Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Magazine Cover Kits - making them your own!

I have made no secret of my love for Mollie Makes on this blog.  One of the things I love best - apart from the cute styling, the amazing makes, the fab interviews etc etc - are the free cover kits that come with my magazine every month.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday Tutorials - week 4

image credits (clockwise from top right) and

Good morning everyone - it's Tuesday Tutorials Day!   Time to root through your bloggy archives and allow one of your favourite tutorials, recipes or how-to's shine again!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meal Planning 2014 - Taking Stock

Last week was half term - we spent half of it at my mums being fed very well and the rest of it on freezer food, McDonalds (after a half term treat cinema trip) and pizza...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuesday Tutorials - playing with yarn

Good Morning everyone!

It's that Tuesday Tutorial time of week again - Yay!!

Once again, last week was a great success with loads more fab things to make and do added to our Tuesday Tutorials pinterest board.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines Day Jam Tarts recipe

My lovely friends at Duerr's have sent me some of their special edition 'Aphrodisiac Jam' to try this week and asked me if I could come up with something a little loved up to celebrate Valentines Day.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tuesday Tutorials week 2

Hello! Welcome to week 2 of Tuesday Tutorials Pin Party!

Our launch week was a resounding success - we had 36 fab tutorials, how to's and recipes link up by the end of the week. These have all been added to our Tuesday Tutorials Pinterest board. Why not head over, have a look and start sharing those pins?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meal Planning 2014 - Aduki Bean Pie recipe

We are into our second month of meal planning now and things are starting to get a bit more tricky. Most of the nice munchy food pressies we got over Christmas (tins of biscuits/chocolates/sweets) have gone and the store cupboards and freezer stores are starting the thin down as I am using things up and not able to replace them instantly.  I guess it's only going to get harder from here.

On the bright side the Aduki beans from last week are going down well - I will be using the other half of the pie filling this week for one meal.  Here is the recipe I promised to share...

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Crafty Obsessions - PomPoms!!!

This month, in the name of creative blogginess I will mostly be obsessing over pompoms.  Honestly, consider it a service to craftkind...

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Tuesday Tutorials - it's Pintastic!

Hello and welcome to the very first Tuesday Tutorials Pin Party!  If you missed my post last week explaining what this weekly linky is all about why not hop over here and check it out. If you need reminding of the very basic rules of this linky then check out the Tuesday Tutorials tab above!

So, each week Kate, Gude, Anna and myself will be hosting the linky on our blogs and spending the rest of the week busily pinning, tweeting and generally spreading the #Pintorials word.

All you have to do is link up your tutorials below!

We would love it if you could join in sharing the love too - visit the Tuesday Tutorials Pin Party board on Pinterest and start re-pinning all those fab tutorials. Over the next few weeks and months, with your help, we hope to fill this board with lots of lovely how-to's, recipes, DIY's and crafty projects.

Each week I will pick my favourites from the week before and share them here too.

So lets get this party started!

This week I am pinning one of my first tutorials - lovely ribbon and button corsages

Now it's your turn - just add one of your own tutorial/how to/DIY/recipe posts to the linky below. Don't forget to visit the Pinterest board too and maybe pop along to a few other blogs on the linky and show some love...

Tales from Mount Pleasant
Grab the button

Monday, February 03, 2014

Meal Planning 2014 - Slow Cooker Beans

The whole point of meal planning for me is, for the most part, to reduce the cost of our weekly shop. Developments this week mean that this is even more important now (I won't go into it but I'm sure if I say 'Thanks a bunch Tax Credits' you'll get the idea...)

Finding frugal ways to ensure we eat properly is up most in my mind and as we can't really afford very much meat and fish I am looking at other ways to get our protein in!  As a recovering former vegetarian I know the value of beans and pulses and this week I have been experimenting with cooking dried beans in bulk for the freezer so they are ready to use for meals whenever I need them. It's a lot more economical to buy beans dried than pre-cooked in tins but having to cook them for hours on the stove, keeping an eye on water levels so they don't boil dry often puts people off.

But did you know you can cook them in a slow cooker?

Nope me neither until recently. What a revelation!!

It's so easy - you can soak the beans overnight if you want (this reduces cooking time by an hour or two) then just rinse them, pour them into your slow cooker, cover with water with a couple of inches of water above the bean level and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
*please note that while most beans can be cooked in this manner Red Kidney beans contain toxins in their skins that must be boiled off before you slow cook the beans - place the beans in a large pan full of water and bring to the boil. Rapid boil- that is keep it bubbling furiously -  for 10 mins before draining, rinsing and continuing in slow cooker as above.

That's it!

I used a 500g pack of Aduki beans from my local health food shop for less than £2 and this cooked up the equivalent of nearly 6 drained cans of beans, which would cost double that at least!  I packed my cooked beans into freezer bags, about 250g per bag. This is a little more than the drained weight of an average 400g can of beans so when a recipe calls for a tin of drained aduki beans all I need to do is take one of these bags out of the freezer!

I used the equivalent of two cans (approx 450g of cooked beans) to make a supremely tasty Aduki Bean Pie (recipe to be blogged very soon) which cost me about £2.50 to make and would comfortably feed four. There was enough pie filling to freeze half for another meal too!

This is truly frugal, and healthy, food!

You may have noticed by the way that I didn't do a meal planning post last week - this was for various reasons, the main one being it was my birthday and we ate out one night and had pizza on another and freezer food pretty much kept us going the rest of the week. On the down side I experienced that minor 'what are we going to have for tea' panic a couple of times last week - it truly made me appreciate just how helpful meal planning is! On the upside I was well under budget last week which is good as I seem to have run out of EVERYTHING this week!

So here's this week's meal plan - it's pretty basic again as much of this weeks budget will be going on those other non-food necessities - washing up liquid, toilet roll and washing powder!


Homemade Pizza


Toad in the Hole with roast potatoes, carrots, peas and gravy


Pasta with veggie sauce and garlic bread


Homemade Soup and crusty bread


Something from the freezer (Roo has tea at his nan's today)


Chicken and Vegetable Curry and Rice


Veggie Sausage Casserole and mashed potato

ps. you may have noticed I have changed my meal plan order from Saturday to Friday (instead of Monday to Sunday) this is because I normally do a big (ish) shop on Friday or Saturday so it makes more sense for me to plan from there.

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