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

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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, intentions, 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?

fEAsible, intentions, 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?