dear diary >> home again, home again

Well no, I haven’t quite done the jiggety jig, rather I have been making a big mess. I knew that if we delayed coming home by a day or two I would have to make my friend’s anniversary card in a hurry, so after a good night’s sleep on Tuesday night (we were both zonked from the travelling and slept like logs) I was up bright and early to put away some of the unpacking and then began on the card.

I had an idea of what I wanted to do but anything to do with crafting and a mess forms around me with surprising speed. I decided on something simple, but obviously homemade and personalised to them. I chose a piece of pink handmade paper from my scrap box and this rather pretty heart stamp that I bought years ago. I stamped the paper with embossing ink and then sprinked on some antique white and gold powder. I love it when you apply the heat tool and the powder changes very quickly into this textured surface. I then outlined the heart with a gold ink pen and cut it out and placed it onto the front of a trifold card with a few foam pads. I then added the stamped greeting in gold ink.

Inside I printed the greeting and added a lovely little picture I had taken of them on their wedding day 20 years ago. It was their 2nd marriage and a beautiful sunny February day. What a good job it wasn’t yesterday’s appalling rain and wind. I cut out tiny hearts from some gold Washi tape to stick the printed sheets in place.

The ribbon, which was another scrap threads through a slot in the back and when the card is folded it ties around the front.

The first practise heart I had made on white paper I used as a gift tag for the little posy of flowers I bought and wrapped in a sheet of gold tissue paper.

After making and delivering the card and flowers we had to go out for some shopping. Our vegetable fridge was bare – in fact I had switched it off before we went away and DH busied himself cleaning the inside …well he did offer and I wasn’t going to refuse him.

It was quite busy in Sainsbury’s but we didn’t need a lot. DH went off with a separate trolley to scoop up all the personalised Smartshop offers with a scanner and I picked up a few other offers from the shelves. The rapeseed oil we use for cooking was reduced by a £1 and …….I stocked up with enough fruit and veg to cover a week’s meals.

My box of washing powder is nearly empty and I will have extra bedding from the caravan to wash this week so I have been on the look out for a good deal on the Persil non bio washing powder, which I use as it doesn’t irritate my skin. They had some of those mega boxes of 130 washes for £14 (ouch) on the aisle that displays large bulk items supposedly cheaper. However, we had just received a leaflet through our door from Farm Foods offering the same powder and size – 2 for £25 and the leaflet also has coupons on it for £2 off if you spend £25 or over making the two boxes £23. So this seemed a better buy and made each box only £11.50. A bit of an outlay of course, but 260 washes is going to last me a very long time and if stored well it doesn’t go off.

So after we had finished at Sainsbury’s we drove round the corner to the large Farm Foods shop to pick some up. I have never been in there before, mainly because they tend to sell everything we don’t eat – a lot of ready made processed foods and it was stacked high with packs of coke and other fizzy drinks that we don’t drink. We found the Persil and paid our £23. When we returned home I had a quick Google and couldn’t find the same size boxes any cheaper anywhere else….unless anyone out there knows better.

I have been thinking long and hard about where we can make economies in our household budget. With prices rising and yesterday’s news that inflation is running at 5.5% our pound will not buy as much as it did.

Of course the biggest money saving economy is to not buy anything….not be tempted into things I don’t really need (I might want them but don’t need them). After this the things I do need to buy must be at the cheapest possible price or items that will last a very long time as sometimes cheap is not the most effective if it is of inferior quality and breaks or wears out so quickly it has to be replaced.

Where food is concerened I could probably more than halve the budget if we didn’t buy organic foods and fruit and veg but I am a big believer in not using pesticides or chemical fertilisers and I would rather eat less but still buy organic as I feel it is important in the bigger picture of sustainability. So organic stays and I will have to spend more time searching out offers and gearing my menus to the veg that is on offer and in season.

Whilst we were away we had the heating set so low it was just above frost protection so the heating would come on if it reached a certain temperature if it got really cold. I can tell you the house was cold when we arrived home and out came the hot water bottle and an extra blanket on the bed. It will be interesting to see what this month’s fuel bills are after two weeks of hardly running the boiler, no showers or cooking etc.

I bought a bag of Pentland Javelin seed potatoes from the garden centre in Stranraer. They are so much cheaper up there and I like to support them as over the years their little business is shrinking and maybe in danger of closing like the one further up the road in Ballantrae and soon there will be nowhere local near the cottage to go. I need to place them into the egg trays to chit as soon as I can.

Today we have our hair appointments, we go together now since the pandemic started, it does save on fuel costs and means that we are the only ones in her tiny shop. Our hairdresser has been very cautious all through the pandemic when she has been allowed to open and continued to wear a mask, as we do, even when the option had been relaxed.

This morning will be tidying, menu planning and some paperwork – I had planned to do this tomorrow but I had a phone call from my elder daughter last night, who lives nearby, to ask if we could look after master Freddie on Friday. Well I wasn’t going to say no…it is always a joy to have him. I daresay with the next storm approaching it will be too windy to go out which will be a shame.

I have had a peep outside this morning but can’t see any damage from last night’s gales but I have not heard from Scotland yet – our caravan could have been swept off its anchoring points and be floating in the sea! I just hope the new kitchen roof is still in place!

Have a good day everyone.

16 Replies to “dear diary >> home again, home again”

  1. Good to hear you made it safely home. As always, I stand in awe of your creativity. The anniversary card is beautiful and so personal–the couple must have been incredibly touched to receive it.


  2. That card is absolutely beautiful she will be thrilled, and I know what you mean about any crafting instantly creating a mess. I used to love having my own craft room when we lived on the farm and I sold at the Farmers Markets. I could make a mess and then just close the door … not something I could get away with now.

    A good deal on the washing powder, we all have to think carefully about everything we buy now don’t we and plan for the best possible deals. I do wish would come back that was great for comparing prices and working out a shopping plan.


    1. I have to put my mess away now otherwise the grandchildren dive in and create an even bigger one – they just love crafting but I don’t want them using all my ‘best’ stuff.
      I bought some Morrison’s toilet rolls at the caravan their almost basic range but when I put them away next to the similarly priced Sainsbury’s ones in the cupboard they were shorter, the cardboard roll in the middle is larger and they are more loosely rolled, so although they might have been marginally cheaper than the Sainsbury’s eqivalent they are not as good value – so you do have to watch what you are buying and not just go for cheapness I find.


  3. What a lovely card, and so personal to the recipients, they must be delighted. Finding the best deals can be a minefield these days with so many different offers, and then being able to stack offers. You almost need a degree in maths to work them all out. If only the supermarkets would just give us their best prices without having to buy two for one, three for two, buy one get one half price etc., we’d know where we stand.


  4. I am so glad that you got home safely. The weather has been silly and I definitely don’t approve. That card is so wonderful. It’s an amazing gift in itself! Thank you for reminding me about Farm Foods. I think I will be keeping a closer eye on them from now on.


  5. I am so glad to hear that you have made it home safely. The card you have made is amazing, wow, my handprinted efforts are no where near as good as yours. So much creativity, I am sure your friend will have loved it, especially as I read that she is creative herself.

    The rising costs are a worry aren’t they, and you are so right that it is so hard to compare prices. Buying in bulk can save a lot of money but it is a big outlay and you need space to store it all, saving money is one of the reasons I got myself a Suma account, that and buying in bulk is less packaging. I am with you on organic, we have an organic veg box delivered every week and I buy extra organic veg from another farm once a month, I top this up with a small amount from the supermarket. I try and buy as many other organic ingredients as I can source, another reason I buy from Suma.

    I hope all is well in Scotland with the recent storms and you are all safe in the winds/storms we have forecast for the next 24 hours.


    1. Thank you for your kind words about my card – it really was quite a simple affair and it was the rubber stamp and embossing powder that did all the work!
      Funny you should mention Suma – in the early 80’s when we lived in a terrace of mill houses we were like a little community and formed a co-operative where once a month we would place an order with Suma (who were then based in Leeds and just started out) and one of us would drive over to collect it. Together we would buy whole cheeses, sacks of brown rice, tubs of honey etc, everything in bulk and then in the evening everyone would meet up at the ‘collectors’ house with their own containers and we would weigh out the amounts ordered for each person, and have a great night chatting with one another – we may have had a drink or two as well. It became a very social evening and we saved so much money buying in bulk. I had almost forgotten those days. I do still buy their rice and nuts but from a local shop. It has never occurred to me that they would have an online shop – I will be having a look at them in the next day or two.
      Not sure about Scotland – no one has informed us of any damage yet so fingers crossed!
      PS If I failed to mention it on your post I thought your cards were very creative, homemade is definitely so much nicer to receive.


  6. That is not an Anniversary Card, it is a small work of art. Deeply impressed 🙂

    I remember the last time inflation was out of control as it appears to be now – 1990’s were not a nice time financially. The day mortgage rates shot up to 13% is one that is etched in my memory, I wish I could forget how scared I was at the time.

    Hope you are OK in today’s storm, and that all is OK at the cottage.


    1. As I said to another commenter it was really the rubber stamp and antique embossing powder that did all the work for me!
      Those heady days of high mortgages – I remember them well and the worry that went with them. DH had returned to university at the time to finish his Architects course and we were on a student grant with two tiny children – they were very lean days.


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