fEAsible ~ April intentions

What a lovely month April is – like a bridge between winter being well behind us and the promise of a warm and sunny summer to come.

As we are already six days into the month and we have a family party coming up on Easter Sunday me thinks my intentions this month will have to be limited and swiftly executed.

sEAsons

Another season upon us and another time of celebration coming up with Easter being near to the end of the month…a time for swapping a few decorations and accessories around in the house; putting away woolly hats, gloves and scarfs (I keep trying and then have had to bring them out again) and a few winter ornaments and bringing out something more colourful that reflects this season more.   I have in mind to do some Easter decor this year as it looks so pretty in the magazines; a twiggy branch maybe with painted or decorated Easter eggs and a host of flowers.  I have ideas (then I always have ideas – just not the time!).

crEAting

I really must complete the little hooded jumper I started before Sweetie has grown out of it, and she is growing fast (nicknamed pudding for the moment, but not in earshot).

  I have in mind to do some more cards and finish the Easter cards I started.  I am going to try to print my own Easter greetings to stick on this time as I have not found anything appropriate in the shops.    I only send a few out to family that I know look forward to receiving them and one or two friends that I like to keep in contact with more than just a card at Christmas.

My next big project will be to make some progress on the Christening gown for Sweetie.  I have some ideas for the design – my daughter would like it to be similar to our traditional vintage family gown and we have already bought the cotton lace, I just need to find some fabric and cut a pattern.

fEAsting

I am assuming that by the end of April we will be enjoying salad once again and some lighter meals.  I have put on a few pounds recently over the winter months and I am ever hopeful that they will drop off once we are not eating the calorie dense winter foods.  That is my theory anyway…if the change of diet doesn’t work I shall have to do something more drastic.  I have already swapped back to the fat-free yoghurt for breakfast and soon with a change of menu we will be eating fewer potatoes and starchy veg.

Don’t ask me how (it wasn’t exactly at gun point) but I find that I have agreed to hold my SIL’s 40th birthday celebrations at our house as theirs is even smaller (and if you remember has all new cream carpets laid!).   It will be mostly family… approx 20 people but even so I shall need to make the house and garden presentable, not perfect …it would never be that, but presentable.   My daughter is going to order most of the buffet food from M&S, because I cannot guarantee that our oven would be working, and MIL is chipping in with pies and scotch eggs.  I may have mentioned before that sometimes my oven heats up and sometimes it doesn’t but certainly is not reliable enough to cope with getting food cooked on time for a party.  His birthday coincides with Easter Sunday so we will be doing an Easter egg hunt too for the grandchildren, and nephew.

It is looking like the new pantry is going to be put on hold yet again!

homestEAd

At least with the appearance of Spring I can escape into the garden for a while to release the stress.  I have a few new plants to put in that I bought with my voucher.  There are a few gaps to fill in and I would like to add a little more colour.   I have seeds to sow too, tomatoes and courgettes, hopefully this weekend.  If the weather is right I will also be treating the lawns with some feed and weed; for one reason or another we didn’t get it done last year.

clEAn and lEAn

DH, under careful supervision, will be getting underway with the outdoor spring clean and painting the front door (in time for the party) …. and if it has dried out the new shed. Meanwhile I will be having a thorough clean in the main rooms, tracking down cobwebs and wiping down the woodwork to freshen the place up ready for the party.  Last month I had begun clearing and cleaning the office but that will have to wait now as no-one will be going in there – I will just do that old trick of closing the door.

mEAndering

Looking at our agenda for the month I think there will be little time for any trips so our Scottish visit will now have to wait until after Easter as I really don’t feel I can squeeze too much in.  My sister is away again next week so I may be called upon to go up and see mum for a day or two as she is not getting out by herself now other than across the road to the little shop for her paper and the Deli for a morning coffee.  Last Saturday while we were up in North Yorkshire at my daughters we took her out to Saltburn for lunch and Sandsend for a drink and a Yorkshire curd tart (they were delicious) and she was so grateful to get out for a while.  We had a lovely day.

Most importantly I have to look for suitable fabric for the Christening dress – Fabric shops are rare now but there are places in Bradford and Harrogate so we will treat it as a nice day out at the same time and see where we end up.

hEAlth

During the time I am at home I have in mind to give myself a bit of a spring clean with a juice detox for a day followed by a brown rice and vegetable diet for a few days as this is very cleansing and full of vitamins and minerals.  My system feels a bit sluggish after the winter.

I will be keeping up with the Yoga, it has proved beneficial and I intend to do extra sessions at home.

trEAsury

No big plans for this month other than to mind the spending and buy nothing that is not a considered purchase.  DH has already been doing some utility switching with the fuel companies; he has also been preparing to leave BT when the contract ends in May.  We have been looking at a new company with a good customer service record.  It is not the cheapest but sounds reliable and is far cheaper than BT can offer us to renew.

We will be seeing the financial advisor after which we can make some serious headway with investing the money we have saved towards our retirement and make decisions about the cottage.

Meanwhile we are still working out ways to save as much money as we can or should I say ways to spend less money.  I will talk more about this more on my March tally post.

 

So that is my list of intentions for April – it is always interesting for me to see what I managed to accomplish at the end when I look back over the month.  I keep trying not to pack too much in and keep a balance of rest and play but then find I am caught up in other people’s agendas…. but when it is family that need a helping hand I do like to help out where I can.

How are your plans going?

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fEAsible ~ March intentions

(of what I need to or would like to do this month)

In the words of the great Tolstoy from Anna Karenina – “Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
As the weather begins to lose that cold, nippy air and the mornings begin lighter and brighter, this month is often the time of year when everyone feels that great urge to have a good spring clean – shaking off the winter in more ways than one.  And although not technically Spring until 20th March this year I am going with the Meteorological Spring which began on the first. Most of my intentions for March are centred around a revival of one kind or another; myself, the garden and the house.

appEArance

As we are approaching a new season I feel I need to give myself a bit of  a makeover again appearance wise, especially to lose those few extra winter pounds that creep on from nowhere.   I have already had a haircut recently and gone just a teeny bit shorter but my skin needs a bit of attention now as those cold winter months and long days of the central heating blasting away drying the air do nothing much for it; a facial perhaps and maybe I will give those Yoga face exercises a go and try to contort my sagging jowls into something a little tighter and lifted. I have also signed up for a weekly yoga class starting sometime later this month in the village as part of my ‘transition’ into retirement living.  I will keep you posted on this one.

homestEAd

Like me the garden also needs a bit of attention in one or two areas.  There are plants to remove that are not doing too well – a Hydrangea on a windy corner that needs replacing with something a bit more robust and a straggly rose in a warm spot by the fence where I intend to grow my outdoor tomatoes this year.  We  also have unwanted twitch grass poking its way up through cracks in our path which definitely needs to go.

In the front garden we have an Amelanchier, which at one time was a beautiful tree but sadly succumbed to Honey fungus – we had to chop it down and treat the area of earth around where it grew with some concoction that you can buy specially, but so horrendous I thought it might render the whole garden barren.  Surprisingly from a piece of remaining root it has started to regrow without any signs of the fungus but as a multi-stem shrub rather than a tree.  It needs a bit of thinning out and the height reducing – but I will wait until the blossom falls first.

The Buddleia also need to be pruned harder to reduce the height – I never prune them too hard until winter has passed and Spring has a firm hold.

I always like to have a good Spring clean outdoors as winter passes so the paths will be pressure washed to remove all the grime and that green coating of algae that has accumulated then I will ask DH to get the big ladder out and wash down the plastic drainpipes and gutters and maybe persuade him to wash the windows too.

The front door is on the list too for a coat of paint  – this project was abandoned once the weather turned last November but as soon as it remains dry and warm again for a few days we might grab the chance to finish it.

We definitely need to move on the pantry  – we have advanced and chosen all the units and worktops – they are just to collect from IKEA.  Before that we shall get the little room stripped of the old tiles and wallpaper and ready to decorate. (Another little job for DH – but keep that one quiet!)

clEAn and lEAn

Whilst DH cleans the outside I will be giving the inside a good Spring clean from top to bottom – but I know I have limited time this month so I will be selective in the areas I choose to do.  As I have been working steadily on the office / craftroom recently, having a major decluttering session, making it much leaner I will continue focusing here.  I have already been clearing out old papers, craft stuff and books but there is still much to do.  I include my computer in this task (only because I mainly use it in this room) for a bit of a digital declutter too.  It is an easy job to sit in the evenings doing a few folders and clearing out a lot of old document files but there is more to do…much more.

crEAtive

As I have chosen the office/ craft room to declutter it makes sense to get some of those half started sewing projects finished.  I have tea cosies cut out to complete and one or two items of clothing to mend.

At last I have started knitting again after more than twenty years – all you bloggers out there have been my inspiration to have another go.  I chose an easy Sirdar pattern – a little jumper for Sweetie for the Autumn – and so far so good, I have remembered how to cast on, knit a rib and do a simple stocking stitch.  Things did get a bit tricky when it came to decreasing for the armholes and casting off but thanks to Google I managed to get the gist of what I needed to do and have only had one dropped stitch I had to rectify.  The front and back are complete and it actually looks like a jumper – my aim is to finish this project by the end of March.

trEAsury

I had a good month last month as far as our coffers are concerned.  I moved ISA’s around for better rates and closed old accounts down.  As is often the case we were broken off in mid flow because of our trip to Scotland and now mum’s visit.  I should really make more notes of where I get too as interruptions are a common occurrence for me now and my memory not so good.  I still have two mature ISA’s to find new homes for this month but as usual I have been dithering about how long to fix them for.  No interest rate is outstanding not even for a five-year fix.

Another ‘transition’ for us is living on a pension.  For the last two months after careful management of our meagre income we have had money leftover at the end of each pension payment but my aim now is to put away 10% or more when we receive it – a standing order will be hopeless for this as you know the pension dates are 4 weekly, not calendar monthly, so I may have to do the putting away bit manually each month unless anyone has any brilliant ideas on how to manage this otherwise.

fEAsting

I noticed from my calendar this month is packed with those little celebratory moments – Shrove Tuesday, Mothering Sunday, the first day of Spring and St Patrick’s Day.  I will be making pancakes of course and adjusting our menus as we move forward into Spring –  I am not ready to give up our warming lunchtime soup just yet but I feel the need to make  our meals generally a little lighter – so I am on the hunt for new recipes that fit the bill for this months menu plans.  I must also look at making my own biscuits or buns to freeze – although we don’t eat many sweet things they do go well with a flask of hot chocolate when we are out and about and it will save us a few pounds on the grocery bill in bought biscuits.

mEAndering

This will most likely be another trip to Scotland fairly soon – we have a huge amount to do up there.  I will be posting an update soon but this last visit was rather rushed so the pictures of the cottage I meant to take for the update never happened.

Whilst mum is here we will be having a nice day out in Derbyshire – probably Buxton or Tissington or maybe both as it is a while since we  have been there.

So there you have my best of intentions for the month – I am always hopeful of what I might achieve by the end and by making plans at the beginning  it keeps me much more focused.

 

 

fEAsible ~ November intentions

November Intentions

We are already on day twelve of November – just short of halfway so my intentions will have to be briefer than intended to get through them all by the end of a month that has only 30 days.

Waiting for little Sweetie to arrive has extended a lot of our plans for October into November but I don’t mind she is well worth it.  So this is my revised plan for November (otherwise known as what I ‘intend’ to do) –

plEAsurable and fEAsting

We have a few planned events this month

-a family celebration this coming Sunday

 -DH has booked to see 4 concerts from 16th to 25th during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

-and I will be attending the ‘Crisis’ coffee morning at our local church on the 24th (and hopefully will have made my selection bags by then for the craft stall to sell).

bEAching

A trip to the cottage is still on the agenda –

but this might prove a little difficult to squeeze in.  We have had numerous flood warnings recently as there have been a lot of high tides in the bay but luckily I can keep updated on the village Facebook page where the locals put short videos of any adverse weather.  I do love this time of year though at the cottage – I actually like the bleakness and watching the crashing waves on the shore whilst we cosy up in the caravan.

crEAting

This is now becoming urgent and I must focus on –

-finalising my Christmas card design

-making the chocolate selection bags

-preparing for our Not so Secret Santa draw next weekend

I may have to accept that making my Calendar books for my friends will have to be postponed for another year.

trEAsury

More than ever we need to watch the pennies this year. It is with reluctance that I have decided to look over my Christmas card list and reduce it down to save on the postage costs, as even with second class stamps it is a hefty amount  – so my intention here is to resort to an email with a print your own letter card.

I have no need to buy any new trimmings this year but we do need to get the Christmas lights out as I think we had to cobble together the tree lights last year and may need to buy new ones.  As Sainsburys are having their Nectar Point Double Up event this week I am making a note of everything we can buy from Sainsburys using my £99 of reward points which is equal to almost £200 of goods.  We need to get there early to have the pick of the wine and other Christmas goods on offer.  I will also be putting some printer inks in my basket as this is a good buy.

rEAranging and nEAtening

Rather than continuing with any more decluttering I will be clearing the remaining piles of items going out and calling it a day for this year.  I have old postcards to give to a bookshop in Buxton, and a lot of ‘shredding’ from our files to dispose of (which I may burn at the cottage on a bonfire).  Last week I managed to take the final bags to Oxfam and gave some old work papers back to work for their shredding bin.

I have been doing a thorough clean of a lot of the rooms alongside the decluttering but this month I will concentrate on the kitchen as it has taken a back seat again recently and I need to clean the oven and on top of the cupboards.

I have been running the freezer down and I propose to give this a clean and then restock with some Christmas meals, more soup and a few other bits.

fEAsting

I  usually make my Christmas cake after the church Crisis coffee morning which is always scheduled for the last but one Saturday in November.  This stems from the time when I organised this event and could not do anything towards our Christmas until it was over.  I have bought all the ingredients ready and I will soak the fruit a few days prior to baking.

I will also make more soup to have on hand as December gets busier and we need some quick nutritious meals.

homestEAd

After the long wait I think we can finally call the shed company to have ours delivered and erected and then all the gardening stuff can be moved out of the garage.  We have been waiting for a day when we could say we would be at home.  I think we can do that now.

mEAndering

Finally no month would be complete without a few days out and about.  There are numerous events on in the region but I will probably settle on a day out in Derbyshire – Buxton or Bakewell maybe – with a picnic of course.

So with barely 3 weeks to go I had better get a move on.

 

 

fEAsible ~ plans for October

October

October –  the beginning of the fourth and final quarter of the year.  So much colour and texture about this month and I had great fun foraging about in the hedgerows collecting foliage.

For me it is a bit of the lull before the storm, the storm being the ‘frenzy’ that sets in around November with the countdown to Christmas.  I want to make the most of this month to prepare for the ‘frenzy’ or at least try to keep the frenzy at bay by putting plans in place early.

Like most people now I am drawing the blinds and curtains early against the darker evenings and struggling with the darker mornings but at least I can look forward to some cosy evenings watching one or two of the new Autumn dramas on TV and a black and white film or two on the Talking Pictures channel.

As the garden will be demanding less and less of my attention once the tidying up is done I am going to use my time indoors to carry on with the major decluttering and creating a better run, more spacious household.

I will be pulling out a few new seasonal recipes to try, and hopefully finding lots of inspiration and ideas to fill both my sketchbook and Christmas notebook, and planning, planning, planning.

It is only 31 days so I will have to work fast on my intentions for this month as there is so much I would like to do. This is the list:-

appEArance

I have been so busy during the summer I feel I have neglected myself . So I have booked a reflexology session and back massage with a voucher I have been given,  a hair appointment and I will treat myself to a DIY home facial, pedicure and manicure

Put the finishing touches to my new streamlined winter wardrobe.

crEAting

Now I am no longer working I want to use some of my new-found time filling my sketchbook with ideas and drawings and creating a lino cut for my Christmas card as well as making my Christmas gifts

mEAandering

The Artists book fair in Manchester is back at a new venue – a brilliant event.

I also intend getting out and about locally exploring nearby places closer to home

fEAsting

Meal planning using seasonal vegetables and trying some new supper recipes.  Baking with the last of our home grown apples and buying the ingredients for my Christmas cake in readiness for next month

homestEAd

completing the house exterior, putting new shed in place and planting bulbs

rEAarranging and nEAtening

decluttering the kitchen – the final touches

recycle, reuse, reduce, recover, repair

trEAsury

Dealing with the limited cash flow, maintaining plenty of no spend days and finding free events and outings

managEAble

Starting a new notebook specifically for my Xmas plans and ideas

(thanks to Slamseys Journal for the idea of using the foliage I had collected for my October picture).

 

 

 

 

 

fEAsible ~ plans for September

September is upon us already and I think like most people who have made comments on this and other blogs I am not ready to give summer up just yet and so my autumn will not start until 23rd September in line with the astronomical calendar!

The weather is still warm and sunny here – not the stifling heat we had earlier but quite a pleasant warmth.  Still pleasant enough for picnics and eating outdoors; still pleasant enough to take an evening stroll, and just right for foraging in the hedgerows.

The evenings are certainly cooler though – I keep reaching for a cosy throw whilst I am sitting watching TV rather than turning the fire on to take off the chill.  In my notebook I have been planning September – all our commitments have come to an end; school starts on Tuesday and my mum has returned home…September is all mine.

Like at the beginning of the year I am turning my intentions once again to the home  – some of my good intentions and routines have been abandoned during the carefree summer months and the house is looking a bit neglected.  Cooking, cleaning and neatening always feels deeply satisfying to me and September is the perfect month to begin again –  preparing the home and garden for the coming winter months and getting back into a routine – albeit for me it will be a new routine now I no longer working.

Recently I have been having a serious clear out in my kitchen and dining room.  I began with the food and then moved on to the crockery, pans and all the oddments that are held in the drawers and at the back of the cupboards.  It is not an easy task.  Decisions have to be made. But space is created.

I find that once I have been over everything it is good to go back again and I will often find more items to discard.

So for as long as the weather holds I have many plans for September…

mEAndering

Stillingfleet, Hartington and Glazebury all have gardens or well dressing events.  There is also Heritage Open Days on 13th to 16th September.  So much to choose from.  We will certainly be having a few days out.

A trip to Scotland to our cottage

homestEAd

 buy a new shed and erect

reinstate the compost bins

source a new front door

source a new garage door

hire a contractor to renew the driveway

revamp the front garden

nEAtening

the kitchen cupboards – continuing the decluttering and simplifying

crEAting

outdoor sketching and card making

fEAsting

meal planning for late summer early autumn meals

baking with my homegrown apples

rEAding

I have an extensive library of books by my bed and I intend to read more on the subject of simplifying and living with less.

trEAsury

looking at our new reduced budget to make ends meet

So that seems plenty to be going on with – I will be back with pictures of my declutter- it is very much an ongoing project at the moment.

 

 

dEAr diary ~ just pottering along

After my marathon on Friday  I seem to have been on a go slow over the weekend – not intentionally, but I think I just feel so much in limbo at the moment that I cannot focus on either the house or myself.

As it was raining today work on the gravel patch at my daughter’s house was not going to happen so I stayed home and sorted the washing then began on the ironing mountain.

After about 2 hours I eventually saw the bottom of the basket and by this time the rain had stopped and the sheets and pillowcases I had washed were blowing on the line and almost dry – just nice for ironing as there is minimum creasing.

After a bit of putting away and tidying I sorted out the four vases of birthday flowers that had really past their sell by date and were in a rather sorry state.  I rescued what I could (as I always like to make them last as long as I can) and as usual it is the chrysanthemums that seem to last the longest.  I transferred anything that still had any signs of life into a smaller vase.

I  am no flower arranger as you can see but I  decided they looked so much better in this jug that was a present for my birthday.

A while ago at the beginning of the year I began a notebook where each month I paste in or note down bits and pieces of information and inspiration that I want to keep for a while as well as writing out my month’s intentions.

The monthly list of intentions (for the benefit of new readers) was just a combined list of must do’s and want to do’s for the coming month.  At the end of each month I would review my progress.

Anyone interested can go back to my previous blog and read them if you click the links below.

February and March Intentions and review

The list kept me focused but came to an abrupt halt after the March one mainly because we went on our trip to Italy during April and May.  Life just got so busy on our return to England together with the blog problems I had and handing in my notice at work I found I did not have the time to plan my month instead I resorted to dealing with whatever presented itself as most urgent day by day.

Not a good way to live.

Today I picked up the notebook again to add a few clippings and articles from old magazines that consisted of products I am interested in looking at, a few gardening notes and one or two book reviews as well as some summer ideas.

With all this hot weather I have thought of nothing else but shade – I am perhaps not alone in this and so I when I came across the article on gazebos in a magazine I tore the page out to keep. They range in price from the pop up at Tesco only £20 to a large sail gazebos from Wyevale Garden centres at £299 (but it is a semi permanent structure that is weather and rust resistant).

I also stuck in this clipping of a beautiful vibrant rose from David Austen that caught my eye called Lady of Shalott, a lovely summery apricot.

At this point I am not sure what my intentions are for August once I leave work. Tomorrow is my penultimate day –  surprisingly I don’t feel anything at the moment, not happy, not sad – more tired and I am not even thinking about what reception I might be in for!

We have spent the evening with the friends who moved house recently – they are now at the other end of our village about 1 mile away and at last we found some time to stroll down to see them and deliver the card.

On Wednesday it is Little L’s 4th birthday and we are visiting the fairy and pixie place near Pateley Bridge whose name escapes me – so that should be fun.

So that was my day I hope you all had a good one.

Back soon x