drEAming, fEAsible, taking stock, trEAsure

sEAsons…time for changes

Snow view

Farmhouse

Bench in the snow

Old door

Kitchen door

And it snowed.
But how beautiful was the view from my daughter’s new house on the day after Boxing day; it was like someone had been out overnight and sprinkled a sifting of icing sugar over the moors.  
At the point when I took these pictures just after lunch it was bitterly cold with a biting wind and icy pathways and the temperature was only just reaching minus one.  Packing the car to come home took quite some time but eventually we were on our way, sad to leave.
So how was your Christmas – did Santa bring you everything you had wished for?
I had a few surprises, nice ones of course.  With my new Country Living subscription from OH came a free box of Hotel Chocolates with a festive theme.  These will be on hand when I can settle down to reading my two new books also from OH –
Nigel Slater’s The Christmas Chronicles  – beautiful photographs and his style a sheer joy to read and
‘Winter’ an anthology for the changing seasons edited by Melissa Harrison.  It is one of a series full of delightful prose and poetry.
I cannot decide which book I should read first or which chocolate I should eat first.

Hotel Chocolates

Christmas Presents

Little L was delighted with her singing Ice Cream Cart from Santa and kept us fully supplied with ice cream cones topped with cherry or chocolate sauce and sprinkles.  What a shame it was only pretend – though our calorie intake, had they been real, would have been enormous.  
I must say I am tempted to put this on my list for next year!

Christmas Presents

We are home again now and today has been a gentle day of doing a bit of this and that.
I like to get the house back in order, but slowly, nothing too hurried or frantic.
I cleared out the fridge of anything past it’s usability (which thankfully was not very much), put in a load of linens and towels to wash (and they have been out on the line in the sun), and cleared up a few messy areas.
After all the mad days of Christmas preparations it was nice to be able to sit and relax and when I do this my mind wanders off to thinking of what I might do in the coming year.
I already know in my mind that 2018 will be a year of changes.  I am not, at this point in time,  altogether sure what they will be but I know I feel like a change in many aspects of my life.
Recently I have been reading a book I can recommend called ‘Small move, big change’ by Caroline I. Arnold.  It claims to transform your life – well maybe it will and maybe it won’t but I like the content and the way she uses something called micro resolutions to do this.  
As I was reading certain chapters I could really identify with the examples she was giving as if she had a secret access to my own life in places and throwing a spotlight on it.  It did make me smile at times as I realised that when you see things written down it allows you to identify with some of the mad things we do and then wonder why we acquire bad habits that keep us stuck or from where we want to be.  And those very habits we have spent a lifetime nurturing can be working against us and are so hard to break.
I have been reading another book with similar ideas about making changes.  It  caught my eye in the library as I glanced along the shelves and I borrowed it mainly out of curiosity because of the strange title – Hell Week by Erik Bertrand Larssen.  I am a fan of all things Scandinavian so knowing that this author is Norwegian only increased that curiosity.
Keeping this summary short the title is a bit of a clue to the content and I can tell you that adopting this method of changing your habits in only one week is the complete opposite of the methods used in the previous book and certainly not for the faint-hearted or wimps like me!  For instance I know that I will not be getting up at 5am everyday to take part in Hell Week – but I would pledge to aim for a more civilised 6.30am – but this might be totally missing the point of this book as it is meant to be gruelling like the special services survival training it is based on.
Like any book it can instigate thoughts and there is always something you can take from a book that you didn’t have or know before.  That is the power and wonder of the written word.
As it seems that I have been drawn towards these books on making changes, and I am in the mood for change, then I will set out on a new journey and see where it takes me.  
I am quite excited.

 

 

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sEAsons, trEAsure

sEAsons…autumn changes

I have just reset all our clocks today and this is quite significant as it tells me Autumn is well underway.   I always think of this as the ‘cosy’ season – staying indoors with mugs of hot chocolate and buttered toast – nights drawing in so lots of flickering candlelight from early evening – coming home and getting toasty warm by the fire with plenty of throws and blankets to hand – stews and casseroles with herby dumplings bobbing up and down – the wonderful smell of baked puddings – time to slow down and read and reflect and ponder – who doesn’t like Autumn!

In the last few days I have been rearranging a few bits and pieces around my home – switching beach pebbles and shells for conkers and tiny pumpkins to reflect the change of season albeit quite well into the season now.  I have also bought one or two new items whilst out and about this week – some useful and some just decorative even though I am decluttering sometimes you just feel like a change and the items I bought were quite modest in price.

I was tempted in Home Sense to purchase this long ceramic display tray (£6.99) it seemed a reasonable price and quite versatile.   I also treated myself to a tiny bunch of orange sweetheart roses in Sainsburys (£4) just enough to add a bit of colour indoors and cheer me up after having a hard week of medical appointments interspersed with work!  The square candle, decorated with tiny leaves pressed into the wax, was a gift from my daughter from her trip to Greece and the conkers and other nature bits are from my store cupboard and put all together I have a nice little nature table.

Autumn decor

I have had the hand embroidered cushion for a couple of years, bought in a sale at Sainsbury’s, but I have never used it in the living room before and I think the Autumn colours blend in quite well.  I filled my large glass bowl with Honesty leaves, left over from making the confetti at my younger daughters wedding a few years ago, and a smaller glass vase with conkers and tiny pumpkins.   I love all the rich, warm colours and different textures at this time of year and what a difference a few changes makes to the feel of a place.

Honesty

Autumn decor

Once all the candles are lit the living room should feel transformed into a relaxing cosy place to spend the evening.

Tea towels

And the useful purchases I mentioned – I bought two packs of these tea towels (£4.99) for three from Home Sense – they are just what I have been looking for, a good size and not too stiff or thick and a plain colour with the old-fashioned linen stripe, all my usual ones have worn thin now and are being down graded to the cleaning cloths bin.

Have a good week everyone x

 

 

decluttering, gardening, homestEAding, managEAble, organising, rEArranging, simplifying, to do list, trEAsure

hot off the labeller…

After all the decluttering, reorganising and reshuffling of the last few days I have everything labelled to perfection – even my dear hubby –  (though he doesn’t fit neatly into any of my storage boxes)!  You can imagine what he has to say about my labelling but for all his jokes he is able to find things and more importantly put them away afterwards.  I actually quite enjoyed myself – sad I know!

 

Labelled Storage

 

Most of the garage is done now and we can actually move about in there and find things.  We have a few things to sell, a few to give away and a few to mend or just attend to.  So we started a jobs tray for me (see below) and a jobs box (much larger) for OH.

This is as it stands today:-

  • drill a hole in the bottom of the decorative hanging bird feeder – a present from 5 years ago and still waiting a drainage hole.
  • hammer the parasol holder into the ground by the patio
  • Glue the pottery ducks beak on – obviously it is not frost proof as it drops off each winter – a gift from my mum – he is hidden behind the ivy at the moment!
  • replace the socket in the office
  • Screw in the vine eye hooks to the fence for the climber
  • add the wire
  • plant the Xmas tree
  • feed and weed the lawn with one of the 4 boxes of lawn feed!
  • clean the copper rings with Brasso
  • clean the brass plant mister with Brasso

During the clear out I came across the drawer with flower arranging tools.  I am not a flower arranger  – I generally go for the just picked and put in a vase natural look but occasionally I have made gifts with flowers and so I keep a drawer with a few tools, tapes and florist wires.  The vintage flower frog below was discovered amongst my mother in-law’s things and I decided to keep it.  She used to go to flower arranging classes.  I may never use it but somehow it reminds me of her and how creative she was and it is such a delightful little object and packaged in its own charming little box.Flower arranging tools

Vintage flower frog

 

Some items from the shed that are not affected by the weather have had to be rehoused in the garden.  Not knowing where to store my terracotta pots, some of which are vintage from my dads garden shed, I searched around and found this handy little place inside my Victorian cloche that belonged to my father in law.

Terracotta pots

It is a few years since I grew any vegetables – I gave up my little plot, which is now flower bed, a few years ago when I began working full-time.  Looking at all the lovely veg I see being grown on some of my favourite blogs I decided to buy a Courgette plant and grow it in one of my large pots. Courgette

 They are quite decorative vegetables and already I have flowers appearing with the beginnings of the Courgette behind them.  As I was too late for Sweet pea plants this year I also bought a few left over pea plants from a local nursery and have planted these into another pot with some willow stems for support.

Herb pot

The strawberry pot which again came from my dad’s garden has Chives and a few stray self seeded flowers

The Fence

Remember the fence saga – here is a catch up picture – the climbing hydrangea is blooming and once the wires are in place I can tie it back to the fence and hopefully by next year it will cover the mishmash of fencing and all will be well again.
Climbing Hydrangea

The Obelisk (which I previously called a Gazebo!! – it’s my age) is now in place and planted with Honeysuckle – Lonicera Scentsation  – cream and yellow flowers with a long flowering season and a wonderful scent.

Honeysuckle

Just in case you got the idea from my recent moan about the fence that we didn’t get on with our neighbours – well actually we are good friends and I can totally understand that he isn’t a gardener  – I am just a bit too precious over my plants!

Potted geraniums

As part of the garden tidy up I bought one or two summer bedding plants to put in pots – I do like these wooden crates such a shame they don’t last – I might line it with polythene and grow some herbs in it for the summer.

Birdhouse

The new bird house now has a zinc roof to protect it from the weather – another job off the list.

eating outdoors

After all our hard work we put up the parasol and had lunch outside – perfect.

How are you enjoying this warm spell?

Back soon x

 

sEAsons, trEAsure

the nicest thing about the rain…

…is it stops eventually!  AA Milne

Daffodils

Don’t you just love the Pooh quotes – they always make me smile – the rain hasn’t stopped here all weekend – so no gardening possible for me –  I even had to go shopping in the rain this afternoon something I dislike doing on a Sunday but needs must.

I had a number of items to look for mainly for the caravan – a doormat, various sticky hooks for the keys and other items that require hanging and a small dish drainer.  You have to be quite creative in a caravan as space is tight.  I headed to Wilko’s as this often good hunting ground for such items and I wasn’t disappointed- though the dish drainer came from Sainsbury’s.

Then on to Boots as I had a few toiletries on the list – I use Liz Earle’s shampoo and conditioner – a bit pricey (for me) but I like the natural ingredients and it suits my hair and scalp.  I find you need very little to get a good lather so it goes a long way.  I took advantage of the double and triple points coupon I had been sent by post this week.

As it is Sunday my usual health food stores are closed so I had to go to Holland and Barrett for some Aloe Vera juice- to help my digestion (should have thought better of eating the sprouts we had with our meal on Friday – they tasted very odd and shortly after my digestion was, shall we say, a bit disturbed and a bit nauseous, and hasn’t fully recovered all weekend).  They had a half price offer on so I added in a tub of vegetarian gravy powder.

 

Finally, I popped into TK Max and found a small decorated box to keep my bits and pieces in on the bedside table and this unusual little white enamel pot with a stainless steel lid that I can keep cotton wool in at the caravan.

 

On my way to the till I spotted a lightweight duvet jacket with hood for my granddaughter.  It folds up into a really tiny package and I thought it is one of those handy items for the summer that you can squeeze into your handbag on a day out just in case of a shower or cool breeze.

 

With Easter in mind –  I picked up a cute little decorated box in Wilko’s for £1.50 and I will fill it with coloured paper straw and hide some little bite sized Lindt bunnies in there to give to my granddaughter.

 

Also in Wilko’s I spotted a rather nice glasses case which I need so my reading glasses don’t get damaged in my handbag.  My last one wore out ages ago and I have been without since.

So quite a fruitful shopping trip – although in terms of spending maybe I have spent a touch more than I intended – but they were all fairly low priced items and I did avoid stopping in Costa for a drink so saved a bit of money there.

The bowl of daffodils above arrived by post and were a surprise from my granddaughter for having her to stay overnight last weekend – (I think my daughter might have had a hand in this as even though my clever little 2 year old can work an iPad with no trouble I am not sure she has yet mastered internet shopping)!

Apologies for the quality of photographs it was quite dark in the house when I returned home after shopping and I am a bit short of time, but no doubt you get the gist!

Thank you for all the tips and hints about eBay in the comments.  It looks like I need to watch out for a few drawbacks.  I must say I am quite daunted by it all even though part of my job is to train people on our computer software programs and I maintain the software at work –  I am not a savvy online shopper.