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 –


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?
drEAming, random thoughts

Who am I when no one’s looking?…

Who am IHave you been following the recent posts on An Exacting Life and reading about Dar’s new job and how she was tempted to reboot herself and start her new job as a totally different person.  This led me to thinking and wondering if my public and private persona are truly one and the same. 

I feel that I am no different a person behind closed doors other than I might talk to myself in private…a lot, but what of my ‘blogging face’?  It struck me that I could be anyone on my blog – I could be the person I have always wanted to be, or even strive to be, but I expect that I could not keep the pretense up for long, after all I cannot keep myself organised or stay at my target weight for long or even post with any reasonable regularity on my blog so pretending to be someone I am not would probably fail miserably.

Also I think I have an inbuilt set of rules and habits that I live by – honesty being one of them.  As I wasn’t born with a set of rules or habits I began to look back to where and when they might have originated in my life.   I often find myself quoting old sayings and proverbs that I tend to believe in and have adopted into my life like ‘what goes around comes around’.  Other codes and rules I have formed from a life time of experiences.

You will all be familiar with the best-selling books entitled The Rules of Work, The Rules of Life and the Rules of Money now let me present, in no particular order, the Rules a la Where the Journey Takes Me.  I wonder which you might identify with.

  • Treat everyone with respect no matter what race, creed or colour – This I have learned over time and I always try to treat everyone as I would wish to be treated and even though I score high as Judgmental on the Briggs Myer Personality identifier I do try not to judge anyone, rather appreciate their own unique qualities.
  • To be good at something and successful requires hard work and practice so sometimes life will be difficult – this rule I have learned the hard way and have many times given up on something because I don’t see results immediately – Brownies was one, playing the Guitar another.  Perhaps I will go back to these one day (well maybe not Brownies!)
  • Never have regrets they make you miserable – For much of my life I had some big regrets; things I had not done and should have and things I had done and shouldn’t have.  I realised I was wasting a lot of valuable time and life regretting and so woke up one day and decided to either put things right or let it go and move on.
  • Waste not want not – I feel ill if I have to go to the landfill and can’t bear to look at all that stuff being thrown away. For me having to throw something away is a sign that I have failed in my efforts to reduce our waste.
  • Plan your day as if it is your last – tell everyone that matters that you love them before it is too late – In 2008 I had a bit of a brush with cancer and it was quite scary.  As you may know one of my best and oldest friends had cancer too but she was not as lucky and didn’t make it.   It does make you think about life in a different way and at the end of each day now I need to feel content that if it were my last – it was a good day.
  • Take your time – Rome wasn’t built in a day – I admit I am a plodder and nothing happens fast in our house but I believe that it is the journey that is important and the end results are always worth the wait.
  • Always be prepared – I read somewhere the other day that the Queen always travels with a special ’emergency’ bag and that made me feel so much better about mine.  We call ours the Black bag (because it is) and we never go anywhere of any distance without it in the car.  Our last words before leaving the house will always be “have you got the Black bag”  It contains everything from a knife, fork and spoon to a First Aid Kit, a spare pair of socks to sunglasses and it remains ready to go and on standby at all times.  I never have to think about needing anything for the journey as we have it all in the Black bag.
  • Never presume  – I think some of you may know what I mean with this one – presuming someone will do something can leave you a bit disappointed when you find they don’t or haven’t.
  • Random acts of kindness and a smile cost nothing – I love it when people smile and acknowledge me if I am being served in a shop or hold a door open it makes all the difference to my day – so I try to make sure I do this often.
  • Live by your own standards – if I ever have the misfortune to encounter someone who is rather abrupt or unpleasant towards me I always try to be polite and courteous back rather than react in the same way.  Why would I want to be like them.
  • Get out of your comfort zone occasionally – you might like what you see / do.  It is so easy to stay with what you know but if I think back to all the things I have done from being a child I can see now what I would have missed if I had chosen safe and not pushed myself.
  • Honesty is the best policy – I have certainly learned this one over time, it is now my number one rule and it works for me.
  • If a jobs worth doing it’s worth doing well – I am one of those people  – a perfectionist and it is even hard to live with myself sometimes.  I thrive on the sense of accomplishment and a job well done.  I think it must have something to do with the pride I felt at winning first and second prize for my two entries into a ‘Flower Heads in Water’ competition at the local Flower Show aged 6!!
  • When the going gets tough keep your sense of humour – this is a must and I learned it from a very special person – my dad.
  • You are what you eat – this is purely from my own experience but I like an active part in preserving my health.  I would always look to my diet first and doctor second.
  • A place for everything and everything in its place – a very old saying but one that works particularly well.  Of course these days we tend to have more things and fewer places!

I am sure if I sat and thought about this for longer there would be many more rules and codes of conduct that I live by and I expect many of them I live by quite unconsciously.   These are just a few that have come to mind and to change my personality and way of doing things and present a different public or private persona I think I would first of all have to get a whole new set of rules.



budgeting, cleaning, fEAsible, getting things done, managEAble, nEAtening, taking stock, trEAsury

Regaining ORDER – my achievements for February

The Task List

This month I did extremely well at my tasks list – I even surprised myself.  I cleared all my urgent tasks and the finance and paperwork tasks from my Master Tasks List.  I did not get to complete many of my Health and Self tasks so this will be my main focus for March.  I need to find a good podiatrist for my painful foot problems and have my hair done which is booked in for next week.  In addition I should get back to practising Yoga and start preparing myself some healthier meals and remember to take my supplements.

The Big Clean

This continues – so far I have done the Shower Room and our Main Bedroom and wardrobe.  I have been decluttering the Office / Craft room and Kitchen as I go along and soon this will be ready for a good clean.  The bags ready for the charity shop are waiting to be taken this week and hopefully with my almost no spend policy the house will benefit from the extra space for a while.

Included in the Big Clean plan are the cars – so far I have done the inside of mine and both the inside and outside of my husbands last weekend.  It feels so much better to drive around in a super clean car.  Once my car has been into the garage yet again for a new Lambda Sensor (not even sure what this is!) fitting I will give it a good wash and polish.

Taking Stock

I have managed to use up plenty of the hand soap, washing up liquid, washing powders, face creams and tissues without having to buy them at the shops, but I haven’t been quite as good with the stocks in my food cupboards and although I intended to run these stocks down by finding new recipes to use up the items in my cupboards I fell back into my old routine of making easy and favourite meals which hasn’t really addressed my problem.  I did use a jar of Bonne Maman Apricot fruit by making a crumble with coconut added to the topping and this was well received – so much so that I will have to go and buy another jar now to make another!  This month I have a huge amount of frozen fruit to use up so I want to make smoothies and healthy puddings (if there is such a thing).

Counting the Pennies

Our finances are going well and in February I managed to balance all our bank accounts, pay any outstanding bills and set a new budget.  The car is fully taxed and insured and has had its yearly maintenance service and MOT done and I have a renewed my parking permit. It is definitely not cheap running a car and maybe I should seriously consider the bus but I have reservations about this because it is quite a walk to the bus stop here – fine in summer but not so good in winter – and  I do like the comfort and freedom that having a car gives me and it also allows me to do the weekly shop one night in the week after work and this gives us the benefit of more time at the weekend.

We have re-invested our ISA’s in a 3 year fixed account and I applied for my new passport – which arrived last week.  My one outstanding task is to close down an ING savings account which has a very poor interest rate and only a balance of £4.00.  I am not sure how you close down an internet account but that is on my list for March.

My stumbling blocks

I am looking to overcome my problem of getting back to chaos and address each of the reasons that makes this happen.  I will challenge myself this month to put things away after use and allowing myself time for the clear up after doing a task.  The things that don’t get put away are often the things that either don’t have a proper home or they are not stored in the right place and I will be monitoring this during March to see if I can come up with the most common reason for not putting something away with a view to be able to solve this.

In one of my favourite books ‘Why am I so disorganised’ sort out your stuff – Dr Marylin Paul writes about picking one habit you want to change and practise this recording your progress in a journal.  She also talks about ‘getting back to ready’ and this is something I am trying to keep up with.  Every time I cook a meal I aim to wash and dry the dishes and clear the kitchen up completely so that it is ready for preparing the next.  Every time I do a load of washing I intend to dry it, iron it and after it is aired put the clothes / linen away so that I do not end up with a six-foot high ironing pile gathering dust and all our clothes are clean and pressed and ready to wear.

So that was February and all in all not such a bad month but still a long way to go to get everything in my life back to ORDER