Monthly Archives: December 2015

10 MORE BLOGS YOU MUST FOLLOW

10 MORE BLOGS YOU MUST READ

A few months ago I did a post called ‘10 BLOGS YOU MUST FOLLOW’. Since then I have, literally, followed DOZENS more blogs and I thought I would do an updated list here.

  1. https://23littletrees.wordpress.com/ This blog is about 2 families in France living the good life – gardening, cooking, videos…all good stuff! I love the pictures and the food looks so fresh and yummy!
  2. https://myhippiebabe.wordpress.com/ One of my favourite blogs, I love the posts about making a passive income, not something I would have thought about if not for this blog! It has definitely inspired me to look into it further.
  3. http://freedom40plan.com/ This guy aims to ‘retire’ at 40…I have only come across this relatively recently, so haven’t had chance to have a proper look around, but it looks good so far!
  4. http://myfoododyssey.com/ lots of recipes, love the look of the cabbage rolls! This couple lives in Lithuania, so lots of Lithuanian recipes…good if you want to try something different!
  5. http://www.1500days.com/ this again is similar to freedom 40 plan, this time the goal is a debt-free portfolio in 1500 days. This also looks good, so will be checking back here every so often!
  6. http://proofreaderhannah.com/blog/  I would LOVE to get into proofreading and writing so this is my dream job site (don’t think I will be doing it anytime soon but it’s good to dream, right?!)…also I like the blog with little interesting, wordy facts about the English language 🙂  I get so annoyed at people who use ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ooh I see a potential blog post coming up!
  7. https://smallhousebigskyhomestead.wordpress.com/ Green living, sustainability, homesteading…what more could a blog need?! I love this blog!
  8. http://imnotahippiebut.com/ Another great blog to follow…check out the post about plastics in the ocean – it’s a recent post…climate change, animals, I like this blog!
  9. http://www.posiegetscozy.com/ I love the pictures on this blog…crafty things, home things, toddler things! Definitely worth a look. One of the more famous I think of the crafty type blogs, but for a reason – the pictures are amazing!
  10. http://candeloblooms.com/ And the best till last, lovely pictures, recipes (I made the apple cake a couple of months ago and it was nom!) and Mrs Blooms is possibly the nicest lady on the internet!

Have a look and see if any catches your eye here. One blog leads to another leads to another.

And it looks like some of these have one thing in common – FANTASTIC PICTURES, which I think is where my blog fails…I am just not arty in the photographic sense. In fact, when it comes to taking pics I am like a man shopping – buy the first thing that fits in the colour you want and that’s your shopping done! So, some future homework, I think.

And that’s me done for another post! Off to have a cuppa now, get ready for tomorrow (find out bus times into town – I haven’t had to get the bus in years!) and maybe see what is lurking in the kitchen cupboards for me to nibble on. Hopefully there is something nice and tasty, but I will settle for just something at this point!

Have a Wicked Wednesday! x

Village floods

I live in a village near the River Swale in North Yorkshire.

The past week we have had a lot of rainfall, in some parts of the country we have had 6 weeks worth of rain on 24 hours. Yesterday the bridge was closed due to extensive flooding and the main road we live on was lovely and quiet! In fact, the only other day in the year that it is this quiet is Christmas Day.

I have noticed in the past decade or so that the road has gotten busier, with all the new houses they insist on building the councils just don’t seem to upgrade the roads.

Luckily we live at the other end of the village, more than half a mile away from the river so we never have any problems. I think there may have been a farm or two that were in danger of flooding but I don’t think they were hit.

 

flood 1

flood 2

flood 3

 

Christmas Lists

CHRISTMAS CHECKLIST

I like lists and I like Christmas so what better than to combine the two?!

 

Things to be doing now:

Order the meat for Christmas day. From a local butchers or independent local supermarket. Organic / free range is best but can be expensive, so buy what you can afford…and what you can eat!

Clean out the freezer. I have been using up pumpkin soup and still have a massive tub of carrot and coriander to thaw and eat…the more room you can make now the easier you will find it to fit stuff later. If you have time you can defrost the freezer now too. We always buy lots of bread rolls and freeze quite a few…so we always have enough for turkey sandwiches later on!

Get out the cards and tags and wrapping paper from last year and see what you have before you buy any more. I haven’t bought any tags or cards as I still have lots left over from previous years (from after Christmas sales when they are half price) so I don’t need any more, no matter how much nicer this year’s always seem to be. I also try to keep wrapping paper down as it is SO environmentally unfriendly. Can you re-use last year’s gift bags but give them to different people?

Do a thorough clean and tidy of the house. Wash windows inside, give old clothes and books etc. to charity shops, sort kitchen cupboards with the canned and dry goods, mop floors, check fire alarm batteries, get those cobwebs, find your Xmas cookie cutters and moulds…you know, all the things you put off doing!

Watch Nigella Lawson and Kirstie Allsopp and Jamie Oliver and all the rest and wish that a) I had their house and b) I had enough money to afford just what they were cooking, let alone their house!!

Make a list of food things to get on Christmas Eve or the day before. We get our fruit and veg on the market on Christmas Eve so it’s a nice atmosphere and it’s cheaper. Remember the stall holders don’t want to be left with lots of stuff over Christmas so you might be able to bag a bargain if you pick your time well! For things like bread and mince pies etc. don’t forget to order from your local bakery in advance!

Transfer all important dates into 2016 diary – to save a bit of money why don’t you buy a magazine you like that has a free calendar in it? If you get the magazine regularly, or even sometimes, then you are getting two for one!

Bake! If you make puddings and cake then the time is now if you haven’t already made them months in advance. Make sure you have some pastry in the freezer for quick homemade mince pies later on. Do you make your own cranberry sauce etc.? If you make it now you can also give some away as gifts to friends (and colleagues if you buy smaller jars).

Homemade decorations. Make your own bunting either knitted or sewn, very easy and quick to do. If you have kids you can make paper bunting and staple it to ribbon for speed. Paper chains and streamers are also easy to make. Try crocheting or sewing a paperchain for heirloom and handmade value.

http://www.housetohome.co.uk/room-idea/picture/make-your-own-christmas-decorations/3 These teardrops are easy to make out of paper with kids…make them singly and dangle them from the ceiling or tree or join 6 together for a star.

Think about the table on the day. Have you got….? Napkins, crackers, tablecloth (washed and ironed), Christmas place settings and coasters, candles / centrepiece, general decorations for table, things like gravy boat / sauce bowl / the all-important nuts and nibbles bowl / pudding plate / mince pies plate sorted, turkey tray and foil….

New pyjamas / socks for Christmas Eve. Just because.

And on a similar note wash your dressing gown so it is nice and fresh!! I have machine washable slippers too…

Make sure you have TV / Radio Times so you can see what’s on over the holidays…I may be 30 but I love watching the kids films…especially when everyone else is out ‘walking off the food’ and I have the house and TV and a HUGE SELECTION OF NIBBLES AND TREATS to myself!!!

Is anyone coming to stay for the holidays? Bed stuff / toiletries / wardrobe and drawers cleaned out for them.

Written all your cards? Make a list of who you are sending them to so you don’t go overboard and buy 3 packs when 1 would do…also make sure you post them in plenty of time. http://www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas/last-posting-dates

Start a new tradition this year…send a Christmas recipe to your friends in their cards, make them something, go on a course together, take a trip somewhere new and special, create a lucky dip with homemade / edible / rude / novelty things, give to charity…

Made a fresh batch of ice cubes – make don’t buy!!

Music: don’t spend a lot on cd’s and downloads….ask your friends what festive music they have and see if you can borrow them! Note that I say BORROW….not copy!!! That would be illegal…

Remember Christmas is a time to indulge but not to needless excess! If you don’t need it or will only use it once before throwing it away then seriously think twice before buying!!

 

Things to do in the week / day before Christmas Eve:

Pick up turkey / meat etc. and buy fruit and veg and last minute ‘bits’

Make homemade mince pies and anything that goes on tree…cookies, gingerbread men, and a gingerbread house?

Making homemade crackers? Now is the time…

 

Christmas Eve:

Make stuffing and prepare meat…work out timings and weight etc.

Wash the cutlery and plates and glasses if you are using ‘best’ stuff.

Need anything like prawns de-frosting? Do it the night before.

We use a hostess which we get out and clean on Christmas Eve. My gran got us it many years ago…you may laugh at the 80’s –ness of it but it allows you to keep your veg and the sausages warm and gives you room to prepare things and makes serving a hell of a lot easier! Also good for keeping leftovers for next day.

Get your outfit for Christmas Day sorted!

Presents put around the tree and give out cards to close family.

Leave a mince pie and a glass of sherry out for Santa – don’t forget a carrot for Rudolph!

 

List of things you will not want to be caught short on:

Batteries

Light bulbs

Bin bags

Sellotape

Ribbon / ties for tags and decorations

Extension lead for electrical equipment like tree lights

Ice cube tray / bags

Can opener and bottle opener!

Petrol in your car…speaking from experience here!

 

Try to have an eco-friendly Christmas if you can:

Re-use cards, tags and bags or make your own tags from cereal boxes or last year’s cards

Use re-chargeable batteries

Recycle everything…including aluminium foil

Use leftover food in creative ways…but you can’t beat bubble and squeak!

Donate and buy from charity shops

Use cloth napkins not paper

Donate something…food/ decorations/ gifts to care homes and shelters

If you have time volunteer somewhere

Car-share shopping trips and trips to get rid of rubbish

Use tree with roots to plant for next year or in a permanent home

Put out food for birds and wildlife

Use eco packaging…popcorn for example

Buy and use what you need and not the vast amounts we are told we need to consume…it’s good to party but does it have to be with Styrofoam plates and cups?

Do your shopping from local, independent retailers

Organic, fair-trade, free-range

Use re-usable shopping bags (they also stop people spying through plastic bags – great if you want to hide the present you just bought!)

http://www.nigelsecostore.com/eco-gifts-15.html

https://www.goodgifts.org/

 

None of the above is anything new. But it’s fun to list it!!

 

Have you heard of a book called ‘365 ways to change the world’ by Michael Norton? On every page there is something new to try / do / research and is a great book for making a New Year’s Resolution. Google it and see if anything takes your eye… http://www.amazon.co.uk/365-Ways-Change-World-Difference/dp/0743297784

 

And don’t forget to have fun…

Feeling Christmassy

Yay! It’s that time of year again when the preparations for Christmas begin – and I don’t mean putting up the tree!

Last night we (the parents and I) made a late shop to Morrison’s to stock up on things as it had a 20% off day for their staff. We now have most of our wine, alcohol, fizzy drinks, nuts, crisps, snacks, matchmakers!!, After Eights!, toiletries, kitchen roll etc. to last us through at least to the New Year and probably into January and February.

The Side part of the house, which is attached to the garage and is always like a second fridge in winter because it’s so cold, has been sorted and ordered. I know it is Christmas when this is done! Now I just have to resist temptation with the chocolates staring me in the face every time I go down there.

The kitchen cupboards have been sorted and cleaned…the uncooked lasagne sheets from 2011 have been thrown away! And now there is more room for festive things…or at least they are more accessible.

There is a list of jobs to do before getting the decorations out, but it’s a little early for that yet. We used to have neighbours who put their decorations up on bonfire night (5th November) and took them down Boxing Day – madness!!

Last year my favourite little local florist closed down due to high rent rates on the High Street. Such a shame because we got out wreaths from there 😦

Oh I love this time of year…

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I had a nice surprise in the post today. I have been on survey site Toluna for a year and a bit now and last year earned a £15 Next voucher. I have only just gone back on it a few weeks ago after not going on it for months and am now waiting for my £20 Amazon voucher to arrive.

But last week I did a survey about tea and said I would like to test it, yes please! So, today I got a box with 10 free tea bags and a survey to fill out…and they smell very yummy and fruity yummmmmmm.

I wont say what flavour or who makes them because the product isn’t out in the shop yet but I will say it is the first free thing from Toluna and will make a nice change to try something a bit different!

I think the survey sites are a good idea as you can save up your vouchers or your points throughout the year and spend them at Christmas! If you do 2 or 3 surveys a day or spend half an hour a day then they will soon add up. Check out Toluna’s website on their rewards page if you’re curious as to what you can earn…vouchers for Next, Topshop etc, John Lewis, Marks and Spencers, Debenhams, Pizza Hut, Tesco, Sainburys, book tokens, money into PayPal account…

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I also had a nice trip to Teesside Park last weekend and spent some Hobbycraft vouchers (thank you Lizzie and Kerrie – and thank you Lizzie for taking me!). I bought some jam jars, ribbon, buttons, candy canes, candle holders, and something else, but I cant remember what! And there is still money left for next time! Thanks guys!

I have been trying out some quick and easy crochet patterns…experimenting and all that. Also doing a spot of sewing and knitting.

And I have been to the library getting 10 books out. As always I say Use it or Lose it with libraries! I have taken about 40 out in the last year and as I am currently job-hunting they are a good source of information about writing a cv/fillinf in application forms/starting a business etc.

I have a list of things to do and things to get…but I am going to have a cup of (free) tea now I think! And since mother dearest got a panetone with choc chip yesterday…well, I may have to sample some of that too!!

And that is as much as I have been doing in the last week or so! xx

 

Websites I like

This post is what used to be on my pages section of the blog but after doing some spring winter cleaning, tidying and re-ordering I have to decided to move into a post and then get rid of it! Be ruthless when organising or there will be no organisation!!

These are websites I have come across, some I have known about for ages and some are recent discoveries. I really should note down ALL the good ones I find but I always forget!

I particularly like the free rice website where you can learn new words and feed the hungry at the same time and all for free.

 On Blogging

http://www.elleandcompanydesign.com/blog/2015/2/15/30-ways-to-generate-buzz-for-your-blog

List of 10 Useful Blog Posts About Social Media & Blogging

http://www.abeautifulmess.com/blogging-tips/

10-Minute Touch Ups!

Making Money

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/make-money-online

Environmentally friendly living:

http://www.greenshop.co.uk

http://www.nigelsecostore.co.uk

http://www.lowimpact.org

http://www.treehugger.com

Charity links:

http://www.freerice.com

http://www.gutenberg.org

Pine Ridge Reservation:

http://www.friendsofpineridgereservation.org

http://www.sewforkids.wordpress.com

http://www.nativeprogress.org

http://www.wildhorsebutte.org

http://www.gofundme.com/sacredshawlsociety

Affiliate links

Came across this good site about blogging.

Some good advice about adding affiliate links to make money from blogging. I don’t think you can add adverts like google adsense etc. here on free WordPress, but I think you can add affiliate links like amazon etc.

Maybe one for the future when I can dedicate more time to writing!

 

You Can Earn WHAT with Affiliate Links?

 

Willow Baby Cradle

Have a look at this post on making a willow wicker baby bed. I wish I could do that – I have always wanted to have a go at basket making!

How about learning how to make a natural heirloom for a special occasion? Wicker baby cradle

I’m so jealous of people able to make such lovely things like this!