I is for Internet

Day 9 of the A – Z blog challenge.

The internet can be a major help as you strive towards a make do and mend lifestyle. Not least because a simple Google search can tell you how to make and mend just about anything that takes your fancy.

Obviously Youtube is the place to start with any type of new craft or DIY skill that you may find yourself lacking in.

  • I have fixed my dishwasher when it wouldn’t drain properly – had to take the drain section to pieces and found a piece of glass blocking it. As this was on Christmas Day it would have been a while before an engineer could come and fix it for me at i don’t want to think about what cost.
  • I have taught myself the finer points of crochet.
  • I have learnt how to reattach the zipper of a zip after it comes off the teeth in your hand when you are altering a wedding dress… ooo, that was not a good moment i can tell you…
  • I have found the songs i require to teach singing and signing sessions at work as well as finding some that are really not quite so suitable – but fun all the same.
  • I have found out what some never used (and probably never will be) sewing machine feet were meant to be used for after i found a random bag of them lurking at the bottom of my sewing box.
  • I have learnt jewellery making techniques i didn’t have before.
  • I have learnt how to work with Fimo – made some minion keyrings, they were really cute and friends and family loved them.

Minions

  • I’ve tried yoga – it wasn’t successful – don’t do a downward dog with a loose bra on. It doesn’t work. Invest in a sports bra. Or don’t have boobs.
  • I’ve been entertained by funny animal videos, ever seen a hedgehog being fed a treat? It’s hilarious, go find it, you won’t be disappointed.
  • I could probably continue ad infinitum, no person could possibly live long enough to watch everything that is available….

As well as Youtube, there is good old Google itself. The answer to every question in the universe plus a few that have never been asked before. Probably.

It is no longer necessary to have a costly encyclopaedia in the house, the internet can get you the answer to that query before you’d have had chance to open the first page. Although it may take a while for you to find the actual piece of information you were looking for. The trawl through the sites can rake up some stuff you never wanted to know though…or see…

Shopping is where the internet really saves you money though. Sites such as Ebay and Amazon are gradually taking their toll on the traditional high street while those seeking individual hand made items can use sites such as Etsy or Not on The High Street as well as many others in order to show their unique identity.

On top of this there is the possibility of having your supermarket shopping delivered. I believe this does save you a lot of money, even after factoring the delivery cost, by you not actually having to visit the shop yourself. You have your meal plan for the week, you have your shopping list to facilitate your planning and you buy just what is on the list because you aren’t physically in the shop to see all the special offers and impulse buys that the supermarket is trying to tempt you with. On top of that, there is the fact that you have no transport costs to get you there and back. You save on shoe leather from not walking around the shop. You don’t get stressed out by the amount of people blocking your way as they chat to that friend they haven’t seen for absolutely ages right in front of the milk aisle. This means that your diet also stays safe as you don’t reach for that huge bar of chocolate that is sitting conveniently by the check out, just crying out your name, as your reward for having to go through that hell week in and week out…

Or is that just me?

Finally, we have education.

I could not go to university when i first left school. I wasn’t actually even allowed to attend college, i had to go straight into work to start earning a wage as soon as my legal schooling days were over. Admittedly, i had no strong aspirations for any particular career, i didn’t know what i wanted to do so i didn’t put up any fight either.

Years later, when i did decide i wanted to further my education i was married and had children. I went to evening classes at the local college but that was never going to improve my career prospects. When my marriage failed, i had even more need to gain some qualifications but even less ability to go to a university to get them when i had three boys to feed, clothe, house and keep warm.

I turned to the Open University. I could stay at home, go to work and gain a degree at the same time. It wasn’t easy. Trying to fit study hours in was excruciating at times, but the flexibility of study and the range of study materials and peer/tutor support available was second to none. My first degree, a BSC Hons in Health and Social Care was sort of my introduction to computing that wasn’t being beaten at space invaders by my brother in the late 1980’s. This was in the early 2000’s and was delivered by a combination of online support and snail mail assignment postings.

 

My second degree, an Open BA, was in the 2010’s ish,  and was mainly delivered online.

Graduation Torquay 2014-15

They’ve grown a bit haven’t they!

I am currently three quarters of the way through a Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree with the Open University and it is completely delivered online.

With the increase in technology i have gone from no hoper, straight out of school and into the local factory where her mum worked to a person who can hold her own, live independently and believe in herself and her abilities. I could not have come anywhere near that without the internet and the ability to study at home without racking up tens of thousands of pounds in student fees and living costs.

So the internet is amazing at helping you save money in so many ways.

Have a happy day,

Anita x

 

 

E is for Economics

Day 5 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

 

According to the British Dictionary the definition of Economics is ‘the social science concerned with the production and consumption of goods and services and the analysis of the commercial activities of a society.’ 

Or to put it in my way, making sure you don’t go broke by buying stuff you can’t afford.

‘It makes sound economic sense’ is a phrase that i have often heard although i will admit to not always adhering to the message.

I’m not going to sit here and preach about what you should or shouldn’t buy, you are the one in control of your purse strings and you are the one who decides whether to open it or keep it shut. But all i am going to ask is that you think before you make that final decision to purchase.

And the only thought that i ask you to consider is the one i mentioned above: Does it make sense?

Particularly if you have to go into debt to be able to afford it.

Look into whether you can afford the repayments. What the interest rate is? How long will you be paying for it? How much will the item have depreciated in value by the time you have paid it off? How much will it cost you in total if you do buy it on credit?

How confident are you that you will still be earning the amount you currently do for the length of the borrowing term?

Will you actually use it? Do you actually need it?

When you have answered these questions, then you will have your answer as to whether it makes sense or not and can make a rational decision whether to sign on the proverbial dotted line, or flash the plastic numerous times, forgetting the purchases almost immediately and then panicking when the bill comes in two months time.

Better still, leave the plastic at home, odds are, if you have to go back to the shop a few days later then the impulse will have passed and more than likely you don’t buy it anyway.

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My dad always told me to live within my means. Earn it first and save up for the big stuff. I’m no hero, i didn’t always do as he said and i learnt from my mistakes.

He also told me to always reverse park into a parking space because you never know what pillock will have blocked you in while you were away from your car. I have always listened to that advice and been thankful for it many, many times.

Maybe i should have listened to his economic advice earlier……

And no, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t my dad…

But my dad was my hero…

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Have a happy day.

Anita x

Reference

British online dictionary, Economics, Available at http://www.dictionary.com/browse/economics?s=t

 

D is for Disposable

Day 4 of the A – Z Blogging Challenge

Today’s society relies far too heavily on the use of disposable items. We are the throwaway society that i talked about on Day One, A is for Action, and it can’t all be solved with the use of Beeswax Wraps no matter how much i love mine.

It’s not just the obvious plastic utensils, paper plates at parties, takeaway containers when we fancy a proper fish and chip supper etc, it is in just about everything we do and everything we use.

We don’t get things mended anymore. It is just so much easier to go and buy a new item to replace one that is broken or torn and yet there is, quite often, so much life left in an item if it’s just given a little bit of TLC.

I am a qualified seamstress. I first used a sewing machine back in my secondary school in the 80’s and have rarely been without one since. I feel bereft when I am without access to one. I know that makes me sound sad. On top of my day job i also take in alterations and repairs for clothing but the value of this occupation has diminished considerably over the last decade or two. Generally, it is not considered as a costly thing to do. I have lost count of the amount of times i have been asked,

‘Can you just replace this zip?’

And i take a look at the pair of jeans. I know how much of the waistband i have to unpick, how many belt loops have to be taken off, how difficult it is to get the old zip out through three rows of stitching without damaging the surrounding fabric, inserting the new zip and then replacing the belt loops individually into the replaced waistband. Oh, and not forgetting that i  am usually expected to go and buy the new zip as well, it is rare that the customer brings one with them so add on the fuel and the time to get to the shops and back. Online shopping is not often particularly good for this type of service, or maybe i’m just too picky…

And so i reply,

‘Yes, i can do that. It will take me about an hour to an hour and a half. I charge £10 an hour plus the cost of the zip which will be around a fiver. So, between £15 and £20. Is that ok?’

And the customer says,

‘Twenty quid? It’s only a zip. I can get a new pair for that!’

And so we have the definition of the disposable society.

It is quite often cheaper to throw it away and buy a new pair of jeans than it is to get the old ones repaired. They go into landfill and the clothing shop owners who make and buy in mega bulk and sell at mega cheap prices are rubbing their hands all the way to the bank.

I’m not saying we should all stop buying from these places, although i do believe that, in some cases, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect a £2.50 T shirt to not shrink in the first couple of washes – my tip, buy a bigger size to account for it, believe me, it will fit perfect after a few spins in the washing machine – but i do think we need to take a bit of time to consider our purchases and what we throw away. Sometimes, just a little bit of thought can save us an awful lot of money.

And it’s amazing what you can do with a pair of old jeans…

Have a happy day,

Anita x

B is for Beeswax Wraps

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

A recent discovery in my bid for a more sustainable lifestyle are Beeswax wraps. I am so totally in love with these!

Beeswax wraps-2

I take a packed lunch with me every day to work. Quite often this consists of home made soup which i make in batches and freeze in reusable plastic containers that i can then put straight into the microwave. However, when i have had a lazy weekend which involved me not getting around to making said soup i revert to the good old favourite of a sandwich which would then be put into a plastic sandwich bag. This piece of plastic would then go in the bin once i had eaten my lunch. In my hunt for a more planet and purse friendly option i came across these. If looked after properly, they can be reused again and again, they are chemical free and the perfect alternative to cling film, sandwich bags and foil.

What makes them so amazing? They use the heat of your hands to fold around anything, i have recently seen them referred to as ‘self cling fabric’ as well.

And the cleaning? You just wash them in hot soapy water with your normal dishes – not the dishwasher though, that is too hot, and will make the beeswax melt. Similarly, these cannot be used in the microwave (i just bung a plate on top of any bowls etc). It is also recommended that you don’t use them for raw meat because of the risk of contamination through not being able to clean them at an incredibly hot temperature.

On my search for these i also looked out how to make them and where to source the ingredients, mainly because i have a fabric stash a mile high that needs to be used up. The ones in the photos are wraps i made myself and when my next delivery of beeswax arrives i will be having some up for sale on my ETSY page and my Facebook page, both of which are called Baby Dreams Stitchery. So keep an eye out here over the next week for some fab designs – don’t you think the Minnie Mouse one is adorable? That particular one is currently sitting in my fridge covering half a tin of mushy peas…but i have a fair bit of that fabric left to make more. I also have some pretty funky vintage Paddington Bear earmarked for this project as well, although i don’t have much of this fabric left so there won’t be very many made.

So, as far as i am concerned, beeswax wraps are the bees knees. They have resulted in a considerable drop in the amount of single use plastic i use in the house (that tin of mushy peas would previously have had a sandwich bag pulled over the top) and my family are gradually nicking the ones i have made faster than i can make them – the ones for Baby Dreams Stitchery will be hidden from their prying eyes and thieving fingers…

For those of you who are vegetarian, it is also possible to get soya wraps which are purported to work in a similar way, but i cannot comment on these as i have not researched them…yet…

Check back tomorrow to discover what my C is going to be in this alphabet challenge and seriously take a look at making the switch to beeswax or soya wraps, i mean, how much clingfilm and how many sandwich bags do you get through in a year????? I bet you’d be horrified if you stopped to work it out.

A quick google search has told me that in 2017 there were 260 official working days in the year… i’ll let you carry on with the math from there as only you know how much single use plastic you use in each lunchbox for your family…

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Feel free to let me know your answer…

And above all,

Have a happy day.

Anita. x

A is for Action

The A to Z Blogging Challenge

Now, since i decided to do this challenge i had chosen to do A is for Anita: a bit about me and why i feel that the time is now to reduce the waste of both resources and money that we, as a society, put out there. But on sitting down to my computer this morning i changed my mind (that’s my prerogative, i’m a girl after all and don’t mind a little bit of stereotyping when it suits me) because it’s not just me that needs to change, we all need to take action. And if it actually helps us in the long run? I would call it a win win. Besides, you will probably learn quite a bit about me in the forthcoming posts throughout this month.

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  I mean, really? Why would anyone do this?

Far too many years ago, when i was but a lass in secondary school, i took a book out of the school library. What is so amazing about that i hear you ask? That is what libraries are for and as a self-confirmed bibliophile it was certainly not an extraordinary experience. What is so amazing is that i can still remember the message this book brought (even though i haven’t a clue now of the title or author, come on, it was over 30 years ago!).

The story was about a couple of time travelling teenagers. They had come back to the 1980’s from the future to try and change the past because the world they lived in was barren and struggling to cope with the residue of the lifestyle in which we lived. The teenagers sought to change opinion of the people they met by their harrowing descriptions of what would happen if their lives of waste continued. But ultimately they failed in their mission. The reason for this? They hadn’t gone back far enough, they had only travelled to the time of the wastage, not the point where they could change it.

I’m not saying it changed me from that moment, there are plenty of people around on this planet that would certainly take great delight in calling me a liar if i did. But it has stayed in my mind. I have felt guilty when i knew that i was wasting stuff that could be used. There are also a great number of people on this planet who know that i am a crafty hoarder of craft related items, with a view to the fact that ‘it could come in handy one day.’ But at the beginning of this year i decided to call a halt to unnecessary spending and wastage. A buy nothing new year and a significant reduction in my use of single use plastics are the ‘Actions’ i have chosen to start with.

I’m not saying you have to do the same.

If you do agree with me and make even just a few small changes to your lifestyles because of the posts i write over the next month that would be great. Let me know how you get on.

Shopping trolley shoot 2 028

I took this picture in the car park of a local secondary school.

And if you know what that darned book is called or the author then i’d love for you to tell me, it’s been bugging me for weeks!

Above all,

Have a happy day.

Anita x

 

 

 

 

The A to Z Blog Challenge

Have you ever heard of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge?

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Nope?

I hadn’t either until a couple of days ago and then i thought,

‘Well, that might be fun.’

Then i found that the done thing was to not only write a blog post on each day of the month, but it should also revolve around a theme.

‘Oh,’ i thought, ‘that makes it a bit more difficult. Still might be fun though, what theme shall i do?’

And lo, i asked my trusty Facebook friends what they thought would be a good fit for me to theme up a month of blog posts in extremely short notice and the reply was:

‘Crafts.’

I should have guessed that really, most of my Facebook posts are to do with my crafty hobbies. However, while i was on  a thinking roll, i thought again (i was getting a headache by now with all this cogitating) and i figured i could maybe go one step further than that. My crafting these days has centred around a more thrifty, planet, money saving type of focus (as my previous posts have talked about) and so i have decided to construct an A-Z list around this.

Now, apparently it was to be the big theme reveal last week, which obviously i missed because i didn’t know it existed, but never one to let an opportunity slide, i’m going to do one anyway so…

Wait for it….

The Theme for the A-Z April blog challenge is:

Make Do and Mend: Reuse; Recycle and Spend Less.

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This will also incorporate a few crafts along the way, just to keep my hand in like….

There, that was worth waiting for wasn’t it!

Have a happy day.

Anita. x

No spend year – The ground rules part one

8th January.

What am I doing this for/what do I want to achieve?

I think mainly I want to achieve better health, both mentally and physically, and less waste. I’m being selfish here, I mean less financial waste by me. I need to prioritise what is a need and what is a want. Things I need to live comfortably are not the same as things I would like to enable me to live comfortably.

Ultimately I would like to see my savings increase rather than decrease and the only way to do this is to stop spending money on things that I don’t actually need, no matter how ‘nice’ it would be to have them. It would also be nice to pay off what is left of the mortgage early, this would be possible through overpayment of the monthly term and would secure my future nicely. A bit more thought before I open my purse may go a bit of the way to achieving this. After all, I am a crafty person (in the craft sense, not the way you were thinking) and can turn my hand to a fair few methods of repairing rather than throwing away and buying new. My workshop is also overflowing with fabrics and craft stuff. A true crafter never throws anything away, and yes, I truly fit this mould. It’s not all old stuff either, when dressmaking I have a habit of buying an extra metre of fabric in case I go wrong and need more. I rarely go wrong, I always have fabric left over.

This has to change.

I have to change.

Am I up to the challenge?

You betcha!

rambo thumbs up

My rules for a no spend, make do and mend year:

1) Food.

I need food. And I am fussy about some food, especially my coffee. So, I will still buy food – although by not buying food I guess I could lose that extra stone…tempting idea, but no, I will still buy food. I will also still buy nice coffee,  Own brand smart price doesn’t quite cut it for me where the coffee is concerned. I will make some concessions though. I will bulk cook and freeze down into smaller portions so that I am less likely to buy ready meals or takeaways on my way home from work. After raising three boys, all with hearty appetites I always used to cook large meals and there was rarely anything left. However, as they have grown and flown the nest I so lovingly made for them, I often eat alone in the evenings and can’t be bothered to cook a proper meal just for me. There is probably a bit of Freudian philosophy in there as well, something to do with not feeling myself to be worthy of a proper meal whereas others are, but I won’t go there just now. Suffice it to say that I am worthy, I’m just tired and lazy after a full day at work to warrant going to the effort that cooking a fresh meal from scratch requires.

And have you noticed how it is more expensive to buy for one person than it is to buy for a family? I swear shops are out to penalise the people who live on their own, or in my case, eat at home alone because the son who does live with me works opposite hours so we tend to meet in passing. I can however, buy a large joint of meat intended for a family, slow cook it so it falls apart and then separate it into equal portions and freeze to eat at a later date. Usually with a handy bag of microwave cookable rice…

I am a bugger for buying coffee out. But I don’t need to and it will stop. It’s going to be hard though as I often go out with the people I support at work and we will visit a coffee shop where they can learn essential social skills. It doesn’t feel right sitting there without a coffee myself but the cost of those coffees add up.

Generally, i would have one per day, five days a week.

On average a latte is around £2.50 a cup which would be £12.50 a week. I get 6 weeks holidays a year so times that £12.50 by 46 weeks and you get to £575.00 per year. That’s a lot of coffee, but hold on, I’ve not finished. Next door to my work is a rather nice coffee shop where, if you are a local and bring your own mug in for a takeaway coffee, they will sell you one for just a quid. It’s only a quid right? I have got into a rather nasty habit of nipping in there first thing every morning for a latte to start the working day with. Very tasty. Now, £1.00 times 5 days equals £5.00. Didn’t need to use the calculator for that one. Go me! But, times that fiver by 46 (back on the calculator) and you get to £230.00. Add that £230.00 to the previous £575.00 and you get a grand total of £805.00 per year just on takeaway and sit in coffees! That is a ridiculous amount to spend and now that I have worked that out, I can see where I can save money immediately.

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2) Medication and Health needs.

This is where I can’t compromise. Luckily, I enjoy good health and do not need any regular medication. However, if I need it, I will pay for it. I can’t save money on supplements either because I don’t believe you need them as long as you follow a varied, reasonably healthy diet. Do health needs also encompass fitness and exercise? I guess it does really, so I can sort of compromise here. No gym or exercise classes for me (phew, that’s a relief, always feel guilty for not going to the gym). There are many ways of keeping fit for free and I have two dogs. There is no excuse to waste money here.

Talking of health needs, all this thinking gives me a headache…

I shall continue this rule setting dreckly…

Have a happy day

Anita x

A no spend birthday treat

Blog number two for my no spend, make do and mend year

 

31st December 2017.

I’m not going out tonight. My New Year’s Eve party invitations must have got lost in the post and I’m too excited about my London trip to care about the start of another New Year. It’s just the ticking of a time bomb after all. Although if I get one more flashing, round robin ‘happy new year, you are so special to me’ message in my messenger inbox from someone who hasn’t bothered to personally contact me in the last twelve months (or longer) I’m going to bloody scream!

My evening has been spent packing, I have been instructed that the clothes I wore to David’s 20th birthday back in November will be suitable, luckily they fold well. I have also tried to forego the necessity of spending money in the buffet car on the train by making ham and spiced apple chutney (my recipe) sandwiches and cooking up some frozen sausage rolls and cocktail sausages. The challenge may not have started properly, but I don’t need to waste money do I!

1st January 2018.

I’m on the train. London bound!

Sandwiches going down a treat, eldest son, Ben, is delicately snoring beside me catching up on the sleep he missed due to his rather excessively late night last night. He is obviously not as well organised as I am. So far, I haven’t spent a single penny, unless you count the diesel I used to drive us to the station. It being New Year’s day and the fact that my middle son, Michael, wouldn’t have slept off enough of his alcohol intake from last night to be able to get behind a steering wheel, I opted to drive into my place of work which is about a mile from the train station. Ben and I would walk from there. He was up for it as well, probably another reason why he is now snoring gently away – as I write, I have a lovely view of his lack of tonsils. I live in a tiny hamlet where there are no buses on bank holidays or Sundays (and the rest of the week can be a bit intermittent), the price of a taxi for the ten miles was just ridiculous. Still, look on the bright side, the exercise was good – if knackering, it is a really steep hill up to the station – and I got my 5,000 daily step target on my fitbit sorted before eleven am.

2nd January 2018.

I’m now 50 years old.

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I don’t feel it. I don’t know where all those years have gone. I am however, so thankful that I have made it to this lofty age with only minimal scrapes and bruises to show for it. Many of my school friends haven’t made it this far, and a lot of those who did are suffering and in pain. In my mind, it doesn’t matter who knows my age, it really is just a number and every one that I am lucky enough to be given is a bonus.

Philosophy over, I got presents!!! Best of all being tickets to go to The London Palladium to watch Dick Whittington tonight. It’s starring a whole gamut of stars, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Diversity, Elaine Paige, Gary Wilmot and Paul Zerdin are headlining and I am so excited. The last time I saw a London show was my first ever musical. It was ‘Annie’ in, I cannot remember which theatre, in the West End and it was a school trip when I was about fourteen. It was a reward for the school choir for learning the Faure Requiem in Latin. No, I can’t sing very well, but it was fun pretending, especially when with a load of others so my own voice couldn’t be heard. There’s probably some more philosophy hiding in there somewhere.

I also received a bottle of Moet Chandon, a silver bracelet, a few CD’s and some chocolates among a few other items but, what the hell…I’m going to the Panto at the London Palladium!!!

presents flat lay

Don’t think the no spend thing is going to work today, definitely a good idea to wait until I’m home.

5th January 2018.

I’m home. Dick Whittington was amazing, Julian Clary was hilarious, Nigel Havers was ridiculously funny, Gary Wilmot did the weirdest song about the London Underground ever and I will never know how he managed to learn it, Diversity were astounding and Elaine Paige has certainly not suffered any loss of voice as she has got older. She can still blow the roof off with those awesome pipes of hers. The costume budget must have been more than I get paid in at least a couple of years and the special effects? Mind-blowing.

London Palladium stage

I didn’t go overboard with the spending though. Mainly because it was my birthday and nobody would let me buy anything, which was unexpected but welcome. I had a cooked breakfast from a really nice café opposite Paddington station before boarding the train which meant I wasn’t hungry all the way back and I refrained from buying myself a coffee from the buffet car on the way home. I stuck to the bottle of water I bought on the way to the station so wasn’t I ultra good?

breakfast

 

Gold star to Anita please, I do like sparkly things.

 

Today is a happy day.

Anita. x

A no spend/make do and mend year

I’ve been keeping this quiet for the last six weeks but i have decided to go public and use my blog as my motivation to stick to my goals. There is so much waste in the world and i am just as guilty as most people of adding to it. I’m not doing it just for altruistic reasons though, i’m doing it for my own peace of mind, my own benefit and to improve my own bank balance. See, not altruistic, totally selfish.

betty its all aboout me  Anyway, here is where the story began back at the end of December. I’ve been keeping the diary ever since but it would be too much to put into one blog post, crikey, even i would get bored of my writing if i had to wade through all of that in one go! So, to catch up, it will be a few days at a time and then as and when i make an entry.

I’m hoping to succeed. I hope that you will join me on my journey.

Have a happy day.

Anita.x

29th December 2017

Today I had an epiphany. I was standing in Next, surveying the sheer weight of the sales rails and I pulled out a rather nice grey checked shirt in brushed cotton. It was just my style. Long sleeved and long bodied, perfect for wearing to work and enabling me to bend over a wheelchair without revealing the dreaded builder’s backside. It’s not a look that I particularly relish others getting a peek of. And, now this is the best bit…the shirt was half price! Absolute bargain, total steal, that really should have been the clincher. I should have grabbed that sucker, elbowed my way past the elderly lady trying to decide between a peephole bra (don’t go there, it’s not a pretty vision) and a more conservative version and gone straight to the till, no, I don’t need a bag thankyou, my car’s outside…

But instead, something rather strange happened instead. As I stood my ground against the rather pushy, blonde haired, stiletto heeled buxom wench that was trying to get in front of MY RAIL, I had a vision of my bedroom. More specifically, the four door wardrobe already groaning with so many clothes that I have to open the door very gingerly to ensure nothing falls out. If it does, I may not be seen again for weeks. I am ashamed to say that there are some impulse buys in there that are still adorned with their price labels and have therefore never yet been worn. There are others that are a size 10 and no longer fit but I’m sure I’ll lose that stone and a half one day and then I will get into them. It’s not totally inconceivable is it? Who am I kidding? I’’d have to starve for at least six months to lose that and I happen to think that life is far too short to deny myself cake.

It’s still a waste though. I have so many clothes that I never wear, and it’s not all because they are too small and I can’t bear to part with them, just in case. I am one of those people who saves things for best. The problem is, I don’t actually know when best is? I rarely go out anywhere special to warrant having any best clothes and I wear jeans for work.

My epiphany? I put that shirt back on the rail, turned and walked out of the shop empty handed.

My buy nothing new, make do and mend year had begun.

 

30th December 2017

Well, that challenge didn’t last long. I went into The Edinburgh Woollen Mill today and they had reduced the price of a Country Rose tunic top that I have had my eye on for a few weeks. Well, I just couldn’t resist it. And, technically, as I was paying for it with my left over Love To Shop vouchers that I didn’t spend in the lead up to Christmas, does it count as spending at all? It probably does, I could have used them in Iceland and restocked the freezer with Slimming World meals for one (with an eye to actually losing that extra one and a half stone and fitting into those size tens again) but it wouldn’t have been half so much fun.

Anyway, as it’s my 50th birthday on the second of January and the boys have collected together to send me to London for I know not what reason yet – I sort of love surprises, but the control freak in me is really going ballistic right now – then to start the challenge now would be just a tad foolhardy. So, I have decided on a period of reflection. I need to work out some groundrules of what I can and cannot buy during this period of deprivation, sorry, read that as restructuralisation of my lifestyle, and the challenge proper will begin on January the fourth 2018 when I return home.

 

Have a happy day.

Anita. x

Musing on getting older

It’s another new year and the beginning of my 50th one on this planet. I don’t feel like 50. Some would say that i don’t look like 50 either, sometimes i think they are just being nice, other times i take their compliments, run with them like the wind and scream ‘Wahey!!’….Well, in my mind i do. I’m far too introverted to actually run and scream out loud…more’s the pity.

Me in London

I’d be lying if i said that hitting this milestone is a breeze, but it’s certainly not as bad as i thought it would be 30 years ago when i hit my 20’s and just couldn’t imagine ever being as old as 50. But i do believe that i am so lucky to be able to stand up and say, ‘Hey, i’m 50. And i don’t actually care who knows it.’

So many of my old school comrades either haven’t made it this far or are in poor health and therefore struggling to make it through every day in this disablist world we now live in. I can call it that. Although i am fit and healthy, i work in the care sector and see every day how people with disabilities are discriminated against behind the guise of political correctness. Just don’t get me started on the idiots who think it is ok to park in front of a dropped kerb…i guess they have never tried getting a wheelchair onto a pavement without one, but ignorance is never a reason, it is just an excuse for bad behaviour.

But i digress. What have i achieved in the last 50 years?

  1. I have survived (yes, that is the correct word, it has been touch and go at times).
  2. I have brought up my three sons just about single handed and i am as proud of the men they have become as any Mother could be – let’s just gloss over the fact that my coping mechanism when they were all tired and teasy and bickering at each other was to just tune out and let them get on with it…
  3. I have educated myself through two undergraduate degrees whilst working and bringing up my boys on my own.
  4. I am currently half way through a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing whilst working full time …can no longer lay claim to the bringing up the boys though, the little blighters are just about self sufficient now.
  5. I work in the care sector, and have done for 18 years. It’s a hard job at times, but, for me, the pros far outweigh the cons.
  6. I have been published as both a poet and a theatre reviewer. I’m still working on the fiction thing. See point number 4.
  7. In the last year i have finally been brave enough to go on holiday on my own. It was a frightening and enlightening experience for someone as initially timid as me.
  8. I have loved and lost. Far too many people.
  9. But ultimately, i have survived, for that i am grateful.

 

So what about the next 50 years? Would be handy if i could have a peek inside a crystal ball, but on the other hand, where would be the fun in that?

Image result for crystal ball

I have no idea what the future holds but i do know that i am not intending to let ‘old age’ and ‘diminishing years’ hold me back from my plans for the future. I intend to write more, make my voice heard. I may be quiet in person but my mind and my fingers are itching to tell you so many stories…once i get the words in the right order that is…

I intend to live more and not rely on just surviving as i have in the past. I am bored with letting the fact that i am single dictate my social life and stop me from doing the things i want to do.

Finally, i intend to be happy. For all those who haven’t made it this far. For all those who have and are struggling to get out of bed unassisted or just make it through until bedtime.

We all deserve to be happy.

Take care,

Anita x

Make today a happy day too!