Friday, 31 December 2021

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2022.

Just a quick post to say a big thank you to my followers, fellow bloggers and blog readers, for sticking with me this year. The pressures of work have meant that I have found it difficult to find the time to create my usual kind of blog posts.

I hope to return to posting more regular blog content and not just weekly blogs in the coming year and I hope that you will continue to follow along with me, as my blog documents the challenges and pleasures of everyday life.

I wish you all a healthy, peaceful and Happy New Year, in spite of the circumstances in which we find ourselves and I look forward to continuing to blog both for myself and for you in 2022. 

This little corner of blog land is a haven in tumultuous times, where we can share the good and not so good things that happen in our lives. I really appreciate the camaraderie that it provides and hope it continues to help us all through these challenging times.

Monday, 27 December 2021

A Quiet and Relaxing Christmas

Christmas Day here was a very relaxed affair. I woke up and stayed in bed to read for a little while, before getting up and getting ready. There was a bit of tidying up to do from the night before and a few more presents to put under the tree, but once this was done it was time for breakfast.

We like to treat ourselves to soft boiled eggs and soldiers on Christmas morning. Don't ask why, it's a kind of holiday treat, that we indulge in when we have a bit more time. By the time we'd had breakfast it was about 11.30am, so I decided to start off the meat in the oven and I also prepped a few veggies ready for our Christmas Dinner. We were having lamb for Xmas dinner, one of the only days of the year that we have a joint of meat, and we wanted to eat at about 1pm, so we opened our presents as the meat cooked and I kept popping back into the kitchen to put other bits and pieces into the oven.

Present opening was relaxed too. LB seemed to love all of her presents, which was a relief, as did OH, so I felt like I'd done okay this year for once.

After lunch, I had a very leisurely afternoon, watching the Queens speech, Mary Poppins Returns (which was great) and a few other things on Netflix. I ate far too much unhealthy food, drank too much alcohol and barely ventured out of the living room for the rest of the day, save to get another drink! Everything one expects to do on Xmas Day. I enjoyed the day though and needed it to just unwind from the stresses of work over the last few weeks.

In between, I messaged a few friends and family members to wish them a Happy Christmas and thank them for gifts, and that was about it.

On Boxing Day, after not sleeping too well, I woke up and did a bit more reading. I decided that after the disaster that was my finances heading into this Christmas, I was going to devise a strict budget for 2022. I'm done with being broke in the lead up to Christmas and I'm going to put money aside next year for all the gifts I need to buy throughout the year, so I don't have to rely on my credit cards at the last minute again. There will be a bit of a lag before I'll be able to start this, as LB's birthday is in January, as is my sister's 60th and there's a nephew turning 18 in February too, so from March I'll be putting a sum aside every month for gifts I need to buy for the remainder of the year and keeping strictly within the budget I've set myself, to stop myself overbuying.

I also created a strict budget for everything else and I'm going try my hardest to stick to it this coming year. I'm going to try to do this by deducting every expenditure in each category, as I spend it and when the budget is used up in a category, I can't buy anything else or I'll have to find money from other categories. That should help me to be more careful.

Eventually, I got up and got ready, had breakfast and then set out to walk the dog.  It was good to get some fresh air after a whole day cooped up in the house on Christmas Day. 

On the dog walk, I picked up this lampshade that someone had left outside their house, to be taken by anyone who wanted it. I'm going to put it in the spare bedroom, as I need a new lampshade in there. It's purely decorative, of course, as it has no actual shade to it, but it is a bit more modern than the one I've currently got in there. I may need to buy a new fancy bulb for the light fitting, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem. I love picking up free things.

Anyway, we continued on the walk and then I came upon some volunteers handing out lateral flow tests in the main shopping street, so I took a couple of boxes, as they were like gold dust before Christmas and I'm almost out of them. With Omicron so rife in London at the moment, I need to test regularly before going to work or mixing with others.

For the rest of Boxing Day, I tried to stick to somewhat healthier eating than I'd managed on Christmas Day, eating more salad and fruit and I tried to drink less alcohol too. Just one drink today.

On Bank Holiday Monday, OH headed out to collect our car from Central London. I didn't mention this in my post on Xmas Eve, as it was a bit of a downer, but we had an accident on our way home from Central London on Christmas Eve. No one else was involved and no one was hurt, but OH curbed the car badly and blew out two tyres. 

As we only had one spare, we had to leave the car in Central London and get an Uber home.  We arranged for the car to be recovered by our recovery service today, as we weren't sure if the suspension might have been damaged.  

Anyway, as it turns out, the car is fine. The tyres have been replaced and the suspension has been checked at a garage, so we were very lucky. At one point we were thinking it might even have to be written off. It's such a relief to have it back in working order again. The thought of possibly having to buy a new car was really quite upsetting, although I did put it to the back of my mind over Christmas, as I didn't want it to spoil the holiday.

Anyway, today was about getting back to normal. I did a lateral flow which was negative, before going back to work tomorrow. I did some washing and then spent the afternoon tackling some ironing so that I had something to wear to work tomorrow, all whilst watching My Fair Lady on the TV. I also managed to watch West Side Story for the first time in my life. A sad tale, but a good film.

I let a £10 voucher at Lidl lapse today. We really didn't need any more food, as we've still got so much left to eat. I probably could have used it to overstock on something or other, but you know what, I just preferred to stay home and watch a movie. Maybe this was a bit wasteful, but I'm sure I'll earn more vouchers in the coming year, just from doing the weekly shops, so I'm not going to give myself a hard time about it.

I'm not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but at least it will feel like life is getting back to normal. 

Hoping you guys have have a lovely Christmas.

Friday, 24 December 2021

Last Weekly Blog Before Christmas

At the beginning of this week, it seemed that all of a sudden, Christmas was upon us, and there was still a stack of things on my to do list, one of the main ones being a big garden tidy up and putting up the garden lights. As a consequence, on Sunday morning after walking the dog, I headed straight out into the garden. 

I deliberately hadn't tackled the garden before now, as I was waiting for all the leaves, or nearly all of the leaves to drop, so that I would only have to do the leaf collecting once. As the trees were virtually bare, and it was a dry, cold day, the conditions were perfect. In addition, OH would be around later to help me with a couple of things.

The first task was to sweep down the side of the house. Lots of things are kept down here, most of them waiting to be taken to the tip, or in the case of the leaf mulch from last year, to be used. I swept up what I could and bagged up this year's new leaves, emptied things that had filled with water over the weeks, in particular a black plastic dustbin, which I wanted to use to transplant our outdoor Christmas tree into. OH drilled some holes into the bottom of this and with a bit of a trim of the roots, we were able to replant the tree into it. I'm hoping it survives the shock.

The pot that originally contained the tree was then re-used immediately to transplant the biggest of our blueberry plants into, as the clay pot it was currently in was starting to crack and crumble around the rim. OH then pruned the blueberry plants and I partially pruned our apple tree.

Once the side return was cleaned up, I took down the camping table that we'd been using on the decking and put it away for the rest of the winter and then turned my attention to the decked area. This mainly involved sweeping leaves from around and underneath pots and raking them from the beds. I left a few areas with some leaves insitu, for insects and other creatures. I did find a toad, but I left him be, he seemed happy enough. I also pruned some shrubs that were a bit out of hand and cut down some perennials that were dying off. It looked quite bare, but a lot better for a tidy up.

I then moved on to tackle the raised beds. I weeded one, transplanting some foxgloves that had self-seeded into it over into the borders. I then applied some of the year old rotted down leaf mulch to the bed. The second bed contained the remains of my dahlias, so I cut the foliage back and then dug the tubers up to overwinter them, before adding more leaf mulch to that bed.

The surrounding paths were cleared of weeds and leaves and the small patio at the end of the garden was swept and weeded too. OH hung the strings of Xmas lights on along the garden fence, on the outdoor tree and also some on the front hedge. All that was then left to do was to cut back the ivy that grows over the wall in the front garden, add some decorations to the outdoor tree and sweep the front path, but I had to do that on Monday, as by now the light had gone. A very satisfying afternoon in the garden and another job completed. A long time coming, but worth the effort.

On Monday, I was booked into my class at the gym. I was a bit apprehensive about going due to the new variant, as I can't afford to catch it, being the only manager working over Christmas and New Year. In the end I decided to go and sign in, but not do the class. It's too risky and I have to consider the people I work and live with. Instead, I headed off to do my last weekly shop before Christmas. It wasn't too busy out, but I was glad to get all the shopping done.

In the afternoon, I had a good scout around the kitchen and my food stashes and gathered together a bag of food items for the food bank, as I'd received a message in the morning calling out for donations. Then I decided to finish decorating the outdoor tree with some small white plastic fircone ornaments I bought from the charity shop.  Here's a picture of the tree and the tidy garden, I'm not sure if the dog approves or not! 

I then finally got around to cutting back the ivy hedge at the front of the house and sweeping the footpath, which completed all of the outdoor jobs I needed to do, for this year at least.

Later, I went out to walk the dog, picked up a prescription from the pharmacy and then made us some supper. After supper, I took a couple of hours to catch up with blogging friends. I've got so behind with reading everyone's news. It was good to catch up. If I comment on your blog regularly, you may find a whole host of new comments from today.

After the blogging catch up, I still had time to do a final bit of gift wrapping. Just a few small gifts for one of the volunteers at work, who is super generous to everyone in our shop, both with his time as a volunteer and by the fact that he buys us a huge Fortnum and Mason hamper every Christmas.

On Tuesday, I was back at work.  There were lots of donations that needed processing when I got there, so that kept us busy all day. There seems to have been a sudden influx, which is good, as we have had fewer donations lately. 

Anyway, one donation that came in was a small/medium sized artificial Christmas tree. I've decided to buy it, as our current one is a faff to put up and I struggle with it every year.  This one is in just two parts with branches that just drop down instead of ones you hook into the stem, which is what we've currently got. It's not as big, but I'm going for ease of use over size from now on. We've had our current tree for about 10 or more years now, so I'm going to pass it on to the Give and Take and let someone else who needs one, get some use out of it.

We had a good day of sales at work today, but post-Christmas opening is still a bit up in the air. We'll just have to wait and see what happens with Covid cases over the next week I guess.

On Wednesday, I was back at work again in the afternoon. The Shop Manager left today, to go home to Europe for Christmas. So I'm now officially the last Manager standing at the shop for the duration.

On Thursday, I was working a full day, so had to be in the shop for 10am. OH did the double dog walk today to help me out, which was good of him.

Work was quiet. Some not so good news dropped in my lap, which means that I've got a pretty onerous for me task to complete next week, that I shouldn't really have to do, which I wasn't too pleased about. It was a bit of an unexpected and unpleasant surprise shall we say, but I'm not going to worry about it over Christmas and let it spoil our Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, OH went out on a cycle ride early in the morning and I had a bit of a lie in reading a new book I'd started the night before. I haven't had a chance to read much in the last few weeks, so it felt like a bit of a treat. Later I got up and took the dog out for a walk.

When OH got back, we all got ready and headed into Central London for a walk around the West End, see the Christmas lights and beautiful Christmas windows and do a bit of last minute shopping. It was a nice festive thing to do, that we hadn't done for a good few years. Some of the lights in the West End were lovely. Here are a few pictures of them:

Bond Street Lights

Oxford Street Lights

Regent Street Angel Lights (My favourites)

On that festive note, I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 18th December 2021

Since returning to London last Sunday, it's been quite a busy week, just getting back to normal really.

On Monday, I attended my usual class at the gym, followed by the usual grocery shop, plus a little bit of last minute Xmas shopping for LB. There wasn't much time left to do anything else that day, as there was still the dog to walk and the supper to make.

I was back at work on Tuesday, and as I expected, there was a huge amount of donations to work through. Luckily, I had the help of a lovely volunteer and by the end of the day, we'd made a lot of progress, cleared most of the donations and got lots of stock ready to be put in the shop.

On Wednesday, I had a homey day. I needed to get hold of some lateral flow tests from the local pharmacy, because everywhere is running out of them and I need them to test myself before going to work. I work with people who may be vulnerable or live with people who are vulnerable and I like to make sure I'm Covid free before going to work.  In addition, LB was pinged this week at work and needs to do daily lateral flow tests for a week, as a couple of her colleagues have come down with Covid. 

Once I'd managed to sort the above out, I needed to get stuck into doing some ironing, as the pile was super high and I didn't have any clothes left to wear for work, so it was a priority. I also got a call from an ex-work colleague, who I hadn't heard from for a few months, so it was nice to catch up with him and hear that he'd finally moved into a new house. I was really happy for him that he'd managed to get settled in for Christmas.

I spent the rest of the day catching up on other domestic tasks and cooking some supper and by the time I'd done that I felt really tired and took myself off to bed early.

On Thursday, I headed into work again. There was a fair bit to do when I got there. Lots of areas of the stockroom were piled high and needed tackling, so it was one thing and then another. There was still a lot to do at the end of the day, but I'd done what I could in the time I had.  I finally found out today, my rota for over Christmas, which was good. A couple of volunteers have stepped in to run the shop on a couple of days i.e. Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, to give me some time off over Christmas, which was very sweet of them. I was very touched by their kindness.

OH cycled into town to meet me from work, as we had tickets to see a performance of Handel's Messiah at St Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square.  I'd never been before, but was very excited to go.

We just about managed to get there on time and headed to our seats in the Nave. I understood them to be restricted view, but we were very lucky and we had a pretty good view, except for not being able to see some of the singers in the choir. I was very happy with our seat choices, as there hadn't been very much choice when we booked. We weren't sat very close to other people too, which was a plus.

We really enjoyed the performance. I'd definitely go again.  We had a glass of wine in the Crypt Cafe at the interval which was nice. I couldn't take any pictures of the performance, but here's a picture of one of the trees in the Crypt, which I thought was beautiful.

After the performance, we walked back to the shop through Covent Garden Market. I never venture down here, despite working 10 minutes away, but it was lovely to see the tree there too. London at Christmas is so festive, I do love it. We may venture into town on Christmas Eve to see all the lights and shop windows. It's something we've done a few times in the past and it will be nice to do it again, virus allowing.

Talking of which, I was surprised at how many people were out and about in town, in spite of the new variant. I guess that everyone is still determined to enjoy Christmas this year while they can and we were out ourselves, so I'm not judging. We eventually got back to the shop, picked up our bikes and rode home together which was nice, but it was a late night and we were glad to get to bed when we eventually did.

On Friday, OH took the dog out, so I had a leisurely morning, catching up on watching YouTube videos, writing the remaining Christmas cards I needed to write and doing some laundry and other domestic tasks. There seems to be so much still to do and so little time before Christmas now.

After lunch, I headed out to post my cards and do a bit of top up grocery shopping. and then in the evening, I decided to start some gift wrapping. I managed to get all my wrapping bar a few items done, which was a big load lifted off my shoulders, especially if I'm working right up to Christmas.

Saturday I was at work again. The streets seemed very quiet as I rode into work. It seemed like people weren't really venturing out, but as soon as I got nearer Central London, there were more people out and about.  

The shop was pretty busy, but not last weekend before Xmas busy. The theatre across the road from the shop has also now closed down, so there was less footfall in the area.  We got a lot of Christmas decorations donated today, so I spent quite a bit of time pricing them and putting them in the shop.  A lot of them sold which was good. I did keep prices quite low though, as we really don't know how much longer we're going to be able to stay open with the virus spreading rapidly in London. The day definitely had a bit of the feeling of the last day we worked before Christmas last year.  That was the last Saturday before Christmas too.

The remainder of the day was about getting as many things into the shop that might sell as Christmas presents, so I had a good dig around the jewellery and priced good items as they came in to ensure the best chance of selling them. 

I'm not back at work until Tuesday, but as we know from last year's experience, an awful lot can change in the next few days.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 11th December 2021

This week got off to a good start as OH didn't go cycling for once and took the dog out in the morning. That meant that I could take my time getting up. After breakfast, I decided to tackle the spare bedroom/sewing room, as it has been a complete dumping ground lately, what with housing a stash of food/household products, a stash of stuff for when LB goes to University next year, a food stash for Xmas, plus things to donate to Charity, all my sewing paraphenalia that I've been using lately and other Xmas bits here and there.

Initially, I needed to clear some space for OH to get into the loft for the Xmas decorations, but I decided to use the opportunity of being able to get into my fabric stash drawers, to have a bit of a cull of my fabrics.  I've got so many and some I probably will never use. This task has been on my to do list for months now, so it was good to finally be able to cross it off.

I pulled out a pile to sell at some point, a pile to donate and a few bits to recycle. It felt good to reduce it, even though it was only a relatively light cull. 

After lunch, OH took the Xmas decorations out of the loft for me, so I decided to put them up. I cleaned around the living room first and started with the tree. I'm like the Grinch when it comes to putting up the tree. I don't enjoy it at all. I only start to enjoy it when it's up, branches positioned correctly and lights on it. This year I bought some tinsel from the charity shop and had to put that on too. I went with a pink, silver and gold theme this year as the tinsel I bought was pink and silver. It looked okay once I'd finished.

I then put up the various other decorations around the house and had another quick vaccuum around to pick up any dropped bits from the tree. It felt good to get the decor done. I still need to clean the second reception room and put some lights up outside, but I need to tidy up the garden first.

This was a productive Sunday for me, much less chilling and more doing.

On Monday, I slept in a little so I didn't have a lot of time to get ready, get breakfast, so my usual lateral flow test and get out of the door to my class. The test was negative, thankfully. I was using some new tests that I got from the pharmacy, that only require you to swab your nostrils and not your tonsils, so that makes it a lot easier. I needed to register the result online and by the time I had done that I was running late.

My class was good. From there I went off to do the shopping. I called into Home Bargains today, as we had run out of quite a few things I usually buy from there. I always enjoy a mooch around the store, but rarely spend less than £30. I did pick up a few presents though.

From there I needed to stop off at Boots to buy a few more gifts, then Tesco for more gifts and some bits of food I couldn't get from Lidl. Then the final stop was Lidl for the grocery shopping. So it was a bit of a shop fest today, but I managed to get most of the gifts I needed to get to take to family in Yorkshire.

When I got back I just had time to unpack the shopping before I needed to take the dog out. I found this lovely floor tile that someone was throwing out, whilst coming back from the dog walk. 

I decided that it was coming home with me as I can use it as a trivet or to put a plant on. This is the first photo I'm managed to upload using my chromebook, despite having had it for a year. You'll have noticed a distinct lack of photos in posts lately as I've only been able to upload using my old netbook, when I can be bothered. Hopefully, there'll be more photos in posts going forward.

A busy day, I was glad to finally get home and be able to chill for the rest of the evening. 

On Tuesday, I was due at work early again, opening the shop at 10am, so the Manager could take the day off. I managed a quick walk with the dog before setting off and luckily it wasn't raining on my journey in. I wasn't looking forward to the day to be honest, but it didn't turn out to be so bad. 

I got to do a variety of tasks today, which included pricing hats, gloves, scarves, shoes, belts, bags and clothes, of course, as there was a table full of those to price. I even did the steaming of some of the clothes, which I don't very often get a chance to do.

By the time I left, the shop stock had all been topped up, as much as I possibly could, the stockroom was looking very tidy and we had quite a good day of sales too. 

On Wednesday, I was back at work as I had swapped one of my days around this week. I'd been told that the charity's Visual Merchandiser was coming to the store to help re-do the windows and advise us on visual merchandising. I always enjoy seeing his work, as he has good ideas, but I just don't get much time to put them into practice on the shop floor. He also hails from the same part of the country as I do, so we always have a bit of banter about home.

Anyway, I was back in at 12 noon which was good for me. There weren't too many donations when I got in, so I spent some time pricing more Xmas decorations and getting them in the shop. Later in the afternoon, a huge Gift Aid donation came in, so I spent the afternoon processing that before I left.  At least it meant that I left two full rails of clothes to go in the shop for the rest of the week, as I wouldn't be back to the shop until the following Tuesday.

On Thursday, we packed up and headed off up north to Yorkshire for an early Xmas visit. We eventually managed to get away for 1pm, as OH had some work to finish off in the morning. We dropped in at OH's parents on the way and then headed to our accommodation in Driffield, East Yorkshire this time. The accommodation was good. The host had left us milk, biscuits and eggs. The milk was especially a god send.

Our first full day we spent grocery and Xmas shopping in Driffield, which is a small rural town, but has lots of lovely little shops. I always enjoy staying here, but usually we stay outside the town centre. This time around, we were closer to the town itself. We got most of what we needed there, but there were still a couple of things that we needed to find, so after a nice lunch back at the cottage, we headed off to Beverley, another small East Yorkshire town, to find the last few bits of a gift for OH's mum. Before shopping, we took the dog on the Westwood, which is like a common area with lots of green open space and woodland to explore.

Later, it was lovely to have a walk around Beverley, see their Christmas lights and visit a few more shops, so in all we had a lovely day. We then returned to Driffield and went out to a pub for supper. As is sometimes the case when we go home, we ended up doing most of our visiting on the same day, on this occasion Saturday, as this seemed to be most convenient for those we were visiting. It was nice to have a day to ourselves to relax and unwind after the journey though.

On Saturday, OH got up and went off to do a Park run and I took the dog for an early walk. Later we headed off to meet my sister and her family for lunch in a pub near to where they live. We had a lovely lunch and it was nice to catch up, as I hadn't seen her in six months and LB hadn't seen her for two years due to Covid. Later the same day, we headed over to OH's sister's house where we spent the evening catching up with her and her family. 

On Sunday, it was time to pack up ready to head home. On the way home we stopped off at OH's mum and dad's again for a few hours and spent some more time with them, before heading back to London. A quick visit this Christmas, but sadly, it was all we could manage, due to work committments.

A busy week, but now we can settle down and enjoy the rest of Christmas here in London.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Weekly Blog - W/E 4th December 2021

The week started off slowly on Sunday. I woke up feeling a bit sore and stiff after my accident the night before and slowly got up and ready, had breakfast and took the dog out. We had a nice walk though, despite the cold.

I spent most of the rest of the day online, catching up with watching YouTube videos, doing online banking, buying and exploring Jacquie Lawson's new Online Advent Calendar which is fun and doing other tasks. As a consequence, it wasn't a particularly productive day, but I figured I was recovering from a long day at work and my injuries. 

It seemed too early to get the Xmas tree and decorations out of the loft, so we'll probably do that next weekend, if not before. 

Monday, I did my usual class at the gym, did the weekly shop and then came home for an hour or so, during which time I headed up to the sewing room and started work on some new Christmas aprons for work. I then headed out with the dog, as I had an appointment booked to get my booster jab at 4pm, so I needed to be back for that. It was good to get that done and know I've got more protection.

On Tuesday, I was back at work. There was a big pile of items for our online hub, that needed to be researched and packed into boxes ready to send, so I spent most of the day doing that. These items get listed and hopefully sold on our charity's online website, adding to the overall sales for the shop. I didn't feel like I'd had a particularly productive day doing this, but it needed to be done and I managed to process the majority of the pile before going home.

Tonight, we booked some accommodation up in Yorkshire, for a long weekend in a couple of weeks time. It's the only chance we'll get to see family over Christmas, as both LB and I will be working between Xmas and New Year, so it will be good to get away before Christmas instead.

On Wednesday, I had a bit of a lie in and then got up, got ready and went out with the dog. LB was starting her new job front of house at a local theatre, so she was up and out early.

After lunch, I decided to carry on sewing some Christmas aprons for work. I've based the design on a vintage half apron that I had, but I've just added a bib on top. It's a good project to use up some of the Christmas fabricin my stash, of which I have lots , and the design is more flattering than the ones I made last year, so I'll look forward to wearing them. I'm intending to make some everyday ones for the rest of the year too, along with drawstring bags to carry them to and fro.

It took me all afternoon to finish one apron that I'd started a few days ago, and to make another apron with drawstring bags, so at least I have two to use for work from now on. I'll probably make at least another two later this week. I know the make will get quicker, the more I make.

Thursday at work was good. It was absolutely freezing cycling in and out. My feet got really cold. I wore my new earwarmers for the first time. They are a must. They were very inexpensive from eBay. They do the job though, but domake a mess of my hair. The perils of cycling to work!

I managed to work my way through what Gift Aid donations there were. We're still very short on donations at the moment, which is unusual for our shop. I think it's probably because there aren't as many people coming into to town to work, and they are therefore probably donating elsewhere nearer home. Also I guess people are busy doing their Christmas shopping, so it's not surprising that things tail off a little towards Christmas.

The last hour or two of the day, I was able to do some pricing of things that I thought would sell as gifts this Christmas. I like to dig out things that I think will sell quickly, in order to boost sales. We had a pretty good day sales wise today, the best so far this week, which I was happy about. A volunteer had some really good news today, which he'd been waiting for for months. I was very pleased for him as it's his birthday tomorrow, so it was a very special birthday surprise for him.

On my day off on Friday, I stayed home after walking the dog, as OH had booked the car in for it's MOT. I decided to do some more sewing and started to make another apron. Talking of which, I wore one of my new aprons at work on Thursday, probably the worst of the two I made. I find that the first of anything I make is always a bit dodgy, as things tend to improve the more experienced I get at making them. It served it's purpose though, which is all that matters really.

I also took a look at my finances on Friday, factoring in any bills I needed to pay, to figure out where I'm at. Not a great place this Xmas. Luckily, I've got two credit cards to use for essential purchases. I know this is only moving the problem along to January, but that's where I'm at this year. 

I'm focussing on buying gifts for family that we'll be visiting soon, and will then think about everything else when we get back. Thankfully, I've been putting aside food and drink for Xmas for weeks now, so that will help quite a bit this month. I've also got some savings in my current account that I can use if necessary, so I've got options.

Later on Friday, I had to go out to get some dog food as we were nearly out and tried to do a bit of Xmas shopping.  I didn't really find much that I needed though.

On Saturday I was back at work. I spent the first part of the day rearranging some areas of the stockroom with the Shop Manager, as we hadn't had a collection of our recycling and the mountain of bags was slipping and sliding around.  We managed to instigate a better, safer system to keep the stockroom tidy, which was good. I then progressed onto pricing Christmas baubles and other decorations, as I found another box full of them in the stockroom. There were some lovely items in it, so I'm really glad I found it. 

Later, I got around to doing the Gift Aid donations and priced all the clothing on the pricing table, although there wasn't a whole lot.

When I got home on Saturday night, OH was heading out for drinks with his cycling buddies. I was too tired to join him, so I stayed home and watched a very cheesy Christmas movie before falling asleep on the sofa.

I can't believe it's just 3 weeks left until Xmas. It's going to be here so fast. I hope all of your preparations and present buying is progressing nicely.