drEAming, general chit chat, mEAndering, out and about, rEArranging, sEAsons, simplifying

A slow Saturday and a Sunday sprint…

We spent a lovely day just outside Masham on Saturday having a celebratory lunch with my hubby’s sister and her new husband (although they have been together for more than twenty some years)!  Both my daughters and their partners and of course baby L. joined us and we sat and chatted all afternoon then went along to my daughters shop (also in Masham) for a look around.  It changes every time I go – new pieces of furniture and a new selection of goods – at the moment it is all Christmas items.

Birdhouse Interiors

I can’t help thinking that this is how all Saturdays should be spent – just sitting and being and enjoying.

But then on Sunday I had to dash around like a mad thing of course to make up for lost time!

 In the morning I checked over our finances, entering receipts and balancing accounts.

This year I have been trying to simplify our finances as well as our living space but unfortunately I do not feel this is happening as far as the finances are concerned and if anything I am under the impression that they are getting more complicated.

Each time I think I have got the energy accounts sorted and under control again I find that the supplier messes up once more!  Hubby is on the phone now at 8.40pm after waiting 40 minutes already to speak to someone.

Who was it had the brilliant idea of privatising these companies and has it really made our bills any cheaper or our lives just shorter due to the stress experienced dealing with them!!

All year I have been keeping a note of my cash spending – well most of it – once or twice I have been too busy to keep track and I know I have definitely overspent the £10 budget and at times even a £20 a week budget.  This is always due to lack of time – some nights after getting home from work it is either check my finances and record the days spending or cook the tea and eat.   There are no prizes for guessing which of the two jobs wins.

I think it is too late now for this year to get back on track again but I will be in a better starting place next year and I love starting afresh in January.

As far as Xmas plans go – I can say that I haven’t really made many yet – we have most weekends spoken for now and I have managed to send out our Not so Secret Santa wish lists and rules to the family ready for the big name draw on Friday.

Other than that I have not made or even bought any Christmas cards yet or made my Christmas cake and Nut loaf but I am still hopeful that I will have time – I have already been thinking of ideas for the card and I really enjoyed doing the lino cut last year and once done it is so easy to run off any amount.

As we are simplifying the gift giving within the family by choosing to do a Secret Santa the amount of gifts I need to buy for my colleagues at work seems to be growing each year – the group I buy for has now reached six people.  Each year someone else surprises me with a gift and I feel obliged to return the pleasure!

How are your Christmas plans coming along?

 

 

 

 

decorating, drEAming, general chit chat, homestEAding, nEAtening

Tidy Friday…and catching up with myself

At last it is Friday and my day off or rather a day to get down to some tidying and cleaning, paperwork and planning.  Such a lot to fit into so little time.

This morning my book prize arrived from Sue and I have now put it by my bedside table ready for some early bedtime reading.

Book Prize

 It was tempting to sit down and start reading this morning but I really need to get a grip on my messy house.  I am having to work all hours at the moment as my colleague is off sick for a few weeks and I am doing both our jobs but this means not much is getting done outside of work hours.

I spent an hour or two this morning stripping our bed and putting things away – my usual TIDY FRIDAY – I don’t know how it happens but at the end of a week I find many things that belong upstairs end up downstairs and vice versa – I think perhaps it is the little dust fairies who run round in the night moving everything around and sprinkling their fairy dust everywhere!

After my mammoth putting away session I went into the office to look over the pile of paperwork.

Tidy Friday desktop

Even though I try to keep a tidy desk by the end of the week it invariably ends up with bits and pieces strewn across it waiting for my attention.

I sorted through the many leaflets that had dropped through the door – there was one for the local Pizza place, a made to measure blinds offer and a Councillors letter asking for volunteers to help run the local village library  which is under threat.  I only wish I had the time – I can’t help thinking that if I had been able to retire this year at 60 as was the case under the old rules (now it will be 66) I would have had spare time to do this and also look after my new baby grand-daughter.

After sifting through the pile I pulled out anything interesting and snipped the coupons and put the rest for recycling.

Today on the urgent pile I need to look at our house insurance for our home here in Yorkshire and the BT line rental which we pay up front to save £30.  I have still to finish the accommodation receipts for our cottage insurers and find the contents receipts to send.  Probably more than a mornings work in that lot.

It has been quite helpful that I signed up for a Sainsbury’s Credit card earlier in the year as it is interest free on new purchases  until 2015 and I get extra reward points.  It means that we can pay all the accommodation costs without dipping into savings until the insurers reimburse us – we are over £1,000 out-of-pocket from our stays over in Scotland since the flood.

 Working until after 6pm each night for four days a week means I am not spending money at the shops as they are well and truly shut when I leave work.  In fact I had to get my son in laws birthday card and pressie from Sainsbury’s last night.  My daughter tells me he wanted a Christmas jumper so now he has one – a bright red one with an elf and bells on! We wouldn’t want him to feel left out this Xmas!

I have over £155 on my reward points and this week is double up week so if I spend them wisely I can get items to the value of £310.  So far I have bought some clothes for myself and baby L, the Xmas jumper, and some Xmas decorations (will show these another post).  They have extended the range of departments and goods to select from this time and wine is included so I may be able to stock up for Christmas.

You may remember I bought a Lumie lamp last year – and it worked but we put it away during the summer and have only just put it back in our bedroom since the clock change plunged us into those awful dark mornings.   We found last year that the alarm was irratating and unnecessary as the rising sun effect woke us up on its own.  There is one problem though – I prefer our ordinary clock to tell the time – I particularly like a proper clock face to a digital one and I find the light from the digital ones distracting when I am trying to sleep.  Current research has found that sleeping in complete darkness is better for our bodyclocks, unfortunately the Lumie lamp has an illuminated digital clock face which you cannot turn off so I have stuck a circular piece of cardboard over the clock this morning to block out the light!  I will let you know if it works and if it does I will have to think of a more permanent solution.

Lumie Lamp update

 

The bathroom pumps that we ordered to boost the hot water pressure from the new taps arrived by post this week and the bath one has already been fitted and it has improved the flow – so our builder will be back soon to do the basin tap.   Once done we can fit the down lights and the fan and the bath panel and hey presto it will be DONE.  It has almost taken as long as my daughters bathroom 2 years ago.

Bathroom refurb 1

 

Tomorrow me, hubby, elder daughter and partner are going to Masham, North Yorkshire for the day to my younger daughters and meeting up with my hubby’s sister.  We will be celebrating my son in-laws birthday and also my sister in laws recent marriage to her partner of many years.   We sadly missed their wedding celebration in Oxford  because of the flood at our cottage.

It is also our yearly Crisis at Christmas Coffee morning at our local church so I might pop in for an hour before we set off for Masham.  It will be the first year that I haven’t made anything for them but with my extra hours at work and all the paperwork for the insurance claim and my dodgy knee I think I am quite over extended at the moment.

Hope you have a good weekend. x

mEAndering, out and about

In the Birdhouse…

For anyone who knows Masham, a sleepy market town in the Yorkshire Dales…

Masham Honesty Box

you may have noticed a newcomer on the square…

Last week was the opening day of Birdhouse Interiors and no-one could have failed to see the bright pink balloons bobbing about outside the shop.

Birdhouse Interiors 2

Come and take a little peek through the window…

Birdhouse Interiors

Inside it is an Aladins Cave of gorgeous temptations, some vintage, some new vintage, some hand made and hand painted…

Birdhouse Interiors 3

When we arrived the shop was already full of people browsing and buying…

Birdhouse Interiors 4

My daughter and her two friends have embarked on this venture and I hope they do well…

   Birdhouse Interiors6

They have spent weeks preparing and decorating the shop, hand painting furniture and making some of the items on sale…  Birdhouse Interiors8

Each of them has slightly different tastes which compliment each other…

Birdhouse Interiors5

and already they have their Christmas corner set up to catch the early shopper…

Birdhouse Interiors7

 

So if you are ever in this corner of the world do drop in and take a look around – I would challenge you to come away without being tempted to buy something!

Masham Sheep Fair

The day we visited the town folk were preparing for the big Sheep Fair event which takes place in the main square.  These are the sheep pens all ready and waiting for the sheep…

Masham Showman Caravan

The Showman’s Caravan was stealing the show…

Masham Showman Caravan 2

So beautifully preserved…

Masham Fair Dodgems

and who remembers these – the Dodgems…

Masham Fair Swingboats

and the Swing Boats.

We had a lovely day wandering around in the warm weather, eating home made ice cream from the local chocolate shop where I bought some Christmas chocolates for my advent calendar.  All too soon it was time to leave and we said our goodbye’s with a promise to come again soon and also to make something to sell in their shop.

If you are interested in an update on my September Reducing the Spending challenge

then click the link to my other blog Re-routed

Halloumi and Salad

sEAsons

Don we now our gay apparel…

Elves

… Fa la la, la la la, la la la…

I captured these pictures last year when Santa and his little Elf helpers visited the village of Masham in North Yorkshire.  I remember as a child dressing up as an angel in a white silk floor length nightdress with silver wings edged in feathery duck down for the school Nativity play, singing Hark the Herald Angels sing (and probably off key) to an audience of adoring mums.  Even now I love to dress up and stored away in our loft is a whole wardrobe of fancy dress costumes that I have made over the years from Donald Duck to Miss Elizabeth Bennett just waiting for another party to go to.  My younger daughter has inherited my passion and has the whole village joining in on Christmas Eve at her local pub including her boss.

My actual Christmas Day outfit for our Care Home Christmas will be a little more sober but I might just have a Christmas Santa hat or halo to finish it off!

As I have spent nearly all evening on the phone arranging and rearranging our Christmas get together on Sunday I am beginning to think that booking a conference call with all of us would have been a much quicker way to finalise the details – and how is it I have become the ‘organiser’ anyway?  My better half is away tonight in Hemel Hempstead and will be sitting in his hotel room by the phone wondering why he cannot get through all night.

I will hopefully have time to write a few more cards including my daughter’s birthday card for posting tomorrow and then it is definitely cocoa and bed.

 

Little Elves

I will have to make up lost time tomorrow night – only 14 more days to go and I have more than 14 jobs left to do!