Hello Friends!

Well January has almost been and gone. I’ve just stood in Rogan’s Books telling Rachael about how I feel like I’ve not been very productive.

I say not being productive but I think that’s more work stuff rather than other stuff.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Having watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I was on a bit of a crazy organisation run. I took bags to the charity shop, then bits to the dump. I did a run to the bottle bank and felt even more accomplished. (Then got contacted by CNN Entertainment. Did you see that bit? Read here)

I finished Jaxon’s jumper. Well almost it still needs the buttons but I’m doubting myself which ones to use. I might take my button tub to mum’s and get her to pick for me then again maybe I ask Jaxon – he’ll probably pick a crazy combination but if he likes it then that’s fine.

I’ve been working on a couple of other projects so I’m hoping I can share them soon.

I’ve also been attempting to get some blog posts written too. Not always as easy but we’ll get there in the end I’m sure. Maybe I need to go on an adventure one day while Jaxon’s at school. Maybe something like interesting things to see around Bedford based on the bus routes! This week I was called the “Bus Genie” because I was able to give my friend the bus routes she needed to get from her house to an appointment. Can you tell I use the buses nearly everyday?

Which happens to be exactly where I’m writing now. I’m heading to the supermarket to get some bits for dinner as requested by Chris then home for work before the school pick up. This morning I had a lovely catch up with my friend from church (actually I think we were school friends before church friends) then I went birthday present shopping.

Crazy Tidying!!

Back in 2015, I purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo and started reading it. I think the saying thank you to my clothes was the thing that put me off at first although I was still excited to give it a go, and I’m sure at that point I did.

But that was then and this is now, I think between one thing and another I’d settled into doing the everyday jobs to keep on top of the mess but never really made it any further than that. I get the dishwasher loaded in the morning and maybe a load of washing on the go but then get caught up in looking after Jaxon or working on my business bits. When I saw that Marie Kondo’s show was coming to Netflix I was very excited – I know what a nerd! But I think between Netflix commissioning this as well as the whole hype around Mrs Hinch towards the end of last year, I was suitably excited about finally getting our house in order. Some of the work was definitely going to be more of a team effort but some bits like sorting my own clothes and sorting Jaxon’s clothes could be done while the boys were out at work/college/school and I could surprise them with the things I’d achieved. I watched the first episode around New Year’s Day and really had to stop myself from binge-watching all the episodes in one go! It was too tempting to just click that “Next Episode” button!

I thought that it might give me the get-up and go to get the house sorted properly and it definitely did. With Jaxon going back to school after Christmas, I was all prepared than on the first day of term once I’d dropped him off at school, I would come home and get started but actually I got up on the 2nd January and once we’d had breakfast and played for a bit, that was it. I was starting on my wardrobe and getting rid of those clothes that I was holding on to for that day when I was slim enough to fit back in them again.

Chris had gone back to work and Jaxon still had a day off school. We had our breakfast and played for a little bit downstairs then I really felt like I needed to put this energy to use. I set Jaxon up with the iPad and his drawing books at the end of the bed and got all the clothes out of my wardrobe and emptied the chest of drawers too. In my wardrobe, I have some dresses that I’d bought over the years for different occasions like weddings and birthday parties, but I’m not the size I was maybe 3-4 years ago and I often gravitate to one particular dress that I pair with different cardigans and pairs of tights depending on the occasion. Maybe one day I’ll be that size again and fit in those older dresses but opening my wardrobe and seeing those dresses that I couldn’t wear did make me a little sad. It was like they were taking up space and being unloved when they could be loved in someone else’s wardrobe.

My daily “Mum Uniform” generally revolves around a t-shirt and jeans. I’d also been holding on to lots of t-shirts that were just not the right size for me any more. They would ride up while I tried to do chores around the house or I’d reach up for something in the supermarket and with the other hand have to hang onto the hem of my shirt. I got a bit drastic when it came to the t-shirts, I tried on so many and stood in the middle of the bedroom with my arms over my head, having a mini dance party and things like that to see if they were still suitable or if they were riding up around my tummy.

This was when the saying thanks to my clothes was coming into play. Still not sure I get this bit and still not sure it’s necessary but I did try to say thank you to my clothes but also a quick thank you prayer to God, that I had the opportunity to throw away the “extra” clothes because I’m fortunate enough to have clean clothes that fit me and keep me warm in the cold weather and things like that. I felt really happy like I’d achieved something really good when I saw the two bin bags but then I was like “Right what can I tidy next?”.

Well, it had to be paused that day because using all that energy caught up with me and Jaxon was climbing the walls as he was getting bored. I came back to it earlier this week when I got all the clean laundry that hadn’t made it back into the wardrobes piled on the bed. Put Luther on the iPad and worked on sorting, folding and putting away all the washing. I moved the dirty laundry downstairs ready to get on with that too. Now I’m waiting for the washing to catch up with me as it’s not drying as quickly as it might have done when we were home all day and the heating was running more. I’m thinking I might bake a cake over the weekend and move the washing in front of the oven while the cake bakes so that they can dry a bit quicker hopefully. Either that or I’ll be cranking up the heating for a little while.

While putting away the clean washing, I worked my way through Jaxon’s clothes and cleared out the items that were too small. I also ended up looking up on eBay and Amazon in case I could find two of the shirts that Jaxon has that are now too small for him. One is from Canada that Chris’s auntie brought back for him and the other is one that I found at an NCT sale. I think I might have to admit defeat on finding them in bigger sizes but we’ll see, maybe I’ll find them if I sit and properly look rather than my quick look the other day.

Now I’m off to set up my new bullet journal and write down a list of all the cupboards and other bits that need to be dealt with now. For example, we have so many mugs in the kitchen and really don’t need that many for four of us! Even when we have guests we have our white “wedding crockery” set that could be brought out instead.

Have you attempting using the KonMari method to tidy your house? Do you follow Mrs Hinch on Instagram? Are both of them not your cup of tea? 

Happy New Year (Recently off the Needles!)

Hello there.

So now it’s January 8th and I’m finally sitting down to write a blog post.

Leading up to Christmas, I was desperately trying to homemade finish Christmas presents.

I had had this great idea that making presents would be really nice. So there were three presents that I was making.

The triangle scarf/shawl for Rachel, the cowl for H1 and the Scarf for H2.

When I finished H1’s cowl, I added one of these gift tags from Stationery Geek. This was great but then when I went back having finished the other projects, I couldn’t find my tags then! Nearly ordered some more.

Then I got carried away and decided that I needed gift tags on the packaging too. I printed off this collage sheet from Mrs Brimbles (as part of her Patreon rewards) and then used some Christmas tags I found on Pinterest and combined them to create something a bit nicer than the sticky labels I had in my Christmas wrapping stash.

When I finished Rachael’s present I tried it on and snapped a picture to share. Another project was finished. On our way to London on the 18th, I worked on project number 3. Yes I was cutting it fine but we were going to make sure it happened. I was knitting at every opportunity possible to make sure the projects were finished. I finished it on Christmas Eve Eve just in time to start any Christmas presents that I received.

Christmas Presents

I received two crafty presents for Christmas. One was some balls of pale yellow DK wool (perfect for all the baby blankets I make!) and then from Mum and Dad I received a knitting kit. (I knew this one was coming as it was purchased from Woolzone at Festiwool in November but I’d asked Mum to hold onto it until Christmas).

The pattern itself is by Drops Design and the wool is Drops Fabel. It’s in sock weight which is thinner than I’m used to but I’d like to give it a go and see what I can do. I attempted to cast it on 3 or 4 times and I still couldn’t get it right. Definitely going to need to take it to knitting group and see if my friend can walk through it with me. Either that or I’ll find another pattern to use the wool with (this might be the option I go with so that I can get started).

Have you got any projects on the go? Did you receive any yarny bits for Christmas?

Adventures With Jaxon: Piccadilly Line Part 2!

Our Adventurous Jaxon takes on the Piccadilly Line - Part Two

At the beginning of November, Chris set off for his latest trip to visit Home of Hope in Malawi. With Jaxon in school, he and I stayed at home and held down the fort. There were a few confusing moments for Jaxon. At first, because Chris had gone to work before going to the airport, I think Jaxon thought that Chris was coming home before going to the airport.

Just under two weeks ago, Chris returned from his adventure. Following the morning service at church, Jaxon and I caught the train down to London then rode the Piccadilly line out to Heathrow to meet Chris. With Jaxon now being two years older than when we last took the train out to Heathrow, he was able to talk to me and tell me more about what was going on and what he was thinking.

Dad had recommended that we got the service to London that stops at Farringdon as it’s easier to get from the mainline to the underground. However, when we asked the lady in the station and she showed me the map, we were going to have to make extra changes so it wasn’t actually that much easier. We caught the direct service from Bedford to St Pancras with just two stops at Luton and Luton Parkway.

We were able to get table seats on the train which was really handy. This also meant we could finish our lunch before getting into London.

On our way out of Bedford station, he was chatting away to me about all sorts. Some bits I didn’t keep up with and other bits he was so excited about he almost didn’t stop for breath.

Jaxon watching the world go by on the train

We arrived at St Pancras and then headed through the station to get to the underground. The station is already looking very Christmassy. The Christmas tree is 43-foot tall and is decorated with 600 replica bottles of Tiffany’s Signature Eau de Parfum perfume, 600 paper Iris flowers and 600 white and silver Tiffany Blue baubles. There’s also a 17-foot tall robot made of Tiffany Blue Boxes (but I don’t think I saw the robot from where we were). You can read more about it here.

Once we made it down to the Underground it was pretty much plain sailing all the way to the airport. Chris’s flight was running ahead of schedule for most of the flight so I was a little nervous that we’d get all the way to Heathrow and he’d have been sat there waiting for us for ages. Turned out that they were so far ahead of schedule that they spent 20 minutes in a holding pattern going round in circles just north of Greenwich. 

I’d had great plans, Jaxon and I were going to create a “Welcome Home” sign for Daddy but I ran out of time (and the headspace to do patiently with Jaxon). So while we found a corner of the floor to sit on and wait for Chris, I scribbled this out on my iPad – not necessarily my best creation but Jaxon loved it all the same and wanted to show it off to Daddy as soon as he came through the Arrivals door. Welcome Home Daddy

Chris came through the Arrivals door and walked along in front of this sign in the picture below, round to the end of the barrier. Well in the time it took me to make sure we had everything, Jaxon was already running to meet Chris. Fortunately, he was in my sight line for most of it then was in Chris’s line of sight because Jaxon can move so fast when he wants to! Arrivals Gate at Heathrow Airport Terminal 4

After catching up with the boys we headed down back to the underground and headed beack to St Pancras to get some food before heading home. Following dinner we found this art installation (not Christmas display like I thought it was!). It’s created by Jacques Rival (more info). There’s a swing in the middle and of course, Jaxon had to have a go! Well he’d been such a good boy on the train and then waiting for Chris that it was only fair we took a few minutes out to stop and play. He was even really polite to the others (mostly adults) who wanted a go too.

Jaxon really likes the Lego Harry Potter game so although we weren’t 100% sure he’d know where we were going we went to the Platform 9 and 3/4s display inside King’s Cross. Unfortunately it was so busy we decided to turn back towards St Pancras instead. We hadn’t told him where we were going so when we did have to go the other way it did mean he wasn’t disappointed. Hopefully another time we can take him and we’ll have time to stand in the queue instead. We headed back to St Pancras and got to the East Midlands platforms. We had about 20 minutes to kill while we waited for the train but then were able to board the train.
We got on the 1910 Nottingham service to get home. It seemed like the world and his wife had the same idea because it was so busy!

There were absolutely no seats available and at one point we had to stand in the “foyer” bit at the end of the carriage right outside the toilet (that needed a good scrub down!). As I finished tweeting East Midlands trains thankfully, the announcement came over the tannoy that they were declassifying the next carriage so the three of us made our way along the carriage. We found a table with 3 spares seats and thankfully a lady who was already there let us share with her. I think she liked the entertainment given by Jaxon. Mum met us at the station to bring us home which was really lovely. By the time we got home, it was time to get Jaxon to bed as it was past his bedtime and he had school the next day. Even Chris needed a nap after all his travelling so I kind of had the rest of the evening to myself once we were home.



Monthly Review: October

I stumbled across Belle’s review posts over on her blog by accident and decided to attempt to revive my own Monthly Review posts. This is October’s monthly review. You can see others here. At the end of each month, I write a monthly review all about what I’ve been up to each month. 

Monthly Review: October

Highlights from October

  • October started with the Harvest Supper at the chapel. With Chris being at youth group and Our Sidekick having plans, Jaxon had to come with me. He was a very good boy and behaved himself as I helped Mum with serving the meal. When I got him home he went straight to bed as he was absolutely shattered by then!
  • At the beginning of November, we will have been in our house a decade, so we’ve been looking at our outgoings as far as the mortgage and figuring out if we are on the best deal and bits like that. There was lots of adulting on my part, as I was going to meetings at the bank to chat to the lady there.
  • With Jaxon starting school, there have been lots of extra sessions to learn about what’s he’s learning. I went to a session at school all about the school will be teaching Jaxon phonics and then how to read. (His first book should be arriving home any day and I’m super excited!)
  • Even though there were a couple of days which felt a bit crazy, I managed to grab coffee with a friend and we got to chat about all sorts of bits without getting distracted by our respective children (yay for school or husband’s who take child-duty)
  • Mum and I went to Vue to see the live stream of Cliff Richard’s concert. We had a lovely time but there were a couple of hiccups which did interrupt the evening a little bit but overall it was lovely. We worked out that I was probably the youngest in the room lol.
  • Jaxon had his first Parent’s Evening and oh my goodness I am so proud! He’s settling into school so well and he’s learning so much each day!
  • After a bit of a confusing conversation with the Receptionist at my GP surgery. I had an appointment at the Asthma Clinic and the nurse decided I was still Asthmatic enough to qualify for my flu vaccine.

Top Posts Viewed in October

Goals Set for October – and the Progress

  • Clear some more projects.
    • So, I manage to clear a couple and get them delivered to the recipients. I then started on another project for a charity event at the end of November. Just hope that I have time to finish it.
  • Work on a business plan for work and ideas around a new direction.
    • This is still not really happening. When it comes to work bits I get caught up in the day to day tasks and don’t get the plan sorted out but I have managed to have a “mentoring” call with another business lady who is helping me so hopefully with her guidance I’ll get it sorted out.
  • Exercise! There are 20 school days in October (although 25 weekdays) so I’m going to attempt to make sure that all of those 20 days I reach my step count.
    • I’m not sure this worked out as I kept forgetting to charge my FitBit but I am definitely taking this goal into November to try and make it happen. (I have the car for two weeks though so it’s possible it will all go to pot completely!)
  • A longer term goal is to walk 2018km in 2018. (540km in 90 days).
    • Having just taken a look at my Fitbit I’m on 112km to go in the rest of the year. I will definitely wipe the floor with that one!

Projects Worked on in October

  • I worked on 3 baby blankets that are finished and all delivered now.
  • Charity project for the end of November.

Books Read in October

  • The Sally Red Shoes (finishing properly ahead of starting The Keeper of Lost Things in Book Club in November)
  • Remember God by Annie F. Downs
  • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.
  • Returned to You by Emma St. Clair (I read it as a Beta Reader but it is now released)

Series Watched (Not full seasons btw!)

  • The Shannara Chronicles
  • 9-1-1
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast: Season 1
  • Ascension
  • Salvation
  • Salt Fat Acid Heat
  • Jack Whitehall
  • Cheaspeake Shores
  • Scorpion
  • Reign (Didn’t really enjoy it….)
  • The Good Place (Still not really getting into it)

Films Watched

  • Nights in Rodanthe
  • You Can Tutu
  • The Lady in the Van
  • Moana
  • Coco

Goals for November

  • Try and get some of the handmade Christmas presents started and finished.
  • Finish planning the rest of the presents.
  • Purchase some of the presents (the rest get pushed into early December)
  • Book the car service.
  • Get the home stuff sorted.
  • Keep us all alive while Chris is on his adventure.