Sunday 15 January 2012

New Year, New Start

I love simple weekends and now I'm at work lots more, this weekend was just perfect. My first week in the new job has been full on to say the least but I've really, really enjoyed getting back into the line of work I'm experienced in. There's lots to learn and do (which is pretty daunting) but my new colleagues are lovely and very welcoming.

We're sorting out a different routine at home to make sure we can still spend as much time together sharing and doing the things we love. Woody is manfully taking on more cooking and I've been making up soups, casseroles and sauces for the freezer and some cakes for the tins.
I was worrying about having enough time to keep shopping locally, and really didn't want to go back to doing a big supermarket shop at all, so we've sorted it out. I'm visiting the butcher twice a month and portioning up mince, joints (and cheese!) for the freezer, doing a big weekend cook up or bringing something home from the family butcher in the town where I work that raises its own livestock and makes the most delicious free range sausages ever!
Our greengrocer is a complete star and is delivering us a box of veg a week if I drop him an email with what we'd like. This week's order came on Wednesday with just some watercress missing; unavailable. It was only an extra really for my lunchbox salads and I wouldn't have missed it. But the next day there was our greengrocer on the doorstep, full of apology and a bag of the green stuff.
I'm genuinely agog at this magnificent service. We paid up there and then but he's happy for us to call into the shop or send a cheque in the post. Everything arrived in brown paper bags in a cardboard box, not a single piece of plastic in sight and its all gone straight into our recycling bins.

The fruit and veg is the most fantastic quality and at 60p for an enormous Savoy cabbage, completely affordable. They won't even accept a delivery charge as they don't mind calling in on their way home. They deserve a medal but instead I've nominated them for a Hidden Gem award on here
We're making the most of the milkman too (ooh that sounds rather dodgy doesn't it!) He's delivering butter, fruit juice and our bread as well as the lake of milk we seem to get through each week. So that leaves just   a few bits and pieces to pick up from the bargain supermarket or the village shop.

I swear its cheaper than a big weekly shop. I can get easily distracted in a supermarket by the sweet treats, essential clothes and fancy bits of this and that I think we'd use. This way we support great independent traders, eat fabulous food and still keep a close eye on the pennies too.

So we celebrated with a family lunch today with mum and dad for company. Roast chicken (don't panic not one of our girls, they're strictly pets and egg layers), sweet potato gratin, roast potatoes, cabbage, broccoli and carrots then pear, ginger and chocolate crumble with custard for pudding. I don't think I'm going to eat again for a week!
There's no better way to spend a chilly afternoon that us all huddled around the kitchen table, remembering happy times with  family who've sadly long gone, sharing tales and passing the time. It was such a cosy afternoon and its been a great weekend spent swimming, playing with the boys, visiting the library, lots of drawing and a lovely treat for Woody and me last night. We celebrated my new job and Woody's contract being confirmed here for a cosy meal and time to talk. Can't remember the last time I put on a frock and going out shoes!

 Smashing. Just the way weekends should be in my book. Hope yours has been lovely too. Xxx

Edited to add: For Sally and anyone else in our neck of the woods, please do support Totally Locally Leek and give our fab traders a try. There's a brill £5 offer scheme on currently with great bargains too. The wonderful greengrocers is Harrisons', the shop is open everyday apart from Sunday (I think) and you can find it on the edge of the Butter Market Hall, even when that's closed. The full market stall is open Wednesdays and Saturdays. I'm not sure they do delivery as a regular thing btw. My butcher is Meakins inside the Butter Market Hall but they also have a shop tucked away in the back streets at the top of Queen Street. Don't miss the fabulous fishmonger in the Butter Market (Select Fresh Fish - again top notch quality and great service) too which is open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Thanks for the fantastically enhusiastic comments. You'd all laugh if you could see how disorganised I am which goes to show shopping locally isn't that tricky if you have good independent traders close at hand, they can just take a bit of searching out I guess.


**Anne** said...

Congratulations on your new job!! How wonderful you have found a way to do you shopping in a way that fits in with your new routine and supporting local people too.
The photos of your home look very inviting and a Sunday afternoon eating and chatting sounds delightful.
Have a wonderful week,
Anne xx

Lynn said...

You sound so happy - lovely - and well deserved :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful inspirational post! Wishing you all the very best in your new job. Kindest regards, Ann

Unknown said...

Fantastic post. I love the way you shop and you have given me food for thought. Your weekend sounds perfect x

Gill said...

It sounds like you had fabby weekend - well deserved in my book. Your idea to stick to your shopping principles is spot on and I'm inspired by your organisational skills!!

Best of luck in your new job and no doubt a sigh of relief re: Woody's contract.

Love and stuff XX

Unknown said...

Glad things are working out so wonderfully. You inspire me to make more out of my local food market. I am always struck by the way you seem to find really good balance in your homelife. x

Just Original said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend to me!

Wish I had a few more shops like your locally that would save me the hassle of going to the supermarkets.

Looks like a lovely place where you went to celebrate.

Vanessa x

Please may I? said...

Sounds heavenly. Glad the new job is going well.

X x

Anonymous said...

To me, as a person who doesn't eat meat, all chickens are like those you keep as pets. How can some be seen in this way, as funny and intellingent animals with unique characters, yet others be seen as OK to go in the pot? They are all like those you have as pets. And none of them NEED to be eaten. Such a waste of life. If their only purpose is to be born, force fed and eaten (some people argue that if they weren't eaten then they wouldn't be here), then to my mind it is best they aren't born. Much less suffering involved.

I am merely thinking out loud. It is me who is in the minority. You think like most people, so I am not picking on you or thinking you need to justify what you say. Choosing to kill and eat creatures when you don't need to just seems very odd to me somehow.

Your hen's deaths would upset me no more and no less than the one on your plate. All chickens are equal!

Fi - Teacups and Tiskets said...

That is a great way to sort out your shopping - my philosophy on food shopping exactly.

I hate and detest shopping in big supermarkets and manage to avoid it for the most part.

I do wish, however, that I had access to some of your shops.

I'm not too badly off, however, and can get access to organic meat and veggies, and we have one local farmers market, once a month.
I don't know how much of it is home grown or organic though.

Pear chocolate and ginger crumble? That sounds delicious.


LandGirl1980 said...

Hurrah for news jobs, roast chicken and CRUMBLE!!!

Sarah Jones said...

I really agree with you and have been shopping locally
and cooking in batches and baking my own bread.
So far so good.

SAS said...

Like Belinda, I have been thinking how amazing you are in wearing all the different hats that you do. Well done.

I love seeing and hearing all about your home, family and life. You're one together chick.

Congrats to you and Woody.

Rebecca said...

Sounds like a lovely weekend and a great start to the year! Congratulations on your new job too! xx

moleymakes said...

So pleased that your new job is working out fine for you.

I'm quite envious of your High St shops. We have nothing like that here anymore. What a wonderful way to support the local economy.

Bobo Bun said...

Interesting isn't it how people with strong opinions always seem to be anonymous. Although you were told that they weren't picking on you, I doubt that's how it felt when you read that rant Steph, so I hope you feel ok. Whilst my family and I are all vegetarians I feel no need to berate others for their choice of food as it really p's me off when people think they can act as if I'm a weirdo simply for my choice of diet.

Back to what I wanted to say before I read that twaddle. So glad your new role is working out well and all feels right. I appreciated your good bit of advice here as I'm trying to work out how to re-adjust our lives to me working more. Think I might leave a note at our village shop for the milkman to call!

Miss Holly said...

How perfectly lovely! I feel as though I've just read a wonderful book! I'm so happy about your job....awfully nice to have a paycheck too! what a heavenly place you live..I was just looking at your blog list and listened to the wonderful little video that I think your little man is so is the one done in the dark...while driving I think....I just LOVE it...well...Happy new year to you all !

Carol said...

It sounds quite idyllic, great meal and lovely family time.
Our milkman is brilliant, never missed once through all the snow last winter. Your butcher and greengrocer sound lovely, just how shopping should be.
Glad your job has gone so well and that you have nice people to work with.
Carol xx

Judyk2310 said...

I found your Blog a week ago and have just finished reading every post from the beginning. I love all your photos, gardening and thrift shop finds. I'll keep you as a favorite now but wanted to say thanks for keeping me entertained for a week while I'm recovering from surgery!
Indiana USA. :)

Barri-Jayne said...

Congratulations on your new job!
Wish we had a butchers and greengrocer like yours. Ours are not as great. I try to be extra careful too with my shopping, everything is so damn expensive.
Love the green and red chairs and I bet that roast was delicious!
Glad you have such a great weekend!

Barrina xx

Coco Rose Diaries said...

Wow, I think I need some hints and tips as to how you manage to be so organised! It is my plan this year to try and be ahead of myself all the time instead of being WAY behind. I need a lot of forward planning, but I have started off fairly well so thats a good start for me!

Ummmmmm, soups, casseroles and roasts.....gosh it's only 9.30am and i'm salivating!!!!!

Have a super day!

Vanessa xxx

prettyshabby said...

Brilliant news on the job front Stef, I was so pleased for you when you said you'd had good news before Christmas, it's such a relief isn't it?
An out of town retail park killed off some great little shops here, I loved being able to walk to the pet shop for advice and a top up of chicken food, the fantastic 'sells everything' hardware shop closed and the greengrocers too then someone accidentally drove through the window of the butchers shop! One thing we aren't short of is supermarkets in Malvern..I think we have every one except Aldi! Oh and 10 hairdressers all within metres of each other, you wouldn't believe it.How uninspiring.
Your local service sounds fab, what a great 'old school' greengrocer.Lets hope he wins his deserved award.
Happy 2012 Stef x

Sue said...

Smashing post Steph,I too have commented before about your blog reading like a book,and it's my kind of read (very nice too)
Well Done on all you achieve,
Best Wishes to you all.
Sue xxx

Gem said...

Sounds like a lovely weekend! We're trying to shop more locally too. I think food tastes so much nicer when you know where it's come from :)

Gem x

Marina said...

What a lovely and inspiring (as usual!) post Steph! I couldn't agree more, I think it's so important to buy & support local, we are lucky enough to still have many small shops in our mid Wales spa town and little farmers market, and i really enjoy shopping with them as much as i can - it's also a much nicer prospect for me now with a young baby at home - i certainly don't relish the thought of manouvouring a large pram around a busy supermarket! Also my daughter's school sell large boxes of fruit & veg for just £3 every week which are homegrown by local people its been a huge success! One thing you have inspired me to do this week is to sign up with our local milkman - something ive been meaning to look in to for ages - so thank you!

Very plesed the new job is going well! best wishes to you all xx

Amanda said...

Some great local shops. So glad you and Woody are doing well on the job front. I always enjoy reading Woody's articles and interviews.

Anonymous said...

Gosh you are certainly organised! We to are trying to shop locally and manage pretty well. Our village has a fantastic butchers and an OK little supermarket, a new deli has just opened plus a little antiques shop, so we are better off than many. We do a shopping order online once a month, which we find cheaper than going around the shop, as we just order what we need, rather than being tempted to lots of other things as we walk around the aisles. Good on you anyway!

Anonymous said...

You sound so organised! That's such a great way of shopping, and how lovely that you get customer service like that. You certainly don't get that in a supermarket!

Sally said...

Hi Steph, lovely post! I live near your town and am making a huge effort this year to shop locally instead to using the supermarkets. Which green grocers do you use? I want to give them a try! Thanks Sally x x

Annie said...

How wonderful that your grocer will deliver like that.

Sounds like you have an exciting year ahead ... good luck :D

Cait O'Connor said...

This was a gem of a post, such lovely pics of your gorgeous home and great ideas for shopping, eating etc. All positive and happiness seeping out between the lines. Thank you. Oh and good luck with your new job.

Katy Noelle said...

Simply, what an absolutely wonderful, wonderful post! Such a joy to read!

We had a lovely weekend with family over, too. We finally have snow and it was beautifully white and crisp and COLD outside and cheerily bright and warm and sunny, inside. Life is so good! =]

Country Rabbit said...

such a lovely post- i now shop in my very good, well stocked and fresh on the day market - its so much more than just a shop...people chat and there's such a wonderful atmosphere.
often they throw in extra's for free- last week i came home with free extra spuds...we must all support local.
i love the painted colourful chairs ;0)x have a joyful week steph x
just looking at that crispy chicken is making my tummy rumble x

Hayley said...

Aww marshmallow teacakes! That takes me back...

madebymum said...

sounds wonderful. I am such a fan of shopping local.

Sally said...

Thanks Steph x

Ilikeit_whatisit? said...

Hi just found your blog and I love it! I live in Stockton brook and am a big fan of leek. Will be checking out some new places there now xx