Monday, 27 March 2017

Rusty Knives?

I recently noticed that one of my kitchen knives had got a spot of rust on the bottom of the blade, next to the handle. This is most likely from me not drying the knife thoroughly enough after I had washed it.

I found a handy hint online that suggested soaking the knife in white vinegar. This method is for stainless steel knives and cutlery only.

I left the knife to soak in a glass of white vinegar for a while, then I removed the knife from the glass and with a clean dry sponge I scrubbed at the rust at the end of the blade. It took quite a while to get it all off as the rust was diffcult to reach because of the shape of the handle. Be careful not to cut yourself while cleaning the knife. 

After the rust had been removed I washed the knife in warm soapy water and then dried it thoroughly. 

This method only removes rust, it won't prevent it from happening again in the future. 

After I'd finished I decided to reuse the vinegar. I poured some baking soda down the kitchen sink plug hole and down the bath plug hole, I then poured the vinegar down both plug holes. Baking soda and vinegar react with each other and start to fizz, this should remove any soap residue that has built up down the plug holes. After the fizzing had stopped I poured a kettle of boiling water down the plug holes to clear them out. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Happy Mother's Day

I went for my usual Sunday morning walk this morning and for the first time in a long time we had clear blue skies and sunshine!

It was warm and the good weather must of encouraged people to come out, because I encountered a lot more people today than I did the previous weeks.

I went to my Mum's this afternoon to give her a card and present. We spent the afternoon together, it's this first time in years that I've actually got to spent Mother's Day with her, because she usually works on the weekends. Nephew #3 (4 yrs) was there too. He played with his toys while my Mum and I watched the 90's version of The Parent Trap, with Lindsay Lohan in it.

When you think about it The Parent Trap is a rather cruel film, two parents who had a messy break up and were so selfish and immature that they each took one of their twin babies and raised them seperately in different countries, lying to them for 11 years of their lives about the fact that each of them had an indentical twin. All because the Mother and Father didn't want to be around each other. One twin had never met her Mother and the other had never met her Father. Each twin had no idea they even had another sibling until a chance encounter at Summer Camp. I suppose it all worked out in the end.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mum's out there :)

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Homemade Bread

Yesterday I decided to have a go at making homemade bread. I found a simple recipe and gave it a try.

I used the following ingredients:

  • 7g of Fast Action Dried Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of White Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 500g of Plain Flour
  • 290ml of Warm Water
  • Olive Oil for greasing the tin or tray

First, I poured the Yeast and Caster Sugar into a mixing jug filled with 290ml of Warm Water. I gave it a little stir and left it to sit for 10 minutes. During this time the liquid turned foamy. 

I then sifted Plain Flour into a bowl and tried to evenly distribute the Salt into the Flour. I made a well in the middle of the Flour, poured in the foamy liquid and mixed it all together until it was a big sticky lump of dough. At this point my dough seemed rather dry, so I added a little bit more Warm Water. 

I then lightly dusted my clean worktop with some more Flour and kneaded the dough for 15-20 minutes, when it was all smooth and stretchy. Plain Flour bread dough needs to be kneaded for longer than other types of bread dough. 

I put the dough into a big bowl and covered it over with a damp teatowel. I left the dough to sit for 1 hour. When I returned the dough had double in size. 

I pre-heated the oven at 230°c and then greased my loaf tin with a bit of Olive Oil. The original recipe suggested using a flat tray, but I decided to use a loaf tin. I put the bread into the oven for 20 minutes, once the loaf looked golden brown, I removed it from the oven and allowed it to sit and cool for a little while. 

It came out a bit misshapen, but it tasted fine. It tasted like bread, bread isn't really that exciting unless you add some tasty ingredients to it. I don't think it was bad for a first attempt.

Next time I might let it cool a little longer before cutting into it. I ate it while it was still warm. I made a sandwich with some Cheddar Cheese, it tasted good. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

Digital Hoarding

I was looking on my DVR today and I realised just how many shows I've recorded with the intention of watching them, but then never actually got around to watching them, I'm digitally hoarding shows that I might never end up watching! Ha ha!

I've recorded a whole bunch of episodes of The Vampire Diaries and still haven't watched them yet. I did catch up with the first two episodes of Powers, Series 2 the other night though.

I've also got a couple of films to watch and a Documentary about an elderly American man found lost on the streets of Hereford.

I've also got to watch the Channel 4 series Spies, a BBC Documentary about a Doctor who stop prescribing antidepressants, the film Room and the Swedish film The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest. I've already seen the two films that came before it, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire. The Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is much better than the American version, people assumed that because the American version had a bigger budget and more well known actors, that it would be a better film, but it wasn't. The American version cut out little details that the Swedish version included, but it was those little details that made the Swedish version so much better. I also preferred Swedish Lisbeth to the American one, I don't know why though, she was just more likeable to me.

I pretty much just record anything that I see advertised and like the look of, although I don't always end up watching it. I need to have a serious declutter of my DVR hard drive! It is difficult though, I always think that maybe one day I will get around to watching it and so I should save it, just incase, even though I know I probably never will watch it and it's just taking up space on my DVR.

Sorry the photos aren't great, it's harder to take a photo of a TV screen than I thought! :)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

I've Made Mistakes

I was reading an article this morning about unnecessary purchases and I realised that I do a lot of the things on the list, I fall for the common tricks stores and supermarkets use to get us to spend our money.

This includes buying things I don't actually need or spending more money than I intended to, because I was tricked into thinking I was getting a good deal.

The article pointed out some of the tricks that are used on us such as:

Stores using bright colours to grab our attention. Red stickers are put on items that are on sale, it leads us to think we need to snap up the deal and that it's a good purchase because it will cost us less money than it should of, but if we didn't intend on buying the item in the first place then it's not really a good purchase at all.

Advertisers also convince us that more expensive products are better than others. I've actually seen this myself on TV, a bottle of branded bleach was £1 but the stores own brand was 40p, although the expensive one was thicker and had better packaging, studies showed they were both as effective as each other, it didn't matter which one you bought, they both did the same job.

Stores also use 'The Decoy Effect' where we are tricked into thinking something is a bargain because it was next to similar products that are much more expensive.

I've fallen for most of these tricks myself and never even realised it, but now I know what to look out for I should be able to cut down on unnecessary purchases, I'm sure I'll still make the occasional mistake, but I'm hoping to keep them to a minimum.

The article suggests asking yourself these questions before making a purchase:
  • Do I need this?
  • What will it be used for?
  • Why do I want it?
  • Where will I put it?
Other suggestions include not going shopping if you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. If you are any of these things you're vulnerable and more likely to make bad decisions and unnecessary purchases. 

Also, a good way to stop impulse buying is to go away for a little while to think about it before making a final decision, we can all get caught up in the moment and get carried away buying things we don't really want or need, it's exciting, but if we don't really need these things it's a waste of money. Go away, have a think about it and then if you still want it, go ahead and buy it.

Image from Pixabay

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Bargain Buys

I went into Superdrug this afternoon and spotted a bargain, twin packs of whitening toothpaste on clearance for 15p each. I'm not sure why they were on clearance, they were on the shelf next to the same Superdrug own brand toothpaste twin packs, which were being sold in different varieties for £1.49 each, I'm not sure why these ones were on clearance, but I thought I'd give them a try.

I spent 30p in total on two twin packs, so four tubes of 75ml whitening toothpaste. Whether they are any good or not I don't know yet, I've never tried Superdrug's own brand before, but was attracted by the low price. There was loads of them left on the shelf.

I also popped into Wilko and picked up some Herbal Essenses shampoo that was on clearance for £1 per bottle. They were originally £2 each. The condition was also on clearance but they had ran out of that, so I just bought two shampoos to try. It's apparently straighting shampoo, but I don't really care whether my hair is straight or not. Hopefully it's better than the last bargain shampoo I bought! :)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Why I'm Not On Contract

Almost everyone I know these days has a mobile phone, whether it's for work or personal use, mobile phones are very useful.

If you want a mobile phone here in the UK you have two options to consider...

Contract or pay as you go?

Personally, I went with the pay as you go option. I buy a £20 voucher from my local post office each month and add the credit to my account. I'm with the mobile phone provider Giffgaff, every month I use my £20 credit to buy a Goodybag that lasts for 30 days. The £20 Goodybag I buy each month contains unlimited calls, unlimited text messages and 6GB of mobile data. They do offer different priced Goodybags with different amounts of call, texts and data, starting from £5 per month.

The thing I like about being on pay as you go is that I can top up and pay whatever amount I want each month, I'm not obligated to make a specific payment, if for some reason I wouldn't be using my phone for a month, then I just wouldn't add credit to my account or buy a Goodybag. If I were on contract I wouldn't have that option. I would be obligated to pay no matter what. If one month I wanted less calls, texts and data then I could buy a cheaper Goodybag, I'm not locked into a contract, stuck with the same thing month after month.

Another thing I like about being on pay as you go is the freedom to leave my network anytime I want, if I find a better, cheaper deal elsewhere then I'm free to leave my current network and switch to another one without any hassle, but if I were on contract I could be stuck with my network for 12-24 months depending on the contract I had agreed to, if I wanted to leave I'd have to buy out my contract and pay off the remaining months in one payment.

I like the freedom of pay as you go, I like having the option to leave anytime I want and I like that I can't get into debt with my phone network, because I only have to top up if and when I want to. More and more networks in the UK are offering these 30 day deals or "Goodybags" on pay as you go, there are a lot of options out there, there's something to suit everyone.

For me, pay as you go is the best option.

Image from Pixabay