Domesticity

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Marbles! Although they can get everywhere and are a pain in the bum when you’re trying to hoover, I can’t begrudge Paddy his collection because I remember how much I loved them when I was younger. He’s got quite a lot now and he had a quick play with them before school.

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I’ve had a lovely day today. Lily has been off school poorly (she’s feeling much better already) so I’ve been grounded at home. Which has been wonderful.

Very rainy day + a day off = pyjama baking! I love putting an apron on over my PJs, switching five live on the radio and baking something sweet and cakey.

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Today I made Marmalade Cake using a recipe I found hehttp://circleofpinetrees.com/category/baking/a-cake-for-the-weekend/re.

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Although the recipe calls for Seville oranges and (preferably homemade) seville orange marmalade I just used what I had in the cupboard. Good old Aldi’s marmalade. And the cake turned out to be very yummy indeed!

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I spent a couple of hours cleaning the house (boring, but necessary to keep up with my New Year’s resolutions) so felt I deserved to relax and enjoy my library book – Janet Evanovich’s latest Stephanie Plum novel…sheer bliss! She’s one of the very few authors that can make me laugh out loud.

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It felt good to be at home with the rain belting down outside, feeling snug and domesticated.

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I need to make sure I build more days like this into my life – with or without the rain!

Tragedy strikes!

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Mark bought me an amaryllis for Christmas (Our Christmas on a budget was THE BEST!) and I’ve been waiting with anticipation for it to grow and bloom.  Which it did.  And it was just beautiful in all it’s lush rednessey glory!  I’ve been really enjoying its progress and since it started to bloom I put it on the sideboard to take pride of place downstairs.  And one evening it toppled over, off the sideboard and landed, splat, on the floor breaking the longest stem in the process. WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

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So instead, I lopped off the two blooms and they’re in little glasses on the coffee table.  It’s not the same though. Sniff.

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I found this 100% pure wool jumper in a local charity shops, bought ready for assembling my granny square cushion…

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So the sewing machine has been dusted off and the construction has begun.  And I think it’s going to look fab!

I think my sewing machine needs a name (don’t ask me why.  All my cars have names too!) and I’m thinkg…Jessie.  Or maybe…Tallulah!  I’ve always loved the name Tallulah.  And it sounds like a perfect name for a cute little machine that’s able to whip up cute patchwork and pretty little whimsies (assuming I learn how to use her properly).

Colourful.

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Making progress with one of my four projects and I am LOVING the colours! It’s great fun choosing each granny square and although the cotton is a bit splitty I still love using it.

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A fab display of threads.  And I managed to NOT buy any.

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Waiting with baited breath  for my amaryllis to  bloom…its going to be purtee!

Cutting back!

Paddy has an unruly mop of hair…
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…and I’m on a spending fast. So a good scout around on YouTube and I found a couple of useful video tutorials.  And we ended up with this…
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Not too bad for a first attempt I reckon. He seems pleased enough with it.  It saved me a tenner so I’m pretty chuffed too!

WIPs

unnamedSo these are my outstanding projects to date.  I need to get these babies done and dusted before I can start one of the many new lovely things to make that are buzzing around my head at the moment.  Oh, the possibilities!

2014 – The Plan

Ok, so this year there is going to be a plan.  Some proper resolutions, that last the whole year and actually have a positive and long lasting effect on our lives.  And here they are in writing, so I can keep myself accountable.  And this is likely to be a work in progress!  I feel positive about these as I’ve actually already made a start on some of them…

Family

While I’d love to aim for one proper family night a week, in reality I know how difficult that can be when I’m working shifts. So rather than make a vague ‘let’s aim for more family time’ type if resolution, and in the spirit of making SMART goals, I’m going to aim for a proper, no electron devices and no TV, type family evening a fortnight.

Mark and I could really benefit from more time to ourselves so I’d like to try and arrange for us to go out on our own once a month. As this year is the spending fast year we’ll have to be imaginative about what no-spend dates we can come up with! Childcare shouldn’t be too difficult as we have friends in similar situations that will happily trade babysitting stints.

And I need more time with my lovely girly. She’s 13 now and in the blink of an eye she’ll be all grown up and leaving home do I need to cherish our relationship now.

Also on the home front; I need to get both kids into a proper after school homework routine. Both if them would really benefit from some more input and encouragement from us. But this needs to start happening on a daily basis.

Finances

I want to pay off all of our smaller credit card balances.  I’ll work out the exact figures soon. And then we’ll just be left with our bank loan and the one credit card.  The BIG ONE.  And I’ll do whatever it takes to get these paid off…shopping cheaply, cooking frugally, living on as little as possible and getting rid of my car.

I’m working on saving an emergency fund. The ‘life or death/boiler blowing up’ type of emergency, NOT to be used just because we’re running a bit short some months.

In a bid to minimise my spending I pledge to NOT GO INTO SUPERMARKETS! If I run out if something I’d rather pop to the local corner shop and pay over the odds for something, than allow myself to be drawn into the lovely rows of clothes, books & DVDs and 500 different types of pasta to choose from. And all those BOGOF offers! I appear to have no control in these situations at all so I’m just not going to put myself in temptations way.

I plan to create my own WANTS v NEEDS list. And ensure my spending is only for items on the ‘need’ side if the page.

Home

The one word that I want to sum up my goals for our home in 2014 is….DECLUTTER!  There are too many of us living in too small a house, and we all have too much stuff.  Seeing as I can’t do anything about the size of our house (at the moment) the thing that has got to give is the amount of clutter that has invaded our space.  This is going to have to be a work in progress and I’ve no doubt that this will be a long haul.  But I’d like to get to the point that we could invite someone round on the spur of the moment, rather  than needing a fortnight’s notice to get the place vaguely civilised.  I want our home to be a haven from the outside world.  And it’s not at the moment.

Craft

I hearby promise that I WILL NOT start another project until I have finished the many WIPs that I have lying around first.  This will be a hard one to keep!

So 2014 promises to be a busy year, with lots of hard work and ongoing changes.  I’ve put a reminder in my diary every three months, to put some time aside to evaluate the progress I make, and to try and work out what else I can do to help me achieve my goals.

I’m a woman on a mission!  2014…BRING IT ON!