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Showing posts from January, 2018

In Print

Most of my birthday gifts come in the form of cash these days, and I tend to use it to buy useful things, replacing items of clothing that have worn out over the year, fabric to make quilts, things for the garden, or it goes into savings for whatever big spend we have coming up.
Not this year. 
I spent it on beautiful things with no real function whatsoever. I bought some earrings, by Rachel Hearne. They reminded me of Viners Studio cutlery, which I love.
and a print for above my chest of drawers in the bedroom

It's a very nice collagraph by Julie Evans, part of the Glad - Var exhibition at Arteria in Lancaster. 

Dan is 40 next month and his Mum asked him to think of something he might like to mark the occasion. He decided on a Japanese woodblock print to live alongside the painting we inherited from his Great Grandfather from his time working in Kobe in the 1930s. So we headed off to York to look at the Japanese Print Shop - a place I must have walked past hundreds of times as it was …

Back To Bed

I made it to the charity shop for my shift on Tuesday, flopped down onto a box, sat there for ten minutes then came home again. I was not ready to be back!

Even though it was, in some senses, a wasted journey, in another sense it was good. I needed to be reminded that there is a huge difference between having a slow walk around a farm shop, or doing a bit of housework, and walking to work and standing up for half a day. So I am taking this week off and only doing one shift (hopefully) next week. I really want to cram in some good sleep over the next few days and nights as Dan is off work next week and we have a couple of things pencilled in. 

The novelty of teetering around in a housecoat, swooning onto a couch in dramatic fashion has very much worn off so I am thankful to have been well enough to do a bit of cooking this week It is so nice to be back to proper meals, recently we've eaten noodles (Dan made this under my direction)


rice, basically the same meal but rice instead of noo…

New New Year

All I want to do is eat fruit and be outside 
So says the latest note I've added to the front page of my phone, I have stared out of the window like one of those sad dogs on rescue adverts for the past couple of weeks. I'm neither a great fan of the outdoors nor eating fruit, but I want to remember that it's what I've always wanted. 

After a couple of weeks I'm finally starting to feel a bit more like my usual self. We went to the football on Saturday, my first time out of the house for 10 days, other than nipping to the Co-op in the car the night before. Wow, it was tiring! We stumped up cash for the car park as there is no way I'd have got up the hill to the place we usually park for free. 


We don't get much snow here so I loved seeing the snow topped hills from my seat and breathing in the cold, crisp air, and eating soup, soup is always good. We went to Little Barista as usual (although there are two new places for vegans to eat in Burnley - One Sixty, for…

Just In Time/ Just In Case

The only productive thing I've done all week is to use some blackened bananas to make muffins, using this recipe (I replaced the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar). 


For the past couple of months we've been using up things from the pantry, initially because we thought the pantry would be refitted this year, but also just to but down the amount of food we have in the house at any time. We haven't been shopping "properly" since Christmas, just to the corner shop for bunny greens and other small bits and bobs, but I am amazed at how well we've managed. There are so many ways to eat not all that unhealthily with what we had lying around, plus the bag of veggie balls we bought from Ikea when we were in Manchester last weekend. Just in time shopping is working for us. 

I mentioned recently I have started keeping an emergency jar of pasta sauce (cheap and cheerful from Home Bargains) and a couple of tins of soup/ chilli/ whatever in the pantry, they have been worth…

You Had One Job

This is a whinge, mainly about the hundreds of pounds streaming out of our lives on ridiculous rubbish each month. 

We set off to go to the supermarket/ pizza place last night for celebratory treats, I hadn't even got in the car and I could hear a weird noise. The newly repaired (at no small cost) car now has a weird bangy steering problem that it didn't have before it went in to have the clutch repaired. The mechanic is "mystified". I'm sure it's an amazing coincidence and nothing to do with anything they did.

I will never get into that car again, I am done with it. I have no clue what we're going to do but as I refuse to spend any more money at the garage I assume we're going to be carless for a while. Were we not also trainless at the moment it might not be so bad!

The New Year period of positivity well and truly ended yesterday! And there wasn't even any cake!

Whinge over.

Canny Landscape*

Yesterday Dan bundled me into our hire car with a picnic and we set off on a mystery journey. 

We had a hire car as ours has been at the garage again with clutch problems, we have it back now but the hire car came in handy. The guy at the hire centre asked Dan about his plans for the weeknd and when he said we were going to watch Burnley play Man City he said "I hope you win, have an upgrade" so instead of a tiny Aygo we ended up with a Mokka, it was huge!

Anyway, when we turned onto the A66 I thought we were going to Bowes Museum, but no, we sailed right past Barnard Castle and on to Newcastle! As soon as I knew we were going there it was obvious we were going to Laing Art Gallery to see the Paul Nash exhibition (ends January 14th). Before the gallery opened there was just time to see another beautiful part of the city, no, not the football ground, the Civic Centre.



Isn't it just gorgeous, this is how beautiful a mid-century building can look when looked after! The buildin…

Blue And A Little Bit Green

A few weeks ago I really started to notice how any single use items and therefore how much waste was generated at football matches - beer "glasses", coffee cups, wrappers for pies, trays holding chips, packets of crisps, chocolate bars etc. Yesterday we saw things to cheer us a little bit when we went to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. 



First of all getting to the match, it's a 25 minute walk from the centre of Manchester with a well lit designated walking route, there are bike racks at the stadium for those choosing to cycle. The stadium has its own metrolink (tram) station for easy access, and although prices have recently increased it's a fairly inexpensive way to travel, we paid £2.80 each return to the park and ride, parking was free. There are also plenty of buses back into the city centre. 

The stadium (designed by Arup) was built for the 2002 Commonwealth Games and converted to a football ground the following year. Anyway, there are all manner of nods to sust…

Sun Comes Up Another Day Begins

And the sun did come up this morning! 

Dan set off before the sun even made an appearance as he decided to walk the 5 and a half miles to work, we don't have the car at the moment and don't collect the hire car until this evening. I got up early too to get a good start to the day.

I headed to town to buy birthday gifts, drop things off at the charity shop and generally have a wander around. As I passed the end of the main street I could see the sea so headed off to the prom for a peek .



I wasn't alone, there were the usual dog walkers, other people like me just having a stroll and even families building sandcastles, it was perfect beach conditions. 


I even had a small paddle with my shopping trolley!



When I got home I put out some laundry and decided to do some of the clearing up I should have done in the autumn in the garden. 



It still looks bad, but the green waste bin is now full, it is progress.

While I was clearing I spotted a sign of things to come 


This is a good day.



Small Things To Make Life Better

New Year Resolution joy continues unabashed.

Wednesdays are the day the house starts to fall into chaos, I'm supposed to finish at the charity shop at one, but rarely leave before two, often much later.  By the time I've nipped to the shops for anything we may need and eaten some lunch it's nearly time to start thinking about the evening. The day just goes.

Yesterday was a particularly busy and frustrating day at the shop so I hardly did anything when I got home. So today is a just keep moving day. On wet, chilly winter days it's easy to not keep moving and to just keep sitting under a quilt drinking tea, so I moved into the dining area. Being in there is great as there's always stuff to do and once I start doing something then I tend to find other things until I reach something that could be classed as momentum. But for breaks (of which there are many) I like to sit and browse but our dining chairs aren't really cut out for leisure.

Not suitable for a tea break e…

Decluttered 2017

I think the house is reasonably clutter free, everything has a place and in general (other than hay) the place is tidy. However, it was still ridiculously easy to find all these things to chuck/ recycle/ donate. I may have missed a few things from the very start of the year. I'm still finding that much of the stuff I get rid of was given to us by other people, not stuff we bought ourselves - 2018 is starting in the same manner!
1. pair jeggings, ripped
2. pink cardi, horrible
3. pyjamas, never wear
4. large t-shirt style nightie, never wear
5. trainer type shoes, never wear
6. slippers, safety hazard

7. large blue bowl and 6 small dipping bowls
8. wooden thing that held dried fruit (gift)
9-17. cook books
18. spiralizer 
19. recipe card box, broken

20. toolbox
21-33. large pieces of fabric that I'll never use
34. pile of small fabric scraps, bits of ribbon, short lengths of thread etc
35. ceramic toothbrush holder
36. 4 wood placemats
37. broken veg steaming thing
38. dvd player
39. assorted cab…

Barely Visible To The Naked Eye

One of the many things I've been inspired to do through listening to the Happier podcast  (at least I think it was from there) is that if a task will take less than two minutes to perform I should just get on and do it. So I have been doing just that, for all manner of things and it's working well. The coffee table is far tidier than usual without having to really do anything, just make changes so small they're barely noticeable. 

We found ourselves in TK Maxx the other day (yes, I received that voucher for Christmas again) and we were looking around for things on our list - specifically a water bottle and a lunchbox with compartments when Dan presented me with a utensil holder. It turns out that he has strong negative feelings about the pink one we already had, we bought it when we were selling our old house, the whole jaunty vintage style was popular so we bought a few bits to give the kitchen that look. It worked. But since then we've been living with a pink crock, n…