Monday, 15 December 2014

Painting More Shelves

I've been painting some more old furniture, as part of clearing out our not-so-spare-room, which embarrassingly we started back in April.

We have 2 large 'IVAR' bookcases that I bought 1 million years ago for my office in the city (I ran my own business for a while, It was very exciting, I was very young, It didn't last) The shelves have been moved around every home we have had over the past 12 years and they have been very useful, but they have languished in the 'spare room' since we moved back home.

In an attempt to empty the spare room and give ourselves better storage downstairs I decided to put the shelves into our kitchen, by the original stone wall.

I was moving quickly, because it was nap-time and I nearly forgot to take photos.

The shelves were really manky - having been used as tool/assorted crap storage for the last few years. I've tried to clean them up a few times before but I figured a coat of paint would be the quickest and kindest upgrade.

After I had finished the first coat, oh hang on, there is an un-painted shelf there... Oh well... this is a work in progress shot anyways.

I had turned some other Ivar shelves into a mini-kitchen for Small a while back, she still plays with it regularly so I incorporated it into the new shelving.

The upright on the right is too tall, but, for the moment, there is nowhere else in the house for it to go and it serves as a hanging space for bows and arrows.

A couple of days later and with all our cookery books, here it is in all its glory (and with the light levels a bit off)

Oh, yeah, also, I got some new fairy lights :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

This is a Rhino, Not a Mummy Blog.

I never wanted to be a 'Mummy blogger', I don't think y'all care what my kids didn't eat at dinner time or how they misbehaved when we had company.  Some Mummy/Daddy bloggers do it really well, and make intriguing reading.

I want to be blogging about painting, sewing, sanding, and my plans for cooking Boxing Day Dinner for 27, and maybe even a bit of furniture re-arranging,...

But then I was up all night when the baby puked into every crevice of his bed, and the 8YO came down with a stinking cold the day before her choir concert, and I realised we hadn't started the Christmas shopping, and I have mountains of laundry to catch up on (due, in part to the sick baby, and in part to me being busy with DIY last week)

This turn of events has given me a certain kind of writers block, I just can't get my head around writing anything other than Mummy, baby, kid stuff.

So today, I share with you, not a DIY project but a photo of a rhino. There is no real reason to put up a photo of a rhino, but this is my space, and I want to.

Enjoy :)

I took this myself. I was in a car. In Scotland.
Normal service will resume shortly....

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas Meal Plan and Shopping List

Every year I do A LOT of cooking over Christmas. I enjoy spending time in my kitchen and I love cooking for all my nearest and dearest. This year I will be cooking over 3 days for a huge bunch of people.

Obviously I still want to enjoy Christmas myself, I don't want to be stressing and panicking and cooking all day. For this, I need a meal plan, with tried and tested recipes that have worked for me time and again.

I do this by having the same plan, year after year - It gets adjusted, obviously, but the rough outline is the same. At the beginning of December each year I check the plan and start doing the preparation. This year I will be cooking for 27 people on one day, the most I have ever done before was 22. But its all fine, because I have my 'Plan'

First I have a print-out of my 'Christmas Menu Plan' which has the plan for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and extra sweets and treats. I don't have a Boxing Day menu plan; for us it is more of the same but much bigger, and requires a bit of separate planning, but the same shopping list.

Which brings me to my 'Big Christmas Shopping List' 
This is a master shopping list of what I need, it includes a check-list of spices that might already be in my pantry.  To spread the cost of the food (we try to live on a budget of £50 a week) I have split the list into 4 sections based on when I need to buy things:
  • In Advance
  • 2 Weeks To Go
  • A Week To Go
  • A few Days To Go

The Christmas groceries are bought alongside our regular shopping and set aside in a special labelled box at the back of the pantry, which saves anything from accidentally getting used up in the interim.

So with these 2 simple lists I already have control of my menu and my spending, which makes the whole process much more enjoyable.

Have you got your Christmas meal plan and shopping list together yet? Have you any suggestions to make that might help me with mine? Leave a comment below.
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