Thursday, April 27, 2006


Guess what .................its a long time to Christmas but with the simple life in mind, and more time to do things I like, I share the finished product of felted hat and bag. It is my aim to give home made pressies this year, including more food items an experiences to stop other people accumulating clutter. I am working on it anyway.


Check out a wonderful story here, and see where you are in your life.
The moral of ths story is......... do you need to be a big fish or can you handle being a small one?
Another one is the recipe for simplicity, you might like that too?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Yesterday I ventured into the garden for the collection of nettle tops. I wore yellow gloves ( seems obvious but thought I would state it in case you get lost in the enthousiasm and forget that they are nettles and can sting you). I used scissors to cut the tops off and then made soup using 2 onions, 1 carrot, 4 sticks of celery, the nettles, some turkey stock I had in the freezer and voila, a green soup.
DH tried and quite liked it but my son who is a bit poorly still and saw me collecting the nettles was less keen. ( Maybe next time).
Cooking a meal from scratch is possible.
I also exchanged some spinach for 6 eggs and am looking forward to my egg benedictine ( poached egg on toast on a bed of creamy spinach).
DH is on the lookout for some raw fleece to enable me to continue experimenting with the spinning and dying I am doing. I find it very relaxing and at least it will mean we will have some socks and hats for next winter. The rooster is keeping us up a bit in the morning but apart from that, rural life seems to be suiting us.

The veg in the polytunnel are coming along. I tend to water in the morning now as that minimizes the slug population that come and feast at night. The french bean seedlings that I planted out are still finding the weather a bit cold. Potatoes in the tunnel are up and running and the ones in the raised bed outside are peeking through. Succession seems to be in hand then. I have lots of squash, pumpkin, cucumber, melon seedlings that are popping their way through so hopefully that means that the weather is warming up.

DH has on his list to build another raised bed specifically for the squashes so they can roam a bit, as well as working on some fencing for the chickens. They have been cooped up together and now that they are used to the routine I am keen to give them some more running space in the garden.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Rationing of fuel is on its way. Don't panic, it does not relate to your household, but to mine.
I have been focussing on transport as you know and to make it more real and create some sort of pain factor ( no I am not a sadist) I am going to limit myself during the month of May on 1 tank of fuel for my car. It should do 400 miles which is 10 miles per day so I will need to plan, measure and work out what is a priority and base my choices on that. Sounds barbarian in a world where everything is available and on tap, but it will also be an exercise in saying ' no thank you' and reevaluating whether I want to use the car, whether is it a need and whether I can do without.

I am also learning to say 'no thank you' a bit more. Quite often saying yes is done automatically and then does not really fit in with the goals I aspire to. I am saying 'no' to too much TV, I am saying ' no' to going shopping etc etc. Practice makes perfect as they say.


I just love podcasts, listening to others as they travel their path to downshifting their life, so here's my selection for this week. where Matt and AJ plan to leave Leeds for Nova Scotia to live.
Geek Farm Life a combination of exactly that, some geek computer things, items about farm life and items about life including the crazy cuisine section which could broaden our minds about what we eat.
Last but not least is Caroline's podcast ' Rural Radio' which includes frugal tips, geek of the week, snippets of gossip over the garden fence' and a book review.

While potting on in the potting shed, it is reassuring to know that I am not the only one doing this in my little homestead. Not that I thought I was.

Best of all, these are generous people sharing their conversations for free, for the love of it and to inspire you if you need it that is.

I continue with my motto:
Dream your life and live your dream

It is possible, and sometimes you need to think outside the box so to speak.
Ok I am off to barter some eggs for spinach and to have a social chat with one of my neighbours, over the garden fence.


Today, I have sent my boys to school and thanks to being around at home, I am there, not too inconvenienced to have one home again with ' tummy ache'. The philisophy in this household has always been to go to school unless there were any visible signs of ilness, such as temperature, sickness, pale colour etc, as I want to encourage my children to attend school when they can.
When I was working full time, having a child called home from school was a major inconvenience because it would always be on a day that I had an important meeting to go to, a presentation to make etc etc. The priority however should have been my child( you may disagree with this!) and of course I always ended up with guilt, anger and frustration at both the workplace, the child and me, a very stressful time.
What a difference to be able to say
yes, I will come and collect him.

What a difference to be able to spend time and ask
' so what do you need, what is happening where does it hurt?

Of course I miss the importance of being important at meetings and presentations and all that it brings with it, but I value my children and when they are ill, insecure and have tummy ache, they need my attention, my care, love and warmth more than I need the meetings and the presentation however inconvenient that is to others.

Today, I will probably have to watch the odd children's DVD, snuggled up on the sofa, my writing will have to wait, the housework will have to wait, the garden will have to wait ( it is raining though) is an unexpected moment of togetherness on the sofa, a time for me to listen, a time to share.........and hopefully, my son will be replenished enough tomorrow to go back to school and get on with life.

Slowing down for us is the same thing, we need that time snuggled up on the sofa to replenish and to be listened to, to dream and to make plans to make our dreams a reality. Sounds like another Sunday then, a day of rest but it is anything but...I am investing time and care on the next generation and that is an important job and far from insignificant.


Sundays are considered to be a day at rest now, it has taken a while to get to grips with that concept but if it was was good enough for God to rest after creating heaven and earth for 6 days why on earth do I have a problem with it?
Rest does not always mean sleeping, rest is a pause.....a pause from what we do on a regular basis so that we can relax, assess and see what we are doing with our time and energy. A period of reflection.
The most I could hope for while I was working full time was either the weekend bridging one week with the next, where actually most time was spent organising things for the next week, catching up on socialising, shopping etc . Holidays also provided an idea for relaxation and reflecting on life, spending time with loved ones, but in general, it took me a week to relax and then a week to wind up again to the speed of work.What I learnt over the last few months is that a day of rest and reflecton allows us to nurture some of the parts in our life that we have pushed aside. This could be spiritual aspects of being human, it could be finding time to read the papers with a leisurely breakfast, spending time with the children, basically living in the here and now with the people we have relationships with. And that may include for some of spending time in a spiritual relationship.

If you have a homestead or some animals to look after, then of course routine does not stop on Sundays, it has to be done, but I urge you to look beyond that and give yourself some time....this is not the time to catch up on work for next week but time to give to yourself.
I really had a problem with this in the past, but slowing down has shown me that there is a need to give to myself and the other people in my life and as with everything, building it in your hectic schedule is the first thing to do.

I lazed about a bit, yes you heard me right, lazed about...that means doing things at my speed, slow shower, slow breakfast of pancakes, slow reading of a book, spending time with the children, a slow cooking casserole in the oven and generally putting my feet up.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


I caught up with Tracey Smith today, founder of the website, promoting downshifting week.
Tracey and husband Ray moved to France and back again to the Uk to improve their quality of life, to slow down and have more time with their children. You can read all about it in the Guardian's article printed today.
Tracey has also been put forward for the ITV Eco Hero award which is due to be announced by the end of April 2006.

Q: The suggestions made in National Downshifting Week are very easy to follow. For positive green change, surely it needs to be more assertive.

On the contrary, I think the beauty of it is that people can just dip their toes in to a bit of simple, green living. If they are encouraged by achieving quick and effective results, they are far more likely to explore the next step and do more.

Q: What do you hope to achieve from it all? Do you have a book coming out you want to sell?

A: I am a committed and optimistic downshifter, very content with her lot! I have realised that by taking on an extreme downshift, there are just so many layers and levels to it and I just want to write about them Lots can be done in your own four walls and you do not need to move anywhere. I want to get that message across. Also, there are so many green elements you automatically embrace when you have a bit more time on your hands - I want to encourage people to lean towards the green for all of our benefit. As for the book, yes, I have an e-book on my site - 'Slow Down and Green Up - A Beginners' Guide to Downshifting' charge though, it's free, so hop on and download it!
Thanks to Tracey and fingers crossed for the award.

I agree with Tracey that you do not need to move per se to green up and slow down, and I have found the information on her site to be of great help. There are a lot of books on simple living out there and they all have a valuable message to put across but I believe the essence of downshifting week is making a commitment yourself to think about the principles and make realistic goals that are meaningful to you. Changing something every month towards your goal and rewarding yourself when you have achieved that step are simple for us all to do, it just needs you to get started. In the end, only you can achieve the way you want to live, no one can do it for you. It sounds sounds hard work, but actually are you not working hard as it is just a different way of life......


What have I been up to on day 1 of the week, been quite busy without leaving the house.
The jackdaws are nesting in our cliff and making a lot of noise. It must be springtime. The chickens are now laying every day and we collected 7 eggs today, there are plenty of seedlings to water and veg to pick. I even managed to pick some rhubarb for eat tonight, not a lot, but then do you ever need a lot of rhubarb.
I have been winding some yarn I dyed last week which dried on top of the aga, and have been practicing on my spinning wheel. I kind of acquired some fleece from a local farmer and am working on it, the smell is heavenly rural, the lanolin makes my hands very soft and my arm muscles are increasing when I card the fibres ( who needs the gym I tell you).
Breakfast was home made granola with soya milk, some freshly juiced apple juice. After some rest, little son ( aged 7) told me something like :
Come on Mum, weed pulling time
He put his wellies on, donned a nice hat, got the wheelbarrow and went and attacked the brambles. He also delighted in the sticky weed that sticks to your clothing and we had a bit of a fight with that in the garden. I limit myself to 2 buckets of weeds per day which get added to the large compost heap. Oh, I made some freshly baked rolls for lunch which the boys devoured as well.
After lunch, the boys played outside although one of them decided to build a model out of lego. I spun a bobbin of yarn and worked away until at about 3 pm I sat down with my nice cup of tea. Is this how life could be, sounds maybe like the Little House on the Prairie but there really is some benefit in staying home, not using the car, working out in the garden, picking your own vegetables and having meaningful conversations with your children. We debated cable TV and whether we could do without....appears not as yet.
I try to stay away from the shops...better that way.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Thanks to Tracey at Donwshiftingweek ( which is from the 22nd to 28th April) there is a new tool available that should help us all work out how we can be greener, leaner and have more money in our pocket. Have a look at the downshifting planner. its a pdf file so easily accessible to most and I think it is a really good way to focus on one aspect at a time and reward yourself.

I have been looking at the way we use transport in our family. The amount we spend on fuel is still too high with an average of £ 125 spent on petrol alone.
What could be done I thought had already been tried but in line with the above I am going to work hard and focus on the following :
  • using the smallest car for journeys, the one that is most fule efficient
  • get the tyres to be at the right pressure and make sure that the oil gauge is OK
  • not rush and keep to speedlimits
  • reduce the use of airconditioning as that uses 11% more fuel
  • keep coupons for cheaper fuel in the car so it can be used when it it needed
  • Kids could walk to school instead of being driven
  • Shop locally or get shopping delivered
  • share lift with
  • organise activities when transport planned, i.e. avoid small journeys and build a list of things to be done when I am in one or other direction.

Saying that the most amount of fuel used is my Dh attending his social engagements and changing those might be a little bit more dificult. I suggested 2 out of 3 but got a smirk, so not all of us are keen on the green side of things.

I am patting myself on the back though as this week I have had 6 car free days. Thats a first.
I will keep a track on the mileage that gets done, what alternatives are available and let you know how I have done at the end of May.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Thank you for your comment. I phoned the agricultural college and they pointed me to a book by Richard Mabey called Food for Free which looks useful and I found it in the library.

I think it would be useful to know what herbs and grasses grow in the garden and around which are not cultivated by us but are there as nature has intended. Saves on planting and produces variety. My garden is organic and slightly away from the road so at least I do not have to worry about fumes and pollution on the plants.

Here are some uses for the dandelion......

Dandelion leaves can be served in sandwiches with a dash of Worcester sauce, or cooked with butter like spinach. Choose the youngest leaves, and strip them from the plant by hand. Remove the excess stalk and wash well. dress the roughly chopped leaves with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.

Sounds feasible.

Another plant to add to my salad bowl, are sweet violet flowers which I know where to find.

So for lunch today I will go and forage and try and take a picture of the plate........

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


I am in wonder of the many colours that spring offers. The daffodils and other flowers are bright yellow and blue, then there is the magnificent magnolia which is pink, spreading its colour around and it feels as if God has taken the paintbrush out and has gone to town in bringing some colour and hope into the world. The birds are definitely mating and dancing in the branches and I feel hopeful and am enjoying the nature festival.
I am going to try and make nettle soup today with the young nettles that are growing up and try and find recipes that use purple sprouted broccoli. That is such a nice plant, you pick the florets and it grows some more. Then there is rhubarb. What many of these plants have in common is their ability to purify our digestive system, to cleanse us from the inside out and I am not sure why we had given up on those. Maybe we felt we could do without?
I would like to learn more about edible plants that we have given up on and that are there for the picking. I am never sure what we can eat and what we cannot and unfortunately I am not sure whether there is anyone around who can share that information with me. In time, I would like to be able to identify the plants that grow in my garden and find out their uses because I have some incling that they all have a use, some for good and some for bad I am sure, but there must be a reason why they are growing. How to go about discovering?


Have you ever wondered what the difference is, or have you just always got what you wanted?
The spring clothes are in the shops and a little feeling inside me jumps up and says...I want one of those and one of those and one of that. Then I check and wonder whether I actually need the clothes, and in fact, I do not.
Whatever happened to planning our wardrobe. Clothes used to be handsewn and family members used to be allocated certain clothes to make. Usually only similar patterns were used and the scraps of material would be used to make quilts. Nothing was wasted and small garments could be made out of clothes that were outgrown. Or they were carefully washed and folded, given to new family members etc. I suppose only one set of clothes was needed as smaller sizes would be available. What has changed is that material is as expensive as buying the finished article, people no longer have sewing skills and patience to make clothes that fit them.
I can resist the urge to go and buy new clothes. I can delight in the wardrobe that is full of the clothes I bought last year and years before. I recently received a full bag of clothes from my friend who has lost a lot of weight and am thus recycling my clothes and having something different to wear.
Who does an audit of their wardrobe? Who keeps classic, classy and good quality clothes in their wardrobe? What we have lost, is the care and attention that went into making the clothes and the appreciation of the time and effort so that we look after the clothes.
Clothes do not make a man.....sure...I get that. The media do a brilliant job at making me want things, sort of makes you lose your mind.
Then there is the opposite emotion.....I need to exercise....but I do not want to.

Today, with every decision you make to buy something, ask yourself whether you really need it, can you buy it second hand, can you make it and then make a responsible you are response able.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I am ashamed to read that Britain is eating the planet and that each year, we eat more and more of the planet's resources. I am trying to do my bit to change that, on my part anyhow, and for those of you who seem to think this might be a hopeless step, I urge you to think again.
My main project for this year is to increase the amount of green veg and fruit we eat and to make sure that the majority of it grows in my garden, hence reducing the ridiculous amount of miles that food travels as well as reducing packaging that supermarkets use to market the stuff, and reducing the plastic bags and petrol I would need to get the salad. Is this difficult, it appears not, do I need a lot of land, it appears not, do I need a lot of patience.....well a little and there is the unpredictability of the weather. Not all seedlings come up, but then I may be hard pushed to eat 26 lettuces in a week. However, I have plans for those. Nature I have to say, does most of the work and is very obliging. I need to plant the seeds at the right time, ensure the basic needs of the plants are met, stay on the lookout for slugs and other competitors and the results slowly but surely start to manifest.
I managed to send my DD away yesterday with freshly cut Novita lettuce from the garden and fresh parsley.
I also wanted to eat seasonally and that becomes a lot easier when you see the stuff growing in the garden.

One step at a time, is my philosophy. I am still buying things but reflecting each time I do on what I would buy locally or produce myself.

You could for instance, cut down on the teabags and go for loose tea. It is a little more cumbersome to make, but tastes a lot better and you get more tealeaf and lest tea dust.
One of my daily pleasures is to sit outside in the afternoon, look at the unfolding garden and bask in a little fresh air with a steaming cup of freshly brewed tea. Simply delicious.

It takes very little to enjoy the view and see nature at work.

have just collected another 4 eggs from the omelette has to be on the menu, maybe with salad?

Friday, April 14, 2006


A few more weeks and it will be downshifting week for 2006. When, check here.

Also why not see how you are doing on the downshifting manifesto.

Do let me know what your plans are regarding downshifting. Yesterday we had our first salad from the garden this year, we have just collected a very small egg and for lunch we made some very naughty cinnamon rolls with white sugar icing which are simply.....well mouthwatering.
As my DS 2 says, this is the life and I would agree with him. Go on....stop beating yourself up about decisions you have made in the past, today is a new day, today is as good a day as ever to start a new life and make decisions you are truly happy with.

Weeds are growing too at alarming rate so must go out there and do some more to compost. I had added some work on the to do list, a special raised beds for squashes , zucchini, pumpkins and other lovely vegetables that ramble a bit. Its going to be a feast when it all comes together.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket

Spring has to be here officially now as the sallow tree is out. It come sout in catkins first, they burst open and are covered in sticky liquid which attracts a lot of bees to the garden. Apparently it is a native English tree and there are not that many about and it hosts 2500 types of insect. I can well believe that because in the summer you do not want to be sitting underneath that one, it crawls.....

The chickens have produced 3 little tiny eggs to date, which are very welcome and Squeek is settling in well. He needs some TLC on his feet which I am giving him about every 3 days. Hopefully there will be progress.

The more I relax and enjoy the simplicity of my life, the more I am aware that I no longer chase the clock so much. To do that and become proactive instead of reactive to things, I need to calm down and reflect at the end of each day how I am doing. I have gradually been planting seeds in my polytunnel and am very pleased with the results so far. There is a natural rhytm to things and I am trying to fall into that as much as possible. I have read extensively about the Amish people and some of their principles and ways they lived was extreme but there was also some wisdom in it. I don't want time to stand still but I would like to dance with time instead of getting the feeling that I am chasing my tail. Its the Easter weekend and there is lots of activity going on inside the house, children are painting eggs, looking forward to an egg treasure hunt and together time. The garden is bursting with blue and yellow colours all around and although the weather is cool, I look forward to the warmer days ahead. A few more weeks and we will be eating lettuce from the garden. Currently on offer is a small amount of rhubarb, nettles for nettle soup and purple srouted broccoli. I can build that in over the next few weeks. I simply love the idea of being able to go out there and pick my food...hunter gatherer probably but the quality is phenomenal and the effort...well actually....the earth and mother nature do most of the work. I just tend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Dear Son,

You might have noticed that I have moved from the coop last night and have settled in well in my new home. I had to move because you were pecking me all the time and I am pleased to leave that behind in any case. I am now surrounded by 10 lovely chicks who seem to be spending their time looking up at me, finding out who I am and nestling quite close to me. These chicks have no idea on country living, they used to live in massive condos where food was provided on tap, the temperature controlled and there were no perches. Fancy having to explain how to sit on a perch, at my age. Wisdom comes with age and I wish you the same. Cannot wait until these chicks get the hang of living in our new home, but on first impressions they do seem a bit stupid, pecking away at the wood trying to find food as where they could be out there scratching the ground and finding lovely bugs. It wil ofcourse take time, all education of young ones takes time and I am getting a bit older now. My feet are aching a bit, getting used to the changes in the home environment but don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. The keeper of the house seems friendly and as bemused as me that the chicks do not wish to be outside. I would like to say I like it here but it is day one and it might just be a bit presumptious to say that. I hope you are being nice to the ladies I left behind and you are taking great care of them.

Your Dad, Squeek.

( Squeek is the Orpington cockerill who is finding a new home here with 10 new chicks) He seems to be a gentle giant and his call in the morning was not too ofputting ----the neighbours have not yet come around to check what the noise is about.

I am looking forward to the eggs when the chickens have settled as well as lovely manure to heat up my compost heap. ( I know, you probably do not get excited about that one, but to me, there is beginning to be some comprehension how things fit together even though the world might seem chaotic, there seems to be some plan).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Its a question of quality

I am not sure about your thoughts but I am concerned that there is meat available in the supermarket at such a price that it is just too cheap to eat. A chicken at £ 2.99 just cannot be quality. I am not sure how long it would take for a chicken to actually grow from egg to table ready but it cannot be less than 40 days surely.....and what do they do to these chickens that they grow so far...actually I probably do not want to know. My question is, am I prepared to either be a vegetarian and eat no meat or eat meat responsibly. By that I mean, I am willing to find out where my food comes from, how it has lived and what the quality is like. I ask this question because I wonder what it does to my body to be flooded with angst hormones from an animal.
I have looked at the benefits of not eating meat and although I am reducing the amount we eat while at the same time sourcing locally produced traceable meat, the price of this is a lot higher than what is available. If I continue to buy the £ 2.99 chicken then the supermarket will think I want this and produce more. Actually what I want is probably a more expensive happy chicken and that will not be available there.
My friends cultivated their own chicken supply one year, bought 15 chicks and brought them on until they were way past the normal table weight, but when we received one of those as a gift, the quality was fantastic, we actually ate less of it because it was better quality and a chicken could last 4 meals including making stock for use in soups. It took more than 40 days, it took care and pasture to let these chickens roam and have a happy life, it took them to be killed there and then, with the least possible stress. They did not get foampacked, injected with hormones, strung up by their legs awaiting to be killed. I know which one I would prefer.

I am really sorry if you are a vegetarian and this post upsets you....and if you are a meat eater and this post upsets upset me too....and that is why I believe I need to look at making changes because I want a simpler, less tampered with food supply and I want to reward the people who look after animals and not those who could not care less and produce a bird for less than £ 3.00.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


It has been a fantastic sunny day today and I have spent some of it outside and in the polytunnel. Things are definitely warming up. I am very good at the seedling stage and have not quite figured out what to do with them all. There will be surplus as last year. I have about 50 sprouting broccoli plants as where I probably will only be able to plant out about 18 of those. I belong to a LETS groups so will share them around. You never know what comes up and what does not. I am still working on a succession planting.
The potatoes are showing through and hopefully will be ready beginning of May
The peas have been transplanted and should be edible by June.
The strawberry plants are in bloom ( last years trial plants) and the new ones are settling in nicely.
about 45 tomatoe plants Tamina and Alicante variety are on the bench growing, french beans are popping through, parsley is still plenty and rocket and salad greens showing growth as well.
Some small munchkin pumpkins and courgette plants , sweet peppers are in the propegator.
Last years sprouting broccoli plants are coming in flower....they got ravished by caterpillars last year and although my DH said to take them out, they have managed to grow, not very tall but will still be giving us a crop.
Outdoor onions which I planted in autumn are showing through well.
Rhubarb plant is coming up slowly and the plum tree is budding.
We are still having hard frosts from time to time so hopefully the blossom of the plum tree will hold on until it has gone.
That is the variety of plants so far, I do not have the sucession thing worked out yet but I plan to sow saladings every 2 weeks to get a continuity in that as well as nasturtium flowers to make the salads colourful.

Done most of the sewing for early spring now and in a couple of weeks there will be more beans, salad things, courgettes and squashes to add. I love french beans and like to freeze them for the winter.

Its going to be colourful.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


If you want to read some excellent posts about being green you can find them here this week.
In case you wonder, blog carnivals offer you a selection of posts with links in one post. Saves hunting around on the net.
Happy reading, I am off to watch the second episode of the Strawbridge family in about 20 mins.
Feet up and relax.


Hooray, spring is here. If you are a perfectionist and you need a list to tick off for a job well done check these out, room by room, so you can do things methodically if you need to.
I am off with a spring in my step, have baking bread, biscuits and chocolate brownies to do as we have what seems like a lot of playful children round for lunch. Off I go, might even have a go at the kitchen list while I am awaiting.

Monday, April 03, 2006


I guess one of the biggest investments you are going to make in your lifetime is buying a home for yourself and your family. It is pretty unusual to be able to purchase a home without a mortgage these days so this is going to be one of those loans or debts that are going to be around for a while. Mortgages are one of the cheapest ways to borrow money over the longest term and when you have a mortgage, paying for it will be with you for a long time.
There is however no reason why you should keep to the 25 or 30 years of a mortgage you have been given as a term. You could make overpayments as a form of savings thereby cutting back the amount of years you have to pay and the total cost of your mortgage.
To do this however you need to have a very disciplined approach to your savings. You could make a monthly overpayment or save it separately and pay a lump sum off each year thereby reducing the amount you owe and thus also your monthly payment ( but do check that there are no penalties in your mortgage deal).

How can you reduce your mortgage payments?
Well surprisingly, people who take out a mortgage think they have to stay with the same lender, but a mortgage is just like any other consumer product and it pays to speak to your financial adviser to see if you can get a better rate and spend less out of your monthly budget. You will be surprised how much you could save. A friend on mine did this exercise and saved
£ 1200 in one year which is not to be neglected. As with everything you can shop around and see if you can find the item at a better value.
If you have saved anything as a result of this plost, let me know.


By way of an update, the second week is posted on the fridge door and everyone is having a look. The chores done this week were done, sometimes with a lot of moaning, other times with pride and responsibility. As parents we had to give some pointers as to where things live in the house and where for instance you would find the dishwashing tablet, what the dog eats, how you deal with the cat when she comes with you on the dogwalk, why shoes have to be polished and whether you can barter your chores or even share them with another person.
From our point of view, a lot of praising has gone on, a lot of encouragement and acknowledgment that we have some more free time. We also discuss bigger issues at the dinner table, such as plans for the garden, leisure activities and what each person's goals are. Which jobs do they like, which ones they hate and.....I am beginning to discover skills the children have but have not shared before with us. They have problem solving skills and are capable of looking at difficulties in creative ways that sometimes are interesting ways to solutions.
This week they are on holiday and have suggested additional jobs they would like to be considered for....I wonder whether that will last but I am optimistic about this new family model. There is a lot more listening going on at the dinner table, a lot more negotiating as to who wants the Tv when etc and how they can work together.
I would say thats quite a result in one week.....will it last and get better?

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Image hosting by Photobucket

Courtesy of mother nature. There is something to be said for not tidying up your flower sites in the autumn. Not only does it feed the birds, but in spring, like right now, you might find some seedlings from your flowers have made a home in the flower beds. My way of dealing with it, is to get DH to dig and turn over the earth, pick out the little seedlings and then replant them in another part of the flowerbed and you have a free orderly flower bed. Problem is that I am not really plantswoman enough to fully remember what they are, apart from the one sort which I found today which are cerinthe major purpurense. They are purple, they have lovely foliage and can be used in flower arranging or making your bouquet a little larger, so go and look for the free plants you may have some.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Beginning of April always heralds the end and new beginning of a taxyear. The local tax demand comes in in the middle of March as well as paying for the water we use. Last year I paid in monthly instalments but this year, I have the satisfaction of paying it in full. I prefer to save the money over the year, earn interest on it and then pay it in one lump sum. Might not suit everyone but I do not like owing money.

The Young Professional's Financial Blog has a good article on getting your finances in order, that being filed and sorted. So maybe today is a good day to start doing that if you have not got that part of your filing cabinet simplified. Take some time and it will be simpler in the future.