dear diary :: a bit of this and a bit of that

At last on Monday we managed to buy a leek – well three actually, the very last three in fact and to get those DH had to pop round to the smaller town centre Sainsbury’s whilst I continued shopping at the larger branch on the ring road which had a row of empty boxes again where the leeks should be.

Well after all, what is life during the bleak winter months without any leeks? The Homity pies, hearty leek and lentil stew and leek and potato soup on my menu plan can now go ahead after two weeks of being without. Maybe it is just our area that has been ‘leek’less – has anyone else struggled to buy them?

Despite the leek shortage January felt like a very rewarding month in many ways. We managed two celebrations under Covid lockdown rules – have survived the first month of childcare for little Freddie (or should I say he survived us) – our finances, although not as healthy as I would wish, are not as bad as I thought and I have completed two of my craft projects. So not a bad start to the year and on top of it all I have really been enjoying all the snow which we have had to varying degrees; sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.

We have had some lovely little walks with Freddie to see the sheep and cows nearby. Occasionally, we have ventured out in the drizzle but Freddie is well wrapped up in his dinosaur cosy toes and these modern pushchairs have see through rain covers which help – it is just granny and grandad that get wet!

We had our Covid test last week which was negative and always good to know that we are not asymptomatic and therefore not unknowingly spreading the virus – not that we have seen anyone or go anywhere other than for the food shopping.

So I am now looking forward to February – a shorter month but hopefully slightly longer days in terms of daylight. My calendar tells me the highlights of this month will be Valentine’s day and Shrove Tuesday and I am looking for some ideas to mark the occasion – not that we would normally go out to a restaurant for Valentine’s day but I feel I should perhaps make the effort to produce a nice meal or bake a cake, (I know any excuse for a cake)…….and I am thinking it has to be chocolate cake as I haven’t had any for ages.

As usual I have plans. I intend completing a few more craft projects whilst I have a little momentum going here, at the same time I do need to attempt a bit more decluttering and cleaning (I am motivated here by everyone else in blogland doing a declutter and don’t want to feel left out!)……….and if there is time a trip to a garden centre to buy some seed potatoes.

As things are slowly beginning to stir in the garden I am slowly beginning to think about what I might grow this year and picked up a couple of packets of seeds in Sainsbury’s this week, dwarf sunflowers and mixed petunias – most of the annuals did well last year apart from the zinnias – I am not sure where I went wrong with those but as I have more packets of free seeds I will try again.

The bulbs inside the greenhouse and outside in pots are just beginning to make themselves known. I can even see a tiny bud on the outdoor Narcissus peeking through the snow.

I made the final January birthday card for one of my oldest friends and other than a Valentine’s day card I have no birthdays to make for in February. I have been using the last of the pressed flowers and the stock of concertina cards I once bought for a different project that never really materialised (I expect we have all been there!).

For the gift I found a delightful little china bowl and handleless mug in Sainsbury’s from the Habitat range with a simple bright orange circle pattern and contrasting navy blue. This particular friend likes bright colours so I hope she likes it. I never worry if people pass my gifts on if they are not to their taste – you cannot get it right every time. Before wrapping the gift in cellophane I filled the mug with some Lily O’Brien creamy caramel and sea salt chocolate discs – which I can say are very moreish.

I am rather tempted to buy a dish and mug for myself as the colours would go well in my new kitchen (which is pale grey but has accent colours of burnt orange) – so I may even treat myself…….. though goodness knows I don’t really need any more china.

This week I treated myself to some tulips – usually I dither over the colour – I love them all but this time I knew I would pick the orange to go with bowl full of oranges and nectarines on the widow sill – it is my colour of the moment and an inexpensive vibrant splash of colour that is so cheerful on these drab winter days.

And at last I have found the time to sew mum’s cushion cover that she knitted for me a long time ago. Mum has knitted all her life, not so much in her later years, but she is still a very neat knitter – when I told her I had finished the cushion she remembered that she had started one for herself and it has given her the motivation to search it out and finish it. I told her I would sew it up for her if she does finish the knitting, but I won’t be able to leave it as long as the one she made for me as she is 95 afterall and time for her is quite precious.

When I get down to it there are two rooms that need a good going over – our main bedroom and the office come craft room – they also need decorating but that will have to wait a while – for now I will be happy to just declutter, thoroughly clean them and maybe rearrange, though where I will put all the ‘decluttered’ stuff I have no idea.

The office is always my headache place, too much paper, too much craft, too much filing and generally too much stuff. I keep trying to whittle it down but somehow it all bounces back. I look at the two large magazine holders of instruction leaflets and think do I need to keep these then DH will come along and say ‘do we have the leaflet that came with so and so’? as he needs to check something. Is it on the internet I say – the answer is usually our item is so old and discontinued there is nothing he can find that is relevant……lucky I keep them then.

I did manage to sell one of the baby cribs – a beautiful white wooden traditional one we bought from John Lewis for our grandchildren. They have now moved on to cots and beds and the cribs are redundant but somehow they have made their way to our house for me to dispose of them! It has taken me ages to get around to taking photos and writing the descriptions for Ebay but I couldn’t pass on the offer they sent me for the £1 maximum selling fees and having sold one of them so quickly I am happy to have a little extra space now in the spare room.

I have also listed some shoes and clothes on Ebay and a retro telephone we took off the wall in the kitchen and didn’t want to replace – not sure if many of the items will sell or not but so far I have made £70 with just two of them.

So that is about all my current news for now I feel I have rambled on far too long. As I write this the heavy snow that prevented us from having little Freddie on Tuesday has completely gone but I am sure this might not be the last of it.

Hope you are all coping well – at times I am almost forgetting this new life we have carved out for ourselves is not normal but it is all we have for now so I am making the best of it and I must say although exhausting it is lovely to spend so much time with our grandson. Stay safe everyone. x

34 Replies to “dear diary :: a bit of this and a bit of that”

  1. Curious – I don’t think I have ever bought a leek! I think I just use onions (are they similar in taste)?
    Lots of snow on the ground here and no thought of flowers yet! Your cards and pillow cover are just lovely. Nicely done!
    Thanks for the great post!


    1. And thank you for popping by and leaving a comment. I think in some recipes you might be able to substitute onion for the leek but I am not sure you could for the homity Pie, Leek and lentil stew or the Leek and Poatato soup – I think leeks give more body to a dish.


  2. We can buy leeks here but they are expensive so I usually don’t bother. In fact my grocery bill is much bigger than last year, maybe because I am only shopping once a week! Love your photos, especially the tulips, they are gorgeous!


    1. My grocery bill is far more than it has ever been – prices here are rocketing. Can’t do without my leeks though – I use them in so many things – I hope they are a superfood and have plenty of those health giving benefits!


  3. All those ‘structural’ things you have in your garden make it look interesting. On the flat as well as from above – the snow half hiding some of them gives it an even more mystical look.


  4. Wish you were closer. There are two 5 gallon buckets of leeks sitting in my garage, and that many more to dig if I need them, which I don’t. Maybe I need your recipe for Homity pie, since I haven’t a clue what that is!


  5. I bought myself tulips last week as well…..pinky-purple ones and they brought such a dash of colour and delight to our gloomy days…definitely a worthwhile investment. 🙂


    1. They are one of my favourites such a variety of colours to choose from and I love it when they start to bend over and wander – I know you can stick a pin through the stalks underneath their heads to keep them upright but I actually think they look quite scuptural when they start to bow down.


  6. Lovely newsy post. Your photos, as always, so enhance your words. Had a bit of snow here on Sunday, but most of it is gone now except for the shaded areas. As someone else mention, leeks are very expensive here, too, and generally not organic, so they aren’t on my weekly shopping list…though the thought of leek and potato soup is certainly enticing….hmm…maybe this week. Take care and stay safe..


    1. I think maybe I have some Welsh blood in me to yearn for leeks so much! I confess that I would buy them even if they were expensive – but then we don’t have any meat to buy so I feel we can splash out on the veg.


  7. Lovely post as normal. Your cards are gorgeous.Morrison have leeks and they are grown in Lincolnshire so I’m surprised at a shortage. Enjoy some feet up time.


    1. Thanks for that – we have a Morrisons in the village but I am more used to shopping in Sainsbury’s as it was close by to were I worked and I have just continued going there since I retired. Also we eat a lot of their own label foods especially the Sainsbury’s organic range. If the shortage in Sainsbury’s continues though I might pop down to Morrisons and have a look.


  8. Snow!!! So jealous. Would love to be pottering at home looking out on it. A love the bulbs poking up through it.

    Your colour coordination and photos are always so cheering. I say buy that mug you like – such a striking colour – but toss one that you don’t look at and like.

    And get cracking on sewing your mother’s cushion!


  9. Your cards and the present you made up for your friend are lovely. I’ve just ordered some tulips to be sent to my Mother in Law next week for her birthday.


    1. She will be delighted. Have just popped over to your blog – I see you are a new blogger so thank you for commenting on my blog and drawing my attention to yours – I could not find a follow button though – but I will keep dropping in to have a read.


  10. Lovely to catch up on all of your news. You sound so busy it must been hard work but rewarding looking after your grandson. Sorry you haven’t been to Scotland for so long. Homity pie haven’t made one of those for ages,it will have to go on next week’s menu! Lovely to see the snow covering your neighbourhood,it’s just cold here!


  11. Interesting to read about leek supply across all the comments! We have plenty here in NE Scotland – Scots are very keen on leeks and they’re a key ingredient in Scotch broth. My own leeks in the garden have been a disaster – more like spring onions. I am gradually finding out about gardening further north and on soil that really needs more feeding. Have ordered a heritage French variety among my seeds for this year – Bleu de Solaise – so fingers crossed. It’s meant to be beautiful.
    You’ve just reminded me that it was Valentine’s day. We don’t exchange cards and usually forget the “day” and that was even more the case this year in these strange limbo days. Your Mum’s knitting has such a beautiful even tension.


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