Happy New Year! Maybe I'm a little late to say that but I hope not. I've been slowly easing myself into 2023 and not rushing into any resolutions or commitments. The Christmas decorations are all back in the loft now but I enjoyed them while they were here. We had a relatively quiet festive season , though we did host a Christmas eve family get together. Now my mum in law is not with us the wider family seem to be drifting apart somewhat. It's a shame but I know things cannot remain the same indefinitely.
Between Christmas and new year I enjoyed some crafting with the cards we received. I found a tutorial HERE on how to turn them into little gift boxes and got quite addicted to this simple, meditative process.
In the end I made enough to construct a reusable advent calendar. I LOVE the fact that this is all recycled stuff (except the numbers which were from my old card making stash) . The backing is a cardboard box painted red and I made it with a flap to aid safe storage. It should last several years and is easy to refill with whatever chocolate or small gift you fancy.
So what IS your word of 2023 Jacquie? It's SIMPLICITY.
To me that means many things. Keeping life simple, noticing small things that can bring gratitude. Also avoiding waste and therefore reducing our costs, not to mention helping with sustainability.
I'm really proud that we have managed to almost halve our Electricity consumption in comparison to this time last year. With energy costs soaring I made many small changes that obviously have added up. The ones I can think of at the moment are....
Getting a few of these motion sensor nightlights. They give enough light to illuminate a room you are briefly using (say to let the dog out or go to the bathroom in the night) without turning on the mains lights.
Ditching the dishwasher. I know many sources say that dishwashers are the most economical way of washing up but I'm personally not convinced. We have an efficient combi boiler and are not on a water meter so I feel one or two bowls of hot water must cost me less than hours of running a dishwasher, which has to heat up the dishes to dry them and well as the water to wash them.
I'm also TRYING to avoid using my main oven too often. The slow cooker is great for jacket potatoes...
And I bought a mini oven which I love. It heats up almost instantly and is great when one pizza or some garlic bread is needed. It also bakes cakes and copes with a lasagne. Mine is THIS
Other things I've done is to replace a very old freezer. Be more intentional about TV viewing and put the satellite box to sleep when it's not being used. Nag to family to turn off computers when they are not in use and I iron less. We are doing less well with reducing gas consumption as I hate being cold and I'm drying clothes on airers indoors rather than using my tumble drier so that needs the radiators to be on for a few hours. Despite this I have managed to bring it down a bit and installing a log burner is my main goal for this summer.
I realise a lot of these actions have involved a cost and consuming resources. I'm fortunate to be in a position to afford some new things to try and keep my bills down. Obviously it hasn't made the bills lower but has kept them from doubling!
Simplicity to me also means owning less. We are a family of five adults and a medium sized dog in a three bed semi. It's cosy! It's less than ideal when middle son's girlfriend comes to stay. She is lovely and very welcome but it does mean juggling.
Youngest son and myself are missing from this image.
This week I've been having a sort out in our bedroom. I've already taken one huge bag of things to the charity shop and it's interesting to note many of the things were charity shop purchases in the first place, some with the tags still on.
There's still more work to do in here but the top of our wardrobes and these shelves are looking better.
I like following Courtney
on Instagram for minimalist inspiration. While I'm not trying to achieve a truly minimalist lifestyle I don't like feeling overwhelmed by stuff. Also, I attended a former work colleague's funeral a few months ago and her two rooms filled with unused craft materials were mentioned more than once. While I'm not ill I am beginning to feel the future is not promised (I'm 57 this year) and I don't want my family to have tons of stuff to sort through should anything happen to me.
Another thing I'm currently very grateful for is a simple job. As you may or may not know I gave up my nursing career in 2020. It wasn't the end to over 30 years in the NHS that I had hoped for but it was necessary for my mental health to leave.
Once I began to feel better I got myself the least stressful job I could think of...housekeeping. I thought it would probably be a stepping stone to other employment but at the moment I'm more than happy to keep doing this role indefinitely (health allowing). Frankly it's a revelation to me that a job can take only your time and not your peace of mind. What it lacks in excitement it makes up for in peace and convenience. I certainly don't miss rush hour traffic, parking battles and long shifts.
Obviously it pays less than my previous job but I'd rather try and cut back on expenses than increase my stress. Fortunately I'm not the major breadwinner in the household so it is possible.
So, my aim for 2023 is to TRY and keep my life simple. As much as a second dog appeals some days I know it's not the right time at the moment. I'm also resisting the urge to book any holidays as I want to keep as many options open as possible. I want to try and get back into more crafts now Lando is less demanding, and to use things from my stash rather than buying anything new.
I'm unsubscribing from all those marketing e.mails you end up with after Christmas and only making considered charity shop purchases from my list of things I'm on the look out for.
So, if you want to find me in 2023 I'll hopefully be home, walking my dog locally, having a small trip out with mum or a couple of miles down the road doing my "retirement job."
Gosh, that would have sounded very dull to my younger self but at this stage in my life it sounds great.
I do hope you are managing to find the right fit for your circumstances lovelies.