Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Books and Blogs - The Frugal Cook

Continuing from yesterdays post about frugality, I have a recommendation, particularly with Christmas coming up.

Typically for this time of year many books are being released, particularly in the cookery section. One book you may not be aware of is The Frugal Cook by Fiona Beckett.  As I said, there are other cook books out this season, one of which is Delia's reprise of her Frugal Food recipe book, and is a direct competitor for your pound this Christmas. While this is a good book, it is a re-release, and I would urge you to go for an original publishing.

The Frugal Cook is based on Fiona's blog of  the same name. I love the blog. It's on my RSS feed, and I read every article with interest. Fiona's writing is well thought out, her recipes concise, and her ideas inspiring. I also like the fact that if you comment on any of Fiona's articles, she will generally answer you personally. It is this accessibility that makes me a fan, and will see me buying her book (or getting someone to give it to me as a present) this Christmas.

Whether you get the book or read the blog, enjoy. It is time well spent.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Frugally Yours

Wow. Well, it's been quite a while since my last post. I unfortunately found that other things in my life needed to take priority above blogging, but I am going to have to get back into blogging as it was a great outlet both psychologically, and creatively.

And what better way to get back on the wagon than to tell you what I have been up to!

In the current financial climate the watchword seems to be "Frugal". Speaking personally, I am doing everything I can to lower my overall spending. One place Mrs. Mouse and I are boxing clever is with food shopping. This is an area fraught with pitfalls put there by supermarkets attempting to maximise their impact on your pocket. To counter this, we have taken a few measures which have saved us quite a bit of money.
Firstly, we do almost all of our vegetable shopping at the local market. Their prices are excellent, and we get a bit of exercise cycling to and from the market.
Secondly, we have moved down a pricing band, where possible, in our supermarket purchases. This is a common with most people - if you buy the premium brand, you move to the regular brand, etc.. The breadth of this I feel is shown by Tesco introducing a fourth tier of pricing with their "Discount Brands" which sits between regular and basics range.
Finally, we shop a bit later in the evening to get cut-price goods. This technique won't suit everyone, but it can mean you get some good breads for next to nothing, as well as cooked produce which needs to be sold that day. It does mean you have to be a bit flexible with your meal plans, but is also fun when you have an impromptu lounge picnic!

These three tips have helped us save quite a bit of money, and have fun doing it!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

And I Quote...

One thing I love is quotations. I enjoy pithy, witty, funny, and thoughtful quotations. Therefore, it is with no surprise that one of the modules I have on my iGoogle is "Quote of the Day". Quite often I have seen a quote and thought I should share it on the blog, only to forget. However, one of today's quotes just has to be posted.

This, I think sums everything up about quotes in one quotation:

Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.

- Anonymous

Profound and ironic at the same time. I love it.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Statistically Speaking...

One of the things I put on my blogs more or less from the start was a stats tracker from StatCounter.com. This is not to track demographics for targeted advertisements, or anything like that. I have a stats tracker on my blogs so I can see if anyone comes to visit. I have had this particular blog (Mouse's Musings) running for nearly 18 months now.
Of the three blogs that I keep up to date post articles to, this has had the least amount of visitors. This is probably because I don't post any photos on here, that's for my Photo Blog, nor do I talk about a singular topic, that's for my Pub Run. Therefore, I am always interested how someone has come to be viewing my blog.
There seem to be only three reasons to visit my blog:

  1. You have seen my blogger profile - I post comments on many of the blogs I read, either to add some other little titbit or to just tell them what I enjoyed about the article I've just read.
  2.  You want to know the key board shortcut for the Euro sign - This is my most popular article by far.
  3. You want to know why your Micra won't start - I hope this article has saved people money. It certainly has for me.

So, no matter how you got here. Welcome. Please feel free to rummage around. And please feel free to visit my other blogs.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Technorati: Get Your Act Together

I use Techonorati to keep an eye on all of my favourite blogs. Until recently I would have recommended it as a good tool to find out when your favourite blogs have been updated (I don't really to RSS feeds).

Recently, however, the Favourites section of Technorati has been down. Eventually, on the 20th of this month there was a posting on the support page just saying that Favourites/Fans Currently Down and that they are working on it.
Today, apparently Favourites/Fans (are) Back which they are, to some extent. I am able to click on the Favourites link and see my favourites area, but it is not populated by any recent posts. Clicking on the Favourite Blogs tab seems to work about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time it tries to load and just shows their "Techonrati is Borked" page.

Come on Technorati, sort it out!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

No, I'm Not Dead

It's rather embarrassing when your own blogs are at the bottom of your 'recently updated' list of blogs on Technorati. According to that list:

Mouse's Musings was updated 41 days ago
Lifelong Pub Run was update 37 days ago
SheyMouse's Photo Blog was updated 37 days ago

This is not the longest I have gone without a post, but over a month without a post is rather slack of me. Since I have split my blog into three, I have enjoyed my writing much more, as well as found more motivation for taking more (and better) photos.

So, with the above in mind, what kept me from writing for so long? The answer is that Mrs-Mouse-To-Be has now become Mrs. Mouse. Yep, I am now married to the lady I have been in love with for nearly 10 years. We had a wonderful wedding in deepest Suffolk followed by a wonderful honeymoon in deepest Dominican Republic. Both of these have given me much material for all three blogs.

As always, watch this space...

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Games, Heroin, and Teenage Pregnancies - What's the Difference?

I have just read an article by Giles Whittell of The Times entitled Video Games: I'll never buy one. The reporter/contributor/"notebooker" describes why he will never be buying his children any games consoles. Apparently the answer is because games "suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time." What a wonderfully broad and sweeping statement. And if that is his main reason, then maybe he should stop his children from watching TV, going to the cinema, surfing the internet, or reading.
Now, I am old enough to remember getting my first games console in the mid 80's, and have had many games machines since. I do not believe I ever wasted my life. I enjoyed playing games, because of the adventures they took me on. Just like reading, and going to the cinema. I enjoyed the social aspect of them; my mother and I used to sit up late into the night playing the latest adventure game.
I do agree in a small way with Mr. Whittell in that many children seem to be so intent on finishing the next level that they barely look around sometimes. For that, I do not blame games, I blame the parents. Surely, it is the parents who should tell little Farquar and Portia to put down their Nintendo DS until after dinner, or whenever. I know it's easy to blame the parents, but in this case I truly believe I am right. My parents used to make sure I stopped playing on my games console and went outside, or stopped playing my Gameboy at the table, and so on. Don't deny your children, but educate them enough to make their own choices and govern themselves.

And equating games with heroin and teenage pregnancies ("It's because, compared with everything else on offer in a kid's life, video games and heroin and teenage pregnancy are a colossal waste of time.") is just irresponsible. Well done for inciting people to read your article Giles, but it is a low blow, and a tenuous analogy at its best. 

Thursday, 20 March 2008

It's Coming Home!

Today is a joyous day. The BBC has regained the television rights for Formula 1.
I have enjoyed watching F1 since I was a little boy getting up early with my father to watch the races all the way across the world. When I moved to the UK, I enjoyed watching F1 on the BBC. A large part of this enjoyment was because I did not miss a second of the action. There are no adverts on the BBC, so every thrill and spill is there for you to watch.

Then ITV got the rights.

Being a fan, I still watched the races, but never felt quite as close to the action as the glory days of BBC coverage. We, the viewers, were often quite frustrated by missing out on an incident (be it overtaking, pit stop, or crash) because ITV were showing their adverts. This reached its height during the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix when ITV went to an advert break with three laps to go.  ITV have not been that idiotic since, but the memory of it is still there.

So, now the BBC have won the television rights back after 12 years of being away. The BBC always have to be at the forefront of any media advance, technique. Therefore, I believe we can look forward to some very interesting additions to the way we view Formula 1.

Bring on the 2009 season I say.

Monday, 17 March 2008

St. Patrick's Day Musings

You would have to be living in a box to not know that today is St. Patrick's Day. Or, you would be forgiven for thinking last weekend was it, since St. Patrick's Day is such a commercial monster nowadays.
And who am I to complain? I love Guinness, and some of my closest friends are Irish. Plus, I will use any excuse for a party. Even though I'm feeling under the weather today, nay because I am feeling under the weather, I fully intend to investigate the medicinal qualities of the world's best loved stout. 
I've certainly a fair amount of Guinness this weekend. Mrs-Mouse-To-Be and I were invited to the Irish Embassy last Friday for his annual St. Patrick's Day party. Actually, I was just a tag-along, it was the future Mrs. Mouse who got the invite. I guess being director of the Liverpool Irish Festival gets one into those kind of gigs. It was an excellent evening with a lot of food, drink, and Guinness.

Incidentally, if you are ever searching for the Irish Embassy of London in google, do not click on the "ireland.embassyhomepage.com" link. This is NOT the Irish Embassy website. I believe it is one of those advertising pages. Instead look for the Department of Foreign Affairs Ireland website or click the link to go directly to the www.embassyofireland.co.uk website.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Stephen Fry Rules!

My life is complete. I have always enjoyed watching Stephen Fry on TV. My earliest memory of him is a little hazy. I cannot remember if I first saw him in Jeeves and Wooster or A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Either way, I enjoyed watching Fry with Hugh Laurie in these shows and continued to watch them in the Blackadder series. Yes, I am aware that the Blackadder series predates Jeeves and A Bit of..., but I only started watching the series much later on. More recently, I have enjoyed watching Stephen Fry on QI (I've even been to watch the show being made).
By the way, if you haven't watched any of the above, you should either get hold of some of the shows, or shoot yourself. You don't know what you have been missing.
Anyway, as I said, my life is complete. My colleagues at work mentioned that they had heard a Stephen Fry podcast. Having piqued my interest I jumped on the internet to see if I could find it. Very quickly I found out that Fry has a website on which he keeps a blog, and more recently has been posting podcasts. Joy!

Being the fan of Fry that I have described above, you would be within your rights to wondering why I haven't found his site before. Well, I never thought to look, but now I have I cannot wait to read his next blessay, blog, or blissquisition, nor can I wait to listen to his next podgram.

If I have done anything to interest you in Stephen Fry, click on the link to his site on the right of this one.

Monday, 10 March 2008

A.R. Tym's Butcher of Liverpool

Last weekend the Soon-to-be-Mrs-Mouse and I had a bit of a dinner party. We invited our good friend Bones over, the deal being he provide the meat, and we cook it.
Bones is the master butcher in A.R. Tym's butcher on Smithdown road in Liverpool. The meat he provided was fantastic. We sampled both fillet and rump steak that evening and the quality of the cuts were hard to beat. I highly recommend that if you are in the Liverpool area and in need of some fine cuts of meat, please go and see Bones for your supplies. You will not be disappointed.

A.R. Tym's Butcher
208 Smithdown Rd.
L15 3JT
Tel: 0151 733 0114

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Incorrect Use of The Rearview Mirror No. 1

This morning on the way to work I was followed by a woman applying her makeup. Now not only was she in the driver's seat, but she was attempting to drive at the same time as using the rearview mirror to see where she was applying her makeup.
Ladies, the rearview mirror is not for makeup application, it is meant to help  you see what is behind you. Also, why not get up five minutes earlier and do your makeup at home, rather than endangering yourself and other road users?

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Something to Live By... Well Sort of!

Seen in my daily quotations page:

Dance like it hurts, Love like you need money, Work when people are watching.
  - Scott Adams

Friday, 1 February 2008

Euro Sign Keyboard Shortcut

What I learned today:

If you have not Euro sign on your keyboard, it can be quickly brought up the following ways:

1. Press Ctrl+Alt+E
2. Press Alt+0128

I am particularly impressed by the first one as I can never remember the 0128 of the second one.

Gecko_gr made a comment on this post a while back which I thought I should bring to the front of the entry.

For US keyboards, the following shortcut works:

Right ALT key + 5, or ALTGR +5

Thanks Gecko.

What They Do Best

Looking outside my office window I saw this.

I am always amused by the amount of times I look at road works and either see everyone sitting around doing nothing, or seeing no-one at all.

It must be a tough life...

Friday, 18 January 2008

4x4 Rage

I unfortunately have to travel to work most days by car. This is because it is cheaper and quicker for me to get to work this way.
My route takes me past a few schools during the school run period. Living down the road from a couple of posh schools, one of which is The Beacon School for Boys, puts me right in the path of all the 4x4 drivers. I and my friend both have a policy of not letting out 4x4 and "buses" (people carriers, SUVs, etc.). This is because it is not necessary for a 2.4 children family to drive around in a 4x4 in the misguided idea that the passengers will be safer. GET A PROPER CAR!

Anyway, for the past two days, I have been amazed at the laziness and bad driving of some of the 4x4 drivers in the area.
First, there was a woman who drove from the school to Lollards Close, a total of about 0.8 miles. This distance in any car doesn't get your engine up to optimum heat. This will wreck the car. Try walking. Both you and your child will benefit from getting out a bit.
The second example, which never ceases to amaze me, is the way 4x4 drivers shy away from puddles, usually quite close to hitting the oncoming traffic. If you drive any 4x4, chances are you are the heaviest vehicle around. Everyone else is driving through the puddle, and they're in normal cars!

In short, if you have no relevant reason to own a 4x4 take it back and buy a normal car. You might find it easier to exit driveways, and will probably find you have a bit more money due to not having to fill up at every petrol station you pass.
And don't mention safety. They aren't safer. All you are doing is putting anything you hit in more danger of being killed, especially children. Given that all most people in the London area seem to do is drive their 4x4 or SUV to school and back this has a certain irony to it.

Once again, buy a proper car.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

BBC NEWS | Arrest after 32 dead horses found


BBC NEWS | England | Arrest after 32 dead horses found

This happened from just down the road from where I live. I am appalled that someone kept animals in such atrocious conditions. Some of the comments from local websites suggest that this farm was known for its bad treatment of animals. Why wasn't anything done sooner? Horses were housed so close together that some of them were standing on other dead horses!

If you don't take care of animals in your care whose main aim in life is to please their owner/master, then you deserve to rot for your neglect.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Happy New Year

Doing the rounds on my blogs.

Since this is a blog of musings and suchlike, I give you the video below which makes Mrs-Mouse-To-Be giggle every time.