Tuesday 4 October 2016

Realistic shopping expectations

So, the anticpated quick "pop to the shops for milk and cat food" last week didn't turn out quite that way.  Without checking my shopping receipts, I think I paid the local Sainsburys a further 3 visits last week and nearly all for "legitimate items".  So, prepared with a more realistic food budget for this week, I went shopping yesterday, the bill came to approx £110, but we are covered with lunches and evening meals for 3 adults this week, which also includes the cat food (but not dog food, as I buy their food on-line).  I've meal planned again this week but have lost the list!

Last month I took part in Zero Waste Week, which is an annual challenge and this year the focus was on food waste.  To start the week off we were asked to check out salad in the fridge, using up any salad lurking around the salad drawer instead of putting it in the bin. Then we moved onto bread and other food items as the week progressed.  I've been keeping up the good work, all the vegetable peelings, egg shells, kitchen roll, toilet rolls have gone straight into the bucket to take down to the allotment to be composted.  Any other rubbish has been mostly stuff like crisp packets, chocolate bar wrappers etc.  I've been like the Bin Police, constantly checking what is being put in the kichen bin and taking it out if it can be re-cycled or burned. Even the food wasted by the cat is given to the dogs to polish off.   As a result, only 1 bag of rubbish has gone into the grey bin for collection this week, I am so proud of this, as usually we generate about 3.

Sunday 25 September 2016

Back to the budget and meal planning

It's time to get back to budgeting and meal planning, this has been a very expensive year what with one thing and another and I've noticed how I have let things slip around food and so the food bills have been rising.  It's not easy managing different dietary requirements for each family member, one is gluten free and a meat eater, the other is wheat intolerant and pescatarian.  Now my daughter has ditched the meat (yay!) meal planning is easier for the two of us and as for the other half, he cooks for himself as he doesn't eat the same food as me.

So, this morning I took my shopping list, went into Aldi, bought only what I needed and the bill came to £10.13. I then nipped into Sainsburys to get the things I couldn't get in Aldi and the bill was £10.65.

I know I will need to pay another visit to the supermarket at some point this week as I will need to get milk and cat food.  I bought a couple of packs of cat food from Aldi, not the cat's usual brand, however, if he eats it, I will be back to get some more!

This week's meal plan:


Vegetarian roast dinner


Spaghetti bolognese (either vegetarian or vegan)


Vegetable curry with a chana allo side


Chilli con carne (vegetarian)


Sweet & Sour Quorn (vegetarian)

Lunches for myself and my daughter are covered this week, my daughter always has left overs from tea for her lunch and I will have either salads or home-made soup.

By meal planning and sticking to a budget, I hope to reduce the food bills enough this month so I can re-direct the money into savings.

Saturday 13 August 2016

August Break 2016 Days 5 & 6

A bit behind with the August Break...never mind..........

Day 5 - Midday

Day 6 - What I am reading

Thursday 4 August 2016

August Break 2016 Days 3 & 4

Day 3: Handwriting:

A letter from my Mum

Day 4: Sweetness:

Jasper's birthday pork pie with a candle on top, the expression on his face is very sweet!

Tuesday 2 August 2016

August Break 2016 Day 2

Today's prompt: Leaf

Out on my dog walk today I was drawn to the decay and discolouration of the dock leaves and weeds.

It's also Jasper's birthday today (on the left of the picture) and here is with his sidekick Runa, they are sat patiently waiting for their treats.

Monday 1 August 2016

August Break 2016

The August Break is  a community project that has no real rules —  the idea is to simply take a photograph every day for the whole of August. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there. If it’s the summer where you are it’s a lovely way to be present to the moments that will be gone before you know it. If it’s the winter, what better way to liven up your day than with a creative project to play with? :-)

The prompt for Day 1 is Morning Light - I captured the morning light hitting the fruit bowl

Friday 22 July 2016

A walk amongst the flowers

It's been a long time since I have visited my own blog, 5 months to be precise when the 29 faces challenge ended in February.  That feels a long time ago, and time marches on, until I find myself in the last few days of July.

It's a lovely sunny day today and I've just been out in the garden so I thought I would share a few pictures of some of the flowers I am enjoying:

Leucanthemum ‘Snowdrift’ Daisy

Chocolate Cosmos growing next to the tomato plants

My new Buddha garden

The bee garden full of poppies, borage, delphiniums and verbena bonariensis and bees!

Pink Cosmos with white trailing lobelia

Out and about in the wider world I came across these flowers in one of the flower beds at Edgehill University, I'm not sure what they are, I will have to do a bit of detective work.  I really like the shadow play at work here.

I then had a play in PicMonkey, gave the image a colour boost and applied a water filter.  I was quite pleased with the result as the water filter picked out the concrete border and created a lovely colour and texture.

Whilst on the subject of flowers, I took a lovely photo of the harebells yesterday evening as I walked the dogs in the sand dunes whilst it was cool:

Did you know that in folklore, harebells are also sometimes called The Devils Bell and The Fairies Thimble as its reputed to have sheltered the fairies. Folk also believed that witches used juices squeezed from the flower to turn themselves into hares.

The Song of the Harebell Fairy

"O bells, on stems so thin and fine!
No human ear
Your sound can hear,
O lightly chiming bells of mine!

When dim and dewy twilight falls,
Then comes the time
When harebells chime
For fairy feasts and,fairy balls.
They tinkle while the fairies play,
With dance and song,
The whole night long,
Till daybreak wakens, cold and grey,
And elfin music fades away. „

Monday 29 February 2016

29 Faces - Day 29

Well, here I find myself, the last day of the 29 faces challenge.  Today I experimented in digital art using a free app called  Harmony - Mr.doob - find it here http://mrdoob.com/projects/harmony/#sketchy.

This is the result:

29 Faces - Day 29

I also created a collage of some, not all of the faces I've made this month:

There has been alot of Quentin Blake sketches and faces drawn in the style of Quentin Blake, which I have enjoyed creating.  I  have really enjoyed the challenge this year, it has got me drawing/sketching/painting and at times has been quite therapeutic.  It has also supported me in my word/phrase of the year "creative nourishment".  My original word was "harmony" but as I progressed with the challenge, creative nourishment seemed to fit so much better.

Tomorrow I start something new which is being hosted by Tara Leaver called "Express It" month.  Its an idea based on the idea of making art as a direct expression of emotion. It's not limited to painting either, it could be drawings, collage, clay work, music, photography, dance, poetry, sewing.....whatever your creative action of choice. I'm looking foward to it and what emerges from it.

Sunday 28 February 2016

29 Faces - Day 28

Another Quentin Blake sketch, this was lovely to draw and paint in water colour, for a brief moment it brough the warmth of summer into a cold February day! :o)

Says the sign along the quay
They seem to do alright to me

I wonder if their brain freezes
When they swoop for my ice-cream
I know that they get brain freeze
In my silly little dream

It’s a beachside obsession
Especially not that fat one
With my chips in his possession

Poem by humor © Steve Savage 2009

Saturday 27 February 2016

29 Faces - Day 27

Today's face is my daughter's father, he's 50 years old today, so I felt another Quentin Blake face coming on. Apparently I got his eyes right but didn't make his face chubby enough! Although we parted company many years ago, it felt sort of right to mark his special day in some way.

Happy 50th Birthday!

Friday 26 February 2016

29 Faces - Day 26

The light was bad when I took a picture of this sketch, it's Maggie Smith in her role as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey.

Thursday 25 February 2016

29 Faces Days 20 - 25

Playing catch up again this week!

I found this image on Pinterest and was struck by the serene face of the woman holding the hare.

Another Matisse inspired face!

Back to the Quentin Blake illustrations, I just love the simplicity and space in these.

Friday 19 February 2016

29 Faces Days 15 - 19

This week's faces:

This was meant to look like Miss O'Brien from Downton Abbey

I picked up my Suzi Blu book for a little inspiration, not sure I really like this face

This is a self-portrait in a Quentin Blake style, the picture I used was taken about 9 years ago!

A Matisse inspired line drawing. I used a picture of Dido as the reference.

I took an old envelope with ink stains on it and tried to replicate a Matisse line drawing, I find it very therapeutic drawing his beautiful lines.

Sunday 14 February 2016

29 Faces Days 11 - 14

Day 11 - Guy Garvey

Day 12 - RIP Mary

Day 13 - Another Matisse

Day 14 - The Valentine Fairy - I made this into a card for my daughter

Saturday 13 February 2016

29 Faces Day 6 - 10

I'm a bit behind with my faces but here are days 6 - 10.

Still continuing with the style of Quentin Blake, I decided to sketch Chris Evans

Day 7

A Matisse sketch with a dash of colour

Inspired by a participant showing her faces in the Facebook Group, I decided to start a new series of faces to include cats

Day 10

Friday 5 February 2016

29 Faces Days 1 - 5

I've been drawing faces as part of the 29 faces in February challenge. I started with a few fun faces by Quentin Blake:

I then decided to see if I could draw Simon Mayo, a Radio 2 presenter of the drive time show, in the style of Quentin Blake, it's not a bad attempt but I couldn't quite fix the hairline on the left hand side of his face
 Day 5 and I came across a lovely picture of a girl with a serene expression and beautiful flowers in her hair and the quote by Matisse seemed very appropriate.
"There are always flowers for those who want to see them"..Henri Matisse

Sunday 31 January 2016

Don't give up yet

"Don't give up yet"......these are the words spoken by a remarkable woman who has no fingers and taught herself to knit.

Click on the link below to watch the video: