feasible :: November intentions

The first day of another month and I must admit I am not ready for November – it is becomming far too close to Christmas now and I feel the urge to get on with things……and quickly. I have a huge lists of must do’s, should do’s and would like to do’s – I could fill a notebook.

The weather has changed to very cold here and back to rain this morning – of course it is because I had intended to pot up my cyclamens today! I am hopeful it will turn out sunny again though and I might even get this little job done later. Our doorstep pots are certainly in need of an update – the geraniums are really passed their best.

When I look back over my intended October tasks I don’t think I actually did too badly – here is a quick recap:-

  • the pantry is well underway and today the first coat of paint goes on and that always makes a job feel as if it is progressing.
  • the plans for Sweeties 1st birthday celebration are now settled. We are just having a small family gathering at a little place we have booked in North Yorkshire near to where my daughter lives. We decided on a simple lunch of homemade soup and sandwiches followed by tea , coffee or hot chocolate and cake …of course. Afterwards, weather permitting we will go for a walk in the nearby woods.
  • the Christening plans are also well underway – we have booked a local village hall and elder daughter has just to order the food from M&S. I have to check my stock of clean white old sheets that I use as dust covers and will use as tablecloths on the day as these cannot be provided by the venue. We are having the most difficulty trying to find a couple of cheap cake stands for the afternoon tea. B&M had some but we cannot find any left.
  • we did a lot of meandering this month and when this happens any normal routine goes out the window. It has also been a month of poorly people, both daughters and DH to look after so the tasks that suffered have mainly been the crafts – so it this that I now need to focus on.

So on to what I intend to do this month.

Around the home – top of the list this month is finishing the pantry.

I have my eye on a few new glass containers – but I am waiting to see how the finished room looks and what storage space is available before I decide on anything.

A little housework – I am waiting until the pantry is completed to have a good sort out in the kitchen cupboards and there is too much dust still downstairs to bother with any in depth cleaning – that will be done when the decorating is over, so I am turning my attentions back to the office and craft room upstairs as this is still the place that is the most in need of a good clear out.

and a little baking – this is the month I make the christmas cake – usually in the afternoon after the Crisis coffee morning at church on the 23rd. As the Christening is the very next day I am a bit dubious that I will have time to fit it in so may have to reschedule this.

A lot of crafting – I keep saying it over and over but I must finish the little jumper for Sweetie. It only needs a couple of seems sewing up but even that small job seems to have been too much recently. Do you ever have jobs that just hang around forever?

The next most urgent of the crafts are the Christmas card design, the calendars and the tablemats that are half started.

Checking the finances – I have a bit of catching up to do in respect of the finances. All our recent trips here there and everywhere have certainly left a zero balance in our account and more savings have had to be transferred to cover the shortfall. I am not even sure myself of the figures or if we have been anything like frugal with any of the shopping.

I am keeping the tasks to a minimum this month as I don’t want to overload myself. We will have the two celebrations to attend to and that is going to take time nearer the event – so I don’t want to pile on the jobs.

Today I am going to enter a few receipts to catch up with the paper work, sew up the seams on Sweetie’s jumper and maybe….maybe even get to do a bit of sewing on the tablemats. Oh and I need to fit in time for a coffee and chat – my usual Friday visit to my neighbour up the road – we have a couple of weeks to catch up on today.

Have a great day and a great month – what will you be doing. x

feasible :: October intentions

October….really? Where did the year go – I can feel Christmas getting mighty close now and summer is but a distant memory. September seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye probably because it is a shorter month and we spent almost two weeks of it enjoying ourselves up in Scotland….but subsequently nothing got done at home.

When I reviewed my intentions for September I was pleased that I had managed to spend some time in the kitchen cooking; baking old favourites and trying out new recipes. We didn’t do much meandering this month though, even in Scotland the focus was on gardening and sadly we didn’t even manage to attend any of the heritage events – we had just missed the Scottish one by the time we got up there and then missed the English one by the time we arrived home – not very well co-ordinated this year!

Looking at the shape of this month it is all about getting the pantry done and making headway with the crafts for Christmas. In and amongst we have a couple of celebrations to organise.

I am feeling the urgency of getting the pantry well underway now. I have this rule which is no decorating beyond October – we have done this in the past and it compromises the time it takes to get everything ready for Christmas.. At the moment we have holes in the walls where cables will run for the lighting and sockets. DH went shopping with me today but while I went to the library for a long browse he went to B&Q and Wickes for the boring bits and pieces like lengths of wood. I never thought the conversion of this little room would need so many materials and we have not even got to the painting stage yet.

Before we set off for town I planned a few meals for the week – I am on a bit of a mission currently to try out some new recipes. I have bookmarked a few that look quite simple and use seasonal vegetables. Leek and mushroom pies and dishes using fresh beetroot and parsnips roasted. You can only buy fresh beetroot by the bunch in Sainsbury’s so I will use the remaining beets grated in a winter salad. A pear and chocolate pudding is also on the list.

In these next two months we have a 1st birthday (Sweetie) and a Christening (Freddie) to plan, these special events never seem to stop – I feel like I should start up a catering company as it is so difficult to find just the right venue, food or caterers and we may well end up with a DIY job and ordering from M&S again.

I have a whole list of crafts that I want to do this month – time allowing. I made a start at the weekend and today called in at our local fabric shop and bought the heavier interfacing for the table mats and some muslin – useful for lots of things. I am on the look out for some pretty vyella to make my two granddaughters a winter dress each but I will have to have a trip over to Dewsbury I think to one of the mill shops. One of the main intentions is to get the calendars completed by the end of this month and have an idea for a lino cut Christmas card.

Apart from visiting my mum (and maybe we can squeeze in a trip to Scotland) there will be little meandering again this month, nor cleaning – with the house full of dust from the pantry makeover, it is just not worth the hassle. The best I can do is keep everywhere reasonably tidy.

I would like to fit in some me time – as is often the case it takes a back seat when other more urgent things come up. I really need to set aside more time for exercising – yoga once a week is just not enough and I am finding that waking up feeling quite stiff is becomming the norm. I have been spending more time recently on building a healthy diet but now must include more exercise.

Of course all the best made plans go out the window sometimes – I spoke to my elder daughter tonight and she is not well so I may have to do some babysitting tomorrow, which might even mean missing yoga this week.

Ah well such is life!! x

feasible :: September intentions

I am sure I am not the only one wondering how we are suddenly finding ourselves plunged into September. I feel like I blinked and missed the summer but that maybe because we have not had a summer holiday this year. Things happen.

August was too busy a month for us to have made any plans instead we just coasted along reacting to whatever came our way day by day. September should see us trying to get back to some sense of normality whilst we wait for significant dates to roll forward.

Although the start of the new school term doesn’t directly affect us it does make a good starting point for the final part of the year; a time when the weather significantly changes and we turn our attentions to different activities more in keeping with this coming season of cooler weather and shorter hours of daylight. Everything will begin to slow down in the garden so I can use the extra time indoors improving my homekeeping skills!

So, with the best of intentions, here is my usual monthly list of intentions.

The new pantry is top of the list for jobs. It has been dragging on all year but now the units and worktop we chose have been delivered and are being stored in the garage until DH can assemble them. We definitely need to make this a priority. I can’t wait to get it up and running.

I need time in the garden too – tending to plants, feeding the lawns and continuing to dead head the annuals to keep them flowering for as long as possible.

When September comes along I think of harvesting the abundance of food that is around – blackberries in the hedgerows, apples from our tree and with the start of this new season I always want to spend more time in the kitchen. As the days begin to get cooler it is a nice warm space to be trying out new recipes, using up the plentiful supply of tomatoes and left over greens to turn into delicious soups. I am even in the frame of mind to make some jam.

I am quite proud of myself that I have been able to keep our house looking neat and tidy throughout the summer. Having visitors helps! Once I had done the initial big clean it has been easy to keep on top of it all. There are some basic household jobs on my list that really need doing this month – clean my new oven and put away the garden furniture and cushions. Maybe switching some of the decorative items around for something a little more seasonal.

Whilst things have not been easy for us during the summer I still managed to keep on reducing our stuff bit by bit, a pair of boots and 3 pairs of shoes I can no longer wear have gone to my daughter. I decided that the fixtures and fittings from the cloakroom and other oddments in there would be best sold at a Car Boot sale – a few extra pounds in the coffers would not come amiss at the moment.

September is the month of Heritage open days. I always look forward to these and squeeze as many venues in as we can wherever we happen to be. We are already making plans and marking off the ones we want to go and see should time allow. Even better now we are not limited to weekends only.

We will also be going up to Scotland and no doubt another trip to North Yorkshire and if there are any late open gardens or well dressing events then we will add those in too.

As the summer is drawing to a close it is time to revise our budget for the four remaining months to Christmas. It is important to conserve what we can so that the cost of Christmas does not become a potential problem. I will be posting my monthly tally in a day or two.

I an doubtful, but quite hopeful, that I might be able to do some crafting this month. I have lots of ideas all I need is time. Watch this space.

I always find it helpful to have an idea of what I want and need to accomplish during the month though I don’t always succeed – but like they say if you fail to plan you plan to fail!

Enjoy September x

feasible :: July intentions

Can it really be July already? As usual on this journey of mine I have been busier than busy this past month, whilst the weather has been wetter than wet.

Moving on to this month and better weather, I hope, I am still not sure myself how I am going to fit everything together – at the moment it looks like a jigsaw with a few pieces missing, and we all know how irritating that can be.

During the next 31 days I have to fit in our summer holiday, celebrate my birthday and wedding anniversary, entertain and look after an Aussie cousin of DH for a few days, attend Jimmy’s in Leeds (the lovely Bexley Wing) for my yearly blood tests, attend again a couple of weeks later for my results and check up with the consultant and then have Little L to stay for a few days near the end of the month.

In and amongst I shall have house cleaning, tending the garden (both of them), lots of cooking with my new oven (yeah!) and plenty of exercises for my poorly knee….oh and at some point see my dear old mum (to which I hear her say…less of the old please!).

As ever I am searching for that slower lifestyle and as ever it seems just a little beyond reach; especially when I look at what I have to do for the month, my obligations, and what I would like to do in the month, my desires….when I can fit them in. There must be a solution and believe me I am working on it.

So as usual I am setting out my intentions for the month as doing so helps me stay focused….well sometimes…. and also helps me to log what I have to do and then squeeze in what I would like to do.

We will be going up to our cottage (caravan) in Scotland soon for what will be our summer holiday. We cannot have the full two weeks we would have liked due to so many other commitments so somewhere between a week and a fortnight will have to do. Can’t wait.

But there is the packing to do and that can’t wait either!

There will be plenty of house cleaning to do (didn’t I say that last month….. and the one before, but this time I mean it). My house needs a thorough clean……. everywhere – it is in a worse state than when I was working. Somehow I have not managed to get myself into any routine as we always seem to be focused on one project or another and some of those never get finished.

DH and I had a big planning meeting a month ago and listed all those tasks we needed to do but for some reason it is taking ages to get anything crossed off the list. I feel like giving myself a C- and I hear that old teachers comment you would find on any school report “must try harder”.

I have fewer apppointments and no yoga classes for a while, so I do need to make sure I exercise during the next month, especially the ones to help my knee. Does house cleaning count as exercise I wonder?

This month with the aid of my new oven I want to focus on what we are eating and plan for better, even healthier meals, though I may sneak a cake in for my birthday

I got my sketchbook out the other day when it was too hot to do anything else and spent a pleasant afternoon sitting in the garden drawing a few flowers. I feel quite rusty not having done very much drawing for a long time.

There is always some distraction, something more pressing to do – so maybe whilst we are away in Scotland I can fit in a little painting like we used to. I will certainly be packing my watercolours and sketchbook.

I have a couple of patchwork and quilting books from the library at the moment – well you never know I might just find some time to make a start. I have a lot of very pretty flowered fabric in summery peaches and pinks left over from the bunting I made for my elder daughter’s wedding. I had thought it would make a nice quilt for her new baby, but the baby turned out to be little Freddie who I am not sure would want such a girly quilt.

Summer is always such a good month for plenty of meandering…getting out and about, exploring; and we will be doing plenty of that…as much as we can fit into the time.

.

I expect that while DH’s cousin is here we will be taking him places too – I think his interests lie in cricket and gardens. The latter sounds hopeful to me as I am sure there will be plenty of open gardens to visit – but the cricket might be more tricky. Entertaining Little L will be much easier than the cousin I think and she is happy to do anything and go anywhere with a park nearby…..so the park it is then.

Well that is my month all lined up….now where did I put my mop and bucket. x

PS. Back soon with my monthly tally (yet another sticking point in my life!).

feasible :: June intentions

Halfway through the year already and not a lot done. Actually that is not true – I have done quite a lot but not very much of what I originally intended to do.

The little room ear marked as my new pantry is still a dumping ground and the kitchen no more than a bit of a rough plan in my head.

May went far too quickly probably because I was so focused on the Christening that I hardly noticed it passing by. June will be different; must be different because I have a lot to catch up with and half-started projects to finish.

So here are my intentions for this month:-

On the homefront there is still the pantry to sort – it is so long since we drew up the plans I have almost forgotten what we had decided upon.

In the garden it is very much a matter of feeding, weeding and some light pruning – then sit back and enjoy.

I have been trying to scale down my wardrobe so that it is much leaner and both my summer and winter outfits fit into the one space. This is very much a work in progress… without the progress at the moment…and I have decided not to replace garments when they are worn out or no longer fit but just move on to wear something else less worn in it’s place. It is true I think that we wear our favourite few items 80% of the time but I am going to try and have a wardrobe that only has a few favourite garments that I will wear all the time.

The house is ready for a good clean, it has been ready and waiting for days now – I find I just cannot get down to doing it, either I have to go out or when I am in there have been other more important things demanding my attention. My intention is to set aside a day each week and give each room ‘a good going over’ as they say.

If there is time I will make a few more simple cards – I really enjoyed making the last batch and it helps keep the costs down.

I must also finish Sweetie’s jumper and fingers crossed that it will still fit her.

This is now the time for salad, freshly picked leaves, new potatoes covered in mint and melted butter of course and a host of summer veg cooked or raw. I intend to make a few new dishes to have with salad – try out a new quiche filling and make nut roast to slice cold.

The best part of summer is making the most of the outdoors while the weather is fine. I intend to go off meandering….a lot….there are more Open Garden events, Well Dressings, Galas and just generally having a mooch around towns and villages…..down alley ways, over bridges – there is so much to discover and June is a good time to do it.

Scotland will also be on the list this month and another trip to North Yorkshire.

Finally I have booked the appointment with the financial adviser – I am interested to know what he makes of our situation and I am hoping that he will point us in the right direction for a few good investments.

There is plenty to do before his visit – collecting all the information together of our income, outgoings and assets – not a bad exercise anyway as it will help to keep this handy should anyone ever need it.

June is interspersed with appointments for this and that but in between I am hoping for some days when I can really get down to making a big difference in the house, cleaning and sorting. I know already on sunny days the garden will be beckoning me outside though – the temptation will be too much!

feasible :: May intentions

As last month was about preparing for Easter and the party, May is all about the Christening and catching up with myself – as much as I can.

But isn’t May just a wonderful month, even with all this rain – if April is full of promise of what is to come then May is just starting to deliver.  I have sprays of white lilacs in tight bud just waiting to bloom as soon as the rain leaves us and the sun returns.  I don’t mind the rain but I haven’t enjoyed being plunged back into the cold spell….again – at least the rain has refreshed the garden, while our recent holiday at the cottage in Scotland has refreshed me and now I am raring to go. 

So these are the intended  targets for this month on my to do list.

First on the list is the Christening dress. I have already cut the pattern for this and made a sample dress and on Sunday I will see Sweetie for a fitting. Fingers crossed there will not be many alterations needed.

I have yet to switch over my winter and summer clothes, and while I am doing this clean the wardrobe and perhaps send anything I know I will not wear again to the charity shop. The general housekeeping will be taking a back seat this month and DH is on catering management whilst I am busy sewing.

The garden in Scotland will now be taking care of itself for a while and I must turn my attentions to the garden here at home.  I bought a mini growing house for the tomato plants to give them some extra protection and warmth.   It needs putting together plus I have the lawn to feed and weed if the rain ever stops and some spring flowering shrubs to prune back.

Vodaphone contract – I have decided I need to get a cheap basic contract that allows me some data and access to the internet on my phone. PAYG is far too expensive to use the internet.

Book the financial appointment – this is still to do – bearing in mind we went to the pension seminars in March! The information we gained then is slowly fading in my mind.

One of my favourite places to go for a day out is the Open Gardens… and this weekend it will be the group village open gardens at Little Ouseburn in North Yorkshire.

My second favourite is the Well Dressings in Derbyshire and this will be on my list to visit one during May.

So I am keeping my list quite short this month as the Christening weekend and making the dress will take up most of my time. The house will need a good clean again afterwards but because I gave it a ‘good do’ for the party it will no doubt last a week or two.

I intend to go to my Yoga class on Tuesdays – I missed two classes whilst we were in Scotland and I feel ready for a good stretch again. My health plans never really got off the ground last month and I might not be able to do much this month but I am making plans for when I do have time.

And the knitting – well that is still in my basket – Sweetie will just have to stop growing for a while until I can get it finished. I didn’t do any knitting whilst I was at the cottage (caravan), I was usually too tired at night and the weather was too good not to go in the garden.

Well those are my plans – it is always interesting when I review my to do list at the end of the month to see what I did get done and what is still on the list.

Of course as regular readers can see I am having great fun with the new WordPress Block Editor – anyone from Blogger won’t know about the changes that have been introduced – I am not sure what I think about it yet but the normal classic version will be phased out soon so I thought I had better give it a go – I still cannot find out the reason for the missing spellchecker symbol on the dashboard….but it is a pain. Apologies for any errors and typo’s.

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?

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).