Tag Archive | Simple living

Living Simply (Again) In The Modern Day

We have had a lot of illness in the ‘Thrift’ family over the last few years, which unfortunately (together with my reactive rescue dog) forced me into giving my four allotments up in January 2015.

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In the beginning I almost felt claustrophobic when I was in my house and I just hated being indoors…in fact there were times when I would sit outside in my back garden even though it was icy cold, as I needed to feel the fresh air on my face….being outside made me feel alive and being indoors made me feel trapped.

To make matters worse I also had to force myself to take Judy (our rescue dog) out for a walk each day and I would hate it, as she would react so badly to other dogs and traffic, etc. by barking and lunging….I lost count of the amount of people that shouted at me on the park when their dogs approached Judy, as she went mad at them!

However sixteen months later things are now calming down at home and I am starting to enjoy my new way of life and Judy is nothing like the dog she was, thanks to our trainer…. our walks are even pleasant most of the time now.

March 2016

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So it’s time now to get back to ‘Living Simply In The Modern Day’. So I have spent sometime this week deciding what is working fine and what I need to change.  I have written my thoughts below:

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Meal Planning and Cooking From Scratch – No changes needed:

Meal planning saves time and money as nothing gets wasted and I can cook ahead, by making double portions and freezing them ready for next time.  Shopping is always easier with a list to stick to and I can check out prices on-line before I go.

Cooking from scratch where ever possible provides healthy meals for my family, that reduces preservatives, e-numbers and hidden sugars etc. and I think the meals taste better too.

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Baking and Preserving – A new routine is needed:

Over the last year or so I have noticed that I haven’t been baking as much or making as many jams and pickles that I used to and I have only been doing the bare minimum.  However, as things are calming down now I would like to begin a new routine of bread making and perserving….after all, I used to do this at the same time as running my four allotments in the past…..’Homemade’ tastes so much better than shop brought.

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Cleaning using old fashioned cleaners – No changes are needed:

I love my homemade laundry liquid as coventional powders upset my excema.  I find it doesn’t take long to make and is extremely cheap.  I also love the antibacterial vinegar spray and the polish I make and bi-carb is as good as any shop brought cleaner for my bath and bathroom sink.  So I am happy with my old fashioned cleaners.

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Growing vegetables in my back garden – On-going changes required:

It is early days for my organic kitchen garden and I am making changes as I go along.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and I know it will be a few years until I get the garden as I want it.  The ultimate aim is to make the area as productive as I possibly can, but this will take time as the fruit bushes and trees are still very young.

I have ideas to make the garden better, but time and money hold me back, so for now I will do what I can, when I can and enjoy the produce I harvest.

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Low cost living – On-going monitoring required:

This is something that is on-going.  I no longer crave the material things that others have (this stopped a long time ago) but we do have to watch our money as we still have a large morgage and only one wage coming into the family.  Our shopping bill has also risen since I gave my four allotments up, together with every other bill that increases each year……this really is another reason for us to go back to basics and grow as much as possible and make my bread, jams and pickles etc.

We also have two teenagers who get carried along with their friends and ‘Need’  money for this and that.  A few years ago we started to give them their own allowance each month to buy whatever they want and this still works well, as they have learnt that they need to budget for the month.

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Environmentally friendly living – On-going changes needed:

There are lots of things that we could do better here, below are just a few.

* Keep recycling, but better still don’t buy so many things with packaging that needs recycling in the first place.

* Use the car as little as possible by planning trips out so we can combine journeys to save miles – this will also save us money.

* I could borrow my daughters bike for small journeys….I used to ride a lot a few years ago.

* As I said previously I could make as many things as possible e.g. jams, pickles, bread, wine etc. and grow as much as possible to avoid packaging and avoid the miles that the food travels to the shops.

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Continue to learn new skills and develop old skills- On-going:

I want to continue to learn the piano as I love music, but I would also like to play my violin which is something I don’t do very often these days.

I would like to start to knit again.  This is something I used to do a lot before my daughters were born and somehow forgot about it until I knitted dishclothes a few years ago for my hampers.

I want to make soap – something I have been meaning to do for a long time now and just haven’t got round to it.  Again this will save us money in the long run.

I would love chickens and bees but it isn’t practical in our garden with Judy, our dog….However this doesn’t stop me reading and learning about it, as I never know what will happen in the future?

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Peace And Quiet

One thing I have noticed over the last year, I find that I do now crave peace and quiet….maybe this is me getting older or just a reaction to the rotten few years our family has had…whatever it is, I know that living simply in our home will rectify this.

 But overall things are calming down at home for me and I now enjoy being in the house much more than before.  This will enable me to get back to basics once again and enjoy an even more simpler life than before, with the help of my new, muchcalmer companion – Judy.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a good week.

XXX

A Holiday In Scarborough And ‘Slowing Down’

Last week I spent four nights away with my family and it was a really welcome break, as I had been feeling really tired lately.

We went to Scarborough in Yorkshire and stayed in a Travelodge.  We booked the holiday last July and managed to pay just £153.20 for bed and breakfast for all four of us in a family room.  We like the Travelodge as we know exactly what we are staying in, as they are all vitually the same…the rooms are basic, but they are clean, warm and have an ensuite bathroom.  The breakfast is nice and filling too.

Our family room was a bit on the small side, but the view from the window definately made up for it.  It was lovely sitting watching the sea from the window:

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We expected the weather to be wet and windy at best (especially after all the storms we have had recently), or extremely cold, but it was really amazing.  When we arrived on Sunday it was sunny and it stayed dry the whole time.  In fact, most days we walked along the seafront eating ice creams!  Even my youngest daughter could join in this luxury as we actually found a shop that sold ‘lactose free’ ice cream which made my daughters holiday, as this is so unusual.

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We also expected most places to be shut in February, but everything was open and it was busy too.

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I really enjoyed this holiday with my family, even though we didn’t do an awful lot, it was wonderful to just spend time together.

We walked, talked, played bingo on the seafront and lost a few 2p’s in the arcades togther.  We visited the shops and my eldest daughter spent some of her birthday money and in the eveings we played board games.  To me it was sheer bliss.

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We took pasta salads to eat the day we arrived and then we used our Tesco vouchers to have a couple of free meals at ‘Ask’ and we also had fish and chips whilst sitting on the seafront.  We took crisps and drinks to have whilst we were in our room and out and about, so it really was a cheap holiday.

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When the sea went out it revealed some fantastic rock pools, so we spent quite a bit of time walking around these.

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All in all it was a fantastic holiday.  I know it wouldn’t be everyones ‘cup of tea’, but we had a lovely, relaxing time.

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The last of my stored apples

The last of my stored apples

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While I was there, it gave me lots of time to think about ‘this’ and ‘that’.  Recently, I have felt like I haven’t been able to see the wood for the trees and I have once again found myself rushing everything and generally feeling run down and tired.  I have also felt like I’ve not been achieving as much as I usually do.  So I decided to go back to basics and think about the things that are important to me.  Obviously my family are important as they mean the world to me, but other things that are important to me are:

My allotment and living simply.

Reducing mine and my families carbon footprint.

My blog and sharing recipes and gardening tips, in the hope it will help one or two people out there.

My music – I play the violin and last month I started piano lessons.

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Just by writing this down, it made me feel a bit better and more focused about what I want to acheive.

  I then went on to work out what ‘living simply’ means to me and what I needed to do to acheive it and I actually realised I was doing quite well, except for ‘slowing down and enjoying the moment’…and that’s when the penny finally dropped…I have once again gone back to multi-tasking and rushing.  I have been trying to do too many things in a day and I have stopped enjoying what I have been doing, as it now feels like a ‘chore’ instead of a pleasure.

So I realised things have got to change.

The first daffodil to show at my allotment

The first daffodil to show at my allotment

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Since coming home on Thursday I have made a real effort to slow down and enjoy each and every job I do.  I have spent time checking my stock of food and making sure I know exactly what is in my cupboards and freezers.  I have meal planned and batch baked, made our meals from scratch and washed and ironed our holiday clothes.  I have also spent time at my allotment.

Homemade Rolls

Homemade Rolls

Each job has been completed slowly and on it’s own, without multi-tasking.  Strangely, I actually feel like I have achieved quite a lot, even though I have slowed down, but more importantly, I have enjoyed each and every task.  I’m not sure if it’s because I have slowed down or if it’s because I have finally had the time to focus on my goals and what is important to me…but it doesn’t really matter why.

I once again feel like I have a spring in my step, looking forward to each new day.

Viburnum tinus, spotted laurel and vinca flowers from my garden

Viburnum tinus, spotted laurel and vinca flowers from my garden

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back at my usual time on Friday.