Why don’t we have a dollar store in the UK?

A few months ago I came across a lovely lady called Kathy on YouTube. She has a channel called MyDIY and publishes projects based around the things she mostly picks up in Dollar Stores.

Now to say I’m very jealous is an understatement. I cannot believe the quantity and quality of what she can get for just $. And don’t get me started on some of the creations she comes up with.

We have pound shops here in the UK. I do love having a good wander around them. They are great for branded toiletries, large dog poo bags(yep, we have a preference for them in our house!) and kitchen bits and pieces.

Since finding Kathy I have been more inspired to check out the pound stores around me. My recent video shows some of my recent finds :

But it doesn’t matter where I go or when, I never find the amazing things Kathy has from the Dollar Store.

It got me thinking. Why is there such a difference in products from the UK pound stores compared to the to USA dollar stores ? Is it our shopping habits? Are we not as creative? Can USA get better access to products than buyers in the UK? I really don’t know!

I used to be very creative. I always made my own cards for example. I even had one published in a crafting magazine a few years ago. It was for my dad and was based on a pair of denim overalls filled with tools. I have also made a few cakes for family and friends, but in the last few years time has been in short supply. With the right products, I am sure I could be inspired again to get my craft cupboard and drawers open once more.

Kathy comes back with signs, flowers, ribbons and so much more from her trips to the Dollar Store. She creates great wreaths, pool party decorations as well as ornaments such as the recent truck she make.

I appreciate that at Christmas, Halloween or Easter our pound stores do step up a bit, but day to day the products are not that inspiring in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, I have picked up the odd thing. I love my hanging flower pots from my recent purchase. It is incredible the gap in products.

It’s a question I may never get the answer to, so for the time being I am just going to have Dollar Store envy and keep watching Kathy.

On the flip side, I do wonder who makes the products at that price. Are they getting a fair wage? I do hope so. There could be an argument that without that work they would be able to feed their family, even if it isn’t much. It’s a tough one!

I’ve never been into a Dollar Store myself. If I ever return to America, I’m certainly going to make a visit! I may have to pay excess baggage home though and I could potentially get carried away!

If you don’t know what I mean, pop over to Kathy’s YouTube channel MYDIY and see, and of course don’t forget to subscribe to my channel Slimminginspirations4u.

Have a good day

Advertisements

Day 1 of my 50th Birthday Celebrations

It is official, I am now 50 years of age!

The celebrations started with a lovely meal out with my hubby at a local restaurant – Baraset Barn.  The food there is amazing and the converted barn cosy, with a lovely atmosphere.

Thursday morning we were up early to head down to Devon to really start the celebrations.  We have booked 2 apartments in Westwood Hoe for 8 of us.  Hubby and I and 2 of our friends were starting on Thursday with the rest on Friday.

The weather was absolutely beautiful.  As we couldn’t get into our apartment until 4 pm we decided to detour to Bideford.  A quick stop off at Morrisons to get some supplies and lunch, we then headed to the sea front to find somewhere to sit and eat our lunch.  It was so beautiful.  We then took a walk along the sea front.  I say sea, but it is actually an estuary taking you out to sea. 

I recorded the day on my Youtube video here:

The apartment was ready a little earlier than expected so we decided to go and check it out.

It was just off the seafront in Westward Ho.  I had upgraded to the Premier Apartment at Westbeach Resort.  I wanted to wake up looking at the ocean on my birthday, so this was the best way to guarantee that.  I am so glad I did.  Our view was beautiful.  We were looking right out across the sea.

The apartment itself was very modern.  2 bedrooms – 1 double – 1 twin, a nice bathroom with bath and rainfall shower, plus a kitchen which was fitted with fridge, freezer, oven and microwave.  Even a proper coffee machine.

I quickly unpacked. Our friends were on route, and after a long journey down, I promised to get a cold beer and G&T ready for them.

When they arrived, we sat on the balcony enjoying our drinks.  It was such a gorgeous day so we decided to go and explore Westward Ho.

It only took us minutes to be on the seafront.  There were plenty of restaurants, bars and shops along the main promenade.  It was very clean and tidy, with a lawned area, childens play area and a large array of planted borders.  The tide was in, so you couldn’t see the sandy beach sadly.

After a walk around we decided to have a drink in Morans, an Asian restaurant that we had booked for the next night, for my actual birthday.  We sat outside drinking cocktails and beer with prawn crackers!  Well it would be rude not to!

Next door was a great fish and chip shop!  As we were at the seaside it was the obvious place to go for dinner!  A brass band was setting up outside, so we sat on a bench eating our fish and chips listening to the music.  It was such a lovely evening.

We headed back to our apartment and sat on the balcony enjoying a few drinks. Slimline wine for me. It was a clear warm evening as we sat watching the sun set over the ocean. What a magical way to start my birthday celebrations.

Tomorrow is the big day!

Stay tuned to see what happened next.  I will also be publishing the weekend on my Youtube channel so don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.

When did a piece of rope become art?

We had to go down to London recently to sort our Visa’s out for China. We decided we may as well make a night of it. I booked a hotel close to Kings Cross, nothing fancy, just a Travelodge, but it was perfect for what we needed.

We were out of the Chinese Embassy a lot earlier than we anticipated. Having been to London many times, hubby and I were thinking what we could do that was a bit different. We decided we should go along to the Tate Modern. I can’t remember ever going myself and hubby hadn’t been for over 11 years at least.

It was a lovely sunny day. Walking over the Millennium bridge, you could take in all the tourists from so many nationalities. Boats going back and forth on the river. Everyone was in such good spirits.

I’ve heard all sorts of stories about what we may find inside the Tate Modern, so I was already expecting to see some bizarre pieces of art. Nothing quite prepared me for what I found though!

One of the amazing things about the Tate Modern is that for most of the exhibitions, it is completely free to get in. I think this is brilliant as it allows everyone, regardless of their background, a chance to experience it.

As you walk around, you really start to understand why art is a personal thing. We all like different things. Well that is certainly true here! There are some beautiful pieces as you walk around, but there are some absolutely weird things too! I’ve put together a Youtube video on some of the bits that stuck out to me. Here is the link-

I loved a statue of a little girl with her arms behind her back and a cream ribbon in her hair. A 3D piece really captured me. There was so much to look at. Another piece was strange. I don’t know how to describe it? It looked like someone had poured water over a painting, but it was strangely enchanting.

Now onto the weird! I’m sorry if you have seen these and liked them. As I say, art is very personal. First one was a piece of rope on the floor. I kid you not!! There is a joke there I think! Another was 3 bottles of diet coke all with different levels of liquid inside from a full bottle to an empty bottle. How about a mans urinal? I overhead someone talking to a group of students about its beauty!! Men – next time you visit a toilet, have a look and see if you can see its beauty!! I’m not sure I could! I did try honest!

There were 2 that I can’t decide which one gets the top award for being the most ridiculous! Was it a concrete pot full of stones – not nice ones, just grey ones? Or was it the picture frame that was well, just white?

There was so much I didn’t get or understand, but isn’t that what makes them interesting? I have to wonder though as to how some of this becomes so important that it ends up in the Tate? They are so simple? Who decides that it is a masterpiece and worthy of having millions of people looking at it? I’d love to know.

I have to say that despite some of the art, I really had a great day! I would definitely recommend you going along if you are in London. You never know, you may be inspired to start painting yourself afterwards!

The one thing I took away from the day is that we are all different. And isn’t it a good job. Life would be so boring if we all thought the same!

Have a good week.

How am I doing on my 50 things to do in my 50th year list?

Do you remember at the beginning of the year I decided to write a list of all the things I would like to achieve during my 50th year?  Well we are now officially half way through that year.  Where has all that time gone? 

How have I done so far?  Below is my update:-

1)  Travel to China

 Still on schedule to achieve.

2)Visit Croatia

We went as planned in May and oh wow!  How amazing.  Following where we went on my YouTube channel

I still have my last day to publish – but it is worth waiting for!

3)  Weekend away in a VW Campervan 

Still not on my radar!!


4) Re-visit Lundy Island

Well after a tricky time sorting out a boat, this trip is scheduled to happen and I can’t wait!

5)    Eat at a Michelin star restaurant

Still not happened!

6)   Bake with Paul Hollywood

Sadly Paul hasn’t popped over to help me in the kitchen yet!

7)  Be my own boss

I’m still searching for that ‘ah ha’ moment that will make me rich!!

8)   Buy a new car with the registration of the year I was born

It is still a few months away before the 69 plate is out. Sadly by bank balance isn’t matching this wish yet, but you never know!

9)    Get at least 1000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel

I’m at 149 at the moment so a few more to go!

10) Take a hot air balloon over my home town

Still need to do!

11) Have a weekend away with my parents

Sadly this hasn’t happened yet, but I hope to make it come true!

12) Fly first class

@Emirates – can you help me with this one when I fly with you to China in August? Pretty please!!

13) Complete a successful ‘Dry January’

Woo hoo!  I absolutely smashed this.

14) Walk 5,000,000 steps in 2019

As I am still half way through the year, I have time to complete this!

15) Learn to crochet

I think this is for a winters evening don’t you!!

16) Visit Stonehenge

I made this happen in March this year and loved it!

https://youtu.be/j9PDDkP5dg8

17) Swim with dolphins

Not sure if this will happen, unless they appear in Lundy!

18) Run 10k

This was always going to be a tough one!

19) Learn to decorate a cake with icing

Oh wow, I forgot about this one.  Work had a festival week and one of the sessions was about Cake decorating!  I’ve done it without even realising!

https://youtu.be/yOTVetHzo5Y

20)Learn to ballroom dance with Anton De Beke

Well I haven’t danced with @antondebeke but I did get to meet him at @thismorning Live this year.   He is still a delight to spend time with!

https://youtu.be/Qln3XrVmjgI

21)Be on the panel of Loose Women

I’m still waiting @LooseWomen

22) Own a designer handbag

Maybe I’ll get one for my birthday!  Hint hint

23) Replace my greenhouse

Oh it is looking pretty sad at the moment so I think this may need to happen soon!

24) Reduce my daily commute to work

I’m still having fun with the trains!!  At least the morning commute has changed thanks to 4 extra carriages, which means I mostly get a seat now!

25) Teach Lola to walk off a lead

Yer right!  Hmm, not sure this is not going to happen!

26) Teach Fido to not bark at the door

We have been trying very hard!  I’ve now applied to the programme ‘Dogs Behaving Very Badly’ for help!  Fingers crossed!

27) Teach Fido not to bark at noises

As above!  Eek!

28) Have 5 minutes of fame on T.V. – preferably on This Morning

I’m still waiting for them to snap me up lol!!  I did get to meet Ruth and Eamon at the @thismorning Live at the NEC in Birmingham.  Eamon even had his hand on my knee!!  Lol!  They were such a lovely couple!

29)Go to see a musical at least once in 2019

Still to do, but we are in London very soon so who knows!

30) Go to a music festival or concert at least once in 2019

No happened yet, but the summer isn’t over yet!

31) Write a blog at least once a week

I’m smashing this with 2 – 3 some weeks!

32) Improve my photography skills

I’ve not had chance much to take many photos but when I have, I’ve really tried to be creative.

33) Clean out the garage

Don’t tell my hubby but, nah, not yet!  I will though promise!

34) Help raise awareness of homelessness

I’m still promoting this.

35) Help out someone at least once a month

Ooh now I really have to think about this one.  I think I have, but I could do more!

36) Have a professional make over

Still need to sort this one out!

37) Have a ‘hot’ Christmas

This may not happen this year, but one day!

38) Remember friends and family’s birthdays

I’m doing better.  I could be a bit quicker poster but it is an improvement.

39) Be surprised

Not yet!! 

40) Have dinner out once a month

We have done this and it has been really nice to have someone cook for me.  It hasn’t had to be posh, but good food.

41) Take an hour out a week for ‘me time’

I’m trying but some weeks are just so busy.

42) Get 8 hours of sleep a night as much as possible

I’m totally failing this one.  Only 6-7 hours a night at the moment. 

43) Drink more water and less diet coke

Right now I am drinking a litre of squash!  I’m trying!

44) Have a girls night out at least once every 3 months

I’ve just about done this, but I really need a few more!

45) Have a date night with hubby at least once every 3 months

I think we have done this – yes, definitely.  It is good to spend quality time together.

46) Take a canal trip

Well I did say a trip not a holiday so does the 30 minute trip with work count?

47) Go to see Wasps at least 3 times during the year

We have been once but will go more later in the year – promise.

48) Learn the rules to Rugby

Oops!  I really must talk to hubby!

49) Take up a new hobby

I just need to find the time!!

50) Keep in touch more with family and friends who live away

Facebook is great, but I really need to put some weekends away to see friends.  We have managed a couple of weekends this year, but we should do more!

So, there have been some things ticked off, I really need to start doing a few more!  I will keep you posted!!

Another new product for me – Lo-Dough!

So what is Lo-Dough I hear you ask? Well, it’s a completely unusual bread or pastry alternative.

I’d seen it advertised on Facebook for a while now but was never sure. For one, I thought it was expensive, but when I saw they had a 10% off voucher, I decided to google it.

It seemed to be a very good product and low in syns, so thought I should give it a go.

There was another reason to! The ingredients, or to be precise, one in particular. So what is it made from?

Water, Wheat fibre (gluten free), Dried Free Range Egg White, Stabiliser (E464), Konjac Flour, Psyllium Husk Powder, Salt.

My hubby follows a diet during the week, which he picked up from his native South Africa – The Banting Diet!

The basic principle is that you don’t eat carbs or sugar!

One ingredient they recommend as an alternative is Psyllium Husk. I’ve bought it and used it to make a bread alternative etc for him! It’s expensive!! This put this product cost into perspective for me.

It comes in packs of 2 in the shape of a circle, around 8″ wide. A pack of 6 costs £14, so with 10% off it came in at approx £2.30 a piece!

I looked at their website again!

https://lodough.co/

It was a lot more versatile than just being used as a pizza base alternative. This excited me!

I quickly put my order in. Within an hour I got an email back saying it had been dispatched! Wow, what service!

It arrived very quickly and I couldn’t wait to try it!

It’s extremely light and doesn’t roll out, which can make you a bit nervous to begin with.

I decided for my first try, I would revisit a childhood favourite- egg custard!

See how it turned out on my YouTube channel.

I was surprised at how it tasted.

Next, I thought I should go back to basics and do the pizza!

My hubby was blown away by it. The base really worked. Better still at only 2 syns on SW and fitting in with the Banting diet, it meant it was something both of us could enjoy!

Every month we get a magazine from Tesco. My hubby has started to take a real interest in it. So much so, he actually cooked 2 meals for me recently from them! He never cooks! I have a lot to thank Tesco for, that’s for sure!!

In a recent magazine, he spotted a Mexican Pizza recipe and suggested we use the Lo-Dough to make it! It looks like he now has the Lo-Dough bug too! Possibly something for dinner next week. Who knows !

My next recipe is going to be a chocolate brownie. Instead of using it as it is, you make it into breadcrumbs. I can’t wait to see what it comes out like!

If you want to try it too, use discount code RECIPES10 to get 10% off!

After avoiding it for so long, it’s now definitely a product which I will use regularly. @Lo-Dough is certainly an amazing product.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on!

On my pizza video, I also give you a review of another new product that you MUST try! Misfits is a nutritious, high protein snack. They have a fab offer on at the moment where you can get a taster pack for only £3 instead of £11.99 with the cost Taste3!

https://missfitsnutrition.com/collections/all

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see other recipes and products.