May 2011

Here’s another list I use, The Shopping List. If you want to use it to print it out, just click on the image and it will open up. It’s a .pdf too so you will need Adobe Reader.

The list I use for shopping

Frugal shopping starts with a list. That’s important so you know what you need before you go and shop. How many times have you gone shopping and just put everything you see into the basket? I know I have in the past, that’s why now I use this list. You can even price the items up online as most supermarkets have their own websites now, I know I do and that’s what the small column is for.

Sweet potatoes

Image via Wikipedia

I love sweet potatoes especially when I cook them with chicken and garlic. It’s a wonderful meal, easy to prepare and delicious to eat. This meal is a great alternative to the Sunday lunch of chicken and mashed potatoes, so if you are stuck for ideas next Sunday why not try this?





For 2 persons


· 2 chicken pieces (I use legs alot)

· 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into long slices

· 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into small slices

· 2 onions peeled and cut into quarters

· 2 tsp. mixed herbs

· Water


1. Heat up the oven to 200C or gas mark 6.

2. Get a large ovenproof baking tray (not too deep) and add the chicken then place theRoasted Sweet Potatoes (orange kind) sweet potato chunksall around the chicken. Add the slices of garlic and the onions.

3. Sprinkle the chicken with the mixed herbs then pour the water into the tray, filling the tray about ½ full. Place the tray into the oven.

4. Cook until the potatoes are soft and the chicken cooked through. It takes about 90 minutes in my oven.

5. Remove and serve immediately.

 FotoosVanRobin via Flickr

Here’s the meal planner I use when working out the weekly meals. Please feel free to print it out and use it. I have more planners which I will upload in the coming days, hope you like them.

My Weekly Meal Plan

Last week I had to do my shopping. I always shop at the same supermarket and have it delivered. There are a number of reasons I have my shopping delivered, they include having no transport, and having some on-going medical issues which make it difficult for me to go out and shop. I know it’s not very environmentally friendly so I recycle as much of the wrappings, boxes and cartons from the shopping as I can.

I tend to do my shopping fortnightly with most of the items being for the coming 2 weeks. Some items will last longer like the vegetables, some meat, flour, pasta and eggs. I won’t name the supermarket I use but I will tell you that most of the items on the list are the supermarket’s own brand, Smartprice. My shopping list varies too. This is a large shop for me as next payday I will have bills to pay so won’t have much left for shopping.

I make my own meals when cooking, that is to say I don’t buy pre-made or microwave meals. I will make a sausage and bacon casserole, egg and bacon pie, and biscuits with some of the items I brought. The chops will be used to make scallops, onions and chops, a recipe my son loves. The Beef mince comes in a kilo pack. I split this into 4 portions which will give me 4 meals. I can do this as I live alone most of the time. The potatoes come in 2.5 kilo bags. I ordered 4 bags so that gives me 10 kilo’s. They will last me quite a while especially since I store them in a cool, dry place.

Next time you need to go shopping why not make a list and stick to it? It will save you time, money and effort and if you shop wisely you could make some wonderful dishes with the food like I have. You can even use the shopping list below if you wanted!

Qty Product Price
1 Peanut butter £0.67
1 Real Mayonnaise £0.92
1 Pork Chops £2.00
1 2 Hot & Spicy Chicken £1.00
1 Cracked Black Pepper Grills £1.00
1 Wholemeal Baps £1.87
2 Diet Lemonade £1.04
1 Fruit & Barley Apple & Blackcurrant (No Added Sugar) £0.66
1 Orange Squash (No Added Sugar) £0.28
2 Apple & Blackcurrant Squash (No Added Sugar) £0.56
1 Bacon pieces – smoked £0.75
1 Oven Cleaner £2.60
1 Cheese spread £1.00
1 You’d butter believe it – light £1.26
1 Eggs – minimum net weight £1.25
1 Plain Flour £0.52
1 Soap £0.25
2 Protect Mint Fresh Toothpaste £1.00
1 Toilet tissue – white £1.34
4 White Potatoes £4.00
3 White loaf – medium £1.41
3 Brown loaf £1.41
1 Mild coloured cheddar £4.00
1 UHT Milk Semi Skimmed £4.00
1 Soft margarine £2.89
1 Rich Roast Instant Coffee £1.48
2 Brown Sauce £0.78
1 Tomato ketchup £0.31
1 Beef Mince £4.00
1 Pork Luncheon Meat £0.85
1 Thin sliced ham £0.56
1kg Chicken leg quarters £1.94
2 Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice £0.66
2 Spaghetti £0.40
2 Pasta Shapes £0.36
4 Baked Beans £1.12
1 Granulated Sugar £1.34
2 Frozen Sausages £2.00
1 Mixed Vegetables £0.59
1 Chosen By You Tea Bags £1.00
If you would like the recipes for the meals I have made during the last 2 weeks please get in touch and I will supply them to you.

It seems everyone owns a digital camera or Smartphone capable of taking high quality pictures. Sometimes the pictures you have might need resizing especially if you are submitting them to forums. Finding the right software to do the job of resizing can be laborious and expensive if you decide to buy a product. But before you do purchase or

scour the internet check out this FREE Microsoft PowerToy that’s just the ticket when you need to resize those pics. The add-on is available to anyone who uses Microsoft OS (Operating System)

If you are Using XP

  • Use your favourite search engine and search for “Microsoft image resizer for XP.” At the top of the first page you will have a link to a Microsoft page. Follow the links until you find the “Image Resizer” download.
  • Download the program then install it. Once installed all you need to do to resize your pictures is Right Click on the image then scroll down to the Image Resizer tab.

A box will then appear giving you lots of different options for resizing your pictures.

As you can see from the image you have lots of choice and even a custom field where you can input the sizes yourself. The program also allows you to resize the original image or create a copy. This is great if you don’t want to resize the original.

If you are Using Vista/Win7

  • There’s also a cloned version of this PowerToy for Win7and Vista users.
  • Again search for “Image Resizer,” and the link for the PowerToy Clone will be on the first page. Follow the links and download before installing.
  • The procedure is exactly the same for Win7/Vista users as it is for XP users. The interface is almost the same too although the sizes you are presented with are a little different.

And there you have it, a simple Image Resizer that’s great for anyone using XP, Vista or Win7. Best of all it’s totally free so go get it.

Branta canadensis

Take a walk along any of the UK’s waterways, be it river, lake, reservoir or canal and you are sure to see a bird standing tall against all overs, that is the Canada goose. It’s the largest of all our geese standing at 100cm when an adult. Complete with a 6 foot wingspan and you can see why this goose is the largest of our geese, although its origins stem from North America hence the name, Canada goose.

Royal Approval

The Canada goose is thought to have been introduced to Britain around 1660 by the then King, Charles II. He introduced them to his already large wildfowl collection at St James Park in London. The birds, now having the Royal approval quickly became a common sight throughout England where one could see them from village ponds to



The Canada goose is a heavy bird with a brownish/grey plumage. They have a long

black neck and head with a white band running under the chin. These geese can live for 20 years in the wild and always mate for life. There are thought to be over 80,000 birds in the UK with more Canada Geese found in parts of Scandinaviain particular Sweden, Denmark and some parts of Norway.


The Canada goose lay between 2-8 eggs in a nest made from down, reeds and grass. They build the nest close to the water’s edge but sheltered from the elements by bushes or reeds. If there’s an island on the water then you will always find Canada Geese nesting on there as it’s a favourite place for them to nest. Telling the difference between male and female is quite difficult as they exhibit the same coloration and build.


Their diet consists of grasses, aquatic plants, roots, and seeds. They tend to eat in shallow water but if food is available onshore like fields they will gather and feed freely there. They will easily muscle out smaller birds especially if humans are feeding them bread, seeds etc. Canadian Geese can be quite aggressive too especially if you are close to their nest and will chase people away.

Other Characteristics Other characteristics of the Canada goose include forming noisy flocks especially forming nurseries for the young. They fly in the typical goose V formation although the Canada Geese in the UK don’t migrate. In some parts of the country they have become a pest. They will intermingle with other geese including the Barnacle goose, and interbreeding has taken place.

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British and French prisoners at Veules-les-Ros...

Image via Wikipedia

Dunkirk or Dunkerque as its officially called is a small port town in Northern France. Back in 1940 the beaches and surrounding areas of Dunkirk were to see a bloody fight. A fight that at the time was a defeat for the British and French troops who had tried valiantly to stop the Blitzkrieg or Lightening War. The German Wehrmacht, in 2 huge Army Groups, threw everything at the opposing troops. The Germans had rather cleverly gone round the French fortifications at the Maginot Line, and came full throttle through the Ardennes taking the British and French forces by surprise.

After the initial surprise the allied forces where regrouped and came into contact with the Wehrmacht giving them a bloody nose at various places in Northern France. But as the Germans advanced it became obvious that the allies were no match for the rapidly advancing German forces. Outgunned, manned and, at some stages out fought, the BEF, French and what was left of the Belgian armies streamed westwards towards the coast.

Back in Britain it became apparent that the BEF would be wiped out if they didn’t do something. If the British Army were to be wiped out, Great Britain itself would have nothing to face the German Army as they streamed across the channel. It was agreed that, no matter how many men they could save on the beaches, one man was better than none. Operation Dynamo was put into place with the Royal Navy sending masses of her ships to the port of Dunkirk to get the troops back onto British soil.

A Brave Rearguard

As the BEF, French and Belgian troops massed at the beaches of Dunkirk some where taking a rear guard action to try and stop the German tide from capturing the men. They fought bravely, side by side no matter which country they were from in order to get as many men off the beaches at Dunkirk. Day after day the German’s, already at the gates of Dunkirk hammered the beaches and town with aircraft, artillery and tank fire. Many soldiers lost their lives in and around Dunkirk but many, many more could have been lost had it not been for a heroic rearguard.

Little Ships

The Royal Navy took thousands of men off the beaches at Dunkirk at a very high price. Nearly 700 ships off all shapes, sizes and classes took to the beaches of Dunkirk. They ranged from destroyers, minesweepers, yachts and even pleasure craft, whose previous outings had been to take people on pleasure trips up and down rivers, where now pressed into action. These “Little Ships” where a valuable asset to the Royal Navy as they could ferry men from the beaches to the bigger ships waiting offshore. Without these Little Ships many more men would have lost their lives or been captured when the Germans finally took Dunkirk.

The Wehrmacht surrounded Dunkirk then did something many historians are still arguing over; they stopped their advance. It’s not really clear why they stopped, some rumours say Hitler, realising Britain was on its knees, had hoped they would sue for peace as he didn’t want to fight Britain. Others say the order came from his generals on the frontline and which Hitler seconded. Whatever the reason it was Hitler’s first great mistake. It also gave the men on those blood soaked beaches a chance of getting onto a ship and back to Blighty, along with French and Belgian forces.

After the battle Britain took stock of what had happened. The allies lost some 50,000 dead, wounded or captured men. They had left all their heavy equipment behind in and around Dunkirk and they expected Hitler to invade at any moment.

From the Jaws of Defeat Came Victory

Operation Dynamo was put into place in order to get as many men home as possible. In truth the men who masterminded this audacious plan only expected about 30,000 troops to be saved. In the end the Royal Navy pulled over 338,000 men off those beaches. Included in that figure were some 140,000 French and Belgian troops, all men itching to get back into the thick of it and take on the might of the German Wehrmacht. They would have their day, but not in 1940. Instead they were rearmed and turned into a fighting machine that turned the tide of war and retook Europe from a dictator and madman. Without Operation Dynamo and the sacrifices all those men made on those beaches or in and around the area of Dunkirk, Europe would be a lot different today, and not one most of us would be alive to see. Those men gave everything, the least we can do is remember them and never forget.

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