I really enjoyed October, I had time to test out new routines, catch up with a lot of paperwork, reorganise some areas in the house, declutter a little more and spend time with Little L.
But now I have to focus on November and the Christmas plans, I haven’t a lot in mind this Christmas due to circumstances within the family we have no big events so it will be a minimal, simple time for us.
We are STILL waiting the arrival of the new baby – we have been on amber alert for over a week now and still no sign. Until baby arrives we cannot have the shed delivered and erected (it is made and waiting), or go up to Scotland or go very far at all so many of our October plans are running over into November.
So how did I do with my ‘intentions’ last month –
…well I finally found time just for me-for a little self-care, a reflexology session and back massage (wonderful), a trip to the hairdressers and a homemade pampering session.
As Neal’s Yard strapline says I certainly felt the love.
Sadly we didn’t get to the Manchester Artists Book Fair but we did have some great days out and about in our local parks and a visit to Kiplin Hall in North Yorkshire for lunch with my mum.
I haven’t had time to focus on a lot of craft work as I didn’t want to lose the momentum of clearing the house but I was able to gather a few Autumn treasures, the colours are so beautiful at this time of year I could happily sit and sketch or paint for hours.
I have made a start on the lino cut Christmas card sketching out a few ideas which I will develop into a final print.
On our recent trip to the Wigtown Book Fair I was inspired by the work of artist Astrid Jaekel. Many of the buildings and walls in Wigtown had been decorated like giant canvases in striking black and white prints ….
…in a similar way I used some little rubber bird stamps I have and a black ink pad to create a few simple birthday cards.
With plenty of apples from our tree to use up I baked Apple cake – eaten with or without butter – delicious either way, a cake for my brother’s birthday and of course the Halloween buns with help from Little L.For lunch I have made a lot of soup trying out a number of different recipes. We loved them all and they are now firm favourites – perfect for the cooler weather. homestEAd
Progress was made on the home front too. Whilst DH sorted out the pebbles, cleaning and relaying them around the house (after the mess of the rendering), I did the easy bit of buying a new pot which is currently just planted with a few pansies to brighten up our front doorstep. I had intended Cyclamens but I have still to find some that are a reasonable price.We did quite a bit in the garden whilst the weather was good, weeding borders for the last time this year, gathering up the pots into a more sheltered position and covering up the garden furniture – we are all ready now for any bad weather to come.
Being on a tight budget there is not a lot of leeway now to spend on anything we really don’t need and in any case I am making a big effort not to buy more stuff as I am clearing the clutter but this little patterned storage jar from Next is just perfect for my teabags, was a reasonable £6 and just breaks up the empty space left where I removed the three old glass tea, coffee and sugar storage jars from the worktop. I will be reusing these for rice in my new pantry when DH fits it out.
The wooden bookmark was a great find in a craft shop – also inexpensive but perfect for the person I was giving it to.
Throughout the month we did have plenty of no spend days and the trips to the local park provided our free entertainment. We have been very careful at the supermarket only buying food to a menu plan or to take advantage of any offers and by making plenty of soup we have avoided being wasteful with the vegetables. On our outings we packed sandwiches and have taken drinks in a flask to help keep costs down if we need to eat when we are out. It does take time to plan all this but once you get into the swing of things it does become easier.
rEAranging and nEAtening
It would seem that all my efforts to simplify and declutter are beginning to pay off. With less stuff around I feel so much better in myself and much more organised – I can certainly feel the weight of the stuff, that has felt like a burden to me for so long, lifting. It is so much easier to locate the things we do need to find and use.
At the moment I am tackling the paper mountain in the office/craftroom. This includes anything from receipts and bills to recipes and garden clippings and everything else in between. Of course since we had the flood at the cottage I am nervous about not keeping receipts as without them we could not have claimed for our contents. As I had kept every receipt since we bought the place there was no question of not being reimbursed but they do take up space – the alternative is to scan them onto the computer.
On the planning side I have been gathering together bits and pieces for my Christmas notebook (I decided to reuse an old A5 filofax that I have rather than buy a new notebook). Any craft ideas, gift ideas or recipes for the festive period are being filed in here along with such things as the posting dates for Christmas cards and other information that I may need.
Last night I booked to go on the Dunham Massey Christmas Lights trail with some of our friends in December. It is a National Trust property in Cheshire, a beautiful old Georgian house and this magical light show in the grounds is now in its second year. This is a real treat – not cheap and even National Trust members have to pay but I am really looking forward to going – just a little disappointed we won’t be able to take Little L as she lives too far away and our booking is on a school night.
We will probably go to the Saltaire Advent Window event too but in contrast this is a free event and well worth going to.
So that was a quick round-up of October – a very productive month for me – I feel I achieved a lot and the piles waiting to go out to new homes is going down bit by bit as I dispose of the items I no longer need or want. Once you begin to uncover more space I find you just want more.
Just as a matter of interest I popped into my old work today – I had birthday presents to take to some friends there and a box of old work related papers for shredding. It was lovely to see everyone but I was not prepared for the news that the new lady has now handed in her notice. Rumour has it that she would have been asked to leave anyway as many of the workforce have had some difficult dealings with her. At least the management are now aware of her bad behaviour themselves as she holds nothing back and has been extremely rude to everyone and anyone including the directors; in fact one of the directors is having to sit at my old desk to keep an eye on her at present until her departure to prevent further problems arising between her and my old team – she has been quite nasty to them at times and to think I stuck up for her when she first arrived – my lovely hard-working team do not deserve to be treated like they have been since I left and she took over.
It was in my opinion only a matter of time before this happened – people like this usually hang themselves without any help from others. I just hope the new Solicitors that are taking her on are well prepared!
I will keep you updated when I am able about the baby – surely it cannot be much longer amybe tonight will be the night!
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