Friday, January 16, 2015

knit, purl, sneeze

I'm knitting a cowl for myself. I knitted it flat as I wasn't sure about the length I wanted and I'm still not, so I've stopped while I decide whether to sew the ends together now or knit more so I can wear it doubled. While I'm thinking, I've cast on a Chinese waves dishcloth (ravelry link) for my friend Lisa. I promised her dishcloths a while ago, and I'm seeing her Tuesday so I'd like to give them to her.

I'm reading Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie, the first of the books on which the series Grantchester is based. I'm enjoying it very much, and as I've already seen the first series I know what the characters look and sound like, which is nice. I don't like it the other way around, when I read a book then see the programme or film and all the characters seem wrong. I'm also reading Dave Ramsay's Total Money Makeover which I am enjoying less. I get stuck on his suggestion of saving three to six months's expenses before doing anything else. That's all very well, but we need to be saving for a car . While spending months or years getting that sort of money together together the bottom would likely fall out of our old car and we'd be running around like the Flintstones.

I have a cold so I'm not up to doing much today. I'll be writing a menu plan for the next week or so and a shopping list for the Prof to pick up on his way home from work. I think I'll do some knitting and sewing and watch the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.

Joining Ginny and friends for Yarn Along

Monday, January 12, 2015

that was the weekend

Hahn/Cock, by Katharina Fritsch, I love the madness of this in Trafalgar Square among all the grey London  buildings

Most weekends I try to have a mix of getting things done and having fun. This one was more fun and less doing the necessary. The housework didn't happen, but these things did:

:: I went to a cafe for breakfast with the Prof, the young Philosopher and Ms S

:: I made delicious soup for dinner, twice

:: I spent an afternoon in London with the Prof, visiting the (excellent) Rembrandt exhibition

:: I wore my new all-black Converse, which made me happy. It's the little things!

:: I made a decision to wear my 'best' coat whenever I feel like it. How daft is it to have a coat I love that's only been worn twice in the 18 months since I bought it?   
:: I knitted some more of my blue/green cowl 

:: I took lots of photos. Half the fun was carrying my camera around in my new mint Jo Totes Gracie camera bag, which is exactly the kind of handbag I like. Roomy, long strap, room for camera, book, notepad as well as purse, keys etc. I love it! 

It was a good weekend, except that my poor Prof has a cold. I'm hoping he feels better soon (also that I don't catch it!). 

Weekending with Karen at Pumpkin Sunrise and others

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

Today we visited the Rembrandt exhibition at the National Gallery. When we came out there was a large gathering of people in Trafalgar Square, demonstrating unity with the people who were murdered in France last week. There was a quiet, subdued atmosphere and many held up banners or mobile phones displaying the words 'Je Suis Charlie'. Some people held up pens or notebooks. The Prof left his pen with other tributes there and we stayed for a while before making our way home. We didn't know beforehand that this was happening today, but I'm glad we were there.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

It All Adds Up

Is it Spring yet? 

When I took down the Christmas cards, as usual I cut up any that were suitable to use as tags on presents next Christmas. This isn't very money saving, as tags are cheap, but I like to do it. It's nice to get another use from the cards and I like that they are all different, rather than the usual packet of tags. I've taken my birthday cards down today and will do the same with those.

Both EDF (our current electricity and gas supplier) and the MSE Energy club alerted me that I could save by switching. There were various options, including switching to another company to save £117 a year, but I chose to switch to another EDF tariff, as we are happy with their service, and the new company also had a £30 charge if you switch away from them within a year, which I never like.  We will save £60 over the year.

I cancelled my subscription to Country Living magazine. It expires in March and would be £30 for the next year. I'm not enjoying it like I used to and often find that two or three months of the magazine have piled up unread. 

I signed up to Abel and Cole's weekly vegetable delivery box scheme again, after receiving several vouchers from them that I can use over the coming weeks. In my first delivery I received a free tea towel and a bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil. In the coming weeks there are money off vouchers I can use, and a completely free veg box on the fourth week. 

How I didn't save money this week was by forgetting to go through a cashback site when I ordered myself some new clothes. That's £13 I could have made and didn't. I'm annoyed that I forgot, but pleased with the savings I did make this week. Over the next few weeks I'm planning to see where we can save in different areas. It's surprising the little changes that can make a difference, such as changing energy supplier or broadband provider (that's next on my list). 

I'm also hoping to reduce our grocery bill by about a third to a half without compromising on free range/organic meat as much as possible and probably continuing to receive our weekly organic vegetable box. Now there's a challenge. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

A New Year

My forsythia is in bud, I noticed the other day. I'm looking forward to it looking like this again very soon. 
Well, hello. It's been (cough cough) months since I wrote anything here and the longer I didn't, the less I seemed to have to say. Yet here I am, back. How are you?

So, what's new. The Prof has a new job that he started just before Christmas. He likes it much better than the last. The Young Philosopher started a degree in Anthropology and is thoroughly enjoying it (maybe I should change his pseudonym) and his lovely girlfriend S has been in a new job for a couple of months which she is enjoying, too. I am very happy that they're all happy.

And me? I feel like my New Year is off to a slow start. I have a list of to-dos in my head that's nine feet long, and somehow I spend time crossing things off but the list doesn't get any shorter. I was making plans for what I wanted to accomplish this year but then I got fed up because that  seemed like another lot of pressure so I stopped. I'll probably go back to it in the next weeks. I've been bullet journaling in the last few months, which helps me stay (semi) organised. It stops the noise in my head from completely overwhelming me at least, and I no longer lose my lists, because well, my moleskin bullet journal is a lot bigger than a scrap of paper. And it's pink.

I've been knitting and reading, but neither very much. I made a cowl for the Young Philosopher which he really likes, and as usual I forgot to take a photograph. I'll try and remember to get one. Now I'm knitting the same pattern for myself, and I've had a couple of request for dishcloths, so I'm working on those in between times. I've several unfinished projects I want to complete too, if only to get them off the to-do list! I read a good book recently - Elizabeth is Missing, by Emma Healey. The story is written in the voice of Maud, an elderly woman with dementia, and her narrative goes back and forth between the present day and her youth, when her sister disappeared. I found it intriguing, sad and gently funny.

I'm glad I came back here, though I'm probably talking to myself. I expect you have given up on me! If you're reading - hello, and Happy New Year. I'll see you in a day or two.