Saturday, 28 February 2015

Tigger!



I know everytime I say I feel better I immediately take a turn for the worst but I thought I would chance it again! Cough gone, chest infection almost gone (i can walk up stairs without needing to stop for a rest), minimal sneezing, aches and  pains evaporating, fever is gone. I feel about 15 years younger, seriously. In fact I suspect I might be somewhat annoying as I bounce about like, well, you know who.

Already part way through my list


  • Grocery shopping (done)
  • Laundry and sorting (90% done)
  • Pop into town to buy hair dye, pharmacuticals and fabric dye (done)
  • Smarten up and clean sitting room (1/2 done)
  • Sweep right through all rooms
  • Lunch prepared
  • Bank reconciled (done)
  • Having a bit of a sort out in sons bedroom (started)
  • Might even get as far as sorting the larder and cupbaords
  • Dyeing dingy white skirt and top which look a bit tired.
  • Cleaned bathroom (done)
Also I plenty of time to do it. The other half went to work at 8am. Finishing at six pm but his voluntary job starts in the same place at seven so he is going straight there. So I will take him down a lunch and spend some time with him at 2 but other wise I have no excuse not to beaver away.

Boingy boingy

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

People like us

I had a lovely day on Monday with my best friend. She lives on the isle of wight, just about 20 miles away but because I have to travel by boat to get there it takes about 2 hours.

In some ways we are very not alike, she is quieter than me, more musical and better at growing vegetables! I qualified as an accountant and she as a radiographer. In other ways we are so similar. We have been mates for 40 years and sometimes we are apart, when living overseas or something, for years until we live close enough for visits again. Even after a couple of years it is easy companionship when we meet up.

So anyway you might think we wouldn't have anything in common by now. Couldn't be any further from the truth. We like homemade. We like creative. We like no waste. We are frugal because we understand that from frugality comes freedom.

So anyways we had a lovely day.

  • We made homemade lemoncello
  • We planned sweet-making for next time for the nurses at the are home where her mama lives
  • We sampled homemade sloe gin from 2012 (wow!)
  • Had homemade cheesy bread and homemade soup for lunch
  • Back to the kitchen for some homemade arancello.
  • Homemade blackberry crumble & custard - from frozen blackberrys which her husband picked when working away in Bristol last summer. See total hardcore!!!
  • Heating was from a wood-burner and scavenged wood. Dave brings unwanted wood home from his job at Rolls Royce.
  • Eves mum even gave me a book she has finished reading when we visited her at the home.
Isn't my Lemoncello looking good? Might be someone's Christmas gift



Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sub contracting..............

We always do everything ourselves in the house. Plumbing, sewing, roof fixing, everything. We even did our own electrics but did have a qualified electrician check and certify them all afterwards.

But I have had a dawning realization. It might be okay to pay someone else to do the less fun things. I have two such things up my sleeve at the moment


  • Replace upstairs bath, basin, bath side. Finish
  • Clear the front garden of concrete etc and trim the trees.

I have completely gone down the route yet but am pricing up the options. The kids are not normally here now and the old fella cant do it all alone.

Then it reminded me of something else I wanted to outsource.

  • My cleaning routine!
I forgot all about organizing someone to regularly come and give us a clean. I think the guy and I worked out that someone could clean the place weekly for roughly 40 minutes of my salaried time. I am dreadful at cleaning, it just doesn't look better when I have finished.

I am not yet 100% comfortable with spending my hard earned cash on something which I can do, even if i don't do it as well, but I am edging towards it. I think I might have suddenly reached the age where I want to do the things I like. And why not, life is not infinite.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Wel that didnt last long

So after my super active weekend last week I had a reasonably busy working week, which is fine. And then I came down sick again. What is going on. Every time I think I am better then it starts again.. The muscles in my body (as opposed to arms and legs) are aching and feel pulled. I had to sort of cuddle my midriff to cough by the end of the week. So I finally listened to my mama and at the weekend I did nothing more strenuous than cook a few pancakes.

Saturday:
Swept floor, loaded washing machine, made a roll for Faheds lunch.
No de-cluttering, no proper cooking, no trip to the Indian restaurant in the evening

Sunday
A lot of lounging around drinking coffee or tea and chatting, some TV, some pancakes.

And now?  Still coughing a little and then odd sneeze but I feel like I might be alive!

Home straight, definitely home straight

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Sunday = Officially now our doing day (until summer at least)

We totally got into house/garden maintenance this Sunday


  • Sliced up a big tree in the front garden and separated from from wood. Wood is for the chimenea in the back garden when we are eating outside. Green goes in my garden bin, should take about six weeks for all of it to go!
  • Fixed and replaced the airbrick in the front wall.
  • Demolished a tree base and root in next doors garden. We did it because the tree blocks our windows and makes downstairs quite dark. They are also happy.
  • Up on the shed roof for re-sealing all of the screws with black outdoor silicone
  • Fahed fixed his huge glass shed door, now it opens and shuts properly and stays shut when required.
  • Dye my boots black as I am never going to wear brown boots. They look very nice
  • Cooked a lovely meal of chicken soup and burghal, the ast of which we had for our dinner tonight.
  • Hemmed the arms and legs on two karate gi's
Not so bad I think 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

We are all KonMari-ing now

I found this amazing bonkers book called ' The life changing power of tidying' through reading Moyras blog at 'Get Stuff Done' and now the brilliant Elaine at Mortgage Free in Three is also joining the club. She has loads of readers so we are slowly taking over the world and free people from their materials shackles.

I would just like to show you my drawers!

Work clothes and non work clothes

Then my actual drawers, which I have fitted new knobs on (reduced - TKMaxx) as part of my love my house project. And lastly Lorenzo sort of helping mummy to work......




Friday, 6 February 2015

Another week rushes past - towards retirement!

I hope the speed at which life rushes past is an indicator that I am enjoying life. I am but I wouldnt mind if it lasted a while!

And so to further remind me that I am rushing towards old age at a rate of knots my pension statement arrived this week.  My statement tells me how much I would get for my company pension if I left the business now and then retired at 65. It also gives you the amount you can expect if you stay in the current position until 65.  I also emailed the pension company and asked for some idea of what I would get if i left at 60.

Its unlikely to go up any more because I am pretty much at the top of my tree, except for director and that's not for me.  To get a payrise, other than the standard annual little rise which we occasional get, my job would have to change considerably

I haven't decided on when to retire yet but i thought it might be handy to share the process which used to help my decision making.

I took my current monthly budget and removed any payments which I wont have when I retire, like kids mobile phones, mortgage, second car costs.

I created three columns each with the same costs and then subbed in the income figures from:

Retire @ 60 and take full pension
Retire @ 60 and take a lump sum of £100k and reduced pension
Retire @ 60 but this is the amount of state pension and company pension I would get at 67
Retire @ 65 and take full pension
Retire @ 65 and take a lump sum of £100k and reduced pension
Retire @ 65 but this is the amount of state pension and company pension I would get at 67

Oh dear, so many possibilities. My current thought is play it by ear. I can certainly manage at sixty but I am far more in the jam at 65.

Maybe plan some additional income to add into the mix will make it easier.
I also need to remember that I very much like my job, my company is super flexible (so I have a month off at the end of the summer & work from home one day a week) and I work for an organisation that houses people and provides car and support services, so heavy on the feelgood factor. So its not like I am barking on the exit door.

So much to think about but I like it all set out in a spreadsheet

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Yes, still banging on about goals


I cant help it. I am loving it!

Commence legalization of the Crete house - going to take years and cost a ton but if I start it then I will be closer to finishing it - New Greek government (don't believe the rubbish in the papers) looks like they want the rich to start paying some tax and us normals might not have to pay as much - so please keep everything crossed for me. My accountant and surveyor are already sorting this out from my instructions last November

Enjoy my house - Continuing with simplifying and de-cluttering until what is left is all we need. This is really simple but its making so much difference to me - Better and better all the time

Dancing - I love dancing and its good for me. Lets get it onto the calendar - Still poorly but maybe next week or the week after? I have found two regular dance classes to attend locally.

Visit Newcastle - My son is in his second year at Uni and I have been up to visit him and see the place - End of March, all sorted and also a couple of days in Edinburgh

Cats fully trained - Can cats be trained? Well anyway I want them to understand the cat flap, how to sneak through windows, what is and what isn't a litter try and the  sofa is not the place to sharpen your claws. Still scratching and the special one cant handle the cat flap but no little surprises outside of the litter tray - Result!

Car - We are sharing a car. Its okay but not convenient at all. Sort this in the year. We finally found a good car at the right price, after negotiations, so Fahed is now up and running and I have my own car back. Which also means lots more driving for work, which is very helpful when my expenses are paid.

Clear my overdraft - I tend to forget I have an overdraft because it is free but I would be happier without it so every time I get any money (i.e. pay day or expenses day) I plan to reduce it by £100.- So far I have reduced it seven times - totally £350. I didn't even think of this as debt before. Never really noticed it in fact. But now its on its way

Super club - I really fancy the idea of something like a pop up restaurant at our house or somewhere where you are, for one evening, a restaurant. I obviously delegate the cooking to Fahed but all the same, its a goal for me. Ditched this idea. I think i must have read an article that influenced me during goal setting. I might think of replacing it with climbing. Need a few kilo off first though.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

I am pretty much back

The virus which I had since the start of December finally feels like it is ready to move on and let me live alone. None too soon.

And so I know finally feel I can face the stuff I planned to do over the Christmas break.

I am no longer noting down all of my de-cluttering because so much is going that my targets are irrelevant. The thing that made all the difference was when the other household members saw the improvement and joined in. I don't know if de-cluttering is a forever thing or we get there and then start over but i think this year will be the year and then in future its just occasional little flurries of activity.

Having written my goals in my book makes them easier to keep a hold of and I think having them in my mind does make more happen even with my conscious decision. Some have even been achieved already (yes, now I will wrestle my conscience that they were too easy). I have also made some progress with those which are still outstanding.

I had 30 goals on my list, I rather think that as i achieve one I could replace it. I don't want it to feel like I am getting nowhere though, so i have to think some more about that.

All in all I think 2015 will be a pretty good year.


Autumn has arrived

I can tell as we have had rain pretty much non stop for so many days. And its getting colder. Part 1: So obviously thats a great time t...