for those of you that have to work I really feel for you - K will be working on Monday and will get no extra pay for it or time off :{

H x