Sunday Evening Chat

Hi folks

Whoosh!  Did you hear that? That was the sound of six weeks flying past since I have written here – gosh.

The view from a recent picnic spot overlooking
Port Stephens NSW

Plenty has been going on here at our place, so grab a quick cuppa and I’ll fill you in.

We have an old shade cloth covered gazebo area outside the back door which was pretty wasted space, so we decided to get the beams checked out and then cover it in tinted sheeting. This allows us to eat outside in all weather and gives us an alternate living area to relax in too. We employed a retired builder to do the job as he needed the work – we like our money-spend going to individuals who will appreciate it rather than to some soulless corporation. He was grateful for the work and we were happy with the end result and the reasonable price. 

Now to decide on what colour to paint the old beams .... hmmm. Duck-egg blue or maybe gun-metal grey? 

The old gazebo now with tinted sheeting instead of shade cloth.
Lets in the light but keeps out the rain.

We have been cooking up quite a few meals to freeze in advance. There is curried vegetables, thick beef stew, satay chicken and savoury mince happening. This is such a savings in time, effort, electricity and is pure convenience especially as we are still both working full time outside the home. We simply pull one of the frozen family meals out of the freezer to defrost before we leave for work and just heat it up later that evening. A fraction of the cost of pre-packaged meals with the same level of convenience and probably better nutrition too. 

Five big family meals awaiting the freezer

The beginnings of savoury mince with the onions and carrots
softening then caramelising.

We have also been shopping at local farmers markets on a Saturday more often, again because we like our money-spend going to individuals who will value it rather than always going to some soulless corporation, not because it is any cheaper per se.

The markets are a much happier place to shop than
a sterile supermarket.

Market produce

Plums from the farmers markets

Fresh white peaches from the markets

Fresh market garlic

Our household has shrunk since late last year as a couple of the girls have now moved out into their own places now. It has been such fun helping set up ‘home’ with them. I can remember the fun it was when Mrs HM and I set up our first little house. I am happy that they are content with bargain finds off Gumtree as well as using some of our surplus stuff too. It is also fun hearing them talk about their budgets, meal plans and future plans. Ha ha – we are now accidentally over-catering when we cook with only five of us at home now to feed. Force of habit. Oh well, there is always lots left over for lunches for the next day or two.

The beauty of a simple Gypsophila

We went to the local caravan and camping show recently to start our hunt for a ‘nice’ caravan…..
Oh. My. Goodness. The sheer price of new caravans these days was a total shock for me. Big, big dollars. Some were the price of a house deposit in a capital city! We just could not see the true value and we came back to earth with a bump. We just wanted a smaller van to initially use across the next 10 years or so (whilst we are still working in some capacity) so we can go away regularly on local intrastate mini-breaks. We both agreed that we simply could not justify the cost and we believed that spending all that money on a caravan would not bring us any more joy or contentment than some other alternative. So, long story short, we ended up buying a camper trailer for a tiny fraction of the cost of the fancy units we saw at the caravan show. Now, historically speaking, I do not enjoy camping, yet Mrs HM loves it. However, Mrs HM showed me that the parts of camping which I hated were really just the unpacking and pack up of huge old tents and lots of paraphernalia that we always took when the children were little – that is now all a thing of the past. So I saw the logic and am now looking forward to the delivery of our camper trailer in about a fortnight. The camper trailer allows us to organise our stuff in boxes in an orderly manner in the base of the trailer and leaves our bed made up with the entire camper folding up in a matter of seconds on top of all that. Additionally it has a neat little slide out kitchen, battery operated LED lighting, trailer battery charging whilst the car is running, Velcro removable walls, water tank attached to the kitchen and a fully insulated ceiling.  We should have some real fun in this – just the two of us. We had a towbar put on the Kia Rio (Persephone) as the gross weight of the camper trailer even when laden is well within the capacity of our little car. I am very pleased with this arrangement.

Mango salad

Produce for sale on hessian tablecloths - nice.

We will do some posts of our mini holidays. We will have fun doing frugal meals and frugal trips and sharing these with you all.

Take care and stay nice.
Mr and Mrs HM


  1. Good to see what's happening in the background Phil :)

    I like those beams the way they are - all natural, I think it's more calming than a painted colour.

    Loving the bulk cooking too mate, and it sounds like your daughters have embraced the frugality examples you've been showing them. - that must feel good?

  2. Welcome back, thought you had run off to sea:)

  3. I was wondering if all was well in your part of the world, good to hear from you again. The outside space you have created is wonderful, lovely to get outside and sit and eat. I agree I would rather give money to local people than the big corporations. As we are working hard and saving all we can I am still using supermarkets but in the future after we have moved I shall be using local markets more.

    1. Hi Phil I thought I would let you know I am know longer writing on Living Simply - Living well I am now writing here.

    2. Right-oh. I have added you to the blogroll here at MrHM :-)

  4. I agree with Dave that the beams look lovely just as they are.
    Tent trailer is what we call one of those units here in Canada - you're sure to have some adventures!

  5. Hi Mr HM,
    We bought a camper trailer a year ago, as I am not very strong and putting up our tent and huge gazebo just got too hard for me, especially when it was really hot. We have decided to only camp in the cooler months and are going in May and August this year. The camper trailer is fabulous way to camp, I’m sure you’ll both have loads of fun with yours. Good to hear from you again, have a lovely day, Fi

  6. I've noticed a lot of bloggers I follow not posting as regularly, and I often think well they are obviously too busy living it to blog about it, that shows authenticity and that makes me happy for them 😊

  7. Oh congrats on your new camper trailer! I have currently sworn off camping for at least two years after we get into our yurt. LOL But Mrs HM is right, camping as a couple if very different from camping as a family and you will love getting off the beaten track and exploring I think. If your ever up our way your welcome to swing my and set up camp on our farm! - Emma

  8. Good to see you back Phil :) .

    Sounds like you have been busy and the outdoor eating area looks good and creates far more living space for you and congratulations on your camper purchase too.

    We also have been doing lots around the new farm and are pulling down a couple of larger grapevine enclosures due to some termite damage in the uprights. We have saved the heavy duty chicken wire, good upright posts and galvanised pipe to rebuild an enclosed vegetable garden closer to the house. We are waiting for a cooler weather to start our gardens. I have made curtains to replace venetian blinds that weren't working and we have done lots of plumbing work ourselves such as fixing 2 mains water leaks, attaching a grey water hose so we can out our tank and changing tap washers.

    Like you we have been cooking up a storm and cooking from scratch mostly.

    Have a great week :).

    Sewingcreations15 (Lorna).

  9. Hi Phil, it's wonderful to hear from you again. Some major changes in your life and home lately. Great idea to cover your pergola area in tinted sheeting instead of clear, much cooler in summer. I agree with you about painting in blue grey or subtle blue green tones for a huge freshen up of your outdoor area.
    Yes caravans and motor homes are so expensive it makes my eyes water. Second hand is the way to go, but even then a cheaper caravan can cost the earth in petrol consumption as we found out. Your purchase makes real sense and you will both have so much fun with your camper trailer. Very comfy and will save lots on petrol too.

  10. Good to see you back again Phil.
    I'm in agreeance with you on the cost of new caravans! Good thing Mrs H.M. was able to show you the benefits of going for a camper trailer - it sounds just right for the two of you and you didn't even have to buy a bigger car! That's definitely spending according to your values, and very frugal. Hopefully we get to see a photo of your new portable home-away-from-home!

  11. have a wonderful time exploring your travels!
    love the new look pergola, i like natural but light paint would certainly bright & lighten it up a lot more too. perhaps put up light coloured sheets/strips to give you an idea first?
    hope your girls have fun in their new home, one day they will own their own home too, thanks to the lessons in frugality you have given them :))
    great post
    thanx for sharing

  12. Good to hear from you, I was starting to worry about you! Friends have a camper trailer and absolutely love it. They go away roughly two weekends out of four so it cannot be too much of a hassle.


  13. I love the bulk cooking idea, think I will have to give this a go here for some quick easy meals.

  14. I totally agree with you, fruits and vagetables from farmers market taste and look totally different that those from supermarket. I go every saturday to one farmers market. It is a good habit. We eat something good quality and we support something good <3


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