Lemon and Ginger Cordial

This refreshing and immune system inspiring lemon and ginger cordial is easy to make and hits the spot. This would make a fantastic gift idea, too!

I am in bed …. ¬†seriously .. tucked up with the electric blanket at “Gas Mark 5!!!”

Finally succumbed to the lurgy that has been working its way around my house this week – and I need to sleep it off as tomorrow night is the big meeting at the High School about how much of the kids education time they are going to be cutting.

I did make this magic potion today – although it was written up a couple of years ago I think its worth revisiting at this time of year when the bugs are flying and grumpy men inhabit our homes ūüôā


Back and fighting fit tomorrow my lovelies … enjoy !!


“We are all full of stinking colds¬†¬†– still on the 4-hourly paracetamol and nagging the red-head to keep drinking stage. He is miserable, hot and cold and has a streaming nose that is alternating between streaming and stopping him sleeping.

Thing is he is fed up of our usual hot orange and hot blackcurrant squash, and he is not a big fan of teas, so off I go to the fridge with a promise to create something nice to drink that will help him feel better.

I’m thinking a lemon and ginger syrup, a slug in a mug with a teaspoon of honey should sort him out.

Even better – when he is better this is lovely over a glass of ice topped up with sparkling water, drizzled over cubes of melon or used as a sauce over stir-fried chicken ……………….. so anything left is not likely to go to waste.

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Ginger Nuts, the king of Dunkers

Now as far as I am concerned these biscuits are the ONLY biscuit worth using to dunk in a cup of tea…. and as we have snow on and off all day I have been slurping tea to keep me company.

But these are for the boys for an after school snack this week – a mug of hot chocolate and a few biscuits is just the job when you are freezing cold and soaked right through.


But … back to the dunking ………………….They are gloriously brittle and quite robust when dry – and they soften to just the right consistency when swished through a mug of tea without disintegrating into a slimy soggy mess in the bottom of the mug. PERFECTION!!!

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The January Meal plan

So I have had a good old rummage – and we have got loads of food left over from Christmas………… and when I mean loads¬†

The turkey carcass has been simmered (twice) in the slow cooker to give me 32 individual portions of turkey stock.  I freeze these in my silicon muffin moulds to give me loads of 200ml portions to use as a stock base for soup throughout the next month or two.

A clear through the fridge and I have pressure cookered up a vat of “bottom of the fridge soup” from a turnip, two onions, a leek and half a bag of carrots. 20 minutes at pressure and blitzed until smooth.

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Out of eggs

I need to stock up on some home baking in the freezer Рso a trip to LIDL for some eggs was in order.  The only other things I needed were some apples for packed lunches and a cucumber to go with our weekend curry.

Still it came to £2.73!! But thankfully no other spends.


So this weeks spends are :

  • Food Budget ¬†¬£30 / ¬£10.42
  • Children spends ¬£10 / ¬£9.80 (Freckles snack money for term)
  • Pocket money ¬£10/ ¬£3.50

Big Number Paralysis? Make it less scary

I was asked today on the phone – “How on earth do you think you are going to pay off ¬£126000 in the next year and a half?”

The answer is – “I don’t” – I am focusing on much smaller amounts ……………. why? ¬†Because the number ¬£126,00 is too darn scary to think about!!

It was the same when I was battling my way out of debt Рif I had focused on the £10,000 I would have sunk under the weight Рinstead I elected to focus on getting up every day and finding the next £10 and the next and the next.

And the Universe played along – I cooked dinner parties for people, I baby-sat, I knitted, I sewed party dresses and too many tutu’s to contemplate . I learned how to trim my costs, I stopped eating out and cooked at home, I rationed the use of my car, I walked a lot and bit by bit I saved up the next ¬£10 and the next ¬£10 until one day there were no more ten pounds to find.

Its probably best explained from one of my first posts:“OK – I confess it – I’m a Wuss!!!!

I woke up at three o’clock this morning in a terrible sweat – one of those “it’s 3am, I’m in a panic and there’s no-one to talk to” moments.

I was¬†panicking¬†about “My Big Number!!!!!!!!!!!”




it’s just……………

how can I put it ??????????????

IT’S TOO DARN BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I mean £126,000 is one big number!!


I knew that there was going to be no more sleep until I had sorted this in my head – I needed to create a way of looking at this number differently – so that it doesn’t terrify me so much that it literally¬†paralyses¬†¬†me and stops me from moving forward.

So out of bed I flopped and grabbed a pen and pad. ¬†Time for a game of “What If?”

WHAT IF? …………………… I look at this differently? What if I look at smaller numbers?


10,000 x ? = £126,000

What if I look at this challenge as being 10,000 lots of £12.50 instead?

Can I figure out a way of making £12.50 and then keep going until I have done it 10,000 times?




1,000 x ? = £126,000

What about 1000 lots of £126 instead.  Can I figure out a process to get £126 and do that 1000 times instead?



100 x ? = £126,000

Is there something I could do that would pay me £1260 Рand could I then do that 100 times?



OK the big one ………….

1 x ? = £126,000

What would you need to do, to be,to have to sell one great thing for £126,000?

……………. anyone need a Hit Man???? This one is still a little bit beyond my comfort zone I think (but being a woman I reserve the right to change my mind later on).

What size of number am I happy to be working with right now? I think the number in the hundreds fits me best at the moment. A ¬£126 target instead of the big Number, I’m happier with that.

So the journey begins with the first little step.

I’m off to find my first ¬£126″


BTW Рthat £126,000 target that I set at the beginning of Year one Рwell midway through year two I was supposed to be at the point where I had my plan in place, my new products all planned, my youngest at school and a livable budget in place and tested.

I am there – with bells on – in fact I even threw in building a decent emergency fund into the mix ……………. and I have totally reached ¬†50 of those ¬£125 targets already – so only 950 to go then LOL

But the point is – I am on target – its a big scary one but it within my sights and I am not taking my eyes off it until Christmas Eve 2015 – I realise that I am in for a pretty hair raising year doing lots of things that scare me and take me way out of my comfort zone.

But face it – if I had wanted to stay safe and cosy I could have stayed on benefits and muddled through somehow!! ….. I have a massive goal and it will take massive effort …………………. but in reality the most difficult decision was the one I made the day the Bank shut down my business ……………. that I was “Down but not out”.

So if you are staring at a massive big financial challenge – why not take s few minutes and calmly sit down to think about what number ¬†you can focus on that doesn’t scare you ……………. and them tomorrow you get up and do whatever it takes to get to that number as quickly as you can. ¬†Because of you can do something once – you can totally do it again.

Now – I am offline this evening chatting to a tame techie in the states who is going to talk me through setting up some “real-time graphs” which will help us chart MY progress through my plan – ticking off these little targets as we go.

Remember – as I step into the Frugal Plus part of the challenge (where my day to day focus is on generating income rather than just minimising expenses) its not because I’m clever, or smarter or any of those things ……… Its more a sneaking suspicion that it can be done ………………… and if we can do it once (Me) we could do it again (for you).

So plenty of frugal living  to keep us on the straight and narrow Рbut every  now and again we can dip into the other part of the challenge for your amusement / delectation / and input LOL.  Even if you decide its not something you ever would contemplate I hope there will be some lessons we all learn along the way.


So tell me – honestly!! ¬† …………………….. what is YOUR number??

200 pounds and I don’t mean the money ones

Seriously !!!!!!


Somewhere along the journey to Debt Free Status I have piled on a serious amount of weight. ¬†In being focussed on the ¬£’s ¬†I have somehow managed to lose sight of the Lbs.

Funny but I am not the only one – seems like there is a lot of ladies out there struggling with the money thing and the weight thing. Wonder how strong a correlation there is – anyone else finding the same problem?

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Sunday prep and Pikelets for Tea

We have had the very first sprinkling of snow of the season Рjust a wee bit mind, but it a reminder that winter is  upon us.

After the grey looming twilight quality of the light through most of the festive season, the bright, clean, clear quality to the air as the light bounces off the clean white snow is enough to raise my heart and make me want to to sing.

So we are off outside to play in the snow (before it turns into grey slush and the novelty wears off) …………………and we are not coming home until we are frozen to the core and filled to the brim with fun.

Snow Angels here we go!!!!!

To welcome us home I am throwing some batter for making Pikelets into the bread-maker.

Warm pikelets, butter and home-made raspberry jam with mugs of hot chocolate may just be enough to entice Freckles in before it gets dark.

BTW, pikelts are like flat crumpets.  We love crumpets but they are so much faff to make with the greasing of rings and so on Рso this is our go-to recipe instead.

Pikelets 010
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Petticoat Tails

It will soon be Hogmany here in Scotland – a bigger celebration for adults than Christmas up here.

As a kid, what I remember about being allowed to sit up and “see in the Bells” at my Grandmas was this shortbread biscuit. During the evening when the adults would all go around one another’s houses to “First Foot” (visit) they would be given a glass of whisky and a piece of shortbread for luck.



The kids of course, wouldn’t get the whisky, but would be allowed a fancy glass of fizzy lemonade and as much sweet stuff from the heaving table that we could stomach.

This, remains my favourite – memories of sugary fingers, my Grannies coal fire, Grandad’s pipe and the distant buzz of chatting grown-ups as I drifted off and was scooped up and tucked into bed, fully clothed with various baby cousins.

And why Petticoat Tails? well look at the bonny shape -scalloped around the edges just like an old-fashioned wedding petticoat.

petticoat tails

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Cranberry Biscotti Biscuits

My best friend “Shoes” and I love a good coffee, a something to nibble on and a good gossip. ¬†We particularily love Italian Biscotti biscuits with a cosy¬†cappuccino¬†as a Thursday morning treat.

Its nearly £2 per biscuit in a coffee shop Рand even buying a box in the supermarket runs to that:

£2.19 for 180g or 12 biscuits  or about 20 p per biscuit.

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