Monday, 23 November 2015


Hay-on-Wye shop window.  More like MY sort of shopping!

After encountering gridlock when we ventured on into town on Saturday, having sorted some more stock out to put in the Unit, we vowed we would not be going back on a Saturday until the New Year. I needed to go to The Range, and knowing that the car park by Currys and The Range would be chock-a-block, I walked there from the fuel station behind it whilst my OH was putting in diesel, made my purchase and came out just as OH was driving down the approach, so he didn't even need to get snarled up in the traffic there.

Anyway, today I HAD to do some shopping for Christmas cards, presents, and birthday presents as we have two family birthdays between now and Christmas.  I got one unusual and gorgeous present in Dyfed Crafts in King Street.  I always buy birthday cards from there, as I like to support local artists.  Today I was looking for a necklace but came out with something totally different and beautiful which I hope our middle daughter will appreciate on the appropriate day.

I walked across the town, looking for appropriate presents in TK Maxx and Argos, and made a couple of purchases.  I made sure I had myself completely in check, so I didn't buy anything I didn't actually NEED.  So the Fruit book of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's was put back on the shelf (though it was discounted down to £7.99 from £25).  I shall hope to find it remaindered in The Works next year, or else turn it up at a car boot sale.  Likewise the prettiest mugs were sighed over and not even touched for fear they would end up in my shopping basket. I would like to upgrade my coffee mugs, but there is no need to do so.  A gorgeous glass dish in scarlet and gold (perfect for Christmas) was likewise not even touched.  In fact, I came out empty-handed as I couldn't find the items I had on my shopping list in there.  (If my daughters read this, I am not giving them a shopping list, just writing about temptation overcome!)  I even marched myself past the tree decorations and glitzy bits without LOOKING as I know I have a weakness there too!

My final port of call was Charlies.  I like Charlies (OH hates it nearly as much as he hates The Range, which he considers to be full of tat which just puts a pressure on natural resources when they are made and transported.  He has a point . . .  )  Anyway, Charlies DOES have a very good kitchen section and I love browsing in there.  I needed - and bought - a Silicon pastry brush to replace the new-but-moulting wooden handled ones I had (but no waste with those as OH will be using the wooden handles for something as they "looked useful" when I handed them to him, knowing he'd think that.)

I also bought a little ceramic soap dish as we are going back to using solid bars of soap because liquid soap is expensive and doesn't last long.    I found some beautiful RSPB Christmas cards which I bought, so I have supported a good charity with that purchase and they are LOVELY cards too.

Then I blew 99p on a new wire nut net.  I have several - with holes in - and the peanuts are being stolen whole at a great rate of knots, so as we are going through the sackful far faster than I want to, it seemed a wise move.  There was an alternative - at £9.99 (how can they justify that price hoik?) which was a taller wire nut net made of heavy-gauge wire.  Well, I was given one of those last year and yup, THAT has a big hole in it - Jackdaws I suspect, rather than Woody Woodpecker.  Meanwhile, I shall get my OH to effect a lasting mend on the damaged one.

The lady in front of me had spent £44.  I only saw the last of her purchases going in the bag, and they were preserves with alcohol in.  Lord knows what she had paid for those, but goodness they are SO simple to make!  I guess she has never been shown how.  I know that Charlies had 3 little jars of "special" jams and chutneys in a cardboard container and those were nearly £10.

Anyway, I have decided to do most of the rest of my Christmas shopping on-line as I have more choice there for the half a dozen items I need (plus some of them are only available on-line).

I wonder what you are all doing about Christmas shopping this year?


  1. I finished mine yesterday BB when I bought season tickets for our local arboretum for my son and his wife who often walk there. You need to go four times in the year to make it worthwhile but as they go more than that it is good value. I have been looking out for things and buying them as and when I see them. And all my grandchildren and partners where applicable get the same - Amazon vouchers - lazy I know but at least I know they can buy something they want. If they want a different voucher they just let me know in good time.

  2. Well done Pat. If I see things earlier in the year which have someone's name on them, I will get them (started back in May at Builth Antiques Fair). I am sure the Amazon vouchers go down very well as I always think the best present you can get is one you have chosen yourself! Love the idea of the season tickets for the arboretum for your son and his wife. How thoughtful.

  3. Hi BB

    Start my present shopping this weekend - had planned on doing through the year like I normally do but this year things have happened and my time has been spent elsewhere. I take great delight in window shopping for ideas and presentation that sort of thing and then go look for a recipe and make it myself. |I saw a felt heart garland in John Lewis's for £25 it only consisted of about 6 double hearts blanket stitched with a little wadding and then embroidery on the outside tied on to a braid. Far too expensive. I went up to their food gift section later on and they had packs of cinder toffee (the middle of crunchies) in for a small bag they were charging £6 - I don't think there was even half a tray in there. Its so easy to make as well. It sounds as though you have found some lovely items. Take care (hope your mouth is recovering) hugs Pattypan xx

  4. The shop in your first photo, I want to shop there.
    I am not good around crowds and it is hard for me to walk, so I order gifts. Books mostly, art things, some jewelry but mostly small things. I have several hand made gifts that need to be finished. Most gift are sent to granddaughter and her parents in Japan.

    cheers, parsnip

  5. I have 2 quilts to bind and 2 to quilt, then my Christmas "shopping" is done. Most of the fabric came from the stash mountain. I am not sure whether to be proud that the majority of it was bought for £3.-£5 a yard over the last 3 years or ashamed that I amassed so much that I forgot about some of it.

  6. No shops for me its all hand crafted or cooked, you picked the wrong day to go to town they had the parade and ligh switch on I think, I do like Charlies there black dustbins are the best price ever and ideal for animal feed I also love they do Yankee Candles and Kilner :-)

  7. We always make up hampers for our girls and their families. Dried and tinned, homemade preserves and drinks, toiletries and cleaning stuff. We also make up a small organic meat hamper.
    Books of course figure highly in giving and receiving along with the odd fruit tree.

  8. I do 'Shop & Scan' throughout the year (where I scan all my shopping and send the bar codes and till receipts off each Sunday to earn points) I save up all the points and convert them to Amazon vouchers mid-November and use them to buy Christmas presents (plus the odd treat for myself if there's enough to spare.) It certainly eases the strain of Christmas expense.

  9. Well I am a bit like Pat, my Xmas cheque has been posted for the grandchildren so that they can choose something before the day, they are all coming on Boxing Day, so crackers bought, and maybe I will try my hand at a chocolate cake.
    Other presents to be thought about.... Quite like the idea of season tickets though.

  10. Pattypan, well, you've had a demanding year so I'm not surprised you haven't made much of a start yet. At least on the kitchen side of things you are all organized (I'm not!) I'm like you - I see something I like and then think, I can do that myself for VERY much less and a bit of effort.

    parsnip - you would find that shop SO interesting. Marina, the lady who owns it, stocks it with the most random and bizarre things and does very well.

    Pam - well done. I am still crocheting but have done quite well so far. IF I get the time, I will get back to those darn quilts for the girls . . .

    Dawn - I am about to do the cooked side of things with a range of preserves and pickles. Just need to blow the dust off my unusual preserves book, which will be a joy as I love making jam and chutney! My girls have asked for practical things this year and Danny will just get money.

    Irene - what a lovely idea. Can't do that for our eldest daughter, as she has to carry everything on the train, but middle daughter is closer and will be hiring a car this Christmas (the only day she isn't working is Christmas Day . . .) so I could do something like that for her. You are like us, books, books and of course books, figure large on the day!

    Rambler - I've never heard of that Sounds like a good idea, although we get our fruit and veg from a warehouse where we don't even get a receipt, and it's never all just supermarket type shopping that we do. A great way of paying for Christmas though.