Saturday, 30 May 2015

Feel Good Friday

I saw this post over on The View from The Tree House and as an irritatingly positive person I immediately wanted to join in!

  • A healthcare professional suggested I get checked for underactive thyroid. Whilst i obviously dont want to be ill I am sort of half hoping she is right as there is a way to manage my physical exhaustion and aching arms.
  • My youngest son hasn't been called away to sea yet, and we have now had him home for 2 months. Its lovely (in a noisy, messy kind of way)
  • My eldest son and his girlfriend have confirmed they will be coming on hols with us this year, as will my parents, my sister and her husband and my best friend. Sadly not all at once as there is not enough room but over the course of our break.
  • My youngest son showed me how to make a sort of face mask from a tshirt which meant that even though I have cut the lawn, I can still breath. Last time it took me four days to feel this good again afterwards!
  • My lovely husband started his second job this week. He is a swimming teacher but a lot of his one to one lessons are for kids with problems such as autism and learning difficulties. Now he will also be working mornings with kids with similar problems. It pays next to nothing but he already does some voluntary work so he is considering this to be an extension of that.
  • Youngest son bought pizza for everyone last night, and used on online voucher which made it about the same price as buying cook your own pizza from Asda, So I get a warm glow of pride from him being and generous but also for his being a bit sensible

I could literally go on for hours about the nice things that we talked about this week but I have housework a-calling. Just a couple more things though:

  • I suddenly realised that I might prefer a house in CRete which was nearer to noise, raki and bouzouki music. I mentioned it and everyone agreed. Now we are thinking to finish our house and rent it out full time, whilst maybe building elsewhere for ourselves. This is a massive revelation for us.
  • Because of this I wondered out loud if anyone would want to stay in my house and now have had four enquiries.
So I have one negative: My tax return is going to get a lot harder in future and I had better start reading up on it shortly!

Monday, 25 May 2015


Do I ever talk about anything else? I can't get rid of the stuff here quick enough. I think I might be a born again minimalist. I own an absolute ton of books but suddenly it seems okay for some of those to go too. Once upon a time I would never have thought it possible. I feel so free as it disappears. The kids are on it now too and the old fella claims to be as well. And if I get stuck then a quick watch of an episode of Hoarders is enough to kick start me again.

I did some weird, but interesting, things this week:

  • Sold a lot of Greek sandals via facebook (not my sandals, I just made contact between sellers and buyers)
  • Made a good start at writing a cookbook for my friend with a restaurant
  • Designed a cover for said cookbook (which is just being poshed up a bit by my sons girlfriend who is a graphic designer)
  • Submitted a dozen ideas for names to a local wine school for a generic name for English sparkling wine (mad but true)
  • Ordered this months meat budget online for the first time. All free range, grass fed etc. Hope it is as good as it sounds.
  • Finally mentioned my Crete house on facebook with a view to maybe renting it out and got two enquiries in first hour. Eek!
Hard to imagine what next week could bring

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Doing stuff!

I have been doing stuff. Honest

Budget stuff

  • Re-worked my budget to allow for small pay rise and decreasing other bills, since we don't have so many people in the house most of the time now
  • I have put in a new category. Liz travel budget. I have been on minimal travel for so long and I really miss it so now I am starting slowly but its time.
  • In the budget also is more saving for work on the other house in September/October
Clutter stuff
  • A whole car boot full went last weekend.
  • Quite a bit in the black bin too as its not worth keeping
More and more goes out the door and its like a weight lifting from my shoulders

This year we finished all the work on the house,  Streamline everything. Then spend more time 'doing things' especially travelling

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar - Update

Look! I did this! From a recipe which i posted a few months back when Fahed changed meds and was suffering severe muscle aches. He also found it stopped him coughing and all sorts. He is fit and well now but I am ready when we are needing it again!

How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple ( a mixture of cooking and eating)
Filtered water
100g cup raw honey or organic cane sugar 
1 wide mouth gallon glass jar 
Cheesecloth or clean tea towel
Wash and chop up enough apples to slightly over half fill the jar.
Wash the apples and coarsely chop into pieces no smaller than 1 inch.  Cores, stems and seeds may be included.
Top up with filtered room temperature water to with a couple of inches from the top
Dissolve the honey or sugar in a little water and stir that it too.
Secure the tea towel/cheese cloth over the mouth of the jar.
Gently mix or shake once or twice a day for a week. Do not refrigerate. Sugar should start to  ferment (unless your kitchen is really cold) and there should be bubbles starting to form.
After one week strain and move to a clean jar/jars to continue.
Cover the jar mouth with a teatowel (secured - we don't want little friends getting in) & leave around for another month at normal room temperature. By then you can expect a small amount of sediment at the bottom and the beginnings of a mother if vinegar on the top! (exciting).
When it tastes right (longer time=stronger taste) then strain and bottle up. Store the bottled vinegar out of direct sunlight. If another mother of vinegar starts to form then just strain and rebottle from time to time.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Saturday again already

How did that happen?

Today I must do housework. Really, really and no excuses.

Clean kitchen and bathrooms
Vacuum right through (yes, even the car if it stops raining long enough)
Steam clean the hard floors
Bag up rest of the kids junk for them to take home/to their room
Food shopping
Fuel shopping

and a few bits of fun stuff:

Bottle up with my lovely olive oil the 12 half bottles of oil which I am going to give away.

I also started up a hidden facebook page showing off the Greek goodies which I thought I could buy and bring home for people. I will get the Greek economy back on its feet! One tablecloth at a time.

I will add the oil photos to this once I have taken some pics.

I have worked out that even by undercutting the professional by 33% I can afford to pay my neighbour 25% more for his oil than he could get on the open market.

This is the herbalist shop near my house in CRete. Maybe Ii could bring home herbs and teas for people. We shall see

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Two steps forward, one step back

I worked form home today, okay and very useful as peaceful but it took me about 30 minutes to get my logins working. Not brilliant but I suppose I got there.

Jamal is pretty much packed ready to go, just waiting for the call, but the house is still very full of his clutter.

Ahdel came over on Sunday to collect a lot of his stuff and sort through it, and again on Monday and yet again today. Got a bit done but not much.

Between the two of them the place looks worse than before we started!!

But I dont give in and am banging the minimalist drum at every opportunity. I think it starts to make a dent in everyone's subconscious if not their conscious mind!

Tidying up can change your life and I think it really can

Monday, 4 May 2015

May Day Bank Holiday

So many holidays at the moment. I love my job but I love it even more when I am not there so much!
So I just took a weeks holidays, came back to 2 days at work and then a 3 day weekend. Then 4 days at work and another 3 day weekend as I use up my flexi day, Then four day and another weeknd. Finally a five day week and then yet another 3 day weekend. Feels like a constant holiday!

Today Fahed is going to a wedding in Jordan, he is already in Jordan visiting his sisters obviously, he isn't just off to Amman for the day. I hope it all goes well. So far he says Jordan is peaceful as long as you stay away from the border, and I make sure he does stay away from the border.

For the rest of us I will have both boys at home today sorting out their clutter in my conservatory. I call it a conservatory but really its just a massive L shaped room which wraps the house. Between them there is a lot of stuff to go and by the end I have some useable space. I need to buy a sofabed so that we have somewhere for Ahdel & Becky to stay when they are over. Last night they wanted to stay but sofas were not so appealing.

So fingers crossed that by the end of today we have a little normality appearing.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

International Naked Gardening Day

Pretty sure this wont be happening in Allbrook.
Firstly everyone seems to be fully dressed at all time.
Secondly its much colder than it was a few weeks back.
Thirdly and most importantly I have seen Game of Thrones and know that most people way better with their clothes on. Waaaay better.

And so......

I am home alone for a few days, which is very weird for me, but its quite nice to be able to do anything I want. :)

However I am who I am so my list doesn't vary too much from your average Saturday, except I dont take a picnic lunch to Fahed mid afternoon.

Eyes, down, look in:

  • Rip a load of cd's to add more songs to my Itunes/Iphone
  • Sort out a little travel bag for iphone accessories (mains charge, car charger, ear phones etc_ as they all keep wandering in all directions.
  • Sort out the 'lunch box' compartment in the larder. So many lids, so few boxes!
  • Sort out at least one box of stuff for charity
  • Complete and put away all laundry
  • Thorough tidy room by room (it is mostly de-cluttered now - we are just dealing with the Jamal effect, with his possessions pretty much everywhere

I have also ordered a dozen half sized wine bottles to give away some of my previous olive oil, with a view to everyone loving it and coming back for more :)

Lastly I am pulling together a cook book for friends in Crete to sell to their customers. They are trying to raise some money to renovate some property they own, as a pension scheme, Customers are always saying they should have a cook book, so we try and see what we can do. This is the indoors from when they opened in 2010

And the outdoors

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