What greets me when I get home…

Do you remember the Siemens Advert?    If not click on below for a quick reminder.

I used to sing along to this all the time secretly wishing that on my return home after a long hard day at work my life was as easy and relaxed as portrayed in this video. 

Well I want that ‘Siemens’ life – I dream of that  tidy well run home that gleams, and of having a well stocked fridge with healthy food and our evening meal all prepared and ready to go, of being able to recline with a book or run a bath, even take time to kiss my better half – if I had a Siemens life I know I would have arrived!!

Well as they say ‘ Dream on’ in real life what do I have?  I have the ‘Frenzied’ life.

It begins in the hallway when I arrive home and trip over yet another pair of shoes that won’t fit on the rack (usually because all the shoes have migrated from the wardrobe to the hallway – they obviously have feet of their own) and sigh as I pick up yet more junk mail to deal with together with the third charity bag this week and it is only Wednesday.   I go straight upstairs park my bag and hang my coat noting that I must have been late this morning as the bed looks like it had a bad day and resembles a half-hearted attempt at being made; but I persuade myself it is not worth remaking it now as it is only a few hours from bedtime and it is going to get crumpled again soon – right?. 

I head on down to the kitchen to make a well deserved cup of tea (should be herbal or green but I think what the hell and go for normal).  Then I decide that hunger beats healthy and I opt for whatever I can grab as a quick snack. 

Hunger pangs now replaced with guilt pangs for the added calories I have just consumed I rush around the kitchen like a whirling dervish tidying up and dealing with the endless waste management – the washed and drained recycling (tell me where is that in the Siemens house?), emptying compost and rubbish bins and a general putting things into order ready to begin the cooking marathon.  I look in the fridge trying to remember exactly what I had planned on the menu tonight before realising what it was that I dashed into Sainsbury’s for after work when I got diverted and ended up in the magazine section.

If I am lucky by 8 o’clock if hubby is back from work we can eat and relax for half an hour before returning to the kitchen to wash what seems like every dish we own.  After doing bits of paperwork, bits of washing or ironing and checking emails I find it is almost time to collapse into bed, I might just have time to do a post or soak my feet before I do!  My life just does not match up to the Siemens life…yet… but on the bright side after a summer of hard work I am s l o w l y reducing the stuff in our house and the things that remain will eventually have a place and a place with space and this I am sure is key to helping me become more organised.

You can always tell a very expensive clothes shop as they have a minimal stock all beautifully displayed with space around each item and that is how I see our finished home.  So I will keep replaying the Siemens life to remind me that the Future is certainly moving in and hopefully my Frenzied life is on the way out.

Getting back on track…

Fixing your objective is like identifying the North Star 
- you sight your compass on it and then use it as the means
 of getting back on track when you tend to stray.
- Marshall Dimockz

Today I woke up a different person as this was the day when I decided enough is enough and I need to take back my time, get back on track and get some things moving and sort out my life.

Over the past week I have identified some of my time thieves and what rogues they are – slippery little monsters – that need to be captured and banished.  I have realised that over the last few months due to the pressures of work my whole day has gradually shifted forward so that I have got to the point where I am in a cycle of working late – getting home late – eating late – blogging extremely late – going to bed late and guess what – getting up late and (shh don’t tell my boss) but often getting in to work late by 5 – 10 minutes, and not in very good shape either.  The bags under my eyes are so huge now I wonder who this person is looking back at me in the mirror.

So I had to take a stand and the first issue on my list is to leave work on time at 4pm – only by doing this will the rest of my day slot back into place so everything is done earlier and I get a chance to be in bed by eleven.  I am eventually hoping for 10.30 so I am able to have a good eight hours sleep but I am being realistic here.

So today I left work ON TIME yes really on time – no staying to finish off what I was doing for another 20-30 minutes, or picking up the phone as it rings just as I am leaving, or getting involved with some last-minute request which would save until morning – I just put on my voice-mail, cleared my desk space, shut down my computer, got my coat on and left.

I must say it didn’t feel quite right as it is something that I am not used to doing yet and I did feel like I was sneaking out early rather than on time but once I get into the habit, which I do intend to do, everyone will get the message that I finish at 4pm – no matter what!

In addition to this I will be making an effort to get down my list of tasks by doing just one thing each day.  Removing one task each day makes a difference and gets things done and if possible I will do a batch of tasks. Today for instance I successfully managed a batch of To Do’s in 20 minutes while I was out at lunchtime getting a sandwich.  The errands I had were all for one area of town and by planning my route carefully I was able to

  • post my letters
  • buy 2 cards – a get well card and one for our Wedding Anniversary tomorrow (36 wonderful years!)
  • go to the indoor market for some cheap Tupperware pots to keep my garden fertilizers and feed in (more about this in another post).

Each evening if nothing else I will set a task for the following day – tomorrow it will be the banks – I have to pay in some cheques, update our pass-book and whilst in the location get a watch battery.

Now I am going to fall into bed – later than I had intended – but a little better than I have been doing.

The Friday Fling…

Having thought long and hard about the problem I have with ‘stuff’ and my longing to have both space and a simple but beautiful collection of things around me that I need and use or love and cherish I have decided that I am going to be ruthless and really, really get rid of all the things that I do not use or do not need and this will include those someday I might items – you know the ones – someday I might use it – someday I might need it – don’t we all have them?  Maybe I am the only person in the world who does and that is a scary thought.

So I am introducing you (and myself for that matter) to the Friday Fling.  Friday because it is my day off and Fling because I am going to go through my whole house (but not all today!) inch by inch seeking out those things I do not need or want and Fling them for good. So be warned ‘stuff’ I will find you –  there is no hiding place!

If you would like to join me I would love to here from fellow travellers out there wishing to organise and simplify their stuff too – especially if you have any useful hints and tips.

Making a start

For want of a better place I will begin in our bedroom with my dressing table drawers.  I know it is old fashioned to even have a dressing table but I do like to sit down on the job and have a mirror in front of me and everything I need to hand ready for any major indulgent pampering session I may undertake or just to make my daily routine getting ready for work a smoother operation.

Bearing in mind I only went through these drawers a couple of months ago for a clear-out, I did not expect that I would find very much to fling but with my new mind-set in action, I discovered I was wrong and I have plenty to throw out.  I use the word ‘throw’ loosely as you know me I cannot see good things go to waste and that is probably why they are still here and have missed being cleared out for the last few years!   So for any environmentally obsessive readers like me take note that if it is at all re-useable it will not go in the bin to landfill I will find it another home – just not in my house.

So from the first drawer here is my collection of items of old nail polishes and a couple of make up compacts that I have had for ages and felt that I might use someday.  Some are brand new and some so old they have most likely gone off.

They are ALL GOING OUT and the good point is, apart from 2 bottles of nail varnish, everything else came free in one way or another – so I can feel relieved that I am not getting rid of anything that cost me hard-earned cash in the first place (another of my pet hates!)

Like a capsule wardrobe my new streamlined collection now looks like this…

A small select selection that includes a French manicure set, a very dark polish for parties, a rich Fuschia colour for pretty toe nails for summer and an all-purpose pearly pink for everyday finger nails.

Add in a hand scrub and hand cream, cotton buds and toe separators…

all neatly contained in a Muji container…

…but there is always something that doesn’t quite fit!!

– this really bugs me when I cannot keep everything together because one item is too tall or too fat, too long or too short – you know what I mean.

So on to the next drawer and these are now my keepers…

my useful massage and skin brushing implements

a selection of eye makeup compacts

three types of foundation – a light one for everyday with sunscreen, one light mousse without for parties and do’s and a tub of The Body Shop mineral face powder with brush.

moisturisers for both day and night-time, for body, face and feet and a moisturising vitamin mask for once a week to re-hydrate my skin. These are all decanted into these handy little tubs which stack neatly.

An assortment of skin toner, eye make up remover, basic Calendula and Tea Tree cream for skin repair (spots and rough elbows!), under eye rescue cream and gel (for my bags in other words.  Everything stored in clear Muji containers.

In the final container – cotton wool pads (indulgent luxury not ordinary), make up sponges, make-up brushes, mascara – brown and a small trial adventurous blue for summer, lipsticks and gels and not forgetting the cover up stick,

and a couple of basics.

So there you have it what more could a girl need?

Everything I am keeping are things that I know I use constantly (everyday in most cases), with the odd item specially for occasional use – and although there still seems a lot of stuff I am not sure I could  limit these any more unless I was going to be dropped off on a desert island where I had to choose only 3 products – now there’s a thought.

Melting moments…

Not the biscuit kind either… this is how I feel – not total melt down (though at this rate that might not be far away) just a gradual feeling that although I have only been back at work 3 days  (4 if you include last Thursday) control and organisation are slipping away from me like something that was once quite solid suddenly beginning to melt into a runny liquid stream flowing out of my grasp.

I am slowly being pulled back into that chaos place – you know the one – where everywhere you turn you see something that needs doing and generally it is in a pile!

So exactly what is the problem?

I have an ironing pile building up and I also know I need to go and sort a load of washing and put this in the machine.  The mail that we have had during the week needs attending to as do the finances.  My purse is full of receipts from days ago and I remember agreeing with myself that I would empty my purse everyday and input the receipts into my Money Programme on the computer straight away.  Needless to say this hasn’t happened and along with not making the bed this morning or washing the dishes I feel a bit of a failure.  All I have managed to do is get myself to work on time with a packed lunch.

There is also that thing called the ‘knock on effect’ where something happens and this affects the next thing.  So for instance on Monday after work I only got half my shopping done and I ran out of time.  So I decided I would do the other end of town on the Tuesday night.  On Tuesday I forgot to take my new shoes with me to work.  I was going to search around town for some kind of decoration to add to the front of them and change them into something a little more glam for the wedding.  So the shopping didn’t happen and I came straight home thinking I would have time tonight and I would have normally but something urgent came up at work and I didn’t leave until 4.45 pm giving me exactly 45 minutes to shop before they closed and so wasn’t very productive.  I am now thinking I might have to go back to town on Friday morning before I finish packing for the wedding because I have an appointment for a massage after work on Thursday!

It seems that realistically Monday to Thursday I can’t do much other than get ready for work, go to work and come home from work, cook the tea and then flop.  I need to have a revised plan that is based on me doing more of what I need to do on the remaining 3 days – Friday, Saturday and Sunday and do the bare minimum from Monday to Thursday.  If I make the effort to keep putting away after I have used something, throwing the junk mail straight into the bin after picking it up from the hallway floor and wash those dishes at least the house shouldn’t need a lot of pulling round on Friday morning.

Maybe everything feels worse this week because it is my first week back at work and it does take time to settle in again after being away for so long and in addition there is the wedding on Saturday which I am preparing for.

Tonight I will cosy down on the settee and  watch the Apprentice – always makes me feel a lot better.

Back to normal – eat, sleep and work

Reality sinking in now that I am back at work full-time – well almost – I work four full days and have Fridays off to give me a long weekend.  I am already finding it difficult to shower and get ready for work, eat breakfast, take supplements, make my lunch to take with me, tidy the bedroom a little, make our bed and be out of the door on time at about 8am.  The dishes at the moment have to be dumped in the bowl with hot water and washing up liquid ready to do when I return home.  Not good I know but to be able to do these I would need to get up another 15 minutes earlier – so I am working on this one.  I already get up about 6.30 on a good day but I know it would be hard to make that 6.15am – maybe not too bad in the summer when it is light sunny mornings.  As for the possibility of trying to fit in some Yoga exercises – forget it!

I start work at 8.30am with a 30 minute lunch break and finish at 4pm.  After work I had a few items to buy in town – a small brush for my travel case, a new smart case for my reading glasses and I couldn’t resist a pack of the cutest tiny scalloped edged blank cards that I think may be suitable for making my Easter cards (a bargain at £1.99 for 20 by Papermania).  By the time I got home and cooked the tea I was cream crackered but I am sure I will get used to working again fairly quickly it just means everything else at home takes longer to get done as I don’t have as much free time.  Fridays will once again become my frantic ‘try to get everything done’ day where I tear round the house like some frenzied mad woman trying to keep it all clean and tidy and under control.

Better go and get to bed now to

a) get my beauty sleep and

b) be up on time to go through it all again tomorrow.