Wednesday, 20 January 2016

KonMari folding of my smalls

So two years ago I decluttered and tidied the house and then one year ago I decluttered again prior to our house move and once more after we had moved.
You'd think I was living a zen minimalist life - but no, quite the opposite - we are not wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling in possessions (and we have an empty loft space) but I often get that creeping feeling of disorganisation when there is just stuff in my way, I feel crowded or I can't find something quickly.
In the first week of January, three people on Instagram and two friends mentioned Marie Kondo's book on tidying - and as I have a personal rule 'if something is mentioned to me two to three times it must be explored' I bought her book as part of my Big New Year Book Buy (I get lots of book vouchers for Christmas).

All I knew was that you asked yourself if each item 'sparked joy' before you decided whether to keep or recycle and you thank your items for working hard. The latter was way too woo for me so the book sat on my shelf for a week and I read something else.
After a particularly annoying day of delving around in my Tardis-like handbag for phone, keys and lipstick (but only finding a lolly, three times) I cherry-picked the section on bags - rolled my eyes and put the book back on the shelf.
But then I thought about what I had read and realised that I do carry an awful lot of stuff I need, but not everyday - so I allocated an empty drawer in the kitchen and unpacked my handbag - throwing the damned lolly away.
The next morning I picked a joyful handbag, packed what I needed and unpacked again when I came home. I had no problems finding one of the three things I had packed and I didn't feel as if I was lugging a big sack around all day.

This was my epiphany. My sudden revelation.

I have now read the book from cover to cover and have worked through my clothes (four wardrobes down to two), books (I adore her Hall of Fame idea), toiletries (a shocking level of hoarding - how many cotton buds does one family need?) and I am halfway through papers. Previously I have tidied by room, but following a list of categories is simpler.
Luckily all that previous decluttering has made this a much easier journey and I am already pretty good at keeping alike items in one location (something she recommends for ease when it comes to living back in the real world).
Back to the woo - when she suggests you don't fold your socks as they have worked hard and need a rest I try not to think of them as sentient beings and remember that the elastic on socks/tights continues to be stretched when you ball them up (as I did, tightly, pre-epiphany), and who wants saggy clothes?
It has now been a few days since I tidied my clothes - I feel quite energised when I think about what I am going to wear, there are no conversations in my head about why I should wear this or what needs to happen before I wear that. I have even maintained the neat drawers of underwear/gym clothes/tops/nightwear/cardigans - yes, I have fitted all that in one big drawer - and am almost quite fast at her way of folding, even when tired.
The only downside has been that I am very sniffly and I am not sure if I have a cold or if this is a reaction to all the dust I have unsettled.....

PS apparently this is my 200th blog. Wow.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Where to start...

I was going to be organised. I was going to have a work/life balance - I even stopped a much loved job to free up time. And what happened? A blur.
A blur of essays, meetings, deadlines, leaflet proofs, remembering (and forgetting) things for school, not getting much sleep and just wanting to sit on the sofa with a book or a film and my crochet.
Today I finish modules in Social & Developmental Psychology and Social Theory and I am not back at university for 5 weeks.
Time to catch a breath.
In three hours I am going to see Star Wars with Scarlett - celebrating in style.

Monday, 6 July 2015

The wonders of a new home

Coming back from this morning's dog walk I picked some flowers from my garden. Not a major event but really special in that these are not plants that I have grown, these are plants I have inherited from the previous owners. Throughout the day I have looked at my little vase of various flowers including penstemon (thanks to my twitter friend @gardening_greek for the identification) and remembered how lucky we are to live here and how perfect the house and garden are.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

And then this happened.......

"Oh my goodness Scarlett you won't believe the time I've had since we were last together in Devon!
"Well firstly, as you probably know by now, I was scopped up with the other toys and put in the wrong suitcase. Then I was put in the wrong car and when I woke up I was in Bradford on Avon and there were three other elephants that looked very similar to me. I was a bit unsure at first but we soon became friends and have been generally having an elephantastic time. They eat jelly for breakfast here and have banana pizza which I found a bit odd. When we are all asleep the snoring is quite horrendous.
"I tried several times to tell them that I was just on holiday here and that I actually lived in Ipswich, they listened with interest to my tales of blankie and the new house but they seemed to think there were pirates in Ipswich and that it wasn't safe to go back. I tried to tell them it was a lovely friendly place but they kept on chanting "West is best, West is best" and making more jelly.
"Anyway time went on, Christmas came, then Easter and then it started to get warmer and I started to miss Ipswich and my Scarlett and hearing about her days at school. So the other day I saw a Mummy and I did something naughty - I blew my trumpet - just a gentle trumpety squeal and she saw me! She seemed quite baffled as to my being on the bookcase. Anyway she seemed really really happy to have come across me and I thought maybe she was so happy she would keep me and I would never get back.
"However I have since heard the Mummy saying I'm going in an envelope and in the post which I'm assuming is like going on a train or EasyJet because she has talked many times about me being lost and going home.
"I won't fib Scarlett, I have loved my adventure but I am sooooo delighted to be COMING HOME xxxx I can't wait for you to try jelly for breakfast too (I like earwig and marmite flavour best) and I'm sure when we get Daddy Dan to try a banana pizza he will want to be introducing them at the pub."

Monday, 25 May 2015

Elie the missing Elephant

Elie was bought for Scarlett when she was born.
But 'she' hasn't seen for over a month and this is causing much angst, particularly when the day has been long and a good sleep is needed.
We are not really a family who lose things (I am actually quite uptight so never really take anything too precious with us when we go anywhere and undertake a beachcomb before we leave).
I am so surprised that this has happened I just keep thinking I will open a drawer/bag/box and there 'she' will be.
We have been offered replacements by really kind friends - typically the style has been discontinued - but Scarlett is now of that age when she won't be fobbed off. She doesn't want a new one, she wants Elie back.
She wants Elie, smelling like Elie and looking seven years old.
So all I have left is to turn this into one of life's platitudes - that sad things happen, we do lose things that we love but we carry on and we do learn to live without them.

I'm sure there's another drawer I haven't checked.......

Friday, 22 May 2015

The right knickers

Imagine the scene. It is New Year's Eve 2011, Scarlett is three and we are visiting friends in Bath. The children are playing at a play park just on the outskirts of the city centre when Scarlett announces she really needs the toilet whilst standing at the top of a very tall slide. By the time I have retrieved her, the inevitable has happened. Faced with no change of clothes (I have never been that sort of mother) I have no choice but to run to the nearest shops - almost closing, no pressure. It being Bath, these are The White Company and Joules. I have to buy knickers and jeans - and this event is subsequently christened The Most Expensive Wee in History.
Four years on. Scarlett has outgrown the £35 Joules jeans but The White Company's £10-for-two 2-3 year knickers are still going strong. They fit perfectly, as do the 3-4 and 4-5 pairs that I have bought in subsequent years. We have been through packets and packets of supermarket and high street knickers, some very pretty, some with characters, some with bows but all very soon faded, twisted and leaving marks on the skin.
We can't manage a week with just 6 pairs so we need more.
Imagine my horror to find that the 6-7 pants, in fact all the pants, have been sold out on The White Company website FOR AGES. I have tried Customer Services - they congratulated me on my love of their product and suggested I keep checking. Hmm.
A girl can't manage her day in the wrong knickers so I'm afraid we have gone with Johnnie Boden and his £24 for seven stripey pants (with great reviews) after he sent me a £10 enticement this morning.
Knickers have made me very middle class.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Outrunning a good diet?

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at

I am feeling frustrated.
The age old problem of weight loss.
A few weeks ago there was a load of press coverage on something that I have known for a while - that exercise is really good for you but it doesn't always cause you to lose weight. So the science goes along the lines of - if you run for an hour, you will only burn enough calories to cover one meal a day. A day. So you have to run an hour every day, if you believe in the scientifically challenged theories of cutting 500 calories to lose one pound in weight a week.
Or you can just eat less, or you can do both.
But what if you eat really well, exercise a lot and the scales don't shift?
Questions buzzing around my head at the moment are:
Am I eating the wrong type of food?
Should I be fasting?
Do I have an intolerance?
Is it OK to eat some carbohydrate?
Should I eat no carbohydrate?
Are my portions too big?
I have spent so much time and money on these questions and still I am getting on and off scales and letting the number consume me.....