Monday, 18 March 2013

Budget Cuts

Like millions of other people all over the world, we too find ourselves counting the pennies at the moment. Living costs are going through the roof, food is getting more and more expensive by the day and finding work is no easy feat. As a result the grocery list no longer regularly allows for extra sugar, butter, cream and chocolate to be transformed into delicious treats every day and dinners have to fit the budget rather than the cravings these days. This could be a sad and depressing state of affairs if you allow it to be, or you could look at the bright side and get creative!

I love a bargain and am always keeping my eyes open for a good deal. The supermarket discount shelf is a bargain hunter's dream and if you add a bit of imagination you can still eat cake! A pot of marked down whipping cream, a broken bar of chocolate and a couple of large tubs of "buy of get one free" cream cheese were all sitting on the shelf when I went shopping last week. All of these items went into my shopping trolley and were on their way to becoming a gorgeous dessert. I simply added a dash of vanilla and a sprinkle of icing sugar to the soft cheese, folded it into the lightly whipped cream and poured in the melted bar of chocolate. This was spread over a digestive biscuit crumb base and popped into the fridge until after dinner. As you can see, not much was left over for me to photograph!

 When the bargains are hard to find, a cupful of rolled oats and a bagful of choc-chips can instantly transform a bit of butter, sugar and egg into a batch of huge cookies to satisfy those cakey desires.

Of course, there is one thing that I can't go without and that is fresh fruit. This will always be on the shopping list, no matter what and I am more than happy to eat a bowl of fruit for dessert. Luckily for me Little T agrees with me here.

My frugality has not just been in the kitchen though and have spread to other parts of the house too. I am still in the process of transforming this house into a home and have been wanting to make one of Lucy's wreaths for some time now. For the past couple of weeks, I have been slowly using up all the little scraps of yarn that I have left over from various previous projects to make lots of pretty little flowers.

I stumbled upon a bag of cotton yarn in a charity shop at a fraction of the retail price and it was the perfect colour to become the cover for the Styrofoam wreath that was bought on sale at a hobby store.

And just like that, for hardly any money at all I had made something pretty and special for our home and had a lot of pleasure in doing so along the way.

It just goes to show, those old adages are still true, money doesn't make you happy and the best things in life are free :)

Monday, 11 March 2013

Wishful Thinking

I feel like I have been anticipating the beginning of Spring for weeks now, but it would appear that I am suffering from wishful thinking. There have been signs that Winter is coming to an end, but it was nothing more than empty promises.The last few days have been grey and wet and freezing and very wintery indeed, proving that I have been very hasty in thinking that Spring is here.

Today has once again been a wishful thinking kind of a day. It started off with brilliant sunshine streaming through my bedroom window, shimmering on the bright blue river, making everything feel happy and bright again.

The tiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils that I got for Mothers day looked so much better lifting their little heads to welcome the sunshine into our home.

Little T too seemed to be a happier boy this morning, playing in the bright room and trying to catch the sun rays bouncing off the petals of the flowers.

I should have know that it's too good to be true though, and sure enough before the morning was even halfway over the sky began to darken once more. That gloriously brilliant view from this morning now looked like this!

No, your eyes are not deceiving you, that really is snow falling from the sky and settling all around us. Winter is truly hanging in there this year...

I am however set on not letting this ruin a day that started off so wonderfully and have a plan of action to keep my spirits up. 

Step one, a comforting pot of Red Bush tea to warm me from the inside out and remind me of home.

Step two, settling into my favourite spot with my crochet hooks and a big box of colourful scraps of yarn.

 Step three, creating my own little flower garden to make up for the lack of real ones outside.

I am happy to report that the plan has worked and that I am still having a "sunny" day and that I intend to do so until the real sunshine makes it's appearance once again :)