fEAsible, monthly review

fEAsible…March review

Hi everyone – I hope you all had a lovely Easter despite the weather.

It is nearly a month since my last post  – apologies for that it was unintentional – time just flies by and before you know it a whole month has passed.  I have been reading and keeping up with my usual blogs – sorry for the lack of comments – and I know I have some new followers whilst I have been hibernating so welcome to my little blog.

We have had a number of deaths and funerals to attend since the beginning of the year – I have another funeral of a friend next Monday but we have had one very sad and unexpected death of a family member, a little boy – it is always dreadful when someone dies but far worse to cope with when it is a child.  So much sadness and together with this cold, dismal weather it has left me a little drained and feeling rather miserable and unfocused.

Work too has been a struggle – I don’t feel I fit in any more – I miss my colleague Helen more than ever – it would have been her birthday on 2nd March – I met her mum in town for lunch – we had a lovely chat and catch up which was nice and we could remember Helen together.  Many of my other friends and colleagues at work have left the firm one by one recently and each day I keep thinking it really is time for me to leave too.

It is only the beginning of April and already I feel like I need a fresh start. Hopefully a bit of sunshine will help – when it eventually arrives.

As I look out on my garden it is still very brown – I have evergreen shrubs that are now brown too and I am not sure they will recover – the cold temperatures certainly did a lot of damage.  The Cherry tree has no sign of life yet and only a few daffodils are in flower – everything seems so late.  I dare not prune in case we had more snow and cold weather and when I woke up to snow yesterday on Easter Monday I was thankful that I hadn’t dashed out with the secateurs on the one sunny day we had recently.

Anyway I ramble on when the point of the post is to review my progress for March before setting my new intentions for April.

I wrote a shorter list of intentions at the beginning of March – some of which I abandoned – partly because of a lack of motivation and partly because of time – here is a round-up of my successes and failures for the month –

  • crEAting –

I abandoned this category altogether – I bought a packet of Easter cards and some of the birthday cards.  I didn’t feel like making Sympathy cards so bought these as well.

  • trEAsury –

We attended the Pensionwise meeting – the guy was quite informative and helped us to see certain aspects in a different light – but the difficult bit is still to come, finding a genuine IFA, making the choice of what to do with the pension pot and when to do it.

The eBay selling has been really good we have sold all the large items we had listed and we have even put on a couple of items now for our daughter.  As we are going to Italy near the end of the month we will have to take a ‘listing’ break but when we return I have a whole new list of items to sell and I haven’t even started on the ‘stuff’ in the loft yet!  Surprisingly we have earned about £300 hundred pounds so far and this will help towards our holiday.

I bought mum a present for mother’s day from a lovely little shop in Stranraer called Baxters – a soft fur scarf in a muted pink with a scattering of gold sparkle – mum was delighted, she seems to be collecting scarves at the moment and the colour was just right and she loves a bit of sparkle.

I got a good deal on my new car insurance with LV by taking out their multi car policy and I was able to knock off the breakdown cover as that comes free from Hyundai.  I also used my Boots vouchers for a new mascara and face cream and took advantage of the Neal’s yard and Bodyshop offers on the frankincense serum and Vitamin E creams I use – a bit of an outlay but it will save me money in the long run.  I haven’t totted up my spending for March yet that will have to be another post another day.

  • homestEAding –

The garden tidy up didn’t happen mainly because of the bad weather but also once I had started on the office clear out I did not want to break off on the only sunny day we had.

The shed has gone now though but the guy who is doing the repointing has been rescheduled for better weather and after our Italy trip.

  • appEArance –

I had my hair cut shorter again, it is much easier to control in the mornings now and has a bit more bounce.

The fresh fruit in the morning continues – my favourite mix is oranges, pink grapefruit, kiwi and blueberries – the zingy colour combination looks quite healthy!

The exercise hasn’t happened – I have no excuse other than the usual such as time, inclination etc – I will endeavour to try again this month.

  • nEAtening –

I went a bit astray on the neatening this month – I should have been concentrating on my wardrobe – and although I have been making plans for decorating and fitting it out somehow I found myself clearing out the office instead.  I think this all started when I had to get the Pension papers down from the loft and one thing led to another.  And now I am on a mission.  It has been a big job as the office is all paperwork and craft stuff not to mention the man drawers full of unidentifiable cable and leads – but they are not unidentifiable anymore!  At the moment I feel I have exhausted my decision-making capability and I am hoping I haven’t got rid of anything I should have kept.  I will go into my clear out in more depth in another post.

So there we are not all of my intentions fulfilled last month but I have got through quite a lot in between funerals.  April will be a month on hold I fear as the trip to Italy is coming up at the end so it is pointless starting too many new projects as there is plenty to do to get ready.

I will leave you (not for quite as long next time) with a picture taken in 2015 on the journey home from Scotland.

April 2015 – Scotland – after a sudden snowfall on the hills.

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fEAsible, intentions, my goals

fEAsible…plans for March

INTENTIONS

 

I had to improvise with my header for my March intentions as we are still at the caravan – so with the help of the front cover from my Country Living magazine I managed to cut out the letters using their picture of spring flowers!

After listing far too many intentions last month I have tried to cut down this month to give myself a chance of completing more of them.  March is always a busy month for me with Mother’s day coming up and this year Good Friday falls at the end of the month on 30th March.  We will need to fit in a trip up to North Yorkshire – weather permitting as well as another visit to the cottage.

Most of our additional spending this month will be on gifts for Mother’s day and Easter so this won’t be a huge outlay but the visits will take petrol money and probably a trip to a tea room.  On the bills side we will have my car insurance to renew and a quarterly water rates bill but we have a month free of Council Tax.

On the plus side I am looking to bring in more money – the extra overtime at work and more sales on eBay, but the biggest savings are of course on not being tempted to spend in the first place on items I really do not need.  So staying away from the shops will be key.  We need to save as much as we can now to put towards our Italian trip – the taxi alone to the wedding for 7 of us has been quoted as 120 euros for a 12 mile trip (mmm I think we are being taken for a ride!) – we are presently looking into the bus times but not speaking the lingo it is hard to know if there is even a bus that would get us there in time.

I intend to plan our menus for March again to limit the amount I spend on food.  Most of my overspend last month was taking advantage of the groceries on offer.  I am not keen on stockpiling as it goes against the simplistic / minimalistic lifestyle but I think having extra of what we do use is better than having cupboards stuffed with foods we never use and I try to avoid having hoards of stuff we will never eat. 

At this time of year the vegetables we have been enjoying are still around – Brussel Sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and leek but soon we will see Spring greens making an appearance and this is a good season for watercress. As the weather improves (I hope) I will need to search out my ‘lighter’ recipes to reflect the coming season and make meals using the same vegetables as the winter months but in recipes that are not quite so dense and heavy.  Instead of having a potato topping on my Shepherds Pie I will use cauliflower or broccoli rice, instead of a thick stew I will be doing a lighter casserole with less potato and swede.

Anyway enough of my rambling here is my list of intentions  for March –

 

crEAting

Birthday cards – make 2 cards for friends and one for sister’s wedding anniversary.

Easter cards – twelve to make

Hen tea cosy – make a pattern and cut out the pieces

Reflecting the season and spending a little on some bunches of daffs and tulips to brighten up the house

trEAsury

Pensions – attend free advice appointment and book further appointment with IFA.

More eBay selling – bathroom taps – wooden doors – my wedding outfit

Buy Mother’s day gift for mum

Buy Easter egg for little L

Grocery shopping target – £50 week

Use Boots coupon for face creams and new mascara

Savings – move matured savings in Flexsaver to e-savings to replenish account

Begin new Flexsaver account and set up standing order

Car insurance to research and renew

Pay water bill – look at more water saving ideas – try to shave another £10 quarter off this

homestEAding

Garden tidy up at home

Garden shed to dismantle

appEArance

Self care

Exercises – eyes

Make time to start some much needed fitness training using the plan from ‘Total Body Plan’ by Lucy Wyndham-Read (I have had this Magbook for a while now under my bed – it promises to deliver a toned body in 6 weeks for less than 15 minutes a day – we shall see!)

Continue with mixed fresh fruit in mornings

Take healthier snacks to work

 

nEAtening

Continue reorganising the wardrobe in the main bedroom and mending or decluttering any unused items of clothing.

 

Even though I carefully shortened my list it still seems like quite a lot but I find that setting some targets helps me to keep focused…what will you be doing in March?

Back soon x

fEAsible, intentions, monthly review

fEAsible…February review

I thought January went quickly but February was also a bit of a whirlwind.

I was a little disappointed with my accomplishments in February – I can see now that I set myself too many tasks for the time available partly due to not allowing enough time for the planning of and attending the funeral – but the main reason for my lack of action must be to do with the fact that we had a sudden notification of our Legal Aid audits at work and to cover all this additional work that an audit entails I had to do extra hours and also go in on one of my days off so we could meet the deadlines.  But I will not bore you anymore with the details – it is just enough to say I found February challenging.

So a quick round-up of how I performed with my February intentions –

  • appEArance –

I can only own up to the fact that I failed miserably on my appearance category and my attempts at self-care, such as booking an appointment with the optician and exercising after work, did not materialise in fact I have been so tired this month I have caught myself a few times asleep on the sofa supposedly watching TV but actually recovering from the day.

 

  • mEAndering –

Our meandering this month took us down memory lane as we doubled up our sad trip to the funeral in Cirencester with a visit to Cheltenham – a real treat and we plan to go back for a long weekend as soon as we can. So this intention was fulfilled and enjoyed.

Unfortunately we have run out of weekends to go up to North Yorkshire and with all this snow it won’t be any time soon.

  • crEAting –

Nothing exciting to show on the creating side – I was really disappointed not to have started my hen print tea cosy by now – this will have to roll over to March – but I did get to make a Valentines card (it was a bit of a cheat though – a heart stamp, a blank card and some red ink) still it is the thought that counts!

  • rEArranging –

My main decluttering and simplifying projects were to get rid of the accumulation of ‘stuff’ in the downstairs toilet that we are turning into a pantry and to make a start in our main bedroom prior to decorating.

The big news is (and I am very pleased with myself for this) that I actually, with the help of dear hubby and advice from a few bloggers, managed to get two items listed on eBay  – one has already sold (some bathroom fitments that we had for the cottage but no longer need) and the other (a brand new curved shower screen to fit the bath we no longer have since the flood) has an interested enquirer from Surrey –but I have no idea how we would get it to him – so may have to relist this one.  Anyway now I have gone through the procedure and understand it a bit more I just need to repeat!

In our bedroom I wanted to improve on the space and reduce the contents before giving it a good spring clean.  I have put all my hubby’s clothes into the new wardrobe in the spare room and he has taken all the natural wood hangers because I decided that DH finds things easier if everything is hung.  So now everything is hung – jumpers, t-shirts, shirts, suits and jackets.  His jeans are the only items of clothing that remain folded and these are in one of the pull out Muji  drawers within the wardrobe fitment, together with a drawer for his working clothes for gardening and DIY.

His underwear and socks are presently in the bedside drawers on his side but I have plans for these.

So now I can spread out and have the whole of the wardrobe in our bedroom for myself – but I had no hangers.  I know it is lavish to buy hangers when they come free with garments but I like nothing better than opening my wardrobe doors in a morning and having uniform hangers looks more orderly to me.

After debating with myself whether or not I should buy the space-saving skinny velvet hangers (and I can see the merit in these) I finally decided on the white wooden IKEA ones for two reasons (well maybe three)

  • The skinny velvet ones in TKMAX come in packs of different brands so might not be repeatable should I need more.
  • The packs I looked at all seemed to have a few  damaged hangers in them and some had missing hooks so I questioned how long they might last as I wanted this to be a once and forever purchase like my natural wooden hangers that I have had for donkey’s years.
  • They never seemed to have white ones and for some reason I just fancied white.
  • Although the white wooden ones take up more room the clothes keep their shape better on them and I just like them – so good enough reason to buy them.
  • They are wood and not plastic so environmentally friendly.
  • Having the wooden ones meant fewer hangers will fit in the space and therefore I will have to limit the number of clothes I can keep so I will always know when I need to stop buying.
  • They are cheap for the quantity I needed – I bought 7 packs of 8 hangers – so I can hang 56 garments.

Actually that is seven reasons!

I will post some pictures soon of my wardrobe rearrangements.

  • fEAsting –

    Valentines – with the unexpected audits at work I had to work on Valentines day so it didn’t happen for us – we did exchange cards and a small gift but no special meal. Pancake Day was the same but I am not going to stress about it we will just celebrate it another day instead – I can always eat pancakes anytime of the year!

 

  • trEAsury –

My intentions for February on financial matters was to start looking at our pensions and getting some advice, continue to limit the grocery weekly spend, save some money on cards and gifts and replace some of the money I used to buy the car.

Pensions –this has moved forward a bit – but only a teeny bit and it is vital that we get moving on it – we have now booked an appointment with the government ‘Pensionwise’ free advisor for some initial advice and are then also looking at a seeing another IFA that has been recommended –  if we can afford him!  We have always gone for ethical investments and they have, contrary to advice in the past, done better than the ordinary investments that have been imposed on us by various employers – so we are quite pleased but now it is a gamble when to start drawing on them and how to get the best from them.

Grocery shopping –this worked out at £57 a week for the month so £7 a week over the budget I have set but I did buy quite a few offer items and we now have enough coffee to open a coffee shop.  Prices in the shop are continuing to rise so it is a bit of a battle to keep the weekly spend down.

In general I have been making my birthday cards but whilst here at the caravan I actually bought 2 birthday cards from WH Smiths with the 25% off discount card – I find making birthday cards for men much more difficult and gave in and bought them!  I have done much better on the gifts side and managed to get a number of gifts in the sales at very reasonable prices.

The Flexclusive saver account has only just matured so as soon as the interest is added I can now move this into my long-term savings to build this up again after the hole the purchase of the new car made.

 

So that is everything for February accounted for – we didn’t manage much of a tidy up in the garden at home but a good start on the woodland garden in Scotland and only the weather being against us has now delayed this.  I have set my intentions for March and will be posting these in a day or two.

Kalo mina ~ Have a good month!  (An expression the Greek people use to wish each other well at the start of every new month – so my daughter tells me).

 

 

 

 

 

fEAsible, my goals

fEAsible…plans for February

 

appEArance

A visit to the optician – I need new glasses for work – but I don’t want stronger ones so I am going to test out some eye exercises to see if they have any effect on my eyesight.

A little exercise after work  – I plan to do some circuit training (I think that is the term) I will use the bottom step of our stairs, I have a Pilates ball and a balance board – so a few minutes on each and then an evening walk around the block.

mEAndering

A trip down south to attend my Uncle’s funeral and seeing all the family – a sad event but will be lovely to see the wider family.  An overnight hotel will be necessary and we are planning to go and have a look around Cheltenham where we lived for a few years to see how much our favourite town has changed.  Good idea or not – I will let you know – sometimes you should just remember places as they were so I am a bit hesitant about this.

A trip up north to see my granddaughter.

rEArranging

The old downstairs toilet – now the makeshift and temporary dumping ground and soon to be my new pantry but firstly I have a little job of selling, donating, repurposing – all the stuff hanging around in there.

 

sEAsons

Bringing fresh flowers into the home – tulips and narcissus

Changing one or two items around my home to reflect the coming of Spring.

crEAting

Making more cards –  after the initial start I have made with the January birthday cards I am planning to do my Valentines card and Easter cards.

Using up the hen fabric to make a tea cosy for my tiny one cup teapot.

homestEAding

No decorating this month – way too busy clearing up and clearing out.

But I plan to get out into the garden here in Yorkshire for a tidy up

nEAtening

Spring cleaning our bedroom and my wardrobe – with a little decluttering and beautifying.

fEAsting

Pancake day – can’t wait – I love pancakes

Valentine’s day – a nice meal and maybe a film – I might actually buy a DVD!

trEAsury

Getting to grips with our pensions – setting up an appointment with a financial advisor.

                Replenishing my depleted long-term savings (after the recent car purchase) with my  just  matured Flexclusive  Regular saver.

                Limiting our weekly groceries to £50

                Buying birthday gifts when I spot a bargain – I found a couple of really nice gifts recently, much reduced – perhaps I will see something on our visit to Cirencester and Cheltenham.

Maybe I won’t get through the whole list but having a plan is better than no plan at all.  How is your February going?

bEAching, celebrations, cottage garden, crEAting, fEAsible, fEAsting, holidays, mEAndering, taking stock, trEAsury

drEAming…January – did I blink and miss it?

I feel like I have been ‘off the circuit’ for months rather than days and January has whizzed past so fast that I never got to post the list of my intentions for the month but I will try to capture the best bits in a quick summary.

 

  • fEAsting –

    Celebrate Burns Night – as you can just about see from the Polaroids above a great night spent with 6 friends, 3 Haggis (one vegetarian), 12 Scotch pies, 2 Macaroni pies and a heap of tatties and neeps not to mention plenty of gravy and wine whilst singing along to the tunes of bonny Scotland –  I even made the Cranachan this year – it was delicious and although hesitant at first everyone gave it the thumbs up – just a touch more Whisky next year!

 

  • trEAsury –

Buying a new car – after much deliberation and contemplation and counting the pennies – here she is my new car ‘Hetty’ Hyundai.

 

After 16 years driving the same car day in, day out she is taking a bit of getting used to especially as she is much higher than my old Citroen Saxo and at times I am feeling a little travel sick.

I am sure we will settle in together soon!

  • crEAting –

Making birthday cards for January birthdays – they had to be quick and simple so I used some brightly coloured ink pads and these tiny flower stamps and just dotted the flowers around – each one is slightly different.  They also made good Thank you cards too.

 

  • fEAsible –

taking stock and planning but first the reading and researching – with the long dull winter days what could be more perfect than getting warm and cosy and reading – most of the books below have been borrowed from our local library.  I am interested to cut down our spending as much as possible both to save money and to simplify my life by owning less stuff.

The book titled Deep Country by Neil Ansell is an excellent account of a man who takes himself off to live in a cottage in a remote part of the Welsh Hills for 5 years where he has no modern conveniences such as electricity or running water, no transport and no phone.  His nearest neighbours are just the wild creatures – fauna and flora of the surrounding woods and fields – I was captivated by this book – not only because he describes in detail the amusing behaviours of the birds and animals he comes across on his daily walks, but part of me was envious of this simple but rich lifestyle.

 

 

  • mEAndering –

The ‘Italian Job’ – booking the accommodation and flights for our trip to Italy in April for our niece’s wedding.

This task was both a chore and a delight – looking at the beautiful pictures of the region from Venice to Verona and deciding where we wanted to stay and what we might do and then the difficulty of making all the travel arrangements to get everything to join up.  Now everything is booked apart from a taxi to take us to the wedding ceremony – for that we will have to email the hotel for advice.

  • bEAching –

My final intention for January was to have a few days at the cottage (caravan) in Scotland – to check the place over and also begin clearing out the undergrowth in the upper wood – not forgetting buying the haggis for Burn’s night.  We set off on the Friday with snow lying on the ground in Yorkshire and we heard on the news it was bad at Shap but the M6 was still flowing so we decided to risk the journey knowing that we could turn back or put up in a hotel if need be.

As it turned out the worst bit of the journey was actually only 6 miles away from here going over the moors to Manchester and the stretch of the M62 by Scammonden – there was nothing around Manchester itself.

As you might expect it was a very cold night in the caravan – the temperatures had dropped to almost freezing but thankfully we have double glazing and central heating.  We put the electric blanket on to air the bed and even after we switched it off we stayed toasty warm all night.

On the Saturday it was a gloriously sunny day with blue skies and an even deeper blue coloured, calm sea.

 

We had a leisurely breakfast and a trip into our nearest town Stranraer to change the empty spare gas bottle – with the cold weather it is always best to be well stocked.

We had a potter around the town – I bought a couple of birthday gifts for the January birthdays and a very large family sized pack of Persil on offer at Tesco for £9 (Morrisons had it on offer at £10!) – I like a bargain.

Back at the caravan the sun was out and it was such a lovely afternoon we put on our gardening gear – fleece joggers, padded jackets, hats, scarves and boots and looking like arctic explorers went up into the upper wood to do some clearing.  We have to do the wood clearance at this time of year whilst the undergrowth is not growing.  We pruned the elders that spring up in any bit of a clearing and had a go at the brambles.  Elders make good shredding or should I say Elder branches go through the shredder easily, they are straight thin branches and not thorny like Hawthorn.

The large spider legged pond cover we bought last year in a sale from Agriframes seems to be doing the job of keeping the leaves off the pond – I presume the wind from the recent gales must blow straight through the structure as there is no way to anchor it down but yet it had not moved an inch – luckily.

 

 

There are bulbs coming up everywhere in the garden and snowdrops well in bud.  To my horror though the three-cornered leek is everywhere you would not even know I had dug up so much of it last year even to the point of digging out every last tiny bulb over a 2 metre area – even the ones that were like microscopic beads.  To no avail – it has spread over winter with a vengeance.  So it is back to searching the internet for a remedy – surely there is a pesticide for this persistent pest of a weed.

 

There was a surprising amount of colour around the garden –  the Mahonia Charity and Viburnum in flower…

 

 

Berries still remain on the Hypericum…

 

 

and elsewhere evidence of shoots bursting into life…

 

or about to…

 

 

The light eventually faded and we had to come inside – I made a nice hot 2 day lentil curry for tea to warm us up whilst OH promptly fell asleep and snored blissfully on the sofa after a job well done!

Opening the curtains on Sunday morning confirmed the weather we could hear from inside the caravan – wet, windy and cold – not a day to venture out and certainly not a day for the garden.  We had to turn our attentions to amuse ourselves inside.

For me it was plotting and planning as well as reading a stack of magazine articles I had clipped in my recent clear-out interspersed by just watching the waves as the sea crashed around at the bottom of the garden.

By the end of the afternoon the weather was a little warmer and calmer but the light was fading fast so still no chance of gardening.

At tea time I began to collect our bits and pieces together ready to pack for leaving on the Monday.  We had to be in town for 11am as the local Osteopath (with the magic touch) was going to work on fixing my bad shoulder before we travelled home.

I know the main problem with all my muscles is due to lack of exercise and I will be taking small steps to address this soon.

I actually feel quite pleased with myself that I completed all my intentions for January – I decided this year I would try and focus on one project at once – unfortunately it was unavoidable that planning the Italian Job and buying a new car collided a bit but thankfully they both got sorted.

In a day or two I will be posting my intentions for February so stay tuned.

Back soon x

fEAsible, taking stock

fEAsible…doing better next time

Notes to self for next December

Each year I reflect on what worked and what did not both in the run up to and over the Christmas period –  then I make notes.  This is the list I made recently to remind me of things to do better, things I want to do again and things to definitely avoid next year.

 

  • Definitely no decorating beyond end of October – there isn’t time to look for furnishings with all the extra events and general tasks in the run up to Christmas and stocks are low in the shops – we spent a lot of time and petrol money trying to buy the electric blanket for mum – it must have been on everyone’s Christmas list!
  • Buy fancy Nougat for OH stocking early from TKMAX – don’t wait until we are out shopping together or with mum as it gets too tricky to buy it secretly.
  • Negotiate with mum that she plans her visit for November again like she used to – it has crept into middle December now and this leaves me with no time on the busiest weekends and all the Christmas events that we could go to tend to be in November.
  • Make less food for our neighbour / friends get-togethers – our new neighbours just did a selection of crackers, cheese and wine with a little fruit and some dips – it was both simple and ample and you don’t have to cook anything.
  • Make Christmas cards in October –waiting until November and December are too late to experiment with ideas. This year some of the colours of my stamping inks had dried up or gone off and I had to dash to town for new ones.
  • If supplementing with bought cards buy enough of the same design – don’t buy different packs then there are no decisions to be made of who has which card.
  • Plan to draw the names for the family Not So Secret Santa and Not so Secret Santa Stockings by mid-November – to allow plenty of time to buy the gifts and order any online and take advantage of any offers.
  • Stock up on stamps early – buy a book each month to spread the cost.
  • Send an e-card to Australians with the newsletter – to save on postage costs.
  • Collate newsletter for friends and distant family in November  – to save time this year I used my blog photos and posts to remind me of significant events and highlights throughout the year.
  • Update card and address lists in January for next year – remove anyone who has died or doesn’t require a card anymore.
  • Good tip from The Sadie Diaries – take photos and make notes of décor and lighting that works – most important label those fine wire lights with the colour of the white – warm white / bright white etc – they differ quite a lot and is easier to get the right ones in the right place if you know the exact colour.
  • Also like Sadie put outside lights up in warmer November.
  • Reduce décor that is put out in the rooms – less is more – use more natural foliage as décor and simple twinkly lights and candles looked really effective this year.
  • Buy plenty of batteries when on offer – as they are so expensive full price.
  • Make a plan of December menus that are quick and easy and can be frozen – for those extra busy days. Make notes on recipes for next year.
  • Find recipes that use left-over fruit and nut and egg whites and are quick and easy.
  • Buy one roll each of Adult Christmas wrapping paper and don’t forget one roll for Children now we have more in the family.
  • Pre-write gift tags when writing cards –  to save time when wrapping gifts.
  • Put the Saltaire Living Advent event into diary – not to be missed – also check on the one in North Yorkshire.
  • Buy a few sprigs of flowers and leaves from the florist for decoration – they were really good value and you can select exactly which ones you want.

Hopefully with a few adjustments I can make next Christmas run more smoothly and have more fun.

 

 

 

fEAsible, my goals, taking stock

fEAsible…stock taking

Just as a shop closes for stock taking I have booked this week off work and locked my front door with the intention of spending some uninterrupted time reviewing and assessing my situation and options.  That sounds quite grand – but really I just feel like I need to make improvements in my life and find the time to do the things I really love to do and spend less time on the daily grind.

The stock take…

Recently I have thought long and hard about where my focus should lie this year – we have quite a few projects on the go at the moment – we are still moving along slowly with the redecorating and outdoor maintenance of our Yorkshire home whilst trying to sort out the cottage in Scotland we bought for our retirement;  which our plans for this have been put on hold ever since the flood in 2014 (crikey was it that long ago!).  So with 2 houses, 2 gardens and a demanding job time is in short supply.  We seem to spend a lot of time talking about our plans and then something happens and we don’t get to implement them so end up virtually at a standstill.
In and amongst the ‘projects’ I still strive to create a simplified lifestyle and limit both my possessions and spending.  I will avoid calling it a minimalist lifestyle but over the last year I have reduced certain areas of my home down to ‘minimal’ requirements – anyone following along will have seen the posts about my new airing cupboard and linen cupboard which I am extremely pleased with – every time I open the door on these cupboards I have an enormous feeling of satisfaction and this is the blueprint for how I would like the rest of the house to look – everything has a place but there is also a feeling of space – of having ‘just enough’ and no excess or clutter.  I have also found that by getting rid of the excess I now have more room to keep those items I once kept stored away in the loft or the back of a cupboard in places where I can see them so as the Kondo phrase goes they ‘spark joy’ in me. So this is certainly something I want to continue throughout the house as we get to redecorate each room.
Finding time is one of my biggest problems.  In an attempt to understand why I am always short of time, rushing from one thing to another, never having time to make plans and trying to fit too much into one day I have noticed recently how many of the habits I have acquired over the years are tending to work against me and so I decided it really is time for a change.  A change of habits.  With this in mind I have been reading a number of books on change for ideas on how I can break old habits no longer serving me and make new ones.  But ones that will last.   I know this is the time many people will be making new year resolutions but I have fallen foul of doing this in the past and found that my good intentions have lasted for all of the first month and then as life takes hold again I lapse.  This too it seems has become yet another bad habit.
I mentioned recently two books I was quite taken with –
‘Small move, big change’ by Caroline I. Arnold and Hell Week by Erik Bertrand Larssen
Each has different views and different methods.
I also like the book L’art de Simplicite where the author talks about rituals in everyday life.
Other inspiration has come from a couple of bloggers with You Tube videos – At Home with Nicki and Pick up Limes with Sadia Badiei
I quite like the way that Nicki makes every area of her home beautiful – perhaps not my taste exactly, certainly not my level of spending and everything in her home seems pretty transient which does not sit well with me but there are aspects that I can relate to.  Sadia is a nutritionist and minimalist and again her change into becoming a morning person in small steps appealed to me.

So to the point –

with all this in mind my focus word this year is not a word – this maybe breaks all the rules – but I am not worried about that – my word is actually a phrase –

THE POWER OF SMALL

From everything I have read the one key idea that keeps repeating and resonating with me is just this – start small.  In this way you don’t set yourself up for failure and when one small change is mastered you are one step closer to your goal.

My aims for the coming year –

So my aim is to start this year on a new journey and  create a new map by making small changes – perhaps introduce one small change each week – it might be to eat an extra piece of fruit, going to bed 15 minutes earlier or having a quick tidy up each evening – these are just examples but each change will be with the intention of a larger end goal such as eating healthier non processed foods, having more sleep and waking up refreshed or keeping the house ‘visitor ready’ as Sybil says in her new years resolution – and I think this is an excellent concept.
Alongside this I will be completing one small task each day – it will quite probably be something on my list or around the house that has been waiting for ages, waiting for a time when I can get to it.  I had to laugh at Nine to Five’s recent post about her piece of chalk – this is just what I mean and a good analogy.  My whole house and life on a bad day can represent that piece of chalk.
Some of the tasks on my list have been there most of last year – they are actually projects and that is why they remain in ‘waiting’ mode as they always seem to big to attempt – so I will need to break them down into smaller 5 minute tasks to make a start.  Other stuff hanging around is actually waiting for a decision – I am not good at decisions so this will be a big challenge for me.
By doing just one small thing each day I will have completed 365 tasks over the year.
The ‘smallness’ also comes into play in other ways in that I want to achieve a few targets such as – a small capsule wardrobe, have a smaller  number of possessions, live comfortably within a smaller budget so we can save more for retirement,  buying a smaller amount of things – only things we really need, contribute back to society starting in a small way – I want to have an abundantly rich life but not in terms of things and possessions, rather friendships and experiences.
The changes I make will be many (I hope) and will involve all areas of my personal and home life.
I have a whole week free to get myself started, I will start by taking photographic evidence of my home and life as it is now and this will give me a very visual comparison at the end of the year.  Month by month I intend to review what I have done and how I am doing – so I hope you will read along and offer suggestions from time to time.
Well those are my plans for the year – I have read one or two interesting posts by other bloggers who have declared their intentions for the year – how are yours going?