Friday, 31 July 2015

Birthday Girl! Updated...

I celebrate a 'big' birthday today. Normally, a cake would be made but I was persuaded to buy one this time around. I chose a lemon sponge bar with lemon cream and soft icing:
We shall eat half with family and the other half with our walking friends! Got up to my presents and cards:
From DB, there was a gardening apron and Andy DVD -  we had recorded the whole Wimbledon match and then accidentally deleted it, so the DVD was a lovely surprise. A note block and pen from a local friend and a bee hotel from E. and T., our walking friends.

I shall spend the morning, tootling around getting on with things after the recent wet and cold weather, such as taking the fleece off all my tomatoes. Out to lunch:
These were nacho starters for £5 each! That was all we could eat:)

This evening, we shall share a little time with DS and DDiL and Grand dogs, (more presents!) before bedtime. Tomorrow we are all off to a Steam Event, out for another meal, then a quiet Sunday.

Welcome to Thrift Deluxe via here and Liz Thomas via Bloglovin. Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Adding pictures and links to your blog, menu update and welcome

First of all, welcome to Tania from Australia via here. I have updated our menu page from last week. Didn't use any meat at all!

Where has summer gone? Tonight and tomorrow night are going to be chilly enough to warrant me putting some fleece on my tomatoes.

Anyhow, back to this tutorial. I know that for some of you, this is teaching you how to suck eggs. People new to blogland though, can struggle with it all.

First, if you have the capability to do so, use a photographic programme such as Elements to resize your pictures. 15cm x 10cm at 72 pixels gives very good results on your blog and also helps keep down the space used on your Google Photo account (which is part of your blog).

It used to be Picasa (probably still is) but when you now save pictures, as part of downloading your blog for safety, it refers to them as Google Photo's!

Once/if you have been able to do the above to your photographs, I then keep them on my desktop, as for me, I find it easier to locate them.

Okay, here we go.

When you come to the part on your post where you want to insert a picture, put your flashing cursor in the right place. Then click on the icon above (second from the left on the below picture):
It will bring you to this screen: - again, this is a screen shot hence the blurring but you can see what you need to!
Upload is usually in bold as most of the time, you are uploading from your computer. Click on the Choose files. Mine then goes to my desktop where I select what to upload. Click on the picture you want to upload and the screen will now look like this:
Click on the picture (to highlight it in blue) then press Add selected and it should appear where you want it.

Okay - now to add a link with a short name!

Again, you are writing your post, but this time, you want to add a Link such as a web page you might be referring to in your post. Or you might want to refer to another blog but don't know how to keep the link small. Make sure you have that web page or blog page on another tab otherwise if you make a mistake in copying it you will have to go look for it again!

Firstly, copy the address part of the page, right at the top of the page you are interested in:

Get to the part of your post where you want to insert a link. Click on the Link bit above, which looks like this:

You will get a screen like this:
Where it says Which URL should this link go to?, paste the address of the web/blog page in the box beneath it:
Now, in the box that says Text to display, you will notice it is a long link. Highlight this link:
Then type in whatever you wish. It could be here or link or the name of the blog you are referring to. Here I have linked to BBC Weather for London. I don't however want all that in my post. I have highlighted it and changed it to here:
I always test the link. Click on Test this link in blue. It will open up a new window to show where you are linking it to. If it doesn't work properly, you might have missed a bit of the address off when copying it from the web site. Don't worry, just start again. When it is working properly, close the test window.

Now, back to your screen above, press OK on your screen at the bottom and the link should appear in your post where you want it. I have left this link live so you can check it works!

BBC Weather London - here

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Living our simple spanner life

Trying to put your finger on what simple and or frugal living means is very difficult as it means different things to different people. I checked what such a simple statement means before starting this post, most of which is not how we live. Instead, I will try to explain our simple life, well, as much as we understand it ourselves and how most of the time, we avoid/deal with the spanners that life throws at us!

Living on one persons' wage or in our case, pension, determines how we live. Some have said it is boring, monotonous, 'going without' and words to that effect. We don't subscribe to any of that nonsense!

Often life will throw one (or several) spanners into the works. You can either deal with them or be an ostrich and ignore them. Ignoring is not a real option but many people seem to do just that.

As I have said before in a post, it is about mind set. All our married life we have lived reasonably simply. This was our first house although these photographs are from its sale 2 years ago (we left it nearly 32 years ago - what a change, especially the back:
The back:
The undercover bit on the left is where DB below is making his piece of furniture. What an awful difference this is. When we left it had a nice shed, a 10' x 8' Cedar greenhouse, was full of plants:(
We didn't 'go without' as we were both working. We didn't overspend either. We saved (although looking back, not as much as we should have). DB was often to be found making us furniture from scratch in the early days:
He was making this piece of furniture to house his music equipment - hi fi systems which were huge in those days, plus his records (vinyl).

I cooked from scratch although I hadn't learnt how to make bread at that stage. We started our first vegetable garden in the back quarter of the lawn, despite neighbours telling us the soil wouldn't support it - very sandy and dry - say what!:

I think we were only there a couple of years before we got moved, a shame as we loved that house!

We bought only what we determined we needed and no more. Married to someone whose job moved them around the country and Europe isn't always easy. You don't feel completely settled, never knowing how long you will have your job etc. Also living in a foreign country can be quite alienating.

Becoming internalized and ignoring it all, staying in, letting your fears get a grip of your life takes hard work to overcome but we did it. I even tried a few jobs which was difficult as they on the whole didn't speak English and I didn't speak their language but we somehow managed.

Anyhow we adjusted like you do. When life threw a spanner at us, for the most part, we caught it, spit in its eye, adjusted and carried on. I wish the internet had been around then, how much easier it would have been to just go on-line and read up how to do things, chat to people, find help etc.

It will now be quite a few years before I get my pension as they have moved the goal posts. I have also found out that despite being fully paid up with National Insurance contributions, I now have to find the money to pay another 5 years worth if I wish to get my full pension. That my friends, is a spanner and a half:)

I can't go back to work (nor do I wish to), as I had to stop in the first place with a serious stress-related illness that would have become dire if I had carried on.

So we laid that particular spanner to rest and now we cook, bake, garden, make adjustments and savings in all areas of our life. Where it is practical, healthier and cheaper to do so, I will make household, toiletry and soon hopefully, skincare products etc. We are careful with our money, fuel, water. We have savings because we are so careful.

However, that does not mean we are constantly going without. Team Dc. adjusts, manages, copes, after all, what is the alternative?

We have managed, for now, to bring our entire food and toiletry monthly spending down from £160 to £120 per month for the two of us. Our spending for this month is £114.72.

Do we feel we are going without? Not one jot. Do we panic about the future? No, as we don't yet know what spanners are coming our way. Anyway, just because a spanner is heading in your direction doesn't mean to say it will hit you. If it does, it might just bruise rather than kill you.

Then again, it might just miss altogether, how wonderful would that be!