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?