Saturday, 20 April 2019

Time for a Changeover

My Easter weekend started off in a very slow fashion.  I didn't do a whole lot on Thursday.  A long walk with the dog in the morning, followed by taking some rubbish from the allotment to the tip, after which I dropped into ASDA to do a top up shop for Easter Weekend. Once that was done, it was satisfying to know that I didn't need to go anywhere for the rest of the weekend, which felt good.

The day finished with my watching the David Attenborough's climate change documentary on TV, which was very sobering. I feel empathy with the young people currently demonstrating in Central London, they must feel like previous generations have thrown their future away. Attitudes need to change quickly.

Anyway, yesterday, on Good Friday morning, I had the whole house to myself, so after a lovely long lie in and breakfast in bed reading my current book, I decided to do a seasonal wardrobe changeover. It felt great to get all of my summer clothes out and think about wearing them in the coming weeks.

I divided my wardrobe into two halves; one side for general everyday clothing and one side for work only clothing, to make it easier to decide what to wear each day for work. To try to encourage myself to dress smarter for work, I included some things that I wouldn't normally wear to work, but want to try wearing more in future.

The winter clothes that were clean, were packed into vacuum bags and stored away, but there are still more to pack, as I retrieve them from the ironing basket and laundry over the next couple of weeks. I always feel more organised and lighter once this job has been done, as the wardrobe gets so full in winter, due mainly to the thickness of the fabrics.

Following this, I did some laundry, as LB was running out of clothes and then did a general pick up around the house, returning everything to it's usual place.  This was a precursor to doing a power  clean, as it had been about three weeks since I'd done the blitz of the house, whilst off on leave and it was starting to look a bit messy again. It felt like a good opportunity to do an Easter spruce up.

The remainder of the day was spent working my way through all of the rooms in the house.  I started with the kitchen and worked my way upstairs, vacuuming and mopping and a bit of dusting, as it didn't need too much. Toilets and sinks were cleaned, sofas vacuumed, cushions plumped, windows opened to let in some fresh air.  The house felt much better when I'd finished and now I can really enjoy my Easter Weekend.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Catch Up

It's been a week or so since I've posted.  In that time I've had another week off work, had a girly day shopping with LB for some essentials that she needed, (plus a few inessentials that I treated myself to), attended an interview for a permanent job in the CS, visited OH's relatives in Yorkshire and started working under my new open ended contract at work. (I got the job!) So it's been pretty busy, but my week off was quite relaxing, save for the interview falling within it.

I didn't push myself to achieve a long list of objectives like I'd done on my week off a couple of weeks before.  This time around I decided to just take time out and try to relax. It was good to get away for a few days after my interview, so it felt like a fresh start when I came back to work and started under my new contract. I'm working half a day less each week, but the difference hasn't really kicked in yet, as I've only worked one week so far.

The recruitment drive that I was working on has now died down with just a few more new recruits to induct, so now I feel like I can switch off when I'm not at work and don't feel compelled to answer a swathe of emails. It feels a bit strange, but I'm sure I'll get used to it and it is how it should be really.

In addition, the rota seems to have worked out favourably with regard to Easter, as I finished work for the week yesterday and don't go back until next Tuesday.  I feel like I've got off a bit lightly, as I did volunteer to work Easter Monday, but apparently I wasn't needed, so I'm just going to appreciate having a commitment free Easter in London.

We normally travel to Yorkshire every Easter, but OH had arranged to do something on Good Friday, LB had plans on Friday and Saturday and I thought I'd be needed to work on Monday, so we went up North last weekend instead. The only problem was that we didn't get to see my sister on this visit, as she had already made plans and was busy, so we'll have to catch her next time.

It will therefore be a homely please yourself kind of Easter this year, for the first time in years. I'm hoping to catch up with laundry, ironing, my finances, do some gardening at home and at the allotment and have a nice roast dinner on Sunday. Apart from this, not much else. I might even push the boat out and buy a jigsaw.  I'm such a thrill seeker.

Getting to the gym lately has been difficult, due to cancelled classes, work commitments and the Easter weekend.  I really need to get into a regular routine of at least 2 classes a week, as I've put on weight over the last year and desperately need to shed some. I need to seek out some new classes in order to do this, so that's something I may do over this weekend. I also need to get my bike out and start riding to the bus stop in a morning on my way to work, instead of driving, (it's a 15 minute walk!) as even a little bit of exercise like this can make a difference on a weekly basis.

I managed a visit to the opticians the other week for an eye test and ordered some new glasses and sunglasses.  They should be ready to collect very soon.  I'm quite looking forward to having prescription sunglasses again, as I haven't had a decent pair for a few years and the ones I did have got stolen from our car. It's a big outlay for the glasses though, as I went for more expensive frames this time with varifocal lenses, so a pretty major expense.

I've also got a dental appointment next week, so more expense, but hopefully not too much.  At least that should take care of health appointments for a while.

I don't know if I've mentioned this already, but we're planning a trip to Australia this summer to visit my sister and her family in Brisbane. We haven't visited for 8 years, so we're due a trip and as LB is finishing school earlier due to taking her GCSE's, we can get away before the summer holiday rush. We were hoping to save money on the plane tickets this way, but unfortunately the dog sitter can't take our dog as early as we would have liked, so the prices get more expensive the longer we leave it and we probably won't realise any significant savings which is a pity.  It will be nice to see my sister though.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Eco Household/Cleaning Haul

This week I decided to go back to old habits of buying eco household and cleaning products in bulk.  It's something I used to do all the time, until I had a disagreement with the company I bought them from, over a large container of washing up liquid that got broken en route and they were most unhelpful about it.

I did subsequently find another company to buy from, but after an order or two I stopped and just bought things from the supermarket as and when I needed them, which meant that I wasn't always using sustainable products.

As my large 5l container of toilet cleaner was almost finished, I decided it might be time to get back to bulk buying again and hopped online to find a website I could buy from. (I'd forgotten which company I'd used previously!)

Anyway, I came across and filled a basket full of products that I thought I would enjoy using. The total order came to about £55, which is very easy to reach very quickly when you are buying in bulk, and as you got free postage over £50, I decided to add a few extra things that I use regularly to take advantage of this.

A few days later the order arrived and here's what I bought:

One 5l container of Ecover Toilet cleaner - Pine and Mint scented £12.89. I've not actually tried this before, but as it has more of a perfume than the one I currently use, I'm sure I'll like it. To go with this, I also bought one 750ml bottle of a new and different scent of my original Ecoleaf toilet cleaner, which was a new Cool Blue version, as this sounded interesting.  Unfortunately, they didn't have it in a 5l container, otherwise I might have bought this.

Next came some dental items.  I bought a different kind of dental floss, Georganics Natural Bamboo Charcoal floss, which comes in a cute little glass dispenser and for which you can buy refills.  I like my current Radius vegan floss, but they were out of stock, so I opted to give this a try and see how I get on with it, as it is more of a zero waste option.  I also bought a Georganics Bamboo toothbrush. I've been using my current one for 3 months, but tend to change them over every 6 months or so, so buying these means I've always got the next one waiting.

I also bought a few packs of bags, i.e. some degradable pedal bin liners which I only use in our bathroom and then go around the house each week on rubbish day and fill the remainder of the bag with the rubbish from all of the other rooms. A pack of 30 should last me 6 months at least.  I also got a four pack of 10 black degradable refuse sacks to keep me going on the landfill waste front.

The last few items were some ECOS Fruit and Vegetable wash which I use regularly, some recycled paper kitchen towels and a 5l container of Bio D Geranium handwash, as buying lots of individual plastic bottles of hand wash somehow seems wasteful.  This did work out a bit more expensive at £19.80, but I don't mind too much, when it comes to reducing my plastic usage.

Fast forward two days and whilst checking something on eBay, an add popped up on my computer for Ecover AllinOne Dishwasher tabs on a 3 for 2 offer on the 68 tab packs.  At first I thought it was the same site I'd just placed an order with, but on closer inspection it was another eco site called I had deliberately not bought any dishwasher tabs on my previous order, as at £7.15 for 22 they seemed a bit pricey, especially as Tesco often has them on sale at £4, but when I could get 3 packs of 68 tabs for £30, I decided that this offer was too good to miss, as this would work out at about £3.33 per 22 pack, which was even less than Tesco's sale offer. These are the only dishwasher tabs I will use, so I went ahead and ordered them and they should be good for almost a year I reckon.

To top up the order to £55 to qualify for free delivery again, I bought a 5l container of Bio-D Pink Grapefruit Washing up Liquid for £12.55, some Dri-pak bicarb cream cleaner which I was interested to try out on my sink and oven, some Cheeky panda pocket tissue packs, another 2 (Hydrophil this time) bamboo toothbrushes and a Method Passion Fruit Daily Shower spray.

With this order I also qualified for two free samples. I chose a Z-gel sachet for insect bites, etc. and a Madara Tinted moisturising fluid sample which I've used before and like. When this order came I also received a free bottle of a new brand of Marcel's green hand soap. Result.

All in all I was pretty happy with both of my orders, as I now shouldn't need to purchase hardly any household cleaning products for a good while and I'm back to using more sustainable products.  I still won't return to the original company that I had a dispute with, so I was happy to find two more sites that sold the items I needed at a good price.

In addition, whatever happens with Brexit in the next few months, I'm well stocked up and don't have to worry about getting hold of my regular products for a while.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Another Week Off

After my week off the other week, it was back to work last week. I'll be honest, it was a bit overwhelming after being away from the shop for a whole 7 days. It felt like there was a lot to do. I was behind on some tasks, due to spending so much time on recruiting new volunteers/going on leave and there were lots of new work experience volunteers, new interns and new volunteers to train and manage, plus a few difficult customers thrown into the mix.

By the end of the week, however, I was feeling a little better.  The Shop Manager had taken back the reins and it felt like things were back under control again, which was good. I was offered an interview this week for a permanent job at the shop, albeit less hours, but I'm fine with that. This will take place next week whilst I'm on leave, but it's as good a time as any.

In other news, I managed a night out with friends last week.  It felt so nice to catch up with them and their news. It honestly helps to keep me sane, to talk about things other than work.  The wine helped too.

I've got another week off this week to use up the remainder of last year's leave, during which I will spend some time preparing for my interview.  I need to perform well to make sure I am seriously considered for the position, as I don't know who else has applied and I can't rest on my laurels.

Today, has been my last day at work until I know whether I'll have a permanent job or not.  I spent it getting as up to date as possible on all the jobs that have been my responsibility these last 21 months, so that whatever happens, I haven't left a heap of undone work. It's strange not knowing if I'll be returning to the post.  I'll just have to do the best I can in the interview and hope for a positive outcome.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy my week off, especially as I don't need to deep clean the house or walk the dog twice a day.  I'm going to take some time to properly relax, do things that I didn't get a chance to do a couple of weeks ago and we might also be heading up north for a few days to visit family, as we're not planning on going this Easter for one reason or another.

LB is also now on her Easter break for two weeks, so I'm looking forward to spending time with her too and taking her to get her hair cut and to buy a few basic things that she desperately needs. I can feel a trip to the mall coming on.

In addition, I might get out in the garden and tidy things up a bit more.  The allotment is fine, there isn't too much to do there, although I have got involved in clearing a corner of one of my neighbours' plot, which I might do a bit more of this week. (Long story!)

Other than this, my usual gym classes and my interview, I have no plans, so I am looking forward to a relatively free week to do as I please. I might even get around to doing a bit more blogging which will be good.