Friday 23 February 2024

A letter from my life ::2

 Hello Lovelies, 

 I hope this letter finds you well. Here in the U.K we have had another super wet week. When the sun does come out there's still plenty of evidence of the deluges we have been subjected to. 

I'm so so grateful for comfortable wellies as I quite like stomping through puddles,  Peppa pig style 😁. 

Here, Lando and I  passed a newly planted orchard. The varieties are all old fashioned cider apples 🍎. What a lovely venture. 

It's been mild and on the dry days I have been happy to dry some washing on the line. With 5 of us still living here,  and no tumble dryer,   airers are currently a permanent fixture in our dining room. 

I took advantage of a dry, sunny day off on Monday to visit a local snowdrop garden. 

I first visited here in 2012 and wrote a blog post about it HERE. 

This time I was alone (I left mum sketching in the car).

It was unsurprisingly wet underfoot ( thankfully I wore my wellies again) 

And even though this visit was earlier in the month than my 2012 visit,  lots of snowdrops were already past their best. Thankfully not all.

The old buildings are a great backdrop and some plants were stunning but I'd say it felt as though this historic country house is surviving rather than thriving πŸ˜”.

In other news, I know this sort of letter needs no stamp,  but mum and I had unearthed quite a collection of old stamps during our recent decluttering,  so I was very happy to find a donation box in a local post officeπŸ¦‰ πŸ₯°.

This letter is jumping all over the place, isn't it. Sorry about that.

 I'm not usually into food photos (except home baking) but I did feel inspired to snap a picture of my February meal out . This was delicious and the company was great. I still keep in touch with my "new mum's " group. So that will soon be 24 years of friendship  πŸ’•.

None of us are getting any younger, but thankfully we are all still reasonably well, despite health challenges for some. 

I think there is no truer quote than "Health is the greatest gift." 

I don't go to the gym or play any sports, but I do try and be active. This is the second week running I've managed to hit 10,000 steps a day, every day. 

A screenshot from the app on my phone. 

I love the you tuber Linda Vater. She is intelligent,  articulate and inspiring.  She is a great gardener and loves thrifting. Linda also looks amazing for a lady in her late 60's and has a great fitness ethic. 
Inspired by her advice I have begun to make the effort to get down on the the floor several times a day. She has also inspired me to sit cross legged.  This was very uncomfortable to begin with, but it is getting easier. 

I'm not very flexible.  Bending forward with my legs straight is so difficult....I was shocked. But I continue to gently try and improve my tight hamstrings. 

And so a significant part of my week is dedicated to getting active, despite the floods.

I'm so glad this boy has long legs!

Today, as well as a long walk,  Lando had to endure a vet visit,  for his annual vaccination boosters. I  think it may have worn him out. Bless him πŸ’™. 

I'll finish this letter with a thank you  and something I read recently.  

I really appreciate being able to share these ramblings with you here. Thank you so much for reading, and your kind comments πŸ₯° .

"In the end all we have are memories " is the quote which stuck in my mind. 

I do think a blog is a much better memory keeper than Instagram and would hope looking back on my blog with be a pleasurable memory jogger in years to come. 

Whishing you an enjoyable weekend, whatever you are up to. I'm working half of it, but that's life.  My current "retirement"  job comes with practically zero stress. Something I'll never stop being grateful for. 

Jacquie x

Friday 16 February 2024

A letter from my life ::1

Hello Lovelies ,
  this week I've been thinking about how nice it is to receive a "newsy" ( non-bragging!) letter. Not that letters are a feature of my life these days.
The blog format does lend itself to a letter type of communication though,  doesn't it. I suppose these posts are often like a modern version of a letter to a friend.  

So here's my letter to you this week ❤️

I do hope this letter finds you well. Last week I challenged myself to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, as a combination of the short days and lack of motivation had caused me to become a bit lazy. It required me to go on a bit longer dog walks, and that has benefited Lando too. I use a simple App on my phone to track my activity. 

I managed my 7 day challenge, and so far this week, I've managed to keep it up as well.

It's lovely to be outside more, especially now there are signs of spring everywhere. Snowdrops always make my heart happy.

Something else I'd let slip was feeding the birds in the churchyard.  When Lando was younger I needed all my attention on what he was up to. Now he is two it's not so intense.  So I remember to put bird seed in my pocket and leave some for my feathered friends 🐦.

Recently mum had expressed a desire to take a trip up to Derbyshire again. She gave up driving last year ( at the age of 93) so I try and make outings possible as often as I can. On Monday it was sunny so we went on a little away day. 

The winter sunlight was very welcome and a mossy stone wall always makes me smile. 

As do the hills and views.

We stopped in Cromford wharf for a comfort break 😊 and l couldn't resist a look at it's pretty canal.

Mum's desired destination was the fabulously quirky Scarthin books, also in Cromford . The art roon is  on the first floor. A real struggle for mum, but she was determined πŸ‘.

Mid week was not as sunny. Still, the welly walks continued. I'm wondering what will happen to this cygnet, who still hangs about with it's parents? I have a feeling that he or she will be sent packing soon, as new babies will be on the horizon 🐣.

Even on a grey day this coppiced willow looked stunning,  with it's brightly coloured stems.

Wednesday was valentines day. Hubby and I don't really go for this anymore. He does buy me flowers , but not on set dates. 

My sweet work colleague kindly gave me some chocolate hearts.  She is one of life's joys. Hardworking and always thoughtful despite her own worries.  I'm very lucky to know her. 

Also at work, I noticed my first crocuses of the year. Aren't they gorgeous 😍 

Today the sun was back and trees are suddenly full of blossom.  I think it must be the exceptionally mild weather. 

Oh and the first green shoots too. Wonderful 

Blue sky reflections are always welcome.

It was so warm neither myself nor Lando needed a coat. Ridiculous for February but enjoyable nonetheless.  There's my attempt at photographic evidence 🀣.

And here's the giant puddle we have to wade through.  There has been so much rain! 

In other news, I'm still doing well with my "slow spend year". I did make two charity shop purchases last week. A mug to replace one I broke, and a new address book to replace my old one, which I have had since the 90's. It's good to have an up to date list of contacts,  but sad to leave out those who are no longer with us. 

Speaking of those who are no longer with us, I was so upset to learn of the sudden passing of the DJ radio presenter Steve Wright this week. His zany show was my absolute favourite on Radio 1 in the 80's. 

On a happier note, mum and I finished the working week with a second outing. This time we had an appointment with a pot of tea for two and a slice of coffee and walnut cake, to share πŸ˜‹. 

Mum has been donating some of her art to this charity as they are always so welcoming and do great work supporting local people, living with terminal illness. 

Doesn't mum's sweet flower painting look lovely here πŸ’•

I'll finish now and hope to write again soon. 
Your comments always make me smile and these days l do my best to reply to every one πŸ₯°.

Jacquie x

Saturday 3 February 2024

My Slow Spend Year : the beginning

 Hello Lovelies,  thank you so much for the welcome back. 

As you may know 2023 was my year of decluttering.  My main reason for getting to grips with my level of possessions was to make life a bit simpler, to make functioning in our home easier and reduce the time it takes to clean. 

From my experiences at work I've come to realise how much difference a streamlined space can make. Less excess furniture and decor means things are easily moved when cleaning. Messes are less frequent ( if you don't own something it cannot get into a state 😁) and easier to quickly tidy up. 

January 2023

January 2024

I concentrated on my own things and household stuff that I use most. 

                    My sock drawer, decluttered and organised 

I've been ruthless and revisited areas on more than one occasion,  to see if I could let more go. It's been amazing how much calmer and more pleasant our home feels. 

Once you only have what you love and use, things are so much easier to keep tidy...did I already say that? 

                                                     July 2023

Obviously some areas need constant maintenance and I've worked hard to build good habits.  I'm constantly reminding myself "don't put it down, put it away". When things have a proper home, it's not so hard and a good sign you have decluttered enough.  

                                                      January 2024

By the end of 2023 the chap in the nearest charity shop to home said to me "is there anything left in your house?" as I dropped of another weekly donation 🀣

Don't worry, there is! I think our home still feels cosy, the walls are still displaying mum's art and family photographs. We still have ornaments...just not as many. 

Our redecorated bedroom, with panelling eldest fitted πŸ’™

My mission for 2024 is to maintain our current level of possessions and be really intentional with purchases.

                                                   Enough mugs....not excess

There are so many YouTube channels promoting no spend months or even all year. Obviously that only refers to no spending on non essentials. I can see this is good if you have a lot of debt or a big saving goal. 

                                              Kitchen drawers are not overstuffed

Personally I think I need small treats, and things to look forward to. What I do want is to be more careful about is impulse purchases. 

In the past, if something only cost a few pounds and I wanted it in the moment, I would often buy it. With the ease of ordering online for home delivery these days it's so easy to end up with stuff that is ill considered you end up regretting. 

         Only one fridge favourite one. I made it years ago.

So, this year I'm trying my best not to fall into that trap. I'm recording all my non essential spending and only buying things I've taken time to give some consideration to the pros and cons about. 

I'm also trying to focus on experiences over stuff.

So how has my year started?

 In January I've only bought one thing on a whim...a jumper from the charity shop.

As I said I do like the occasional small treat. What I don't want is to buy things  because they are cheap, only to end up re-donating them a short time later. It may support a good cause but my life is simpler with less to manage.

I have a capsule wardrobe these days, which I love! I'm planning on doing a separate post about that soon.        

So I'm feeling hopeful about my "slow", intentional spending for 2024. The benefits to my home, savings goals and the planet are a great incentive.  My word for the year "contented " is a useful reminder that I have so much already. 

 Jacquie x