Friday, 28 November 2014

Friday - My attic

Oh goodness me. Well twice this week I have braved the attic and found things which I haven't seen in 20 years.

  • I have found a half embroidered table cloth -- really cool and embroidered with strawberry plants
  • An almost complete patchwork quilt. Just needs backing.
  • Balls of wool from when I knitted baby clothes for my kids (yes, its been a while)
  • A crochet blanket which is very odd and I dont think can be saved. Fahed dreamt that I made him wear it as a jacket. Poor man, what do i do to him.
  • In other news I realised I have cat insurance so I can maybe claim for Lorenzo's visit the other day
  • I saved a fortune in the. new to Britain, black Friday sales. By not buying anything :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Monday extra day off

I had a flexi day today and my best friend came over from the island to visit. We thought about making coffee syrups, in fact I have almond extract and vanilla extra plus some sugar just in case we decided to. Then we realised neither of us takes sugar in our coffee and likes the idea of a sweet coffee. Idea shelved!

Instead we got the hot glue gun out! We cut a load of corks in half lengthways. Then we found a frame with a boring picture in it plus an actual cork board. We spent the day making very cool cork board. The problem here is now that most wine has a screw top we are entirely reliant on my German friend Margret, who buys her wine in Germany on an annual basis for corks.

Are they not great?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Saturday night - update

Only two more weeks before my Christmas gift to myself - super duper spring clean. So I am trying hard to get as much sorting out as possible done in the time. Less to clean at the very least.

  • Had a good sort out and tidy in the main bathroom, our bedroom and the study. 
  • I am 70% complete in the study now. I cant believe the difference
  • Monday - day off and visit from my best mate so we may de-clutter a bit more in the way of craft stuff ad almost certainly some wine :)
  • Kittens are doing really well with playing in the garden and then coming in when they are called. They have such fun and are so cute.
  • I hope I am not tempting fate but no more accidents from lovely girl Lorenzo (named after Lorenzo the magnificent, Lorenzo Medici, I didn't know there was a Disney cat called Lorenzo until today)
  • Ate frozen leftovers for dinner but my lovely husband bought me lunch as a treat.
  • Crochet is coming along nicely, although it is just a granny square which is growing. I am not good as starting the granny squares so I am going for one huge one, as my first attempt for 40 years.
  • I really want to attack the attic for some serious emptying out tomorrow but I need the old fella on board. Wish me luck!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Friday night

Made my shopping list and doing list for to,Oreos. I will put a bit more meat on the bones of the to do list in the morning
And there is a photo of my lovely Bagheera, keeping me company as I do my lists

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thursday - quick one!

What I meant was not much to say

Fahed made a meal of chopped cooking bacon, chopped potatoes friend up in a little olive oil and then crack a few eggs on the top. He left enough for me to have this for ny dinner and it was yum, and very frugal!

All kittens are still here and safe and well.

More marmalade to be made next weekend. A pot in everyone's Christmas gifts!

Off to bed to hide under warm covers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wednesday - Thinking about new years again

I know. I do try not to do this until December but things keep sneaking up on me.

  • Having the big house clean at beginning of December and have asked for a quote to keep the place clean. I am hoping this also means that the rest of the household would be less untidy (some hope)
  • Fahed wants me to joining him on his Wednesday karate sessions. I am not sure but have agreed a trial fortnight.
  • Six weeks of Greek language lessons in February - I must learn more Greek, its embarrassing not being able to talk to my neighbours
  • I am getting new tyres for my bike. These appear to be made of the same stuff as bullet proof vets. really no excuse at all to avoid cycling (especially as MMM is my hero)
  • Remortgaging to fix the mortgage rate - and reduce the repayment period by 5 years. Made the first move today.
  • Stop buying free books on Kindle. So far they are all worth exactly what i paid for them. Doh!
  • Have asked if I can have an old computer from work which was going in the bin. I suspect it is way better than my current one. I prefer a desk top for my 'work' but am happy with a laptop or ipad normally. I also don't like any superfluous rubbish on my desktop. Its just a little working donkey.
  • Wondering if I can cancel the movie channels post Christmas without causing too much excitement!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Monday - back to work

But from home. I had blood tests today, also collecting glasses and taking Lorenzo for her check up, so I worked from home in between. Its was really good actually and possible to get a lot done in a shorter time without interference.

In between time I did a few other things:

  • Reboiled my plum and strawberry jam which failed to set on Sunday. Now I have four rather lovely little jars of yummy jam, one of which went to mum this morning for supplying the plums.
  • Fixed my washing machine and worked out how to up to spins RPM so that my laundry is almost dry before it even gets to the dryer or line.
  • Finished all my laundry, washed and dried. I am planning to get it put away tonight as well

I am also taking credit for some things which Fahed did!

  • He fixed my model yacht which the cats through down the stairs.
  • He failed to fix a couple of other broken things so he strip the useful bits and binnned the rest, and at least they are not still waiting.
  • He decided we don't need to shorten the legs of my sewing box as he wont use it as a foot rest anyway. That's because he feels much better since we are using a cream on his lower back which works as an anti inflammatary.  Big celebration

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kitten freedom

I am a nervous kitten mama. The babies are ready to roam. I let them out yesterday when i knew it was about to rain. After fifteen minutes everyone wanted to come in again and we didnt lose anyone.

Today I let them out also and they wandered a little but in and out. Hopefully tomorrow I am brave enough to show them where is the cat flap and how to use it!

The weird looking bit in the garden (photos below) is where the grass has been removed but we haven't yet laid the pavers.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Home cook Lemon Marmalade

I made this afternoon. Its brilliant. Cheaper than buying but it is 100% chopped up lemon.

Just pour into a large saucepan and add 3/4 pint water and 4lb of sugar. Bring to the boil whilst stiring, simmer for 15 minutes. Test for a set (dollop onto cold plate, does it set?).

Even I could not go wrong!

Sarurday - Lets get going

Fahed is still ill, we are awaiting results form the doctor for whic medications to be taking next. Lorenzo is still somewhat "accident prone". I feel these things might be giving me the illusion of not moving forward. So what do we do when we feel stuck? We do a list!

  • Leaving Fahed in bed all day/weekend.
  • Taking Lorenzo tot he vet on Monday as I really could not get a urine sample out of her with shutting her away on her own, and as she has never been separated form her sister she just cried. I had too much conscience so now she is seeing the cat doctor.
  • A bit of garden work in the front garden
  • Clean out both lots of birds
  • Make a new cat feeding area
  • Take kitten into garden for a while for the first time.(nervous cat mummy here)
  • Shopping
  • Laundry - wash, dry, put away
  • De-cluttering - I know I seem to do nothing but this but there always seems to be plenty to go and I do think I can finally see the difference
  • Make Jam & Marmalade
  • Plan Christmas cooking
  • New style menu planning - From time to time I do this and we never stick with it. But my problem is never having ideas. So I am pulling together a list and a few recipes, just for when my brain gets stuck.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wednesday - feeling unproductive

Not sure if I am losing the plot again. Feeling very unproductive, and not just because of all the time spend stuck in traffic today. All I do is go to work and chuck things away!

Maybe it is time to start thinking about a post Christmas shake up (not supposed to be mentioning the C word until December 1st........)

And I somehow have to get a urine sample out of the special kitten for my vet. Ho hum. Special kitten is the one being wrestled to the ground here. I may be biased but even her lovely little paws are soooo cute, like bunny feet.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tuesday Kids and kittens

  • Up at 6am to drop Jamal at the hospital for a 7am kickoff - Removal of two wisdom teeth, general anesthetic. He has never been anesthetized before but looks a lot better than I normally do. Teeth, or rather the gaps, are sore and stitched and he is fine with pain. That counts as a success. He especially doesn't want problems when he is back at sea.
  • Fahed is still poorly, since Thursday, he just looks bleugh and I also noticed an unhealthy attached to the bathroom.......
  • My special kitten, Lorenzo, is having trouble deciding what is a litter tray. I need a new quilt. I wonder if Fahed smells funny since he is sick. I cant imagine what else makes her suddenly decide that my bed cover is a suitable place for tiddles. So I have bagged up the autumn/spring quilt and am binning it. Last night had a very light weight summer quilt but I would rather be cold than have cat pee in my bed (obviously!)
  • On the bright side my £15 Amazon voucher can be used towards a new quilt. I am going up a size so will also need new bedding.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Monday - back to work, back to normal

Sometimes weekends seem long and sometimes they seem short. What am I talking about, they always seem short. But this one really did seem quite long as Fahed was poorly and asleep most of the time. I was in bed and ready to snooze by 8.30 last night!

So today, back to work and very little chance for anything too exciting, so:

  • Sent off my glasses for re-glazing at a cost of £15 per pair. Potential saving £100 per pair - and there are three pairs, one for distance (driving,e specially at night), one for computer screen and one for book reading.
  • Throw my Sainsbury £3 voucher sin the bin, having realised that I was looking to buy things just to use the voucher. Silly woman!
  • Printed off some vouchers for a free pudding, ice cream I would guess, when I go for dinner for my friends birthday this evening. We dont normally celebrate but her husband is poorly and she is constantly working or at the hospital so we are having a little meal together tonight so she gets at least a small break.
  • £15 Amazon voucher from my mail logging job thingbobit.

Not so bad actually!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Best Christmas present ever

Today Fahed is poorly. Swimming teachers pick up a lot of viruses from the kids and from being cold and wet a lot of the time. So I keep him warm, let him sleep a lot and occasionally fill him up with vegetable soup.

So today I have got a few things done, usual list to follow, including sorting out my mending pile. A have fixed a few things, binned a couple of items and left a tricky one for later ) new sleeves fitted under old sleeves on a Christmas posh frock). As I doing doing my mending i noticed that I had to take a new needle form the pack, and then noticed it is the same needle pack I had since my uncle gave me my sewing box when I was 12. He didnt just buy me the actual box but filled it up witha ll sorts of sewing bits and bobs. I played with it for days non stop and am still using most weeks, forty years later. Now that's what I call a gift. . Lots more cotton has arrived but a lot of the basics are still in use and still good. Now I think its time for the sewing box to have a bit of a refurb, as the original cover is splitting. The inside is as good as new. Good old uncle Gordon, he really knew what U was like.

  • Made a shepherds pie for dinner and for tomorrow - heavy on the lentils and grated carrot, not just the lamb.
  • Mending and sewing
  • All the laundry washed, almost dried and will be put away today.
  • Final stage of the great paperwork sort out as I file what is left.
  • Yet another box of goodies for the charity shop
  • I am hovering on the edge of making some jam this afternoon but we shall see.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The eat anything you are given diet

My youngest son just messaged to tell me his mate was cooking for someone tonight. They are making a stew but with potatoes cooked on the side because their friend doesn't eat stew with potatoes. Jamal was spluttering in disbelief.

In our house you eat what you are given. Its a point of pride that you eat what you are given, no matter what, unless its actually going to make you hurl. And as an interesting social experiment I think I can say this has been a success.

Both my kids are slender but muscular. They never overeat. They have favourite meals but they always say thank you for their dinner even if its their least favourite food. They will eat anything except bananas (youngest) & cooked cheese (eldest) as those things to genuinely make them a bit pukey. I like that once a year they try their most hated food to see if they have managed to make a break though in the year.

We dont waste food. We appreciate it.

Final story. We were once in Greece when the kids were pretty small, maybe 8 and 10. We were served with a whole fish (huge, oven baked) and boiled sheeps head. They never batted an eyelid. Someones made the effort to make you food then the least you can do is eat it. I am still proud about it now. It still makes me smile when I think about it.

I guess they will be just right for one of those dreadful reality TV shows

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Tuesday - another thrash of the budget

Budget obsessed? Maybe

I spent some time today re-working the budget.

I updated the spreadsheet to allow for my reduced car insurance, my reduced house insurance, my kitten insurance and my kitten club charge.

The I tried a few options for mortgage repayments which can be made without making us too skint. That might sound mad but actually its because we have another couple of houses which need things doing to them, not because I spend a fortune on designer handbags and lunches with the ladies.

I have now an account which receives all of our income.

From there I have automatic transfers to:

Savings account
Shopping Account
Bills Account
Faheds Account (for what he refers to as his pocket money)

Simplicity and so much easier than when everything went into one account. And online banking makes it all relatively painless. Days of banking surprises are hopefully behind us

Monday, 3 November 2014

Small habits - big differences

My sons former girlfriend went through a phase of doing our laundry and dish-washing. Very kind so I didnt complain but since she isn't here anymore I have started to do it myself my bills are down so much. So, with all things electrical, I play by the rules

  • Only use the tumble dryer when its largely unavoidable - I don't dry indoors as when I did this previously it made my house very damp and I dont use heating until it really cold, so it would be a waste to heat it just for the drying.
  • Dont set the dishwasher going unless it is full
  • Dont set the dishwasher going unless it is stacked in such a way that everything will come out clean
  • Dont set the washing machine going until it is full but not overfull.
  • Give everything a good spin before drying.
  • Even if it not a sunny day then you can still get a bit of drying done. 
  • Put shirts etc on coathangers to bring them in quickly.  
  • Fill the 'clothes horse' with towels, jeans etc and you can lift it indoors in one go if the rain starts
  • Hang your undies on an octopus (multi hanger thing) and again you can grab it and bring it indoor in no time.
  • Drying that is already partially dry can be finished in doors, unless its really cold and damp, without making the house damp.
  • Dont use the electric oven to cook things which are perfectly good in the microwave or in a dry griddle pan.

Any one have any further ideas to brings the bills down?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunday - more of the same

I showered and shampoo'd etc this morning at usual time. Then put on a clean nightdress t shirt thingy and some tracksuit pants. I always get dressed so this was me saying to me, easy day today. No going out or encouraging people to come in.

and then I:

  • Filled up a blag bag and a recycling bag. I wont need a study at all by the time I have finished. Fahed is currently watching a dreadful film, so I might just sneak off to do a bit more.
  • Examined the bike as we keep getting puncture and have decided to invest in some new tyres
  • Ate the chicken which was knocking around since Friday, following some poor planning. It was okay, nothing more.
  • Looking for recipes for feta which dont involve chemicals.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Saturday - And I choose throwing stuff away!

I am spending some time in my study today with a black bin bag, a clear bin bag (paper etc for recycling) and a bag for the charity shop. I had a revelation when reading the tidying up book. In theory i might need bank statements, utilities bills etc but in real life I never look at them after I have checked them. They have served their purpose before they ever get filed. And so today

  • Un-filing a load of paperwork etc in my study
  • Fill garden waste bin with bits of tree from last weeks tree felling.
  • Dinner is already cooked and just needs re-heating.
  • Last bit of laundry
  • Talk eldest son into a bit of meaningful mucking out as well.
  • Cats to vet to check on wounds.

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