Friday, 29 November 2013
I used to be a Christmas avoider but truth be told it's a social convention, it means more to my family and friends to celebrate it than it does to me to not do so, so I embrace it. The axis of the Earth doesn't pass directly through me and what makes the people I like happy makes me happy. In that vein unless it's requested I don't make gifts. I make stuff all the time so it's not special to give someone a gift I've made. It feels like I've gone to no effort, if I make something someone would like I'll give it to them when it's done, why wait for Christmas? The people I know aren't into whimsical and homespun so it would be a bit arrogant of me to force things I like on to them, it's Christmas not a lifestyle lecture.
There are things I don't enjoy, but not many. My family love Christmas, Father doesn't like Christmas cards but he does like playing with Lego so the cards are a small price to pay. There's nothing subtle or subdued, no thinking about portion sizes or the fact that it's "just a day". They go for it and I like that. It's living in the now and for that time.
So, to the budget. We don't buy many gifts, where we can we spend the cash on meeting up with people rather than buying gifts. We don't live near any of our friends so a night out or even a quick pint is the best thing. For everyone else we have a budget of £5 - £30 per person, I think we buy gifts for eight people, this year we have a new person to add to the list, my niece. Dan and I bought each other gifts for the first time last year, the gifts were so amazing we're not doing it again this year, we have other traditions we'd rather maintain. We are going gift shopping next week, one day to get all the gifts then it's done, a power shop with plenty of time to stop for coffee which makes it far more enjoyable. It's a bit hectic, pretty messy, reasonably noisy, very glittery but pretty much all fun, just the way I like it.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
In probably positive news the ribbon wreath is finished. It has been roundly decided it looks like the work of an addled mind, it's going on the door anyway! I'll share a picture if the sun ever comes out. I went to thevtown yesterday and ended up watchingba parade. The local regiment has just returned from Afghanistan so people lined the streets and waved flags. My favourite part was the military band playing Sweet Caroline. The Unique Lancashire shop was offering chorley cakes, red rose cupcakes and hotpot free of charge in honour of Lancashire day, yummy.
The master shopping list is ready to no. Sadly for my £90 budget we need some of the big stuff - rabbit food, litter, some toiletries etc. So some bits and bobs have had to be knocked on the head. I'll be making shortcrust pastry instead of buying puff. We'll be scoffing chocolates when we go visiting rather than at home and it,s looking like leftovers soup rather than the slightly more flash affair we were planning.
So the rest of the shopping list is -
Seems basic but I know there will be more than enough treats to be had. Anyway I had to buy a size 12 skirt the other day so it'll do me no harm, ha!
I don't know if I've mentioned how much I dislike using a tablet, but I do.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
The phrase "stash and dash" was created to describe what happened in the garage. A box containing one sponge and a plant pot. A whole shelf taken up with four cork tiles and a cut off of wallpaper and lots of stuff on the floor because there was no space on the shelves. At the minute the garage looks great but the living room is full of spanners. This morning I've emptied three boxes and the toolbox. The toolbox will be returning to its original use as my quilting toolbox and the other boxes will just be empty. This, of course means I have to deal with my quilting stuff, the thought of which makes me happy and scared in equal measure, good job I have the time.
There has also been time for writing the budget, master shoppimg list, sorting the junk drawer, having a ruthless declutter of my wardrobe, dealing with my cookbooks, cuddling bunnies, exfoliation, rearranging the DVDs and even ironing. being laptop free is almost ideal.
I detest typing on this tablet, apologies for any typos I've missed but I've already been at this for over an hour. A keyboard is right at the top of my Christmas list.
Monday, 25 November 2013
Is it 4? I feel relieved now I've blown the budget.
On Thursday after my wig chop I spent £8.82 on boring things like broccoli for the buns and lunch stuff for myself. So there we have it. I don't think we'll need anything else this week so the grand total for the month is £96.61.
I have other things to report, life audit and capsule wardrobe related but I'm typing this on a tablet and I think I may well become violent if I don't escape from it's horrible vibrating area soon.
Weekends and frosty days are the best, losing the World Cup semi final in the last 20 seconds is the worst. Our house was silent for a full half hour after the game. I confess I did cry, but then, as ever, Fiji brought me round. Fiji were more than well beaten by Australia in the other semi but their amazing humility and thankfulness knocks me off my feet every time.
Friday, 22 November 2013
There's a problem with the early evening economy isn't there? Things shut at 5 or 5.30, evening stuff starts at 7.30. Other than the cinema, eating or drinking there's not a lot to do when you're out and about. It's the end of the free stuff.
It's been a big week for me. Not so much in the things that I've done, for most people it would have been a normal week. In my brain things are becoming clearer about how I want to shape my future. Things that have helped clarify things for me this week -
1. Being bothered enough about something to get to Manchester by car.
2. Seeing my favourite band for the first and probably only time.
3. Working at the charity shop.
4. Dealing with people.
5. Going to the hair salon (I believe that's what hairdressers shops are called these days).
Some aspects of this week have been very very very splendid and some have displeased me. But even the displeasure has lead to good things. It's made me want to pile money into the freedom fund, it's made me very happy with my life and friends and it's given me lots of ideas for things to create. Not quite sure how the last thing happened but there you go. All that to say what was the current quilt is almost certainly about to become the next quilt and what was going to become the next quilt will be the current one. Phew, that made things clearer.
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
On this plan the very simple meals are generally following a night out, when we have a nothingy day planned or something like that. There's no point planning for something exciting when I know it's just not going to happen. Anyway, we'll be having enough big meals around Christmas to make the simple things more than welcome.
1. jacket potatoes with baked beans *yum*
2. singapore noodles
3. lentil and garlic stew w. chilli bread
4. chestnut pie
7. out (but I must make pasties to take with us)
8. pasta bake
10 spicy rice with wraps (aka leftovers)
12 thai green curry
14 out (we think)
15 winter warmer cobbler
17 lentil bol
18 mustardy butterbean and lentil stew
19 chickpeas with rosemary
20 curry w. baked onion bhajis
22 falafel toasties
23 thai green curry
25 nut roast and all that
27 soup and sandwich
28 stirfry/ leftovers
29 thanksgiving pot pie
30 roast veg pasta
31 mixed bean chilli
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Luckily I was on my best behaviour so I smiled and nodded instead of responding in the way I would have liked...
Why be rude? What benefit does that bring to someone's world? Thankfully I'm not easily upset so being told I sound boring made me laugh rather than cry. Maybe I am boring but at least I'm not a nasty gossipy rude snob*.
*actually I might be some of those things when provoked.
Monday, 18 November 2013
Yesterday we were part of the most amazing thing I've experienced at a sporting event. We went to the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington for the quarter final of RLWC 2013, Fiji v Samoa. At the end of the game thousands of spectators remained behind to applaud the players, especially as Samoa had been based in Warrington for the tournament.
We waited, clapping and cheering as both teams formed a huddle in the centre of the pitch. As the tv camera focused in on one of the players it became obvious that they were praying. The crowd fell silent, seriously you could have heard a pin drop. It was an amazingly beautiful moment and everyone was clearly taken aback by it. When the prayer was over the teams broke away for their lap of honour and we brought the noise.
It was one of those moments that words can't really describe but I am so happy to have been there to be part of it.
*Spelly is a Rugby League superfan who although he's a Swinton supporter has a soft spot for Widnes.
Saturday, 16 November 2013
where am I? up a ladder
what's the sky like? grey
what am I wearing? purple, purple and more purple
what's motivating me? curtains, tea, hail, shopping lists
where am I? at home
what's the sky like? grey
what am I wearing? purple, purple and more purple
what's motivating me? not much, nothing of note is happening today, nothing, nothing, nothing at all in the slightest, even the buns are still.
where am I? in the pantry
what's the sky like? dark grey
what am I wearing? purple, purple and more purple plus slippers
what's motivating me? fajitas, dancing
Thursday, 14 November 2013
Cosiness has turned into laziness and more than slight scruffiness at times. On Tuesday I started thinking about changes, yesterday I started putting the thoughts into actions. I'm glad I chose yesterday as today there's lots of hailstones flying about, not my favourite type of weather to be out and about it.
Nothing huge happened yesterday, I just had the kind of day I thought I'd have when we moved here. I still call this our new house when we'll have lived here for four years in the spring. I hadn't walked on our beach since September when I thought I'd do that every day. But when we first moved here I hadn't taken into account, serious illness, the cuts, constant fear of job loss, money stuff and general stuff getting in the way of my dream life.
So I went to the beach and petted some dogs. Then I went to the library and took out two fiction books, I rarely read fiction unless it's about Moomins. I think the last fiction book I read was "The Night Circus" and that was last year maybe or the year before. Probably last year. Then I decided to take a slightly different route home, only one street across from the usual but I found myself looking into the charity shop window then wandering in to volunteer. My taster session is next Tuesday afternoon. Finally I put aside all my usual worries about sweatshops and things and went into New Look, and it was not all that bad. I then had an annoying experience with a self service checkout when I went to get some milk but that's par for the course I believe.
I've been through my wardrobe and dealt with all that stuff and I'm now writing a list of 10 items for a new capsule wardrobe - everything will be grey. I'm even toying with the idea of buying a lipstick, that's how deep this goes! And I've done some exercise and eaten healthily every day. This little folly will be funded by the M&S giftcard I receive every year from FIL and any other money I receive for the festive and birthday times which are only two weeks apart.
So now you know.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Monday, 11 November 2013
If the first week of RLWC 2013 was all about aniticpation, excitement, tradition and emotion then week two was all about fun. Well, almost all. The very sad news came to us on Saturday that former player Steve Prescott MBE had died. Steve Prescott was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei, a rare form of cancer, in 2006 and was given only months to live. Since then The Steve Prescott Foundation has raised nearly £500,000 for charity and he has been an inspiration to everyone who loves the game.
We clocked up some new grounds this week, Leigh and Salford and finished the week with a trip to one of Dan's favourite grounds, The Shay, Halifax for the group decider between Tonga and Italy. A win for Tonga meant, although they were going home, Scotland would make it through to the quarter finals at the expense of Italy.
We have also been clocking up a number of gold post boxes, all by accident and all very welcome. Last Saturday we saw the one for Ed Clancy for his gold medal in the team pursuit. On Tuesday night in Leigh we passed the one for Heather Frederiksen, 100m backstroke paralympic champion and yesterday in Halifax we saw the one for Hannah Cockroft's win in the T34 100m.
Back to the games. We watched Tonga twice this week, on Tuesday we were lucky enough to be sat near the Tonga fans which made for a great atmosphere. There was also a small amount of celebrity spotting. Thursday we went to The Trafford Centre (I know I said I never wanted to go again after being there for 8 hours last month) but we went for some food and enjoyed a gospel choir as it was the festive lights switch on. Despite claims it was a 25 minute trek to the ground (it wasn't) we got there pretty quickly and I got to cuddle Tommy the Eagle, the USA mascot. Dan shook hands with the official Mascot of the World Cup - Grubber which is a weird kind of bear thing but great fun anyway. Weird thing about Salford's ground, the toilets have no roof, very old school!
The place to beat for atmosphere is going to be The Shay. It gets top makes from us, we went into the bar, there before us was a nice Vegan IPA, don't mind if I do. The ladies toilets are a joy (remind me to share a picture of the main door). We stood with some local wags who had all the songs, all the time which was brilliant. And to top it all off Scotland qualify, Fuifui MoiMoi was named man of the match - it was a crowd pleaser, he's a great player, big hitter, great name, good head of hair. I am really sad that Tonga won't be going further in the competition but other than Wales and France I think I'd say that about any team as they've all been a great source of entertainment.
So we've attended 7 of the 10 games we're going to, that's just over a third of the games. Time is flying by but we've had a ball so far. I'm working on Dan to see if we might squeeze in the quarter final New Zealand v Scotland in Leeds on Friday. It's not going to be pretty for Scotland but you don't just follow a team when you know they're going to win do you?
Thursday, 7 November 2013
where am I? in bed
what am I wearing? green t shirt, floral pyjamas
what's the sky like? not visible
what's motivating me? braving the chill, tea
where am I? homewares shop
what am I wearing? pink pumps, pink trousers, silver jumper
what's the sky like? dark grey
what's motivating me? a heath robinson door curtain pole solution
where am I? at home
what am I wearing? big grey jumper, slouchy trousers
what's the sky like? grey and cloudy
what's motivating me? Christmas to-do list, kriek, sweeping up, cute bunnies
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
So I ended up spending £11.54 on apples, a cauliflower, peppers, loads of mushrooms, leeks, broccoli, something else and a few bits and bobs from the bread shop. It was amazing *yum*. This afternoon I made curry, lentil bol and a shepherdess pie as we didn't have it at the end of last month. Cooking done for the next few days. Happy happy me.
Monday, 4 November 2013
Friday, 1 November 2013
We also had to leg it out of one of the exhibitions as the doors were being locked and no-one had told us! We were in a little room and obviously no-one checked to see if we were there. It was only when the lights went out we thought we better make a dash for it. We ran past a very confused looking man with a big set of keys and legged it down the stairs to the safety of the room with all the Moomins.
Anyway. We went shopping today. I grabbed the deals I was after £6 for 6 boxes of cereal, 4 cartons of passata 46p each, some baked beans were on offer and some of the normal tinned beans were a few pence cheaper too. We also got some reduced cauldron sausages, some cheap bagels and as we didn't cook anything for tea last night the ingredients for tea tomorrow have been knocked on the head as we'll be eating leftovers when we get home from Huddersfield.
So far we've spent £35.13/£90 which leaves fifty odd quid for the rest of the month but all we need to buy is fresh stuff, the pantry is packed.