Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guilt-free shopping

I'm not exactly what you'd call a shopaholic these days. That's not to say I didn't spend a good proportion of my younger days trolling around the shops, but our location and lifstyle don't really fit with that anymore. Apart from anything else, there aren't usually the funds for it. This has made it even more pleasurable over the last few days to do a bit of guilt-free shopping. Why no guilt? Because I was spending Christmas present book tokens and birthday present money. Hooray!
First, the books. Since we love and get so much use from the River Cottage Family Cookbook we thought we'd add the Everyday Cookbook to our collection, having enjoyed the recent TV series. We've already tried making versions of its digestive biscuits, honey roasted root veg and 'Tupperware Chorizo' all with great success. We've also invested in the River Cottage 'Veg Patch' Handbook, which is lovely for it's textured cover and neat little format alone, but is also inspiring us with all sorts of ideas for what we hope will be our first real venture in 'grow your own' this year. Finally, we've bought a DIY book because with this house there's lots to 'Do' and noone else to 'Do' it for us! As we were using Book Tokens we decided to get all of these from a local independent bookstore. This meant we didn't get any of the money saving offers we might have done from a chain store, but fits with our ethos of trying to support local businesses. Also when there was an issue with a stitching fault in our first copy of 'Veg Patch' it was an easy and pleasant experience getting it replaced.
Next up, I took advantage of only having one tiddler with me this morning to go on a bit of a charity shop trawl. As always I ignored the clothing in favour of homewares and textiles- my favourite charity shop buy is home-embroidered linen tablecloths but alas no joy on that front today. Instead I found this lovely little teapot- cheap, charity shop and using birthday money...perfect, basically! I originally thought it would be destined for the Folksy Shop, but I think I've rather fallen in love with it, so it's probably going to become our regular small teapot. The plainer Brown Betty we've been using can go to the shop when I get around to some more knitting- I think some Union Jack teacosies in time for the upcoming Royal Wedding would make sense, and would be really cute as a smaller version.
Last but by no means least, behold our new dining room 'gubbinet'. Never heard of a gubbinet? Well, it's a cabinet for all the gubbins that end up lying around downstairs- envelopes, sticky tape and other posting stuff, phone chargers, table linens etcetera. As I write, C is (carefully I hope!) drilling some holes in the back of the top bit so that the stereo can be hidden away, rather than overhanging a shelf as it currently does. I think it's probably from the first half of the 20th century, as it has curved edges that look a bit 30's and is pretty solidly made from wood. I don't really mind to be honest, as it suits our dining room really well and fits the space on one side of the chimney breast just perfectly. Found hidden under some boxes and behind a chair at the back of a vintage shop in Ulverston it was pretty cheap to buy with more birthday money. The only hairy bit was getting it home. I'd taken M shopping with me and couldn't put her seat in the front due to the airbag, so we couldn't put the seats down. Of course, when we tried to heft my purchase into the hatchback, it was about 6 inches too long. The only plan we could come up with, apart from coming back another day, was to tie the boot shut with string and for me to drive home 'not too fast'. Eek! There's nothing like a large piece of furniture held into your boot with string to make you notice just how many hills there are to go up to get home! Actually, put me on a bicycle and I'll tell you about every hill, but that's another story. Anyhow, we made it, I love it and our new (old) house has its first custom bought new (old) piece of furniture. Happy days.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Usually when I can't think of anything to write about it means I need to get my backside into gear and do more of the good stuff. But actually we haven't been idle exactly this week. True, we didn't get out for the planned walk in the Lakes this weekend, mainly because of the weather. Also true is that the Pirate sweater has been half frogged yet again because I wasn't happy with the pocket, so there's not much to show there. But there has been making going on, including the marmalade shown here. There have been trips out- to an antiques warehouse and a local bookshop for example. There have been new acquisitions in the form of birthday presents including an interchangable knitting needle set and a sewing box, which I may yet show off on this page.
The truth is we've been a bit distracted- by the dull and seemingly endless attempts to potty train P- and also by our new grocery shopping regime. As mentioned last week, I've decided to blog about it, if only to help motivate me to keep going with it. To begin with, I'll just be recording what we buy and what we eat, but when and if we continue I may well begin to add recipes and highlights/disasters from our kitchen and dining table. If you fancy a look, it can be found here. Now I need to go and do some knitting, and take some pictures to prove it!