It is so grey outside but I quite like it – it feels restful and quiet – just right for a period of reflection and I find January is a good month just to ‘be’ rather than do.
Transition is my focus word for the year – a period of adjustment – and I need to adjust some of my household routines to fit in better with my new circumstances. So, since the start of this year I have been steadily working on a list of household tasks I need to do everyday now I am not working in order to …well keep order… and prevent a build up of clutter and chaos that can arise from letting things pile up. You might have the same problem with little piles appearing in corners or on a table or worktop. They tend to quietly build up over time because finding time to deal with them is often in short supply.
My starting point has been to think about what worked for me and what didn’t last year, what will I continue to do and what needs improvement or ditching altogether. My word(s) last year were ‘The power of small’ and I did just that – some of the things were just little changes, some became major improvements and some…well I even surprised myself.
The small changes that worked for me are…
- Making soup – I never seemed to have the time to do this regularly when I was working – now it is almost routine – and what is better than a hot bowl of soup full of winter vegetables. We don’t have it for lunch everyday but I do freeze some and it is great to use at a moments notice for a picnic.
- Taking picnics and flasks on our trips out – it might be shopping, or a day out or travelling but wherever we go the first thing we do now is make the picnic and fill the flasks. DH is getting very good at this and not only is it a good money saver but we also prefer it to some of the cafe lunches we have had as the vegetarian choices can be limited. It will be a real treat now to have a bought lunch and we can limit this to visits our favourite places that we enjoy.
- Keeping up daily with the ironing and the finances – I make sure that I iron everything I washed the day before in the morning and this way the pile never builds up. I did lapse at Christmas when I was busy doing advent activities but I am back on course again now as I love seeing my empty ironing basket. I do the same entering my receipts and keeping a tally of my spending.
- I grew courgettes in a large pot again this year and this time from seed – it is so easy and the results are so satisfying and they taste wonderful. I am expanding this to grow some outdoor tomatoes this summer – I have earmarked a little space for them in the garden by the fence where they will have the most of the sunshine and shelter.
- My Year Book – I can’t tell you how much pleasure this has given me and I have just started a new one this year. I keep a list of my monthly intentions, notes of books I want to read, recipes I might find, decor and gardening ideas and bits and pieces of everything and anything and it is a great place to stick all my cuttings of things I might want to do.
…and the major improvements
- this has to be focusing on the outside of the house – we took one step at a time completing one job then moved onto the next and the rendering and repointing has made such a big difference to the look of the house and cleaning the brickwork brought it back to look like new. Once the weather is better we will continue with painting the front door, replacing the garage door and relaying the tarmac drive – but of course these are quite expensive projects so we need to make savings elsewhere.
- Somatic Exercises – the Feldenkrais method – if you have never tried these then I can only recommend that you have a go. Try the Posture Queen on you tube – it is the best way I know to help any posture problem like tense shoulders and general stiffness – it is so gentle it feels like you are not doing very much but the results can be felt after just one session. They do take quite a while as taking it slowly is key and scheduling time for this is still difficult for me so I am going to make a positive effort to do some each day because it works.
and then the unexpected –
- Our Italian holiday – I had forgotten how much I enjoyed travelling and seeing other countries and cultures. Since we bought our little cottage the renovations took up all our time and holidays but having the wedding to go to gave us the nudge we needed to have a break from this and plan a proper holiday.
- Leaving paid work – this was a ‘biggy’ – not exactly planned and not exactly ideal timing as I cannot draw my state pension yet but I am getting used to being at home, trying to get used to a drop in income and easily getting used to not rushing about all the time – though I can still feel guilty about that.
The little changes have almost become habit and I will add more changes to these as there are things that did not work for me last year and I will need to work on those.
Meanwhile a big welcome to my new followers and everyone that has left a comment recently – I love getting to know new readers and your ideas are always so helpful. I promise I will get round to posting the recipes soon – I am sorry Dar that you have waited so long for the Stroganoff!