Friday, January 27, 2012

That Was The Week

Some things I have been doing this week;

Knitting a dishcloth for my Dad. I am sure you think that knitting dishcloths is very sad, when you can buy them cheaper, but that is not the point. They are far superior, the knobbly texture more useful, last for ages and can be washed in the washing machine (mine have been going for YEARS) and you can have them in all the colours of the rainbow. Take a look at these beauties here  , or pop over to the Dishcloth Boutique where they have lot of patterns.

Meeting up with Gail. We've have known each other since our children were little and moved up North in 2010 and just comes back a couple of times a year for a visit so it was lovely to see her! We went to Hornchurch for a wander around the charity shops, and then out for dinner. In the shops I got a brooch and two lovely coasters with roses on, which will go nicely on our bedside tables, they will fit in nicely with the kind of country look I am planning for our bedroom revamp in April. The brooch will end up on my coat, or on one of my many scarves and pashminas. I do love accessories!

Ordering some more of these shoes.  I don't know if I have weird shaped feet or what, but every pair of shoes I have hurt my feet. I am ok with flat boots, and with some sandals, but shoes are just awful, even simple shoes without a heel like ballet flats. Within an hour I am in agony. the Prof has been telling me for ages to stop looking for bargains and to just spend a decent amount of money on a pair and a few weeks ago, I did just that. On a trip to Canterbury we came across the shoe shop Hotter and I bought those lovely shoes. They are wonderful, I have never had a pair so comfortable. This week I ordered two more pairs from their website. 

Going to a new craft group. Eight of us are meeting fortnightly at someone's house, to work on individual or group projects, have a cuppa and a chat. It's an offshoot group of the WI I go to, so I know most of the women slightly already, and it's so nice to get together and see what everyone is working on, and exchange ideas. I was sewing the ends in on a striped dishcloth this week and they were very taken with it! (See!). Some of them wondering about knitting them to sell at fetes in the summer, but I am not sure how cost-effective it would be, unless I can find a very low-priced supply of coloured 100% cotton yarn. I usually buy mine on ebay and it's not cheap. Anyone know where it can be bought cheaply? 

So, that was my week. What have you been up to in these grim, grey January days?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Not Going Shopping

I don't much like grocery shopping. That is, I enjoy wandering around Waitrose or Marks and Spencer picking up the odd thing, but I really don't enjoy the weekly trawl around Asda/Sainsbury for a trolley load. I sometimes order online, but I have not been impressed with the state of some of the things I have had delivered. So I have a new system at the moment, and we'll see how it goes. 

Yesterday I did a big online shop from Sainsbury. I spent over £100, so delivery was free (saving £5.99) and I had a coupon for £10 off a £100 shop. I ordered a month's worth of paper products, dog food, and lots of store cupboard essentials and tinned stuff. 

We have started having an organic veg box delivered. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced the goods are, and that the company sell all sorts of other items, not just fruit and vegetables. Last week I ordered a salad box in addition to a medium veg box, some mince, sausages, steak and fish, and a few Ecover laundry and cleaning products which were on special offer. 

Our next delivery is due tomorrow. I have decided against the salad box this time, so opting just for the veg. In addition I have ordered a some fruit, chicken, some lamb, sausages and mince. In this way I am hoping to avoid major supermarket trips, though we will probably fill in around the edges from time to time.  

It's been fun thinking of ways to use the various things in the veg box. With our first delivery we got a free cookbook, so that has helped with ideas. At the weekend I roasted chicory, onions and apple in a little balsamic vinegar and sugar, to go with the sausages and mashed potatoes we were having for dinner. It's the first time I have ever had chicory, and I found it a little bitter, but the balsamic vinegar and sugar helped. I will share a recipe here from time to time when I come up with something tasty.  

I have to admit, though, the artichokes are still looking sideways at me with their little alien faces this morning. I will let you know when I have decided what to do with them...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Now

Current time: Monday evening, 9.40pm

In my glass: Hot chocolate: Put 5 spoonsful of Galaxy hot chocolate powder chocolate powder (says 4 on the jar) into a large mug. Add a slug of milk. Whip up with the battery operated whipping-up thing. Add hot water to about an inch from the top of the mug, and balance as many marshmallows as you can on the top (4 easily, 5 if you are determined enough). Wait 5 minutes or so before drinking, to let the marshmallows go all nice and melty.

In my belly: Spinach and ricotta stuffed pasta, piccolo tomatoes, courgette and avocado.
In my ears: This afternoon I had a gorgeous bubble bath and listened to the soundtrack to the Princess Bride, a lovely CD which I have coveted for a long time.

Out the window: Dark and very cold. I think it's due to be -5 tonight. 

On the editor: Hot air balloon photos from the weekend.

Last watched:  Call the Midwife, a new series which started yesterday. I loved it, and there's a book, too! 

Feeling good about: Meeting up with my Mum tomorrow. We've not seen each other for a couple of weeks so it will be nice to catch up. We are off to buy material for tea towels. My latest project is learning how to use a sewing machine, so I thought I'd make some tea towels for practise. I am also hoping to pick up some new cushions to go inside our covers, and we will no doubt have lunch or a little cake and a cup of tea. 

Feeling bad about: Terrible things in the news lately. Recently I have seen the news several times, when to be honest I don't usually watch it. Some really tragic things have happened in the last week or so, and my heart goes out to the people involved. 

By my bedside: The Artist's Way, which I am working through with a group of online friends at the moment and Before I Go To Sleep by S J Watson, which is about a woman who wakes up every morning with no memories. It's quite intriguing so far. I suspect foul play...

Making me think: In April we are going to decorate our bedroom. We have a royal blue carpet which has to stay, but other than that we have free rein, so I am currently trying to put together some ideas. Sounds like a good excuse to spend some time on Pinterest.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

tight in the bud

I am having trouble getting into 2012, somehow. It seems as if fun and laughter, joy and happiness have been packed away with the baubles and the tinsel.  Those warm cosy days that we enjoyed between Christmas and the New Year Year have dwindled away and here we are, left with exhaustion and sick husbands and sons, and this endless English gloom of grey skies and chilly winds.  At least the bulbs are coming up in their pots in my little garden, I planted daffodils and hyacinths in the autumn and it's cheery to see the little green shoots starting to make their way out of the earth. The little rose on the back doorstep has been in bud for several weeks – two little buds have remained tightly furled for so long, I guess they will stay that way until we get a warm sunny day, whenever that may be. Maybe I will too. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

44 Things

Last year just after my birthday I wrote a list of 43 things I wanted to do while I was 43. At the end of the year, I looked back at the list to see how much I had achieved. I enjoyed having the list last year, it was fun. Some of the items got done, or partially done, some I didn't get around to and others just fell by the wayside as I changed my mind about wanting to do them.

My birthday came around again on January 1st, and this is my 44 things list. I try to keep the items to things I am reasonably interested in doing, I like it to be a fun exercise. This is why the list doesn't include 'clean the oven' or 'wash the windows', despite the fact that those things need doing! I  plan to get to them, but they are not included in my 44.

44 things to do while I am 44
  1. Write a small stone every day in January
  2. Take the  Blogging from the Heart e-course
  3. Take the Photo Meditations e-course
  4. Learn to crochet. I tried and failed years ago, then again last year. Third time lucky?
  5. Become healthier. I won't bore you or myself with the details here, but I have a plan involving poundage to lose, exercise to enjoy force myself into, sleep to get proper amounts of and fresh air to breathe occasionally. Starting when the Christmas goodies are gone...
  6. Write more letters
  7. Work on the To Be read pile, actually more of a small bookcase than a pile
  8. Fill my moleskin sketchbook with drawings
  9. Write. I find so many excuses not to. As a start I am working my way through 'Old Friend from Far Away', by Natalie Goldberg, one of my birthday presents. 
  10. Learn more about my fabulous new camera
  11. Choose and print our wedding photos, put in albums/frame
  12. Organise all my old photos into albums
  13. Organise all my digital photographs, print some and put in albums
  14. Learn how to back up the computer and do it regularly (I know)
  15. Paint the garden bench again
  16. Paint the doorsteps
  17. Make a birthday cake, in fact, bake in general. I don't know why I never have, really, as I enjoy cooking. This may be incompatible with aspects of number 5, we will see how it goes! 
  18. Renew my passport
  19. Go out with the Prof for proper London pie, mash and liquor
  20. Grow sweet peas from seed
  21. Grow vegetables
  22. Keep a list of all the books I read this year
  23. Make some presents
  24. Keep a record of what meals we have and new recipes we try, for inspiration when it’s lacking
  25. Declutter every room in the house
  26. Declutter the loft and the shed
  27. Sell some unwanted things on ebay
  28. Have a boot sale
  29. Put the proceeds aside for a few days away
  30. Learn how to put eyeliner on
  31. Go to London more.
  32. Visit Kew Gardens
  33. Go on a London Walk
  34. Go on a picnic
  35. Go out for a drive through Kent to see the bluebells
  36. Visit this restaurant again
  37. Establish a routine for dealing with house stuff and prevent me from getting overwhelmed
  38. Create a comfort drawer
  39. Visit the Isle of Wight
  40. Streamline wardrobe, work out what I need to fill gaps and get those items
  41. Buy some dresses and skirts
  42. Grow my hair colour out (hello grey!) Not quite sure I have the courage, we will see
  43. Find and buy some non-stretch jeans if any still exist in the world in my size
  44. Personalise our 3 new red felt Christmas stockings BEFORE next year’s Christmas frenzy

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Fame at last

I have never had a blog post written about me, unless it has been me writing it, so imagine my delight to find today that the Laughing Housewife herself, our very own Tilly Bud, blogger, poet and the woman who singlehandedly keeps the Malteser factory in business, wrote a post and a poem for me, to mark my birthday on 1st January.

If you would like Tilly to write a post for your birthday, details are here.

Reality returns...

This morning the Prof went back to work. It's been a lovely, relaxing week or so and I am faced now with the messy house, Christmas decorations and tree to take down, a veritable Mount Washmore of laundry and a list of 2012 plans as long as my arm, scribbled on bits of paper and word documents, or buzzing around in my head. I have a plan, and I am taking it slowly. In the meantime, this song is in my head today.