Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's just a phase...!

So I'm going through a phase.  My girls have apparently noticed a pattern with me and it goes like this:  I get very enthusiastic about something, a project or a lifestyle change, and I get a little manic and very enthusiastic with it all.  For a while.  It never lasts (hence my grudging acceptance of the word "phase"....) and I NEVER LEARN FROM IT.  I'm consistent I'll give myself that.

I have often defended myself, to me a phase is never wasted, never pointless, I've learned something from every one, even if I haven't maintained the new improved Wendy, and automatically reverted to the lazier, more wasteful, more stressed me.  Every time!

But I've been thinking about this.  My phases have become repetitive over the years, which must mean they're not phases, they're just stages!  One example is cooking from scratch - I've done this on and off for years and years.  When I have the time I cook, when I don't, I don't.

Then there's de-cluttering.  I blummin' hate mess but a minimalist I am not and never ever will be.  And like cooking, on and off I have a big de-clutter, tidy up and organise.  When I have the time I keep things organised, when I don't, I don't.

Being frugal and thrifty...  One of my most regular, most faithful phases that puts the fear of God into Robbie and the girls because I can be VERY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THIS ONE.  When I have the time I write lists, trawl the internet, markets, car booties and charity shops, and tighten the Hannah budget belt like a pro.  When I have the time I save money, when I don't, I don't.

Now, one of the points of this Blog was for me to record my progress with some of the above (as I was going through a phase at the time...!)  So I am preparing.  I am organising.  I am gearing up...  Because I am DETERMINED that when I go back to work next month, when I go back to being busy with work and my Degree, my home life will run like clockwork.  Oh yes.  That's right.  3 phases on the go at once...  Run and hide girls!

So, first a wardrobe overhaul.  I have half of a small wardrobe, two drawers and a couple of storage boxes.  Not a lot.
So, the clothes I do have need to be worth keeping, and here's where honest opinions are welcomed.  If something doesn't suit me it's a goner.

Pink shift dress.  £2 from  the CASE charity shop.
Think I like it...!

Flouncy number from eBay.  Bit low cut (primark vest top'll fix that).  £2.50 from eBay.
No idea when I'd wear it.  So far it's only outing has been to see Blondie - my dress and I loved that little trip yes we did!  

This is a keeper, these are my "What'll I wear today?  Oh I know, my cream trousers that are a bugger to iron but go with anything!" 

Next - get organised.  Getting there.  That's one drawer of paperwork and three shelves done.  Theory being that when I go back to work everything is bang up to date and I'll just need to keep on top of it rather than constantly spend time looking for things or repeating stuff.  Which I do a lot.

And then there's organsing my routine.  I love myself a good self-help book that actually gives you sensible suggestions.  Did the "1 week to personal success" exercise way back in 2006 and it was actually quite good.  May well do it again.  Never a bad thing to consciously root out the rubbish in your life to make space for TIME.... the stuff of dreams!

Frugal and Thrifty.  Easy just now as I'm on holiday!  £1.50 for the most beautiful deep purple Gladioli.  I love flowers, positively lift the spirits donchya think?

And we played Monopoly last night.  And I won.  For the VERY FIRST TIME.  
So very proud of myself and very smug at my cleverness.

The board before I put hotels on Park Lane and Mayfair.  Oh yes!

And what else have I been doing that's quite literally going to change my life?  I've cleaned out my Email and Facebook.  Took me hours but omiword what a difference it's already made.  I get at least 50 work related emails a day and only because my address has been passed onto any Tom Dick or Harry that wants to sell me a fax machine, sanitise my keyboard or sell me a sandpit.  No more!  I sat one night and unsubscribed to literally hundreds of sites, and since then I'm lucky if I've had 3 emails a day.  I can't quite believe the difference this one small act has made actually.  It's so nice to have a tidy Inbox!

As for Facebook...  Small is beautiful is all I can say.  A condensed version of the original, with only a handful of relevant sites "liked", and the odd, negative "friend" discreetly unfollowed, and now I can check it once at night in just five minutes, and it's enjoyable because it's stuff I want to read.  Again, life changing!  Both of these things now neat and tidy and relevant.  Happy days!

So, if all goes to plan I will now have more time for the things I love.  Like these three things for example:

Eldest all dressed up for a job interview.  Poor love tried jogging last week and has ended up with very painful tendonitis in both her ankles.  Can barely walk and is in agony.  Good little Mummy rubbed Arnica oil on them before the very important interview that I REALLY hopes she rocks.

And she was so grateful she willingly and happily let me take a pic of her in her new interview outfit.  Not.

Millie.  Dark and mysterious and very difficult to get a decent pic of!  She's in there honest, see, eyes!

That's right Belle, stay there looking all arty while I take a quick pic....

No, take a picture of my face, go on, I'm gorgeous!

 If anybody has any hints or tips for saving time, saving money, and making life a bit easier, please let me know!

Be back soon!

Wendy x

Thursday, July 24, 2014

28 degrees in Scotland. Think my thermometer must be broken....

It's 28 degrees today so I'm staying in til it cools down!  I don't remember ever saying that before considering I'm an English girl living in soggy Scotland...  But oh my, the sun's come out for the Commonwealth Games and it's scorching, lovely!

We spent the day in Glasgow yesterday, we headed in just before lunchtime on the train, walked through the city in the sun, had some lunch then headed to the Kelvingrove Bandstand for the opening of the Commonwealth Festival.  Belle and Sebastian were playing.  Heaven!  One of the only bands that all four of us equally love, which is saying something...  And they were sooo good, it was a brilliant brilliant night, we loved it.

And I was so sensible, I cleaned the house before I left, put the washing out, got up to date on everything, so that when we got home last night I could just fall into bed, and get up today with nothing to do but chill out! Which is exactly what I'm doing in this heat.  I'm watching Fill Your House For Free (Really?) while Robbie nips out for something for lunch.  Sorted!

So a nice quiet day at home, a night out to a friends tonight, and then another trip to Glasgow on Friday to soak up the Commonwealth atmosphere.  I love the holidays!

 Belle and Sebastian and Clyde the Commonwealth Mascot.  Bet he was sweaty in that suit, yuck!

 This was the opening of Kelvingrove Bandstand after its refurb.  It's been derelict for years so it was lovely to see it all restored and back to being used.

 All modernised with a big tele...

 We've loved this band for years and last saw them in Edinburgh ten years ago, so we were very excited...!

 Quite a turnout too!  Great to see such a great crowd as well.

 My one and only city shot on the way there, it's looking great.

Youngest, on the train with her best friend on the way home!

Be back soon!

Wendy x


Monday, July 21, 2014

Letting Things Slide....

Well if you can't be a bit lazy when you're on holiday when can you?  The odd lie-in's good for ya, a marathon session of George Clark's Amazing Spaces is therapeutic, sitting around staring into space is soul enriching and cooking and ironing are completely over-rated...

Normal service may be resumed by Thursday, if I feel like it...

Be back soon!

Wendy x

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Men in kilts, flower power and dressing like a rocket lolly...

Unless you've had your head in a bucket for the past few months you'll know that in September Scotland has the opportunity to vote for Independence.  The most amazing opportunity, the chance in a million for the country to become entirely independent and responsible for itself.  Very exciting times ahead.

What I've Been Doing:

"Yes In The Park" on the wettest day I think I've ever experienced.  It was just one huge big splashy puddle in a field, full of very happy soggy Independence supporters.  Brilliant day!

 For those of you not from Scotland, all the men look like this... 

 Strathclyde Country Park.  Thank goodness there were tents!

Just look at those tropical summer tans...!

 There was some very good speeches and plenty of traditional music as well.

 And oh look, another one of those everyday normal Scotsmen in his kilt, with his muscet...

 And here's me!  Me with my strangely big head and waterproof that gave up the fight!

Yay for Scottish Independence I say!

Where I've Been:

To see Kacey Musgraves!  Oh she were wonderful!

What I've Been Seeing:

 The worst bit about coming home from holiday!  So much washing, neverblumminending!

 Just as well the weather's lovely and I can hang it out.  In my Wham basket (80s girl at heart...), and using my new pegbag that only cost me £1 and makes me smile cos it's pretty.  Easy pleased!

So now let's tour my flower garden..

 So this is the lily that was orange last year.  Magical!

 This is the big yellow daisy thing that I pruned so badly last week I've left Robbie's traumatised.

 A Hosta flower.  Told you I was an expert!

 A pretty purple bush...

 And an Azalea?  P'raps?

 And this is an orange lily.

What do you mean they have names?  Hilarious, not got a clue!

 Many flattened parts where the local children like to jump over the wall and run through my garden to cut the corner...  Wouldn't want them sticking to the path and keeping out my garden would I...

Robbie does the pruning at the front.  Just as well...

What I've Been Cooking:

I must say that this cooking from scratch thing really doesn't hurt as much as I thought.  Haven't worked out if it's saving me money yet.  It better be!

 Am determined to convert Youngest to omelettes.  She likes peppers so I piled 'em in...

 Still only got a 6/10 from her.  Cheek, it was worth at least an 8, was great!

 Hashed sweet potatoes and egg.  Won't bother again, too much hassle for not enough flavour or applause.  Applause is very important you know.

 Baked mushrooms with couscous.  DISGUSTING!  Forgot to cover them so the couscous went gritty and hard.  Didn't ask Youngest for a score on this one, her face said it all...

Piri Piri coated mackerel, prawns and egg salad.  Farbulous and went very nicely with me wine thank you very much.

What I've Been Sniffing:

This gorgeous, fluffy, newly bathed Belle.  Knackered with all the exertion of drying off in the garden all afternoon.  Hard life.

What I've Been Wearing:

Don't know if I love it or hate it...  Look like a rocket lolly...
 Certainly woke Robbie up!

Be back soon!

Wendy x

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

London, the highs and the lows!

Well that little jaunt will always be remembered for its ups and downs that's for sure...!  The good points? Loads!  London was beautiful, almost exactly as I remember it from 20 odd years ago, although a lot busier. I got to see Buckingham Palace, met Prince Charles...  Oh yes I did!  I was stopped by a handsome Police Man when I was about to cross the road, stood and waited, saw two big cars coming out of Clarence House and the second car had a very handsome, well adorned Prince Charles in it.  I kid you not.  

I also got to go to the National Gallery and saw Vincent Van Gogh's "Sunflowers".  Amazing.  I saw every brush stroke, could almost feel him painting it.  Was a strangely emotional moment for me and I'm so glad I got to see it first hand.

And of course we had the two birthday presents:

 The Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.  Absolutely gorgeous road, we had a lovely meal in Soho, Eldest had her first whisky sour (twas her birthday after all!) , and we got to see the world's longest running musical.  Weren't we lucky?!

 Smaller than I expected, but perfectly formed nonetheless, like all little things...!

 Waiting for the show to start.  In the cheap seats but who cares!?

Think she enjoyed it! 
It was absolutely brilliant!

We also went to Abbey Road for Robbie's early birthday present.  He's a massive Beatles fan, as are all of us, and was very keen to add to the wall...

 Superior photographer Wendy takes a picture of a silver car.  While Robbie makes a valiant effort to be a lone Beatle crossing the famous zebra crossing!

I am married to a hippy...

So, we squeezed in some sightseeing too:

 Buckingham Palace.  Very big, the Queen must be rattling around in there!

 This carriage kept coming back and forth.  Makes one wonder what was in the back...!

 A wander through the park.  Was needing a bit of green.

 An old double decker.  Much nicer than the new modern ones in my opinion.  Mind you, I think all old things are nicer than modern things.

We had tea in the crypt.  Very thirsty work this sightseeing lark.

 The blue cockeral at Trafalgar Square.

 Machine guns at Downing Street.  Such a friendly, approachable government we have...

 Me wearing a Big Ben hat at the Houses of Parliament.

And finally my rebel husband proudly holding his Yes for Scottish Independence sign that he'd had tucked in his pocket all day for this very reason.

So they were the highlights and we'll always remember them.  But oh my, there were a few negatives that we must learn from!

1.  Never let hubby drive from Scotland to London, then York, then Leeds, then back to Scotland.  Over 1000 miles and very few of them pleasurable.

2.  Never take a car that can't get above 50mph without squealing with pain...

3.  Don't pack a picnic for the car on the way down.  No one will eat it and your strawberries will leak all over your Cath Kidston bag...

4.  Don't try and get accommodation, at night, in York, during the Races.  This may lead to having to drive to the next city at 2am to book into the only remaining hotel on Plant Earth.  For £160 you don't have.

5.  On the same night don't assume you can just go home.  The motorway could be shut for the night...  (I swear...)

6.  Don't assume your Youngest, who is very shy and struggles with crowds, will enjoy everything you throw at her.  Expect many tears.

Hahahaha...  Am laughing about it now....!!

Be back soon!

Wendy x