Thursday, 14 December 2017

Reading List 2018

I've been through the house this week and pulled out all the books I want to read over the next year, we've had some of these books for years and I've only skimmed them, others I haven't managed to get through as they weigh nearly 5kg. 

The fiction - 

None of these should take too long to read, and I'm hoping to read a few of these between now and the new year. I've already started The Miniaturist and Elizabeth Is Missing.

The non-fiction

As for many people I was first excited about linguistics, and language in general at school through the work of David Crystal. We attended a lecture at Edge Hill University a month or so ago and I treated myself to one of his books, I read it a really long time ago but thought I'd enjoy a refresh. I have read a lot of the modern art book, I just want to read through again. In a fit of pettiness I bought this with a book token I received from my FIL, he doesn't really like modern art (and I don't think he's that fond of me) so I thought it would be appropriate to use the token to buy this. As I said, petty. 

Dan bought the Paul Nash book for my birthday this year, I'd like to read it before my birthday next year! The Elisabeth Frink, I've read about the works, there's just the general background and career history to read, probably only around 50 pages. 

We bought the Pasmore book this time last year and I've only flicked through it, I haven't even opened the geology one, so they are close to the top of the list. 

The elephant

This book is huge, and exceptionally heavy. I have started reading it, but it's soooooo heavy, no wonder it took Elain Harwood so long to complete! I'm aiming for a couple of pages per day. I've already read the parts about my favourite buildings, and places I know well but I want to read it through. Unsurprisingly I'm not going to start with this one as there would be no time to read anything else!

Not the biggest reading pile by any means, but certainly one to get through before I buy anything new. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Teeny Tiny Steps

Along with everyone else in the country we have been unable to avoid the news about the horrendous amounts of plastic we are chucking out willy nilly. I've known for a long time that it's something I really need to work on, but something happened recently that made Dan and I decide enough was enough. 

I wish I could remember what brought it to a head, it would probably be inspirational, but I can't. It's been coming since the Hugh's War On Waste show about coffee cups, there's the huge amount of waste that goes through the charity shop every week. Everything we receive into the shop is waste in a sense, it's something the owner doesn't want, and thankfully we can sell, recycle via the rag merchant, or pass on to a different charity a lot of it, but plenty still goes into the bin. I have absolutely no clue what happens to it after that, but we don't have a separate recycling bin. 

We have a couple of reusable coffee cups but tend to only use them when I take mylk to the shop or we take a drink out with us, I've never used mine for take out coffee, but neither have I had take out coffee so that's not too bad. Today we went to Windermere as there was a festive market on, I used my cup at the fantastic Earthworm Kitchen for a delicious almond mylk hot chocolate orange (it was amazing) you can see me enjoying it in the above picture. They didn't bat an eyelid. Later, Dan fancied a coffee so we used the same cup at a different place, even though the cup had been used the cafe owner wasn't bothered at all. Success! I know people in larger towns and cities will be surprised at my happiness, but this is a place where I once saw someone ordered their coffee in a reusable cup and the cafe owner made it in a paper cup, decanted the coffee and threw the paper cup away.

We did get some food too, but we had forks in the car and the container is suitable to go into the compost so that will happen tomorrow. The squidged item was The Buble Burger!


I had been thinking of buying a tiffin box or something for those times we treat ourselves to cake, but then I saw how much they cost and decided that I really could make do with the plastic tub with a domed clip on lid that we already own. 

Oh, another minor win was when we bought some onions, we don't have a market here so we buy almost everything from a supermarket. On Saturday we bought a bag of onions in a paper bag, there's a little bit of plastic on the front of the bag but it's a start.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

December In The Kitchen

Dan was working from home yesterday, so I spent a bit of time in the kitchen, something I don't seem to have done recently, who knows what we've been eating. I needed to fine a spice storage solution after being smacked on the head by a jar of mustard. Luckily I kept hold of a plastic tub that would no longer lock after Dan microwaved it with the lid on. A perfect fit for under the little shelf to store the lesser used spices.

My Aldi flowers are still going strong, I removed the less than great blooms and swapped the vase for a bottle. 

This week is a busy one by our standards so I did a bit of cooking so I don't have to think about it for a while. I even managed to fit a couple of things in the freezer box. 

I made three portions of cauliflower curry (top), using the last of the 20p curry paste I bought a while ago, one portion is in the freezer, we ate one last night, and there's one for tomorrow. I used up a load of mushrooms in a chestnut and lentil stew, one for tonight, one in the freezer. I've also written a menu plan, we're out and about a little bit so a plan should prevent waste.

1. tacos
2. bean burger
3. potato wedges w. houmous

4. cauliflower curry w. brown rice
5. chestnut stew w. veg and mash
6. cauliflower curry w. rice
7. out
8. soup and sandwich
9. hash
10 hash

11 black bean chilli
12 l/o
13 fried rice
14 pad thai
15 curried veg pie
16 l/o pie w salad
17 chestnut orzotto

18 stuffed mushrooms/ peppers
19 lentil bol
20 aduki bean pie (sweet potato topping)
21 fajitas
22 enchiladas
23 out
24 out

25 nut roast
26 gigantic sandwich
27 jambalaya
28 jacket potato w. baked beans
29 stirfry
30 cauliflower curry
31 chestnut stew

Dan has requested an East Coast Coffee cake and chocolate brownies, and of course there will be trifle!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Happy Festivus Georgie

What's so great about a mom and pop store? Let me tell you something, if my mom and pop ran a store, I wouldn't shop there. *

me, running away from a family party the minute someone suggests a game involving flour
I said I wasn't going to talk about it again, but here I am. I may not like Christmas, but everyone else I know does so gifts are a thing. We've had some success in negotiating smaller amounts of gift swapping between adults, but to remove gifts altogether was a no-no. 

The other thing that's changed is that I've started to manage expectations of myself. I, well we really as Dan was pretty much the same, used to tie ourselves up in knots trying to find wonderful, unique gifts for people. This year we said stop the madness, why were we stressing ourselves out looking for a stand out gift for someone who gives us a TK Maxx gift card every time (turns out the person with the least imaginative gift is the person most resistant to stopping gift giving, makes no sense to me at all). 

So we decided to fat dog it. So we did the majority of our shopping at the book shop, Tiger (shop selling cheap stuff, my MIL loves it) and the supermarket. Yes, we bought most of our gifts from Sainsbury's. Felt a bit weird, but there you go. If people don't like it, then it makes no change from any other year, but almost everyone needs books, pens and clothes don't they. Actually, do people still need pens? 

We ended up having a really good time, mainly due to finding this product

Who came up with this packaging**, other than a Seinfeld fan, and who gave the thumbs up to using it? It made my day, I bought some for Dan, they're wrapped and are tucked under the aluminium pole***. It did make us pause for thought and ask ourselves would people accept a card informing them we'd made a donation to The Human Fund, but decided against it. You can't just go round doing what George Costanza would do, appealing though the thought may be. 

I even wrapped it all, after finding about four shops worth of paper and gift bags under the spare bed.  Now all that's left for me as a non religious person is to attend carol concerts, eat nut roast, enjoy the M&S coconut and chocolate creamy Bailey's-style drink, and remember to write down how I feel today on my new calendar. 

* From "The Mom And Pop Store", Seinfeld season 6. Although also true if my parents did own a shop, I dread to think what they'd sell. 

** From "The Alternate Side", Seinfeld Season 3. 

*** From "The Strike", Seinfeld Season 9. 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

In The Window - Update

I mentioned a while ago that we had entered a competition for the best shop window during the Victorian weekend. Judging was yesterday and we didn't get a place on the podium. We were, however, Highly Recommended by the Mayor and my manager was presented with a certificate.

The winner was the fancy fabric, curtain and bedding shop, as expected. 

In a sense I feel it's only right that an indie business wins and gets the publicity, the one thing I do know is that next year if we take part it's going to be a tree, some teddies and a couple of sprigs of holly. There is no way I will be putting so much effort in again!

I'm doing the Christmas window this week, should be fun. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Freebie And Bargain Of The Week

This covers a couple of things from last week too. My parents came to visit and along with my smallest niece, they brought a pile of stuff for me. Something not pictured was a packet pasta meal, I used to love them when I was a teenager and my mum thought I'd like one for my lunch. I hadn't eaten one for over 20 years but I confess I quite enjoyed it! I also pinched a packet of pom bear style crisps from my niece. 

I received a pile of magazines as always

And a stalk of the nicest sprouts I've ever had

Dan's mum watches a lot of tv so we thought a Now TV box might be good for her as it would offer her channels she doesn't currently have available to her. A work colleague of Dan's has a pile of old boxes as he buys a new box for the offers they have - a £15 box might have a month of the movie channels in with the price, for example. So we've borrowed one.

I've been lucky at the charity shop too. Along with dozens of compliments about the Victorian window (which I'm not tired of seeing and am really looking forward to doing the festive window next week) I bought a couple of books to tide me over the Christmas holiday. 

Although spending is going to be at a minimum from now on as we have a new bathroom guy (I think, we had a little misunderstanding about the job earlier this week, but we'll see, Dan's sorting it out), I treated myself to a new brooch for £1.

Finally, I was chatting with a customer about this and that, and she commented on my necklace, saying she had some earrings in a similar style. On Tuesday my manager handed me an envelope

How lovely!

Monday, 27 November 2017

On Any Given Sunday

Yesterday morning on social media I described the day as "Happy 'be amazing then lose to a 92nd minute penalty' day"* (for those who don't know, a football match is 90 minutes long). We went to watch Burnley v Arsenal, and here's how it went. We'd heard it was going to be a bit chilly, as there had been a smattering of snow the day before, so I wrapped up. 

Thermal vest and leggings, jumper, fully lined skirt, extra socks, hat, mittens and a scarf, plus a big coat obviously.

A wet, misty drive found us in the town, parking is free on Sundays so we treated ourselves to a spot on the car park - and did our good deed by telling some away fans to save their money. Time for a spot of lunch, hot from the flask.

Into town, everyone loves the police horses, they get lots of mints! 

Time for a treat, almond milk chai for me and coconut milk hot chocolate for Dan from the wonderful Little Barista.

How cute are the cups! Now off to the match.

A sign of the times, the club has installed some safety barriers to prevent any vehicle driving through the crowds - the ground is right on the road, people would have nowhere to go. 

There's always a long queue for the real ale bus!

The beautiful view from my seat, snow topped hills and rows of houses. 

At the start of this post I said it was be amazing then lose to a 92nd minute penalty day. I was wrong! It was the 91st minute. I could do nothing more than stare at my feet...

*our last game v Arsenal was 2-1, losing to a 98th minute penalty, the one before that was 0-1 to Arsenal, losing to a 93rd minute goal. I wonder what will happen next time?