Wednesday, 16 January 2019

WOYWW 502 - knitting

Good morning from a damp and grey Pembrokeshire.  It is just over 2 weeks until our next trip to Spain, and I am counting the days! 

If you would like to join in with the global crafty workspace hop that is WOYWW (What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday), then click HERE.

I found a local knitting group last week.  We meet on Thursday afternoons at the local 'Mens Shed', which it turns out welcome women as well.  The annual membership is £5 and then you can attend any of the classes/activities.  They do a general crafts meeting on Wednesday mornings, but I haven't found the energy to think about attending that too yet.  Perhaps when we come back from Spain.  You can knit whatever you like, so I started my first project with big needles (20 mm this time).  I fell in love with the super chunky yarn in one of our local haberdashery/yarn shops, and it had a pattern for a snood with it.  It knitted up so quickly (which is brilliant for me, as I am a very slow knitter) and is finished already.  I just need to sew the edges together, pin it out etc, and then I can wear it tomorrow to the next meeting. 

In my photo I show my next project, which uses tiny needles in comparison.  I did start last night, but was struggling with the Bramble Stitch, which I had never tackled before.  It got late, so I unravelled it and will watch a YouTube video before starting again later. 



I tend to only do yarn crafts in the winter, but will try to continue throughout the year this time with the encouragement of a weekly 'Knit n Natter'. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

WOYWW 501 - Digital Planning

Good morning to you all - and Happy WOYWW (What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday).  Go to Julia's Stamping Ground to join in.

I am being lazy today, as my crafty table is still looking very much the same as last week, ie covered with scrapbooking stash.  I have a full day ahead, as usual, and didn't want to pretend to being doing a crafty project, so here is a screenshot from one of my digital planners (I also have one for my business and study projects). 

I treated myself to an iPad last year specifically because I wanted to get into digital planning properly.  The app, GoodNotes, is the main go-to for this fun way of organising your life, and also having an Apple Pencil really helps to be creative. 


As you can see, I love to add 'stickers'.  I use a mixed form of DigiBujo (digital bullet journaling), so have the corner box for weather each day.  I don't stick to any theme really strictly; just add what I like and to fill in the white spaces after a day is complete.  I also often add photos.

The task in the green box is the 5 Minutes per Day Organisation/Simplifying diary that I am working through this year.  Read my blog post HERE for a link to purchase at a discounted rate and join in. 

Me and hubby are actually going into town today.  Him to have his hair cut, and I will be joining the new library (mainly so I can borrow jigsaws).  There is also a lovely new cafe there, so we will treat ourselves to some cake!   Our cold have mostly gone, except I am still coughing a bit.

Enjoy your day.

Ali x

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Beef Stew in the slow cooker - a saviour for a Spoonie

(This blog post does contain some affiliate links.  It does not cost you anything to click on them and take a look.  I will receive a small percentage if you make any purchases.)

Firstly, you may wonder what a Spoonie is.  Well, to save you going to Uncle Google, it is someone who is living with a chronic illness.  The Spoon Theory is that we all have a certain number of spoons to get through each day, and every activity will take one or more spoons away.  When all the spoons are gone, then we have reached our limit of activity.  Spoonies have less spoons than everyone else, and it takes longer to get them renewed, and going to our limit in one day may mean that our symptoms flare for the next few days.  We need to pace ourselves, practice self-care a lot more, and try to schedule extra rest time before and after a busy day.

One of the things that really helps me get through a week is my slow cooker.  I try to use it at least twice per week.  It is wonderful to get to the end of a busy day and know that there is a hot meal waiting for us.  We prefer to keep takeaways for 'occasional treat' - to save money, eat healthier and also our nearest is 7 miles away, so often we are too tired to bother to do that journey on country lanes. 

Beef Stew is my favourite recipe - with dumplings or not.  I serve with steamed brocolli and some potatoes (probably mashed, another favourite).  Easy, filling and nutritious.

The ingredients are beef pieces (stewing steak, casserole beef .......), chopped carrots, frozen diced onion (I discovered this last year and now always have a bag in the freezer.  I hate chopping onions, as it flares my allergy symptoms) and some form of stock (usually 2 beef stock cubes in a litre of boiling water and some Worcester Sauce.  I had run out of beef stock cubes today, so used vegetable ones and some gravy granules). 



It all goes in the slow cooker on High for a while, until the beef is browned and it is bubbling (I am lazy.  I don't brown the beef first.  I just chuck it all in the pot!), then I turn it down to Low for the rest of the day.  I check/stir occasionally, and add extra water if required.

Makes the kitchen smell wonderful !

This is my slow cooker.  Amazon have it on sale at the moment.  Click HERE to take a look. 



I always use a liner in my slow cooker.  It saves on so much washing up.  Click HERE for a bargain buy of 25 liners from Amazon.



By the way - there are often mornings when I suddenly remember that I was going to put something in the slow cooker, but I am too tired/sore/can't be bothered.  Then I save it for another day, and perhaps we have frozen pizza that evening!  Don't put extra pressure on yourself, but do dust down your slow cooker and make use of it.  They are fantastic.

I will share some more slow cooker recipes in another post.

Thanks for reading - and let me know in the comments if you have a favourite slow cooker recipe.

Ali x

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

WOYWW 500 - scrapbooking at last

Happy New Year to everyone, and also Happy 500th WOYWW.  Some of us have been blogging every Wednesday for many years - sharing photos of our crafty workspaces and details of our lives.  Thank you to Jan for having the bright idea in the first place!

Go to Stamping Ground to join in for the next 500 weeks.

I have actually started on some scrapbooking.  I have been meaning to do this for ages, but kept putting it off as I thought I needed more time/specific supplies/photos.  However, I decided this morning to get my folder of photos out, the Snap Book I bought years ago and the journal cards/stickers with a dog theme.  It didn't take long to trim photos to size and put some quick 'pages' together.  When I have finished with the photos of our dogs that I had printed last year, then I will move onto the other pet photos.  There is no need to have them in any particular order.  Just get those memories recorded and details journaled.



A short post, as I am still fighting the horrible cold that started with a cough before Christmas and then got rapidly worse on Boxing Day.

I hope that everyone is well and happy as we start 2019.

Ali x


Just Minutes Each Day - Organising/Decluttering Your Home

Do you want a diary with a 5 minute decluttering/organising/simplifying task each day?  By the end of the year you can be really proud of how much you have achieved, without being overwhelmed in the process.  Go to GetOrganizedGal and purchase it now - using the code DIARY for a special discount (affiliate link).

decluttering, organisation, simplify, 2019, Fibromyalgia

I love to organise, declutter and clean.  I used to spend time every week sorting out my bedroom, even when I was a teenager!  Ever since I left the family household (at the age of 18), I have taken pride in creating a home.  These homes have often been very modest (perhaps just a room in a shared house or a tiny studio flat) and I usually didn't have much spare cash (or no spare cash in the earlier years), but keeping my surroundings clean/organised/decluttered ensured that I made the best of what I had.

This moved into my professional life - whether being responsible for taking an office team paper-free (14 bags of shredding in one day was my record!), being in the committee for moving a large organisation to a new Head Office building, or actually working as a cleaner/housekeeper.

I would really enjoy running a cleaning/decluttering/housekeeping business, but my health doesn't allow that, and I have the challenge of keeping our big/old farmhouse under control as well.

Those in the crafty community will know that I have been decluttering my craft room for years now - regularly selling and donating items.  Amazingly there are still items in there that could be elsewhere, and 2019 will see me finishing that project.

I have been an almost daily 'declutterer' for years now, but knowing that in the next few years we will be moving to a smaller home in the UK/part time in Spain, makes me more determined to tackle the areas of our home that my husband/stepchildren (yes, they are adults and have their own families now, but we still have items of their's in our spare room) have contributed clutter to.

Having Fibromyalgia has meant that I cannot have the all-day cleaning/sorting sessions that I used to enjoy.  I have developed a routine where I try to stick to 20-25 minutes at a time, never spending too long on one task.  I get a lot done in each day with that, as long as I do not get distracted by social media or my health has flared and I need more rest than usual.  I needed a structure with short sessions, and whilst watching Crystal of MoneySavingMom on her InstaStories last week, she recommended a course that was just 5 minutes per day.  I signed up and have just started.

Click HERE to find out more and purchase the 2019 Diary pack (which also includes a Goals & Priorities Diary) for a special price (this is an affiliate link).

I am sure that I will spend longer than 5 minutes per day on certain tasks when I am able, but it reduces my guilt that I am not as active as I used to be.  I feel that I am making progress and it will be great to look back at the end of the year and see how much I have achieved.

Yesterday I had to find a large bag or box to use for items to be donated.  I had some large bags from TK Maxx that were used for sorting Christmas presents and one has been designated for this purpose.  I spent the remainder of the 5 minutes starting to look through our DVD/Blu-ray collection (which we rarely watch!) and put a few in the bag that I can't remember why we ever bought them.  The 5 minutes went quickly and now the bag is safely in the understairs cupboard out of the way.  When it is getting full, or I am going into town anyway, then I can drop the contents off at a charity shop.

Today I am tackling my cookbooks (I don't have a lot, as I have decluttered in the past, but it will be sensible to go through them again).

If you do join in with this, then let me know in the comments.

Ali x

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

WOYWW 498 - Better Late Than Never

I had the plan to post on here first thing this morning, but then pre-Christmas life got in the way.  I did actually finish doing the tree and decorations, and present purchasing is completed.  Now I just wait for the various couriers each day. 

We had a fabulous time in Spain.  It was warm and sunny nearly every day, and we were staying right in the resort of Javea; a short walk from the sea and shops/restaurants.

I started making a Christmas card for hubby this afternoon.


I have designed and printed out an insert too.

I wanted to paint some more Christmas rocks, but haven't had a chance to get in my craft room, apart from wrapping presents in there.  We have got family staying from Saturday until the day after Boxing Day, but they won't be around all the time and hubby has some long cycle rides planned (he does a #Festive500 challenge - 500km in the Christmas period!), so perhaps I can sneak up there for a while.

Merry Christmas to everyone.  I definitely won't be blogging next Wednesday, as I will be getting food ready for 14 people, so Happy New Year too.

Ali x

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

WOYWW 495 - no crafting whatsoever

Not only is there nothing to show you on my crafty table this Wednesday (wet and very windy in Pembrokeshire - I literally got blown over in the field this morning), in fact that said table looks identical to last week!  The half finished Christmas cards are still there.  I haven't made any more, and I need to post my cards on Monday, as we are off to Spain next week.  I think I will be sitting down with a pile of charity cards tonight!

I am also really late joining the WOYWW (What is On Your Workdesk Wednesday) party this week - blame housework, business stuff and laundry (yes, I have been busy cleaning around window seals to prevent the sideways rain leaking in - my life is that glamorous!).  I have a few possible clients for my VA business that I am chatting with online, so before I know it the day is almost over.

I am showing you some lovely tissue papers that I bought from T K Maxx last week (I went to buy a Christmas present for our 3 month old grandson, and obviously came out with 2 large bags full of bargains).  You can also see my iPad in its gorgeous rose gold case on the 'bookchair', water bottle, some of the chocolates I purchased in T K Maxx (as a reward for finding so many bargains!), pen/pencil pot, business cards from Moo, coasters .....  In the background you can just about see the farm truck parked out on the yard.


Those tissue papers were too lovely and too cheap to resist.  Apart from the usual wrapping of gifts, I think I will have to go to Pinterest to find some more crafty uses for them.

I hope everyone is enjoying their day, and not been blown away like me.  Me and Buzz the dog are staying indoors now, until the wind dies down tomorrow some time.

If you would like to join in with WOYWW, click HERE.

Ali x