Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Taking the 'Dot Com' Plunge

We finally made the leap to our own .com !

Last night John and I sat side by side on the sofa, pressed all the buttons and tweaked all the knobs... not like that... you people, honestly... tsk.

It was a bit of cutting and pasting of chunks of code in the backrooms. We followed several sets of poor instructions. Then we crossed our fingers and pressed 'save' and IT WORKED!
Instructions we followed included this out-dated one from Wonderforest and this incomplete one from Google.

We are now - www.Our-Handmade-Home.com


We bought the domain name an age ago from GoDaddy and always planned to do the big switch but it was daunting, in fact several months ago I was just ready to make the leap but then, well I just couldn't do the deed. Like most things procrastinated over, I wish we had made the switch much sooner.

I still have to update all the places I've linked to the blog over the years and there is still an uncomfortable amount of internal links that we need to manually change *yawn*

Worst of all, and this is something I find baffling and frustrating, we can no longer link google+ comments to the blog so all our lovely readers comments got left behind.

I was fully aware it would be a step back before we can move forward to world domination a more professional and tidier appearance.

It is exciting though!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Deliciously Simple French Crêpe Recipe

When I was 15 I had an exchange trip to France, my counter-part was from Brittany. Marie-Eve visited us for a week, and I remember very little of her visit, other than crepes and roller-blading. When she went home she left us with this recipe for her mother's Breton Crepes.

French recipe for crêpes, simple and easy to follow instructions in english - tastes delicious!!

My mother however, is no cook, and after a failed attempt to fry lumpy milk, the recipe became lost. 17 years later I found it in an old book and whipped up a batch.... They are stunning, wafer thin homemade crêpes!
The word doesn't look right without the circumflex, but apparently it is no longer correct?? 

So here is the recipe, handwritten and ripped from a notebook, in french - I suspect ALL the best recipes are written on torn out notebook pages in french

  • 3 eggs
  • 400ml milk
  • 125g Plain flour (sieved)

Crepe recipe in french - our handmade home
the original hand-written recipe

The directions - not given on my original recipe, but I followed my instincts and got perfect results.

  • Beat the eggs thoroughly
  • Add the milk and the flour
  • Whisk and whisk and whisk, until it is a bubbly smooth mixture.

crepe batter

Cook as you would pancakes
Use a ladle to put the mixture on the pan and swirl it to give even coverage
Don't use too much batter, remember they are supposed to be paper thin
The crepes are ready when the sides curl up.

crepe pancake in frying pan

For the best results use a  smooth, non-stick pan rubbed with a little oil or butter to prevent sticking.

French crepe recipe - our handmade home

Once you have made a small stack of crêpe  they are ready to eat.

The best way to eat your crêpe is probably with nutella (lidl's own-brand is just as good) or with sugar and lemon-juice, maple syrup is delicious too.
Crêpes work just as well with savoury fillings I like to fry some herby mushrooms, onions and tomatoes. Grated cheese is a wonderfully simple filling though.

crepe with mushroom filling

I don't imagine Marie-Eve's family was too impressed by the porridge I made for them
- with water and salt -
I am a proud Scot, but even I couldn't stomach it.
Sorry, Marie-Eve, sorry.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Thrifty Thursday - Basic Budget Planner - With Free Printables -

Aaaaaages ago, I wrote some posts about our £50 a week budget. I'm bringing the whole series bang up to date with new 'Thrifty Thursdays'!! I like alliteration, I do :)

I'll start by explaining how to build a really quick and simple budget plan.

A quick household budget plan is a brilliant, easy way to keep you in financial tip-top condition. If you DO have financial worries, this can be a gentle kick start (but you might need to seek further help - I'll share some links at the end of the post)

Basic Budget Planner Free Printable - our handmade home

Get yourself a pen and paper, and a cuppa, this shouldn't take too long. The first time I did a basic budget we had 1 bank account and used debit cards for everything. So I just used a couple of monthly statements.
Otherwise gather together credit card and bank account statements, shopping receipts, and as much of that kind of paperwork you have available from the past few months. 

I have made 2 printable PDFs available to download: Our basic monthly budget sheet or a BLANK budget sheet (if the downloads don't work for you let me know and I'll see what I can do)

Basic Monthly Budget

or... grab a sheet of paper, a notepad, the back of an envelope, whatever... and draw a line down the middle.

On the left hand side write down:
What payments you have incoming during an average month?
including employment, benefits, pensions, income from investments,etc 

In the other column write down:
What payments you have outgoing in an average month?
Including any direct debits, rent/mortgage, council tax, gas, electricity, internet, phones, insurance policies, petrol, bus/train fares, loan repayments, grocery shopping, nights out, subscription packages, charity donations, etc Don't forget the big annual outgoings (Add these together and divide by 12) Including one off insurance payments, holidays, Christmas, clothing and footwear, furniture, gifts, etc

Now take outgoings away from incomings

You should have a positive number.

If you have a negative number, you need to go through all the outgoing figures and see where it is sensible to cut back as soon as possible.

Now that you have gone through everything perhaps you can see where you overspend?

What can be gently tweaked to save you an extra few pounds?

Try cutting 10% off your grocery bill, cut clothing and footwear in half (the budget that is... not your clothes...obviously) Shop around to get a better deal with car insurance, electricity, mobile phone, etc.

We do a simple budget at least once a year just to keep us on the right track.

If you want to dive in at the deep end and do a full warts-and-all audit, I highly recommend getting your planner from Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert - available here. It is completely free, horribly detailed, will take an hour+ to work through and will ensure you don't miss anything out.

If you are struggling to cut back, please get help, a sensible friend is a good place to start if you have one available. Read through some of the information on the Money Saving Expert website - here - or contact your local citizens advice bureau.

* * *

Without going into the gory details our story is that we got ourselves deep in debt when our house was trashed by an evil arsehole builder. We leaned on family a lot, and had to fix up our house using credit cards and loans. It took a while but we got everything back under control. We paid down our debts, reluctantly bought a car, finally paid off the credit cards, paid back family, had a baby. Through it all we pinched every last penny and budgeted to within an inch of our lives.
Now that we are on the other side of debt, we realise that forcing ourselves to live on a strict budget in the past has conditioned us and we are better placed to prepare for our future.

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