Monday, 1 February 2016

Hello February; Bargains, Cooking and Lots Going On!

Morning All, did you all have a nice weekend? Where did it go?? Weather wasn't too bad for us here in West Berkshire; sunshine prevailed on Saturday which meant Jack could get on with shed jobs while I got on with indoor jobs with all windows flung open to give the house a good dose of fresh air.
We bagged ourselves a bargain on Saturday and I have to tell you about it. There are perks to living in a tiny village and when I spotted on the village Facebook group that someone was getting rid of a dresser I jumped at it. We've been after a dresser for some time and having seen that prices start at about £700 for the ones we liked in Oak Furniture Land we decided a pre-loved dresser would do perfectly for us (even if just for the interim until we'd saved some money). Sadly someone beat me to it on the post and so I didn't think we'd be successful until the dresser owner messaged me late on Friday night to say the other interested party didn't want it as it was too big, result for us! We arranged to pop round to their house on Saturday morning to have a look and it was so funny to be greeted by a lovely gentleman we've already met a number of times up at the field with his lovely yellow Labs who Barry loves to play with. He recognised us too as "Barry's owners" and we had a good chat before having a look at the dresser which is beautiful! He and his wife had it bespoke made and it's a stunning solid oak dresser. They have however changed their mind about it and no longer want it, it's not very old either and looks brand new. He refused to take any money for it despite the fact it must have cost them well over £1000 to have it made and he was ever so helpful in helping us move it to our house. Jack borrowed the work van which was a huge help as the dresser is extremely heavy but it looks amazing in the dining area of our living/dining room and I'm in love! I was so grateful for Chris helping us move it and still refusing any payment, so I ran round later that day with a bottle of wine for him and his wife by way of at least saying some extra thanks, to which he was very grateful. I can't wait to start arranging some things in the dresser; as yet we've just stored all the drinks and wine glasses in it, but I can finally get my ornaments out of the loft and put them on it. I've got a beautiful little Murano glass horse that Jack bought me in Venice; we even watched it being made on Murano Island, so it's a very special ornament to me. I love a bargain/freebie!
The beautiful solid oak dresser in its new home! Excuse the plug socket beside it, Jack pointed out to me that I'm yet to fill and sand this - cheeky little...!!
So as you can tell, I'm very pleased with how lucky we are to have this lovely piece of furniture in our house and I can't wait to get decorating the living/dining room so it really sits proud. It was definitely the highlight of my weekend. We didn't do too much else this weekend; Jack had to work on Sunday so I got on with planning our meals for this week and had a good cook-up. We had a whole chicken to use which I cooked for our lunches and dinner this week; I roasted some lovely vegetables too so we've got chicken and roasted veg couscous for lunch at work this week, nice and healthy :) I cooked a pork joint too and as always the crackling is my favourite bit! We've got pork stir fry for dinner tonight with the leftovers and I think it'll easily stretch to do some sliced pork warmed up in my homemade gravy with mash - one of my favourite dinners! I also made Jack a healthy granola. I made it just the same as the recipe on my recipe page here, only it's a healthier version made with coconut oil instead of butter and no sugar, just a splash of maple syrup. I didn't chop the nuts up this time either, decided to leave them whole (mostly because I was being lazy!) and Jack enjoyed it for breakfast this morning with fat free yoghurt, he's on a health kick and being a good boy.
Lovely colours of the vegetables for roasting

We've got lots planned this month and seem to have something on every weekend which is a bit unheard of for us; we much prefer the quieter life at home. I'm looking forward to this weekend as I'm going to a pottery painting studio local to us with a couple of my friends. I can't decide what to paint and will probably end up doing more than one piece! I'd love to do a personalised food bowl for Barry and perhaps a small vase too... watch this space, I'm sure I'll blog about it early next week. We're also off to the Harry Potter Studios later this month which I'm very excited about, I'm a big Harry Potter fan and I loved the books and films. I've also been busy scribbling notes in an empty notebook I found of what I want to achieve in the garden this year; I'm going to put another spreadsheet together (another one you say!) so I can keep note of when I planted seeds, where I intend to put them etc. and at least then I can hopefully look back on the success rate next year. That's the intention anyway! I also only have 3 weeks left at my current job before I start my new job, which is very exciting (and also very daunting too!!). We're also having a day out in Bristol for Valentines, I'm itching to go to Bath too but I'm not sure we'll have time in just one day. So lots going on this month and lots of being positive and happy :-) What plans do you have for this month? Are you making the most of the extra day we get this month? Don't forget pancake day, Jack's favourite day of the year!

Have a good week everyone

Em x


  1. That is a fab bargain, well done the pair of you. We had pork yesterday too. The remains (after I banned Mikes sticky fingers from going too close) will be turned into some sort of honey,cider creamy thing once I find the recipe. We were absolutely stuffed yesterday I do like a roast. You do sound like you have a busy month planned, nice though xx

    1. Yes very pleased with our bargain Jo, thanks :) Mmm that sounds lovely! Please do pass the pork recipe on, always looking for new recipes to do with leftovers! xx

  2. I'm not surprised that getting that lovely dresser was the highlight of your weekend. It looks fabulous. I longed for a dresser for years and we did buy a second hand one last year. that always gives me joy whenever I see it. I' m sure yours will be well loved and a treasured possession. Sarah x

    1. Thanks Sarah, we're very pleased with it and I'm just excited at the prospect of something else to jazz up with some pretty ornaments and decorations, when I mentioned fairy lights to Jack I got a big "fairy lights?!" with a frown (he's a man, he doesn't understand!). Glad you have one too and you share my joy :) Have a lovely day. Em x