Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Remember I Said It Would Get Worse Before It Got Better.....

.....hmmm, well I wasn't wrong about that!

January so far has been spend spend spend.  Though happily not on useless rubbish, booze, drugs & rock and roll.  Though saying that I will be spending twenty quid or so at a gig next weekend where there is a cheap bar and I need a taxi home!  Tickets already bought & paid for.  No drugs - unless you count the paracetamol I will undoubtedly need the next day.

It's been the month for the car service, MOT, repairs required to get through MOT, insurance and break down cover.  Ouch.

I have also done an Approved Food shop, a Tesco freezer stock up for vegetarian things which the likes of Aldi don't sell, and other bits and bobs required i.e fresh fruit & veg, bread etc.

I have also had to purchase some new clothes and boots as well.  The boots are Clarks but they were half price online (£25) with free delivery.  I won't buy cheap shoes, not when I have to cover what feels like miles on the hospital site some days; my feet deserve so much better.  And Clarks are comfy and have definitely upped their stakes in the style department recently.

The clothes have been off of EBay or today, in the sales at BHS.  Charity shops are good for a browse and I do love a good rummage but there have been specifics I need to fill gaps in my wardrobe or replace worn out items so I have hunted them out for less money.  I know in a previous post last Autumn or so, I said I shouldn't buy any more clothes but the truth is, there weren't enough practical items for this time of year or work so, shell out again I had to do.  I am pleased with the results though and have one more item on EBay to finish tomorrow then (if I win it) I am done.

It's hubby's birthday early next month so I have got him some nice gifts, luckily what he wanted I could find on Amazon Marketplace (sellers like you & me trying to get rid of old CDs, DVDs, books etc) or on sale online.  I guess that is one plus point about having a birthday in the Winter: you can get the gifts in the post Christmas sales if you're organised!

I have agreed to start going to an exercise class with an old friend and it is £4 a class on a Monday, held in a school hall.  We went for the first time last together last week and it was good.  I had a real laugh, a bit of a boogie (which I love) and got my heart rate up.  £4 a week over a year is much less than joining a gym I won't make the most of and there is no commitment so if I can't make it one week for any reason there is no hassle.  You don't have to pay up front.  I want to go though and get into a routine of it with her (I am really hoping the forecast snow does not make an appearance tomorrow to screw everything up) as exercise/dancing was always a big part of "me" so it will be good to have it back in my life as part of my weekly routine.

Socially, it's been pretty good, I have seen some friends and family whom I haven't seen for years, for the cost of some petrol and I passed on an old PC/monitor to my family member so that was my good deed/doing my bit to keep something out of landfill!  I am off to see another friend next weekend again for the cost of petrol (20 mile round trip) and she is also watching the pennies/trying to budget so I am sure we will have many things to talk about and compare.  I am trying to get another friend crowbarred into my diary as well but already we are mid January (or thereabouts) so it's looking like February to see her but that's OK as long as we get it sorted.

So it's been expensive but there you go.  I hope that February is a lot quieter financially - it *should* be.  The rest of the year needs to be fairly calm as well if I am going to meet my target.  Fingers crossed eh?

Bye for now.

x x x

Friday, 4 January 2013

What's In a Name?

Hi there, how's your first 4 days of a brand new year been so far?

I was thinking recently about my "blogger name".  I Want a Simpler Life.  I wondered what that conjured up for people.  I wondered if folk would imagine me as someone who is crafty and can turn her hand to making new clothes or home soft furnishings, makes everything from scratch, has a sparsely furnished home and hand feeds sparrows in my garden which may be peppered with home grown root veg and herbs.

Sadly none of those are true.

When I started my blog I was in a fairly bad place.  I hated my job; it was in an overwhelming, chaotic place which was poorly managed from the very top down.  Pretty bad for a global organisation you definitely would have heard of.  (I won't name check for fear of reprisals!)

My husband was only just into a permanent but part time job after a period of hit and miss full time work and was embarking on a degree via the OU.  So money was starting to evaporate and so was any fun in my life.  I wasn't exercising as much as I used to and so some weight was also starting to pile on.

My life seemed to have come to a halt and I felt like life itself was just passing me by.  I live in one of the most culture-less and featureless places in the UK.  You can go for a walk sure, but it's as boring as hell.  The beach is at least an hour's drive away.  There's nothing much to look at around here and anything 'fun' is away down the motorway somewhere.  I was completely uninspired by everything.  And to boot, I'd been seeing a counsellor about completely hating what I saw in the mirror. 

My brain seemed cluttered with a lot of....crap, basically.  Life felt complicated. Truly, nothing felt particularly straight forward even getting up in the morning.  Nothing really serious was going on, certainly I know people have it a lot worse.  But I just wasn't happy and was terrified at the prospect of life continuing this way.  I guess this inspired the name of my blog too as I really wondered:  "Is this it?"

What I longed for was better clarity in my mind, an uncomplicated start in the morning where I wasn't wrestling with roller coaster emotions whilst getting ready for work (you generally have to look in the mirror) and driving into the car park of that hateful place of employment.  Also some stability financially wouldn't have gone amiss.

I needed to make more sensible financial choices.  I needed to try and find more joy in life without having to pay through the nose for it.  I needed to leave that job!

I was at times longing to go back to the days when I have just left school aged 16 and brought home around a paltry £200 a month but I know I was happy.  I bought a little moped, I had independence, I didn't have credit cards or loans and an overdraft was unthinkable.  Just being with my friends was enough, we didn't need much else to enjoy ourselves and even a walk around the block together, chatting was nice.

All these things just added up, in my mind, to the word simplicity.  That's what I needed.  More simplicity.

So that's how it started.  I guess I am making progress, yes, I am....but, it's a long process taken day by day.  The main thing definitely though, is I did leave the hateful job!

So tell me, did my name conjure up the description I started with?  Or had you imagined something else entirely?  I'd love to know!  I hope your life isn't complicated...unless you want it to be of course!

Bye for now, take care.

x x x

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

A Very Happy New Year...Let's Make 2013 a Good Year

Here we are again then, 1st January and a whole new year stretches out before us.  Happy New Year to you all and welcome to my new followers, it's great to hear from you and I wish you well with your own personal journies too.   There will be ups and downs like there are in every year, but I hope we can all learn any necessary lessons as we go, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and just make this a cracking year.

I didn't go out last night, I didn't even buy anything special to toast at midnight.  However I did have a nice enough evening at home with hubby.  Dinner was healthy, cheap and delicious:  marinated tofu and sliced onions & peppers in an Approved Foods 'Sweet Chilli' wrap kit.  I had some gifted Roses chocolates to get rid of for "dessert" later too.  We watched a comedy DVD I got for Christmas and used up the odd bits of alcohol & mixers we had left over from Christmas. Then we watched "Old Jews Telling Jokes" on BBC4 for an hour which was another well needed laugh.

The TV was switched over with 30 seconds to go before Big Ben chimed in the New Year and the fireworks started.  I *love* fireworks so watching them is a treat.  I'd absolutely love to be there in person but it's just not going to happen for a few years so I'll have to make do with watching on the goggle-box for now.  We went up to bed at about 1.00am, I had already fallen asleep once on the sofa by that time.

I had a big lie in this morning as I had nothing to get up for at all.  I have no children or pets and hubby was happy downstairs playing a Wii game so I enjoyed a cup of tea brought to me in bed (before the Wii was switched on!) then more snooze until 11.00am!  I have not slept that late for a very long time (not counting being ill) and I bloody loved it.

After breakfast and a few chores I indulged in a bit of "free" home pampering i.e. self eyebrow maintenance, deep hair conditioning, a face scrub/mask I already have followed by a hot shower with a gorgeous Weleda rose shower gel followed by matching rose body lotion and a self administered foot rub!

Lunch was using up some fancy cheese I bought in for Christmas, on toast with a couple of spoonfuls of caramelised red onion chutney on top - delicious!

So you probably spotted the theme is making the most of what is already in the house and enjoying the day off!  The start of the year is going to continue with using up and wearing out what is already here.  Everything from slivers of soap to wash hands with to incorporating those left over pickled onions into something I'm sure!  (Suggestions welcome!)

Back to work tomorrow for two days then off on Friday as the car is in the garage for MOT & annual service and I have a couple of odd days of leave to use up.  I don't cycle to work in the winter.  So I intend to catch up on home admin and perhaps another day of home pampering, a wardrobe clear out and re-arrange (teaming existing things together a bit more stylishly) and going through the kitchen cupboards to see what we can cobble together as a meal plan over the next week or so.

I feel positive about it and happy that 2013 is finally here.  This IS the year for change!  This IS the year I start to get my life back on track where I can start enjoying it again for all the right reasons.

Thanks for reading today, thanks for the recent comments too, you know I always appreciate them.

x x x