Thursday, 31 January 2013

A month of less

I don't have any photos to accompany this post but as my blog is my diary I wanted to record how January has felt.

Firstly I can't believe a month has passed since I sat breakfasting alone on New Year's day and saw the perfect rainbow which is on my 1st January post.
I'm a little sad that one whole month of the year has gone by in what seems like the blink of an eye but it also serves as a reminder to make the most of every day.

So the title of the post is a month of less and one of the things this refers to is the fact I have spent less time online and less time blogging. It's something I needed to do as there was so much happening here. However I have still managed to make 9 posts this month and kept up (just about) with everyone else. 
Of course not fiddling around on the lap top has been given me more time to do other things, I have read a bit more, I have watched a movie and I have made a couple of things and so this is definitely a good thing.

Less also refers to the fact that there is now less stuff in the house.
After a bit of umming and ahhing (spell check doesn't like that at all!) I signed up for the works on Brocante home
I know that some people are very motivated and don't need a guiding hand but I'm not one of those people.
I like to be organised and I really annoy myself when I don't succeed in getting my act together enough.
I know this kind of thing isn't for everyone but I have found the downloads sent to me by Alison immensely helpful and quite inspirational.
Drawers have been tidied and similar items have been collected together in one place and not strewn across many different places. I know some will be shaking their heads and saying 'Duh of course that's the way you should keep orgainsed' and although changes like these are small I'm so pleased to have made them as they have made a big difference to me.
The whole concept has just made me look at myself and my home in a different way and make a fresh start, very timely for the start of a new year.
I have taken lots of things to the charity shop and feel all the better for doing so.
I am making changes to how I do things and where I keep things, all so I can give myself more time to do other things I want to do with my time.

Less spending has all happened this month. Some of it because of having to be indoors because of sickness, some because of having to be indoors due to rubbish weather, but even when I have been out I have been more discerning about what I chose to buy.

The worst 'less' of the month has be the lack of getting out and about. I have felt very restricted this month and probably for some of December too and don't feel as though I have really been able to go out and do much. I enjoy our family weekends of colouring and board games, Wii games and playing with Barbies but I love it when we are popping out for a walk, hopping on a train to somewhere different or whizzing over to the park, it seems like a very long time since we did anything like that.

One thing I definitely wanted less of was stress. Don't we all!
Work was really getting me down last year, not the job, just one person and I was very relieved when it came to my two weeks off at Christmas. I resolved to be calmer on my return and that has, for the most part, been working. 

There are a lot of good things that have come out of the 'lesser' things and I hope I can carry these forward to next month and through the rest of 2013.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Making me Smile

Just a few things from the last few days.

A bunch of pink tulips in the dining room. Inspired by Jo, who had such a good year in 2012 with her floral bargains,  I checked the bargain bucket whilst in the local Co-op on Saturday and found these tulips for £1.29. They are a lovely shade of pink and add a welcome dash of colour.

We had a walk over to a local playground with S on Saturday afternoon. T didn't want to join us but was happy for us to borrow one of his Christmas presents. We had fun seeing how far we could make the foam rockets travel. 

A top passed on to me by my sister-in-law a couple of week ago which I wore for the first time today, I love the blues and greens. Whilst out this morning I found the perfect necklace in a charity shop to wear with it.

And finally the flower shaped cobbler topping on the stew I cooked for the family's evening meal.

I hope there have been lots of things making you smile this weekend too.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Over this past week

I have managed to spend a bit more time on line which is a good sign and shows I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.
Which is a good thing.

Lets' go back to last Saturday when we all went out into the back garden for a snowball fight. No photos of us outside showing me being pelted from both sides by T and G, so unfair, or G using the rake to get to the snow on top of the shed for extra ammunition, or S ignoring us all and trying to make a mini snowman.
But there is a photo of the hot chocolate we enjoyed once we were back indoors and which helped to defrost us.
Thank you to Michela for sending these over to us at Christmas. Topped off with whipped cream and marshmallows it was a real treat and there are still some sachets left for another day.

S kept busy making things at the weekend, she had lots to chose from from all her recent presents and one of the things she made was this snow globe.

Fast forward now to Thursday and whilst popping out to the Post Office I nipped into the nearest charity shop and came out with this book. It was worth every penny of the 20p so that when G came hone from work I was able to pick it up and sing (badly) to him 'Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the dog-og-og-og.' Anyone else remember the theme song to the TV series?

 Flicking through I found this story, I wonder if it was before his TV a.m days?!

My second purchase for £1.49 were two bags, which I think may have originally contained a bedding set, one of which is being modelled by the very handsome Melvin. They are destined for S's room for her to keep her winter woolly tights in.

I have been baking too. Made the simple cinnamon cake from the December issue of the Sainsbury's magazine. The photo from this angle somewhat disguises the big bump which rose up in the middle! Not to worry though as it tasted ok.

Original plans for yesterday were a day trip to London for me and G but they didn't pan out so we went to Basingstoke instead. No real reason, just that we've never really been there apart from training courses for work and it's on the main line to London and easy to get to. It was lovely to spend some time together, just the two of us wandering and chatting and then stopping for lunch, with some charity shop browsing thrown in for good measure.
As we travelled away from Southampton we noticed more and more snow was still in evidence over the fields and back gardens and although there was no snow on the roads and pavements in Basingstoke there was still some left on the roof of the train station

and nestled in with the hardy and pretty primulas.

A couple of other things which caught our eye was this very languorous lion

and these fruity carvings outside the theatre.

Finally I want to send out BIG

to all my friends and visitors to thank you for still popping by during this intermittent bout of posting. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 20 January 2013

From my phone

The photo taken on my last post at the train was taken using the camera on my phone, I had meant to pop a camera in my bag but I forgot. In fact I don't tend to use the camera on my phone very much, it's normally only used when I have forgotten my proper one or it's out of action because there aren't any charged batteries in it.
When I got home and downloaded the photo I realised there were also lots of other photos on there of the children I would have wanted to pop on the blog at the time of taking if only they had been on the camera. So in the spirit of better late than never here are just a few.

Quite in keeping with the current weather, this photo of S was taken in December 2011 after one of the choir rehearsals she attended for the City's Christmas carol concert. The snowman was part of a mural in the playground of the school where the rehearsals were held.

S all dressed up ready to go on the evening of the Christmas carol concert, you can't really see but wrapped around each bunch she has a piece of silver tinsel. Just look at that big smile, if you look at that you don't notice my mum's shopping trolley in the background!

I love it when Malcolm stretches out like this on the bed, he usually does this when he is in a deep sleep and gently snoring away. He looks like he is doing some kind of balletic leap.

A trip to town last Spring, although it could have been the summer, S is wearing her coat so could have been any season thinking back to the weather last year! We all tried on various pairs of union jack sunglasses in Primark

and although we had a laugh trying them all on none were purchased.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

We got Snow

This was how the platform looked yesterday morning at the little local station where I catch the train to work. 
Both schools were closed and G stayed home with the children.
I managed 4 hours at work instead of my normal 7 before we were advised to leave. No quarrel from me about that!

Thankfully today a lot of the snow has thawed although I doubt we'll be venturing too far.

Wherever you are and whatever you are up to this weekend I hope you are warm and safe and snuggly.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

More hearts

Here in this part of the South we have, so far, escaped the snow. There were a few flakes falling for a time but it turned to sleet and there is nothing to show for it now.
It is perishingly cold though.
I have sipped a fair few hot drinks today and this latest one I have topped off with a little heart for all the lovely people who stop by and especially those who left such lovely comments on my last post.

Do you like the new tablecloth?
I bought it because I love it and also because I thought it would match the framed Ladybird illustrations we have hanging on the wall in the dining room. 
Anyone for jelly and ice cream?

We have four of these hearts hanging from the hooks on the dresser.
They were made by a very clever crafty friend and were intended for our Christmas tree but as we didn't meet up for present exchanging until last Friday they have been hung on the dresser instead, that way I can say they are there in readiness for St Valentine's day!

Monday, 14 January 2013


Well hello there!
As you know life has been a bit up and down here recently and in order to try and restore some kind of calm and order I have been keeping the laptop switched off, except for a quick daily check on emails and a lovely hour on Saturday evening where I managed to catch up with quite a few blog posts, I hope to be properly caught up with everyone by the end of the week.

This will be an odd little post to share a few things from the past couple of weeks and I'm hoping some kind of normality will return by the weekend.
So we start with a baking tray full of veggies all looking very healthy and colourful.
I cooked this casserole last week and it was generally well received, will cut down the cooking time slightly next time though as possibly the veg was a bit too mushy in texture, but it was (nearly) all eaten.

I am in love with one of the new items of clothing my sister gave me for Christmas. Black jumper with white hearts, I did actually hug it when I unwrapped it! Worn with a scarf a bought on our last trip to Norwich. Too many hearts? Don't care, just love it!

One thing I wanted to try and make an effort with this year was bulk buying when something we use is on offer and the space is available to store it.
For years now I have been using the Co-op's toiletries and home products as much as possible as they aren't tested on animals. With S's hair type we get through a lot of conditioner and we have found the coconut and honey variety is excellent. They currently have one third off the price and we now have 20 bottles of it stashed away and this has saved me £7.40. I have also bought 4 huge boxes of washing powder which has saved me another £8.00 and should see us through most of the year. Ok we won't be going on a holiday on the these savings, but surely every little helps.

I haven't been out and about much but when I did briefly escape whilst S had chicken pox I couldn't resist this cute lantern reduced to something silly in Sainsbury's as part of the post Christmas decoration sale and it can stay out all year round.

S out in the back garden playing with one of her Christmas presents, an elephant bubble blower, one thing she never tires of is blowing bubbles, long may that continue, small simple pleasures and all that.

This was last month's book club read. Opinion was mixed, one person couldn't read it, a couple more read it and weren't really that fussed and two more loved it. I was one of the loved it variety. I would definitely recommend it and have added her other books to my newly created wishlist on Amazon.

Speaking of books I received in the post last week this interesting book from Louise, I haven't started it yet but am really looking forward to it. Thank you again Louise for remembering and sending it to me, another example of blogging friendliness and generosity which is one of the things I love about this community.

Finally this odd little bundle is a photo of the items I bought for my sister for Christmas. You know the drill, £10 spent on items from charity shops/jumbles/car boots. In this little lot are one book, one china plate, one snowflake patterned glass dish, one flower pot, one polka dot patterned jam pot, one fabric boot Christmas decoration, one cupcake coat hook, three skirts, four tops, one cardi and not shown was one gingham covered noticeboard in the shape of a teapot.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


I've been slowly tidying things up over the past couple of days.
The Christmas touches to the dresser are still there for now though.
There has been a lot of indoor time, too much for my liking really.
Not only have the weather been too unwelcoming for venturing too far, but since Saturday S has had chicken pox.

Thankfully she has only had a smattering of spots and she has coped really well with the itchiness and discomfort of it all.
T hasn't had chicken pox so I'm just waiting for the spots to show on him too!
G has been off work this week also, some kind of virus which has made his body and all his joints ache from head to toe.

Later today G and I are going up to Salisbury to stay over night in preparation for his dad's funeral tomorrow morning.
My mum is coming to stay here with the children, so I had better get on with a bit more of that tidying.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

Earlier this morning whilst the rest of the house were still deep in sleep and I was sat downstairs with a glass of cold, fresh orange juice the rain clouds gathered again but instead of the dismal grey skies of late they gifted me with the sight of the most beautiful and perfect rainbow.

A good sign for the year to come?
Who knows, but I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2013.