I wrote at the beginning of March that we were beginning to lose that cold nip in the air…. but here at the beginning of April we have it back again and a possibility of snow. Really isn’t it Spring now? …..well it has hailed once or twice here and covered the grass with icy crystals. March was certainly a busy month …I would even say a ‘far too’ busy month, and if I didn’t achieve all my intentions then it wasn’t for the lack of trying. It is always a shorter condensed month at home when we spend some time in Scotland and usually I have to roll over some things I had intended to do.
Nothing new there then.
On the whole I was pleased with getting started on the knitting, a yoga class and attending the financial seminars – all part of my ‘transitioning’ plans for this year.
So looking back on last month how did I do?
I joined the weekly Yoga class – I have done two sessions now, one of them last Tuesday morning. Anita had kindly tailored this class around shoulder exercises which helped my restricted left arm and although it is a bit achy now it feels better for the movement. I must remember to move more and not get stuck on the computer for long periods.
I have been doing some facial massage using the free facial oil samples sent to me by Neal’s Yard. I am following some instructions I tore out of a magazine – I am not sure I can see a big difference but it certainly leaves your skin very soft. I think the wrinkles are still there though! No matter how many times I thought about it I never got to mix together the ingredients for the facemask so that is next on the list. I have a small avocado in the fridge to use up so I will add a sprinkling of oatmeal and lemon juice.
Both gardens have had the majority of our time and attention this month. We bought new heavy-duty anvil loppers and have been severely cutting back some of the overgrown shrubs. It takes time to get them into a pleasing shape and decide which of the buds to cut down to not to mention dealing with the mountain of prunings afterwards.
DH put up the new cupboard in the garage to house our vacuum cleaner and gardening coats and remove them from what is to become the pantry. We actually bought a new upright Dyson because we wanted a small lighter weight one (like we bought for the caravan) but not cordless and so we had to move fast as once the stock of these in the shops has gone they will be unavailable. Our problem with the cordless is that the batteries are so expensive to replace once they stop charging properly as all these cordless machines do in time, and I like the flexible hoses on the corded vacuums for doing the stairs.
There has been no other work done in the pantry, and no paint put on the front door and no spring cleaning of the gutters and paths – these will be some of the roll over tasks for April.
clEAn and lEAn
I had intended to do more spring cleaning than I found I had time for so I am reverting to clearing out and cleaning in small stages and this is working better for me.
Instead of trying to tackle the whole office at once, which was a bit of an overwhelm, I began with the two desk drawers – the top drawer that houses all the stationery items, post it notes, highlighter pens, punch, calculator, ruler etc……and the lower drawer that contains anything money related – current receipts, card readers, some left over travel money and cheque books (that are rarely used now). I hope you can tell these are the ‘after’ photos as I had a big clear out and only put back the items that are frequently used. Any infrequently used items have now been moved into the craft cupboard in one of those sectioned A4 storage boxes and the older household receipts are in a box file on the shelving unit.
Having only what I need to hand and getting rid of any surplus ‘stuff’ has made it a joy to open these drawers every day and easier to tidy my desk each time I use it.
Tackling the clear out and cleaning in small stages gives me chance to evaluate what I need and use and work with it for a few days until the space is simplified down to the basics.Moving on to the craft items my first task was to sort through the mass of ribbons I had collected over the years. I had a stack of narrow ribbon hanger loops that are used to keep garments on the hangers in shops and I always cut them off – they are perfect for using on cards and tags and I have tied them up into neat bundles by colour range.
March has probably been my most creative month since the advent period last December – and I have enjoyed it. I finally got started on the knitting and made some cards – not quite so productive as many bloggers are but I am pleased with myself for carving out some time to just do something.I still have to sew the little knitted jumper together before I can finish knitting the hood. I think I would have done it sooner if I felt I knew what I was doing – but ready or not I will have to have a go.
Now I have caught the creating bug I have been looking for new ideas. I borrowed these two books from the library.The cards turned out quite well – they are not great works of art but they have reduced my pile of decorative papers and blank cards and will save me money on buying them – so a win win situation.
The ISA’s that matured last month remain as instant access accounts for the moment as we will be arranging a free advice session with the lovely man from Hargreaves Lansdown and hopefully have a better idea afterwards of where to invest it.
I will be posting my March financial tally soon to review how we coped financially through this month. As readers may know I work out our finances on a calendar month basis and have found the four weekly pension payment to be difficult to manage – but this month I have I had a bit of a brain wave which
will might just solve the problem – I will talk about it more on the ‘Tally’ post.
I continue to plan menus in order to save money and food waste and have been making some of those good old-fashioned favourites like these Homity Pies and creamy rice puddings. Spring might be upon us but needless to say with the recent turn in the weather we are still making homemade soup and have not yet swapped our winter meals for anything a bit lighter. On Shrove Tuesday I made savoury pancakes stuffed with leeks and mushrooms and baked in a cheese sauce. This year to save money I didn’t buy the buckwheat flour and used ordinary, that was a big mistake as they came out a bit too ‘claggy’ for me; the buckwheat has a better flavour and makes a less ‘gooey’ pancake more to my liking. I did eat them but did not enjoy them as much. Mother’s day I spent the whole day gardening at home – which is just what I needed after being away so much. We had easy meals – just DH and I together – so for me this was a perfect day. We had a visit in the evening from my elder daughter who lives locally and brought the beautiful bouquet; the day before we had been staying at my younger daughter’s house and she gave me gardening vouchers. Libbie (Little L) chose the card with the sequins – they change direction to reveal a golden heart – I will keep it for her. Of course both my daughters are mothers themselves now, so I try and take a back seat so they can enjoy Mothering Sunday with their children.
We had our trip up to Scotland. We worked far too hard up there – we must learn to pace ourselves more now we are that bit older and that bit more creaky. Apart from the aches and pains we did enjoy our time away and a stroll along the beach. The sea air (or the Vitamin Sea) as Jill calls it on her blog ‘Land of the Big Sky’ is the best prescription after a long winter.
When mum was down here visiting we had our usual day out in Derbyshire; stopping for a picnic lunch in Foolow beside the duck pond. Afterwards we had a change from Tissington and went instead to the nearby little village of Hartington to test out their tea room of course. I bought a knitted thermal hat for £4.99 in the sale at the Country Store for next winter. I may need it now if it does snow.
So that was my month – full of ups and downs as most of them are but everyone managed to keep well and although the spring cleaning didn’t really get underway I am now the proud owner of an empty ironing basket; the days of the ironing mountain are long gone – I am keeping up to doing a little each day and it feels so good to walk past the empty basket. It has become such a habit I can now focus on something else that I wish to change.
back again soon with a new list of my April intentions.
have a lovely weekend everyone x