Yes, after many years on Typepad, and many problems, I'm off over to Blogger.
You can find my new blog here www.diaryofapennypincher.blogspot.co.uk
See you over there!
Yes, I've been in proper shops again! Took the car out today for a short drive and popped into a large Poundland, love all the Jane Asher baking stuff they have, it looks great! They didn't have anything in her range that I really needed, but I did spy these fab little loose bottomed cake tins, only 4.5 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep, cute!
As you can see I needed to buy two, cake tins are always better in pairs! Also picked up a great tablet stand for OH, brilliant buy, he's chuffed! Poundland have a lot of computer and such sundries at present.
As a bonus, all the Aldi stores in the UK are marked on it! When we go away, I navigate, and although we have a sat nav I prefer the wider picture you get with a map. These are great as they also show National Trust and English Heritage, and other, places of interest, where we might like to break our journey.
I did manage to get out yesterday, although my local charity shops were full of stuff, it was nothing I wanted to buy. Hey ho, that's the way it goes with second hand. Patience always pays off, there will be bargains for me soon, I'm sure!
I'm going slightly stir crazy, stuck in a funny position with my back and doing a lot of grumbling with the accompanying sciatica. I'm absolutely allergic to daytime telly, awful rubbish that it is, and I don't read fiction so am spending time planning how to do what I need to do and then having a lie down after to recover.
Anyway, moans over, the baking mood overtook me the other night and I inadvertently made a World Cup cake, aka coffee cake (Brazil, coffee? Tenuous linky!). It went down well.
I really couldn't find a coffee cake recipe I liked the look at when I wanted to make this one ages ago, so I made it up. Here's how I do it.
Take 3 eggs, weigh them and match their weight with sr flour, sugar (I usually use white but mixed demerera and white this time) and baking fat of your choice, I use Stork for baking. Cream fat and sugar together then add eggs and flour until combined. Add two tablespoons of Camp coffee, mix it in. Divide mixture between two greased 7 inch cake tins and bake at 190 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Meanwhile, blend icing sugar, butter and a little water and one tablespoon of Camp coffee to make the filling. Assemble cake when cool and dust with a little icing sugar. Enjoy, we did!
Talking of food, I spotted these in the garden today, just in time for Wimbledon!
Might have to dust off the ice cream maker as well!
I hope some of the elderflower champagne might be ready for Wimbledon too. I've been de-fizzing the bottles daily, don't want any exploding this year. Makes a delightful pffft noise but releases an odd pong, kitchen smells a bit!
Found more raspberries too, next to my favourite bench
which always has chickens under it, until you sit down
then they come and join you! Thankfully they haven't spotted the raspberries yet, there's quite a few ready now.
I've been for a walk today and it felt great, so I'm heading off for a longer walk tomorrow and hopefully to the local charity shops. Fingers crossed there are some great lightweight bargains with my name on them!
...to a great bargain, whether I need it or not!
We are just one week in to June and I already have an armful of charity shop purchases under my belt, and am £9 poorer. I did manage to get a few useful things, like leisure pants, one pair were Nike, which I wear to do the housework, DIY and gardening, two pairs at just a pound each.
Managed to make a couple of extravagent jewellery purchases too, a lightweight stretch black bead choker and a very heavy metal bead cuff, both were just 50p so not bank breakers!
Found these flowery converse in the shop I help out in, just a pound and they fit just fine, despite being one size bigger than I usually take.
Couldn't resist this Jane Norman top for a pound, I've got rid of loads of my old work clothes so now have room to stock up a bit on more casual attire!
Had to have this Joe Browns top for a pound too, despite it being a size 16. I have found the Joe Browns sizes to be a lot on the small size, this is roomy but never a 16, compare the Jane Norman top above, which is a size 10, and my mannequin, which is my size, a 12. Just goes to show, ignore the label and if it fits just wear it, never mind the vanity sizing or just plain skimpy sizing!
Another couple of must haves, mad patterned tights, and this fab hat from Black Yak (apologies for poor selfie shot!) had to have the hat at 50p, as I'd seen it in one charity shop twice before I finally bought it, couldn't believe no-one had snapped it up, it was fate!
Finally this week, had to have this huge shopper, it's a Red or Dead for Cancer Research, I paid a pound for it and it needed a darn good wash too! Also, just 50p, this fabby teapot from Sona, very stylish I think!
Well, this post was going to be all happy clappy about my great charity shop finds, and my elderflower champagne, and a DIY haircut (re-did my layers and now have a fringe so short I can see my eyebrows, eek!). But I've managed to put my back out picking the elderflowers and sanding down an old 1950s tallboy type cabinet mum is letting me have. So I'm confined to barracks, having to alternate between standing and sitting so I don't 'lock' in one position! Gah!
We were going out for the day, for a nice National Trust cream tea, but OH is really busy playing catch up with yesterdays teaching, so it's on hold. My mum, bless her, has gone to the post office with my ebay sales, and an explanatory note for the cashier as to what is required. As long as they don't get the wrong idea about the note being pushed through, there might be something on the news later!!
I've decided on egg on toast for lunch, the girls are laying like crazy and it's colder today.
Signing off, grumpy and in pain.....feeling in the need of a bit of rock 'n' roll therapy!
Well, it has certainly been a bumper month in the charity shops round here! Think I've gone and spent a good old fortune, good job I am selling unwanted house bits and loft finds on ebay to make the money! This is part two of this month's purchases, part one can be found here.
First up is this cute little Aussie top by Arlunya, I found it in the charity shop I now help out in, and as it is child size (I did try it on but it was way too small for me!) it was 20p. I gave it to a friend for her daughter, who was very pleased with it!
Next, this Wallis size 18 dress was just 50p, again from the shop I help out in. It has a rip along one horizontal seam so I am working on a transformation into a skirt, it is going to need some ribbon to cover the hole!
This was a great find, one of a few of things this month that I have exceeded my usual pound limit on. I strayed into the children's area in a local charity shop and found these ladies Hi Tec sports sandals. They were £3.99 and have no signs of wear. The receipt shows them as boys footwear, and as the shop is one of our more expensive ones, I'm thinking I actually got more of a bargain than I should have!
I was really thrilled with this find, a lovely Lerose dress! My first piece of charity shop vintage in ages, and it fits! Not sure of the exact age but it looks very 60's I think. Again I paid over my usual pound but it was £4.49 and in perfect condition. It actually has gold lurex thread running through it, though you can't really see on the photo. It does have belt loops but there was no belt with it. No idea what would go best, maybe a skinny black patent belt?
I had a bad day when I finally found this Per Una top on the pound rail of the local Cancer Research shop, I bought nothing else, so this top was my little ray of light that day!
I really scored here, Joules for a pound! Fits like a dream too!
I just love this amazing Canadian made sheet, by Wabasso, it is huge, 73 x 100 inches. I paid two pounds for it from the local animal rescue shop, but it is in perfect condition and I knew it wouldn't stay on the rail for long. The lady in the shop oohed and ahhed over it when I took it to the till. It is already undergoing a transformation...
Next, a bag! I paid 50p for this and found out it is an Hawaiian brand, Dakine. I did need to replace a couple of zip pulls and I've also put a zip fastening on to it as it was just a flap over, which I don't like, but this is now my new summer bag!
As I'm getting into dressmaking now, I just couldn't resist these two patterns to add to my collection. They are both around 2002, and both have a retro feel. Neither have been used, they were both still factory folded when I got my mitts on them. Both were a pound from one of the pricier shops, so I was rather pleased. I thought the green dress on the right hand pattern was rather Curtise with those little angel wing sleeves!
Same shop, and just inside the doorway they thought was a good place for a fabric rummage box! They could have put it at the back of the shop with the 1980's Sanderson furnishing fabric they are trying to flog for £75 (yes, you did read that right!) but no, on the floor in the doorway. So I crouched next to it and had a good old mooch, and came away with four rather useful scraps for my stash. Four scraps FOR A POUND!! 25p per scrap!! The smallest piece is the lovely thick green felt and there's half a metre of that. The other fabrics are all more than a metre square. The piece of silky coffee colour fabric is actually 36" x 88". Can you see the stamp on it? I can't make out what it says.
That needlecord is a much nicer colour in real life and the mid weight satin at bottom right is actually black.
Crikey, that's over £24 I've spent this month!
A friend came over this morning and I managed to offload some of my spare clothes and recent chazza mistakes too, so I have freed up some space in the spare room, yay!
Right, must hunt out that elderflower champagne recipe, I'm off foraging tomorrow morning, last year's supply is nearly finished and I need to replenish stocks!
One last thing, if you are one of the few people left on the planet who are not familiar with the gorgeous Vix of Vintage Vixen, have a look at her blog, and then scoot on over to here and cast a vote for her before midnight tonight(May 31st). She deserves to win Vintage Personality of the Year!
I've been confined to the house from lunchtime onwards due to constant drizzle, and an overgrown and wet garden. The grass is now thigh high to a bantam, and every time I attempt to leave by the back door, I am accosted by all size and manner of shrubbery. A couple of days of rain and we get an absolute explosion in greenery. I missed a narrow window of opportunity the other day to cut the grass and do a bit of trimming of wayward plants and now it is ten times worse.
Having said all that, I've just let the chickens have a rummage in the undergrowth before bedtime, they love rooting through the borders like I enjoy a rummage in a charity shop!
Spot the feathery little bum
There's nothing like drinking rainwater out of an old pan
Right, after sorting out donations of other folk's cast offs in the charity shop this morning (would you believe one bag of donations contained a very soiled bedsheet?!!) I felt the need to create. I decided on some tear and share cheese and garlic bread. I've used this recipe for a few years after finding it on the internet here. I do adapt it slightly for my own tastes, the recipe I now use is below.
300g strong white bread flour, 1 sachet fast action yeast, half a tsp each of sea salt and garlic granules (dissolve sea salt into 175ml water), 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 175ml warm water, 50g melted butter, 2 cloves garlic, 1 ball mozzerella.
Put flour, yeast, garlic granules, salt, water and olive oil into a breadmaker and set to dough. When done, tip out of pan and pull off large walnut sized pieces of dough, dip them in the melted butter, which you will now have added the chopped garlic cloves, and place in your chosen tin. I used an 8 inch silicone cake tin, as I don't like using them for sponges, so they now smell of garlic! When you have covered the bottom of the pan, add pieces of mozzarella between the dough balls, and begin to layer more dough balls on top. Pour over the remaining melted cheese and garlic, and put in the oven at about 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes. I did find that there was a bit of spillage, as my chosen tin was very shallow, so it's probably best to use something a little high sided. I leave mine to cool in the silicone tin but if you use a metal tin it may burn if you leave it in the tin.
I've now cut this into pieces and it is in the fridge awaiting a blast in the microwave when needed, but you can serve it straight from the oven. We will snack on this over the weekend with a glass or two of alcohol.
Well, you know me, there has to be a twist somewhere. I am a complete stranger to the High Street, and it to me. So, to renew an old aquaintance I set off with my daysaver ticket and popped into Birmingham City Centre.
I confess, I did have a purse load of High Street vouchers to spend, that's the only reason I was there! In true pennypinching style though, I was unable to spend them all. Not sure why, even free stuff has to be the right stuff for me. How sad I am!
I went in the hope of bagging a nice little jacket for summer that I had seen on the BHS website, whilst browsing for something to spend said vouchers on. Another blogger, Sharon at Thrift my Style, had mentioned this style of jacket and it appealed to my casual, slightly hippy nature. Mine is a flowery version
It has a small amount of fittedness about it as the bottom bit is actually a bit of a peplum. There are two pockets to the front and the metal zip is actually pink! I wore it on the afternoon with a pink silk scarf, (50p) and jeans, and my suede Chelsea boots and it looked great. I'm really pleased with my non purchase!
I also managed to get OH two nice tee shirts, they were on sale, so much cheaper than anticipated. One shop done, £53.30 worth of vouchers gone!
Just the M&S challenge left. I won't show you what I bought in M&S, it's not that sort of blog, but just restocked my lingerie drawer! Suffice to say, I still have £24 left to spend, but managed to get through almost £100 worth of vouchers.
Today I've bought something rather pretty from the local animal rescue charity shop and will share that with you later in the week, when I finish off my May charity shop purchase round-up!
Today was time for a getaway. Time to relax, recharge and refresh. We took ourselves over to one of our favourite local National Trust places, Coughton Court.
We packed a picnic bag full of sausage rolls, cakes, fruit and a flask of tea, and headed off, arriving just in time for our lunch. In the picnic area, we were joined by lots of rather cheeky jackdaws all after some pickings, so we kindly shared and they posed for photos!
We had no intention of walking around the house, no, it was just too warm. The outside is sometimes rich enough to get a sense of history. Just look at it, so beautiful, so grand!
To the right of the photo above are the private apartments still maintained by the family, see below
We came to meander around the woodland trails, whilst being almost overcome by the wild garlic in flower
Wander through the gardens
(pink tee 50p, UK made leather belt 50p, white skirt rehemmed and minus 10 godets all removed by me, £1, denim rucksack 50p, all charity shopped. Peters and Lee glasses, Specsavers!!)
Here you can pick your own tulips, when they are in bloom, I think we're a bit late this time!
Relax on a welcoming bench
watch the glorious wildlife and farm animals (c'mon everybody, join in, we're on a goose train, goose train!)
Little lamb having a stretch!
Stroll across bridges
Wonder, why are there fishes on the church tower?
Admire the new artwork, I'm wondering if these are pollen grains?
Gaze in awe at the beautifully cut hedging and avenues of trees
Find a nice bench under the powdery fragrant wisteria
...and eat a rather tasty pistachio ice cream!
Him indoors had the equally yummy Irish cream, a steal at £1.65 each.
Finally, we had a walk around one of the churches, the Church of England one, and came across this tomb of Sir John Throckmorton and his wife, Marjorie. It dates back to 1580. You can't get round to the front, but you can see that they are holding hands!
Linking up to The Citizen Rosebud's shop secondhand first
I've had a few more great charity shop buys in the past week or so, since the sunny golden bracelet, and thought you might like to see them.
First up, over in Bromsgrove, where they have a good selection of chazzas to choose from, I found this lurking on the reduced rail in the Sally Army shop. It's a Dash fleece, and cost £1.50. Yes, I hear you cry, that's more than I usually like to pay, but I have a plan! I'm after a salvaged 28" zip to refashion it into a nice colourful walking jacket. The length is much more bum warming than other jackets around, and sometimes a fleece is what is required to keep the wind out, specially along the Welsh coast or Yorkshire dales (two places we have holidays booked this year). Warning, it's a bit bright!
Next, I realised that the white skirt I bought last month for 50p was, in fact, a chazzing error. Yes folks, you know when you just want to buy something, anything, and plump for the first thing that looks like it might be what you are looking for. After getting it home and re-examining your purchase, you realise you've just made a donation to charity for a new duster! Never mind, that skirt is now on a pile of things for my friends to pick through. Anyway, this next skirt is indeed a Next skirt, and was a pound. It is made of fine lawn cotton (and fully lined too) with fancy stitching all over, some of which is rather sparkly. It did have ten godets, yes, ten! I cut them all out as it was a little too swishy for my liking, and took the hem up a little. An afternoons work but well worth it. Ridiculously, the skirt is a size 8, I am not but it fits! The beautiful silver vintage looking belt weighs an absolute ton and was £2, I know, I'm getting to be a right spendthrift, but it glinted at me, and like the little magpie that I am, I just had to have it!
I think I've almost managed a couple of complete outfits so far this month, as I also bagged this beautiful East silk t shirt, this rather nice lavender colour Boden jumper, and these brand new with tags Cotton Traders jersey jeans, all a pound. Not sure about the colour of the East t shirt, I was thinking of dyeing it.
Well, I make that a grand spend of £7.50. If I include my bracelet buy at the beginning of the month, that's £8 spent so far and we are only just halfway through the month, eek!
Now I just have to get rid of a bag of old clothing to the charity shop tomorrow to make room for all this new stuff, and there should be no groaning clothes cupboards!