This weekends challenges

This weekend I am at home!

This may seem like a weird quote but I feel that for weeks I have been everywhere else but at home. Tim is working so I can do as I like ‘Yippee-ki-yay’ as Bruce would say in Die Hard. Anyway I seem to have digressed already.

The plan for Saturday:
1. Pop to the allotment to see what’s going on there and see what needs to be harvested as we haven’t been for weeks.

2. Make some chutney from the gherkin glut and whatever else I can find at the allotment.

3. I need to go shopping for a coat, a commuting coat not too heavy but something smart.

4. I need to find a new fridge freezer. Will I find what I want, what I really really want? Who knows we will have to see tomorrow!

5. Stock up on foods to make slimming world week easier. Guess I will be doing a bake sesh for this too

Let’s see how far we get!

What are you up to? Do you have any great chutney recipes you would like to share?

Enjoy your weekend
Elaine x

Bah humbug – Christmas shopping in Birmingham

 Birmingham Christmas Shopping

Whilst the kids were away at Christmas Scout Camp this weekend the husband decided to take me on a Christmas shopping expedition. We live close to Oxford, Reading and Swindon so that was my first thoughts but Tim thought differently and decided on a trip to Birmingham.

My preparation for our trip was shocking.  I decided that I should work out what I wanted, google to find the best price and then shop.  Needless to say this didn’t happen!

By the time we arrived in Birmingham on Saturday it was heaving.  We headed straight for the Bullring Shopping Centre.  The range of shops was astounding.  We struggled to get round them all in a day and a half.  Let alone the ones in the side streets and the ones on the surrounding shopping outlets.

I must say it has been a long time since I have been out to do Christmas shopping since my son was born in 2005 most of my shopping has always been done online.  I found out this was so much easier because at the time I was pregnant with Leo and he was due mid November so thought I had to get it done before his arrival as I couldn’t face packed shops with a newbie baby and a two and half year old toddler.    So, since then I have never really looked back.

The trip this weekend was certainly an eye opener.  There were queues for  toilets that snaked around the shopping centre.  There were queues to pay, queues to eat and there was even a queuing system to use the escalators!

I know that some people hate the whole Christmas season and I can sort of see why.  There were people pushing, shoving,  jumping queues and then one chap was paying at a till and another chap had paid for his items and just asked if he could pass by to get out and the man flipped, BIG TIME, swearing and shouting and the poor chap just wanted to move away from the tills as he had paid for his items.  Bizarre!  This Christmas shopping lark doesn’t seem to bring out the best in people to be fair.

I didn’t even find half the presents I was looking for so upon returning home tonight I shall be …… yep you guessed it….. internet shopping!

At least it was nice to get away and we stayed in a really nice Holiday Inn which was literally across the road from Star City Entertainment Village.  Our plan was to grab something to eat and catch a film at the cinema.  However, by the  time we had checked in and then eaten it was 10.30pm so I was ready for my bed, feet and head hurting.

I would love to go again but maybe not during a manic shopping period and this time find the other shopping malls as there are many more we didn’t get to.

Shopping tip:

I never go out without my shopping apps.  These include Quidco and Vouchercloud as starters both are downloaded as apps on my phone and I swear by them.  Quidco is also great for on line shopping as you earn cashback and that is always a bonus.

Links to my most used shopping apps:



PriceRunner – price comparison website

Happy Shopping

SHOPPING – Pop up shops?

I had my first experience today of a POP UP shop. There are quite a few empty shops in our town and one is being used as a pop up shop.   I believe the point of the shop is that you rent it for a couple of months get noticed and either move into a shop in the town or move on.  I might have this completely wrong though.

What do you think of them? A good idea?  I certainly think so especially if they are completely different to anything we currently have in the town.

I remember a few weeks ago there was a photographer in the shop but now they have another retailer in.

I had driven past and saw some underwear in the window  and wondered what sort of shop this could be… first impressions I thought it was a burlesque, vintage,  maybe Dita Von Teese inspired shop.

Today was the day I walked past and my first impressions from a few drive by’s were so wrong.

The shop is currently being used as a pop up by two businesses Kuda, which sells items including handbags, scarves and jewellery and Pip & Pantamailon  which sells handmade products like lingerie, aprons, cushions and bunting.

As I walked into the shop I was greeted a lady who was happy to tell me about the products.  There are some beautiful knitwear items including two absolutely gorgeous dresses (neither of which would fit me 🙁 such a shame). There were also materials and ribbons, bunting, cushions and some fab little handmade note books. Which were made by a lady from Wallingford which is just a few miles away.  I purchased two notebooks for my boys as they are quite partial to a notebook for writing random sums or stories in.

I had to restrain myself as there were a few scarves and bits and bobs I could have quite easily purchased.

This shop won’t be around for long so I recommend that you get down to the Lower Broadway in Didcot and have a look.   (Opposite Barclays)

Just found this article too: