Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Holiday - Day 3 & Day 4

Alderney is tiny 3 miles by 1.5 miles we've not visited before.  A tiny tiny 12 seater plane which flies at 1,000 feet, we're only going for 1 night so just took hand luggage, remembering the liquid allowance (that is such a pain in domestic flights).  

After 15 minutes we landed in Alderney, we hadn't booked a taxi as its only a couple of miles walk to the hotel, but a taxi waiting, a really friendly chap took us to our hotel in Braye, and we arranged our return trip the next days and to our surprise didn't want paying!! We could settle up on the return trip - that wouldn't happen at home. 

Hotel room is very comfortable, clean, lovely view of the bay we dropped our bags off and set off for a walk.  Up the hill into St Ann with its cobbled street

and quaint shops - I found a wool shop (DaddyHen thinks I have a built in wool shop finder whereever we go).  And yellow phone boxes.

On we walked passed the airport onwards towards Fort Clonque down Zig-Zag.  


The Germans arrived in 1940 and there is plenty of evidence of their presence horrid square concrete bunkers. The hedgerows were full of blackberries, wild honeysuckle and fushias, heather, lots of unnamed flowers - I must buy a book to take in our walks.

The islands just of Alderney are home to thousands of gannets, so much so they have turned the island white

There was a promise of a pint or two at the end of our walk so onwards we went. We arrived back exhausted just as the wind got up and the skies turned dark. Tomorrow we would walk to the north of the island.  Dinner was excellent.  

I didn't sleep to well as a gale was blowing - the noise was something else.  The rain came down in buckets, actually horizontal buckets. OMG would we have spend another night on Alderney, would our flight be cancelled!  A quick check on the guernsey airport site, flights seem to be going albeit a little delayed. Unfortunately our walk would have to be cancelled, the wind and rain was awful and now the visibility was very poor.   The hotel has its own cinema so the manager arrange a film and all 20 seats (comfy armchairs) were all taken.  Sadly no walk but we got back to Guernsey on Joey later in the afternoon after the rain and the visibilty had improved.

 MummyHen X

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Holiday - Day 1 & Day 2

I had to work until lunch time so made sure everything was packed the night before. One suitcase and one piece of hand luggage.

DaddyHen and I took the train to London Bridge changed trains, it was really easy, just walked across the platform. The Gatwick train arrived on time 30 minutes later we were at the airport.  

The check in hall is right next to the exit barriers at the station no long walks with luggage - DaddyHen commented on how easy it was - umm does that mean he approved of my money saving way of getting to the airport? I think that's a Yes!

Managed to make good progress with my crochet on the train, in airport departures and on the flight.

The hotel where we have stayed in Guernsey before was full so they recommend their sister hotel, which had recently been refurbished and we weren't disappointed. The room was beautiful and the food at dinner excellent. 

Next morning, after a good breakfast - the plan is not to have lunch each day, we went to the library to look at newspapers from WW1 looking for casualty lists from 1918.   After we found what we were looking for we headed down through Candie gardens - beautiful view over St. Peters Port - into town. The bunting in the high street looked lovely.

The Guernsey Archieves holds the identity cards of the Islanders who were resident during WW2.  Information on these forms, which includes a small black and white photo is fascinating all the standard name, address etc  it also includes eye colour, employers name, name of dependents and details of any previous military service as well as names of relatives currently serving during WW2. Opposite the archieves is the Cock and Bull pub - which served an excellent pint so I'm told!!  

That evening we went to a restaurant in Town which was recommended and after reading reviews it seemed to have excellent food - the reality was totally different.  The food was ok but nothing special, the staff had issues with command of the English language and one in particular had personal hygiene issues.

Up early tomorrow as we are off to Alderney

MummyHen X

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Holidays – Trains, planes, automobiles & boats

As a rule we haven’t taken a proper holiday (more than a couple of nights away) for years; since SonnyHen was at School.  Mainly because of the menagerie that needs looking after.  But this year we are going to be away for 10days leaving SonnyHen and GF will look after the house and animals.
Our break will be around the Channel Island – we visit Jersey regularly as DaddyHen’s paternal grandmother came from Jersey.  But we have not really explored the other Islands other than a few fleeting visits to Guernsey.
Itinerary: Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Jersey.

Train to Gatwick, being frugal we are getting the train, normally we get a taxi which costs around £50 but this time we will get the train, costing £9.90 each, we will have to change trains at London Bridge and cross the platform – I think it will be straight forward; DaddyHen thinks otherwise. But it leaves more money for the enjoyable fun activities. Flights to Guernsey, Alderney & Jersey. Boat to Sark.  Trips to Les Minquiers and Les Ecrehous. Lots of walking, good food and time to relax and recharge the batteries.

I can’t wait
Arwedd asked about the recipe I used in making my soap.  I used various percentages of:
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Sweet Almond Oil
Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Shea Butter
Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Apricot Kernal Oil, Rapeseed Oil
Olive Oil, Shea Butter, Palm Oil
Olive oil, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil Rapeseed Oil, Caster Oil, Rice Bran Oil
MummyHen X

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Making Cold Process Soap

I have, for the first time, been making soap.  Cold process soap – the resources available on line are immense, recipes, sourcing ingredients, videos.  I spent a good deal of time researching.  I only plan to give the soap as gifts or for us to use at home.  I am pleased with my first efforts – I made some mistakes – like forgetting to add the fragrance.

I used three different moulds – a pringles can, a wooden loaf mould – made by SonnyHen & DaddyHen from bits of wood we had laying around and a wooden rectangle mould again homemade.  The pringles can and the loaf moulds were the best, although the rectangle mould may have worked better if I had not added so much batter. 

Brown circle is Seaweed – the colour started as a brightish olive green but after it was cut and started to dry out the colour changed to this dull brown


Purple and Cream – is Lavender and Calendula


Blue and Yellow – umm was supposed to be Lime & Coconut but I forgot to add the fragrance


Green and White – Lime and Tea Tree (hope the white will be more white during the cure)


Pink and White – Rose Geranium and Tea Tree


Now I need to be patient for the next six weeks whilst the soap cures


Anyone else make CP soap - if so do share your tips. 

Two sleeps until holiday - yippee


MummyHen X

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Eek – cost of printer cartridges

I had forgotten how expensive ink cartridges are.  I have a HP Officejet 7500A.  Its newish; forget how long I’ve had it but must be coming up to a year.  For my work I have to print, sign, scan documents to PDF, so when I was looking for a new printer I needed one with scanning and faxing capabilities – the fact it can also print A3 is a bonus for some of the Family Trees I send to older members of the family.

DaddyHen wanted something printed – the out of ink message came up – checked the cupboard no replacements.  Opened the printer took out the cartridges and gave them a shake – I’m sure I read somewhere that it can trick the printer into thinking it still has ink. In any case I don’t just change the cartridges when the printer tells me.  I keep going until the read quality is totally gone.  We don't actually print that much - may be a dozen sheets a week.  Patterns for knitting and crochet I read on iPad in PDF, likewise for any recipes - although I do worry about the ipad in my very small kitchen.

Previously, I have tried refills – very messy and the print quality wasn’t that good.  Own brand (some large computer stores sell own brand) – tried those; print quality was poor and they didn’t seem to last that long and I had issues with the printer accepting them.  So I stick to branded cartridges – unfortunately my Mr T and Mr S (both of which I have loyalty cards for) don’t stock the type I need.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I got a few loyalty points for spending so much.


Black cartridge £24.99; each of the colours £9.99; total spend £54.96.
Lets see how long this lot will last.


MummyHen X

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Baking and making

After seeing Froogs post about making a pie put-lid-on-it-frugal-pies I promised SonnyHen that I would make a meat pie with a bottom.  We have had many a discussion about pies with bottoms or without bottoms; I normally make pies without bottoms.  That is without a pastry bottom.  He asked for a meat pie, dauphinoise potatoes and mushy peas, DaddyHen ask for blackberry and apple cake.  Not thinking that it would be one of the hottest days of the year I duly set about cooking.

For the pie filling I used shin of beef – which I cooked for 4 hours, adding kidneys for the last hour before assembling the pie.  Plenty left over for the freezer.
Made the pastry as per Froogs recipe. 
I added shallots to the layers of potatoes in the dauphinoise and a grating of parmesan to the top. 

The blackberry and apple cake was a bit of throw it in and see what happens – I didn’t weigh anything out but know roughly what 250g of caster sugar looks like.

Pack of butter 250g, same of caster sugar, 4 medium/3 large eggs, 225g SR flour & 25g ground almonds, 400g bramley apples (peeled, cored & cut into large chunks), 250g blackberries. Mix butter & sugar, add eggs then fold in flour and almonds and finally the chunks of apple.   Deep round cake tin, lined, and the blackberries at the bottom neatly, then add the cake mixture and bake in the oven 160 for about 45mins. 
It was delicious and so moist the blackberries had turned to a red mush on the top, the apples were still crunchy and added to the moistness – only downside I couldn’t really taste the almonds maybe 110gs next time and/or some almond extract.
This is what was left this morning - I think they liked it!?!!!!!



MummyHen X


Saturday, 8 September 2012

September Goals

Wanted to post this a week ago but too much happening – things at work have calmed down, it’s the weekend it's 29 degrees the sun is shining – I’ve been baking (more on that tomorrow) and have the time to finally post about our goals in September.

Keep within food budget – four week month and we're away for 10 days but SonnyHen will be staying to look after the cats, chickens, fish and the house; the budget will be £550; however as we're away I am hoping to spend £100 - £150 less.  We will see.

Pay extra on CC#1 – we have really concentrated on paying down this card.  Back at the beginning of July we owned over £8,300, paying extra and snowballing* in the past 10 weeks the balance now just over £4,200; still on schedule to pay this off by end November.

House maintenance - redecorate the dining room

Keep to holiday budget – flights, ferries, some hotels and activities paid.  I have allowed a budget of £80 per day for all extras including lunch and dinner each day – perhaps a little generous but this is our main holiday and don’t want watch the pennies too much.




*Snowballing – finished paying off a loan in July, this monthly sum was then added to the regular monthly payment on CC#1, this means that the monthly payments are now £650 + whatever is left at the end of each month.



Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Work life balance struggle


Far too much happening – I don’t seem to have got the work-life-balance right at the moment.  So a quick update.


These were August goals

Keep within food budget. August is a long month with five weeks so our food budget will be £675 (£125 per week + £50 bulk buy). Met with £12.64 in the kitty 

Pay extra on CC#1met paid extra £1,000 

Increase the monthly payments to other CCs – will only be rounding up to nearest 100 but it will helpMet – it’s always a boost to when the statements come in its good to see the amount owing going in the downward direction

House maintenance – redecorate dining room; Failed this will happen before our holiday later in September (I have no control over this.  Paint has been bought I just need a willing body?!!?!)

Book holiday – looking forward to a break at end of September.  Met flights, ferries, hotels & activities all booked.  So looking forward to this


MummyHen X