Tag Archives: simple life

Another pancake morning


On days ‘off’, no uni, not going to uni, no shifts, etc. I tend to cook breakfast. I tend to cook most days if a boiled egg is cooking, but on these days I make sugar-free pancakes. How smug does that sound? Wholemeal pancakes with fake sugar is really what they are. They have raspberries in them too. But they set me up for the day due to their slightly rubbery texture. Yum.

Then I make my own version of a latte and ‘just have a look’ at my emails. About 2 hours later I can be found drooling over the streamlined interiors of trendy terraced houses, reading crochet blogs, sad fact but it is a thing for me, and the most addictive of all? Money saving/making/frugal living/minimalist blogs.

I am more than a little interested in minimalist methods of living, saving, upcycling and all that. I see myself in yoga pants and a crop top doing bendy poses on a mat, safe in the knowledge that there is nothing in my house. Or should that be nothing in my house that is not beautiful and useful to paraphrase William Morris. (His house was stuffed full by the way).

I plan no-spend days and months, which I forget as I hand over my student discount card at the Co-op when buying my fave tipple, prosecco. Oops. ‘Tomorrow is another day’ comforts me then. When the window cleaner says he will pop in after work and I offer to cook as that is the cheaper option than dining out, I go mad with ingredients and blow the budget. At least he brings the booze.

This morning I read and followed on this blog, another zany singleton’s experience of struggling with her financial lot. I thought I too would start my no spend month as it is the first of March and as most of my budget will go on train travel to London this month, things will be tight.

Then the niggles of self doubt and the reasons why it might not be doable after all started surfacing. My priorities are all over the joint. I have academic work to get on with and procrastinate constantly. There is cleaning to be done and lots of unfinished moving house related sorting out. My four legged friends need their walk (I need their walk – we love it). The cat needs to be groomed – he gets lumps in his fur as he can’t groom himself well any more.

The pancake is gone, the coffee is cold and this table is a trash heap. What these successful bloggers tell us, well hidden in the humour and self deprecation is that it is BLOODY HARD WORK committing to anything and even harder sticking to it. It takes real effort, drive, focus, energy and a true desire to change the way one lives.  I want to do it, but is that enough?

This month my goals are modest. To be honest about the habits I want to break and change. To look after me better (health, mind, body). I seriously need to drink less. It is just a habit not a pleasure most of the time.  To reflect a little on the choices that got me here and accept that not all were good. To respect what I have and to live well within my means.

Here goes xx








Discounted shopping


Although there are those out there who can bag a whole trolley of shopping for nowt with the nifty use of coupons, cashback etc., I am still on my learning curve.

However, just over an hour online getting £95.35 worth of groceries for £48.16….and free delivery. Woohoo!

I think this is a good effort.



A pledge and a plan


Today was significant in my small world. While loving life as it is now, exercising more, de-cluttering and being more me, there has been at the same time, a gradual slide into more frequent black dog moods, poor sleep, teeth grinding, too much eating and drinking over the last two weeks with regard to the academic side of things.

A big exam looms and I have the concentration span of a gnat when sitting at the desk trying to study. Then I worry and fret and maybe have a snack, or an early glass of wine while cooking dinner, then a bit of rubbish TV, then another go at the books and then end up playing Sudoku! These are all distraction techniques but they are destructive too…undoing any sense of well-being felt after a brisk walk or furious vacuuming or clearing out session!

But today enough was enough. My lovely uni friend, LE messaged to ask how it was going and I fessed up. While we were chatting I realised all that is necessary is a bit of refocusing and realigning.

Buoyed by her words and accepting that we all have dips, I made a pledge and a plan.

My DRYATHLON starts today. A few days early but hey! That is my pledge. Not to drink from now for all of January.

My plan was to give myself a day away from the books, to break up the relentless pressure. So, errands were run, a delivery was made to the charity shop, (including most embarrassingly and unintentionally a pair of my big purple knickers that had become entwined in some sports gear….). I hurriedly snatched them from the elderly male volunteer before he could hold them up for the world to see….A quiet coffee while reading the paper. A financial meeting with the girls and a spot of food shopping. I also bought flowers to decorate the hall for new year.

Somehow things seems more balanced and calm. Certainly I feel happier and less anxious about the exam.





Let the sun shine in


Having the sun peek through from behind the blind this morning was fortuitous. It got me out of bed, into the fields with the dog, struggling in the mud to keep the old wellies on, but invigorated.

The plan was to clear my mind, which has been a bit fuddled. A series of texts from the ex mid-walk did not help and by the time we got home, I was feeling anxious and defensive, although being as neutral as poss in my responses.  Then I thought bugger this, and phoned the old fart. We read so much into texts and emails, tone, mood, perceptions etc, but that comes from the READER as all we see is a bunch of words.

It was the right thing to do. A few short minutes of civilised discussion and both parties are feeling ok.

Then the girls and I had a brief chat about health, food intake, alcohol and self caring and agreed to work together a bit more. They don’t eat meals really, just graze all day. I think we would all benefit as would the budget from more of a routine.

The Christmas decorations are down as is the tree. We are moving onwards and upwards. Off to the tip now!!






There are hardly any food wise, but there are left  over thoughts about this holiday.

Firstly we ate and drank far less than ever before. The meal was simple and afterwards we played cards.

This is a huge thing for me. My memories of childhood card and board games are the stuff of nightmares. Uncles egging us on when playing Monopoly and then losing the plot and calling us stupid if we did not win, or ended up in jail. There was nothing fun, it was competitive and each one of us was constantly being compared to the current winner, who, if they lost a round would be the next victim….so sitting with the girls and the boy, playing cards and laughing was a thrill.

We exercised a lot, at least youngest and I did. She ran 15 k on Christmas morning and I went with her, on the bike….We then did a parkrun this morning, my first ever 5 k. She was finished before I started my third round and came to meet me for the last bit. Brilliant to share that with her.  (I had to walk 3 times, but as 3.5 is my longest distance to date, it was still an achievement).

We had fewer gifts than ever before and all of them were useful and had thought put into them.

We spoke to loved ones the world over,  Japan, Australia and Belgium.

We watched very little TV and I actually studied yesterday….

So the (leftover) memories of this Christmas are happy.  There was none of the pressure of years gone by. The expensive gifts that sometimes were never used, or lost!!

The next few days are for study. Exams loom for two of us and a dissertation for one…..


The swing of things


Tonight I have blanched the sprouts….am about to tackle the chestnuts and will then make the stuffing balls. Pork mince with pancetta, lemon zest and chestnuts….a once a year fiddle that is worth every mouthful.

We have yet to sit, four at the table, to eat since the girls and the boy arrived. Looks like tonight it might not happen either. Still, nothing is wasted.

This has still been the most cost efficient, low key Christmas in years and I am feeling proud. We also managed to fill a bag for the Food Bank today.

We don’t need extravagance and so many need the basics.







And Breathe….or run


The blog has changed.

Things could not be more chaotic, stressful, unsettled, scary and sad right now. After ten years we have called it quits. I waver from wanting to weep to feeling extremely calm. I often feel overwhelmed and swamped by what is to come. There is so much to discuss and do.

The girls head to uni over the next two weeks. One for the first time, to Manchester to do Physics. Her sister heads back north too to head up the Japanese Society at her uni, and to study as well!! I start my second year next week too. I am learning how to be a nurse.

There is more, but not for here and now.

There has to be a way to cope when one is so stretched, to find energy when one can barely think and to live a healthy, quiet life while storms rage around you.

My take on that is to finally work to develop a sense of order in my life.  In the last week (we have been back from a visit to family in Australia only a WEEK!), I have emptied drawers and cupboards and have filled bags with unwanted, unused items. It has been hard and humiliating at times. What the hell was I thinking hanging on to so much tat to put on e-bay for so long? I thought of the money wasted, (mostly second hand stuff, I am not a big retail shopper), the space it all took, the odd sense I must have had to want to own it in the first place and the realisation that it did not make me feel one bit better. Then I took about 90% of it to the charity shop and gave it all away. The rest was dumped.

To look at the house you could not tell. BUT, I plan to keep going. Only my stuff, my clothes, books, bits and bobs.

I plan not to buy anything unless I NEED it, and for every thing I buy at least one item will go.

I plan to save money (more on this later…) by shopping better, planning better and making pack lunches for uni.

I plan to continue my running regime because it lifts my spirits and makes me fitter

and I plan to breathe.

At 54 it is tough to be undoing a life and starting another one. But here goes.