Saturday, 31 December 2022

Christmas Week Ending 31/12/22

First of all, apologies for not hopping online and wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas this year. Working on the days leading up to Christmas Day, meant that I didn't find the time, but I do hope that you have all enjoyed the festive season.

It's been extra busy for me, as I was working on Christmas Eve until 5pm. The store was pretty busy, more so in the last couple of hours of the shop being open and then it was a mad dash to do as much as we could to put everything back and straighten up the shop. 

I had a couple of food items to pick up before heading home and then I took the greatest pleasure in just relaxing at home, watching TV with OH and starting on the Christmas food treats.  LB was out celebrating after work and came home later a bit worse for wear, but I was pleased she had been out enjoying herself.

Christmas Day here was a relaxing day. After the customery gift opening, OH and I made Xmas lunch, after which we mainly spent the afternoon napping between watching movies on Netflix. There's really no better way to spend Xmas Day.

I was happy with my main Xmas present, which was a new phone, and OH spent some time in the afternoon setting it up for me, which I was grateful for. There were a few apps that I needed to re-sign into, which caused a bit of a problem, as I couldn't remember my passwords for them. I'm happy with it though. It seems very easy to use, despite being quite a bit bigger.

I got an unexpected telephone call from my sister in Australia in the evening, which was lovely. We had a good long chat and catch up.

On Boxing Day, I had to go to work again. I wasn't really feeling it to be honest. It was super busy in the store, the queue just didn't go down all afternoon. I was so glad when we finally closed the doors, although it still took a good hour or so until all of the customers had been served and I could go home. 

Working over Christmas in a non-charity retail store has definitely been an experience, let's leave it at that. I could have worked extra hours, but I just didn't feel inclined, as I wanted to relax for what was left of the Xmas holidays. I'm just trying to be honest and maintain my boundaries.

Holiday Tuesday, I had a completely free day to do as I pleased. I had a lovely long walk with the dog, with no time pressure at all. It was just lovely to get out into the fresh air. Much as I love the build up to Christmas, I'm always glad when it's over and things can get back to normal. 

I needed to start getting the house in order for our forthcoming visitors on Tuesday, so later in the afternoon, I started on cleaning the kitchen. I began with the oven. I don't know when it was last cleaned, but it was dirty. It looks a lot better now. I just use bicarb of soda, water and a brillo pad. It took a while, but it was worth it.

I then cleaned down one side of the kitchen, including the undersink cupboards, dishwasher, which we put on a cycle with citric acid inside, washing machine and cupboards. Felt good to make some progress and it will be good to start the New Year knowing that the house is clean and tidy.

On Wednesday, I got up and dressed ready to tackle more cleaning in the kitchen. I slowly worked my way down the other side of the kitchen and the worktop. I realised whilst I was doing it that I was due at work two hours earlier than I thought, which meant that I couldn't get as much done as I would like.  

Work wasn't quite as busy as Boxing Day, there were gaps between customers, but it was still a bit hectic with lots of things to do. At the end of the shift, I ended up staying a bit later to tidy the section I'd been allocated, so it was later than usual by the time I got home.

On Thursday, I had to miss going to my voluntary work. I had too much going on at home. More cleaning and tidying up, although OH had done some the day before when I was at work, which was a great help.  Our house will never be perfect. It's lived in, as houses are meant to be. As long as the kitchen, bathroom and bedding are clean, they are the priorities. 

Anyway, I carried on with cleaning the kitchen and then did some cleaning and changed the bedding upstairs. OH tided up the garden, which was a mess as we haven't managed to get out there at all since the summer. He did a great job. Here's a picture of it all tidied up for the winter:

Later, we did a big shop at Lidl, to make sure we had plenty of food in the house.

When we got back, I changed a bit more bedding and I was done for the day. 

On Friday I was at work for 9am and bar an hour at the beginning of the shift, it was super busy. A constant stream of customers. I left at 2pm and wanted to pick up a few bits from in store, but the queue was snaking all over the place, so I decided to just go home and help OH finish off the last few things that needed doing before our guests arrived.

The evening was spent chilling with one of our guests, whilst the others all went to a football match. It was good to catch up on everyone's news and just spend time with family that we don't see very often.

Saturday, I stayed in bed and let everyone get up and use the bathroom, as they were all heading out early. LB was heading off to Norfolk for the New Year and OH and our guests were all heading into London to do some sightseeing. I couldn't join them as I was working at 3pm, so I stayed home and had a leisurely breakfast before walking the dog and getting ready for work. It was nice to have a bit of time to myself and catch my breath to be honest, in what has been a very  busy week.

I'm looking forward to finishing work tonight and welcoming in a New Year, hopefully one that doesn't have any unpleasant surprises in store for me, but who ever knows.

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2023, see you all next year.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

The Week Before Christmas 2022 - Part 1

Sunday, was my day off as usual and I took it very easy as I always do. I had a lovely walk with the dog over Hackney Marshes, which was still covered in snow after a week.

The rest of the day, I spent chilling, doing laundry and continuing with some patchwork. In the evening, we had a family film night and all sat together to watch the movie Liquorice Pizza, which was interesting. It's rare for us to do this, so it made a nice change. 

I was back at work on Monday morning. It had rained overnight and the snow had disappeared. I was secretly glad about this, as it's one less thing to worry about in terms of getting to work. It was much milder too, so I didn't need to layer up quite so much.

I managed to rearrange the blood test for Tuesday afternoon and headed off to work for 11am. Work was super busy for most of my shift. You can tell there's less than a week to go to Christmas, as the queues at the till just never seemed to go down all day.

I had to do the weekly shop after work and then came straight home. I was so glad to get home and relax, once I'd put the shopping away that is. I'd not had a good night's sleep on Sunday night, so I was pretty tired and went to bed early.

On Tuesday, I stayed home, save for the blood test. I managed to make my way through quite a large pile of ironing, mostly towels, sheets, pillowcases, etc. There's still a few things in the basket, but they are mostly summer clothing items, so not a priority.

I received the all clear from the recent bowel cancer screening I'd participated in, which was good news, other than this, it was a very uneventful day. 

Apparently, there was a power cut to some houses down our street the previous night. I'm glad it didn't affect our house (we're on a different circuit), as I have all of the Christmas meat in the freezer. To be honest, though, we're now close enough to Christmas for it not to matter too much if they defrosted.

On Wednesday, I wasn't at work until 5pm and OH offered to take the dog out this morning, so I decided to get a bit creative and do a bit of sewing. 

I started by making a tree skirt. We are using a new to us small artificial Xmas tree this year, that I bought from the charity shop last Xmas. I was struggling to get our old tree out and up, as it comes in many pieces and putting it all together had become a chore and was taking the fun out of putting the tree up.  This little tree has just two pieces and is very easy to put up. With just me and OH at home most of the time, we opted to use this one this year. 

The decoration is a bit of a mish mash, I only put on things that I liked, but they weren't bought with this tree in mind, so some are a little large. It's pretty enough though.

To make the tree skirt, I used the lid of my laundry basket to cut out a circle, which I then cut into and made a small hole in the middle. I hemmed it all around and bound the middle circle as this was tricky to hem. I then used small press studs to fasten the ends together, once it's on the tree. 

Half way through, I did think of an easier way to make this, by making it double sided, thus it would not need hemming, you could just turn it out instead. I may make another one next year, out of plain coloured velvet or some other fabric and I'd make it a little bigger to cover the edges of the table we use to put it on, but for this year, this will suffice.

Here's a picture of it on the tree:

I then proceeded to make a table runner for the kitchen table. I'd cut the material to size at the weekend and just needed to sew it together. It didn't take long and here it is on the table:

It needs a bit of an iron, but it's a pretty fabric.

Finally, I thought I'd show you a picture of the finished fabric wreath. It's not perfect, but I quite like it and may make another in red coloured Xmas fabrics, as it's a super simple make.

I hope you're enjoying the lead in to Xmas this year.

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

This Week - W/E 17th December 2022 - Part One

This week, I was looking forward to spending any free time I had, getting ready for Christmas. 

We started the process on Sunday, when we had a bit of a move around of our reception rooms. We like to  move our large sofa and the TV into the back room in the winter, as the wood burner is in this room, and especially this year with the cost of electricity, it made complete sense to huddle around the wood burner and use up the wood from replacing the decking earlier in the year. We're already half way through it.

Once this job was done and the decorations were all put up we were more or less Christmas ready here, which felt good. It was too frosty to work in the garden and get the garden lights up today, so they will have to wait for another slightly warmer day.

I did venture into the sewing room on Sunday too, and made a new table runner using some Christmas fabric I had in my stash. It was to use on a blanket box in the living room. It's not a perfect make, as I ran it up quickly, but it will be fine just to bring out at Christmas. Here's a couple of photos:

It's a pretty fabric with a fir bough and berries print. I used a plain dark green as backing, which I bought in an eclectic batch of fabric from eBay a couple of weeks ago, so it was good to put some of it to use. I'd like to make another table runner for the kitchen table this year, using a different fabric from my stash, preferably something darker that won't show food spills, which are virtually inevitable on the kitchen table. I'll post a picture when I've made it.

I also did a bit of Xmas shopping online for OH, but we still need to go out Xmas shopping one night for him to try on some clothes. Hopefully, we'll do this en famille, when LB comes home from University this week. I can't wait to have her home. I just need to put some Xmas bedding on her bed to welcome her home. 

The remainder of Sunday was spent chilling, doing some patchwork, watching TV and eating from the freezer to make more room for the Christmas food I'd bought over the past few weeks. It was jam packed and difficult to get into. I also got out a few of the Xmas nibbles I'd bought, so Christmas has now officially started in our house.

Sunday night, it snowed here and there was a 3" layer over everything. It looked stunningly beautiful, but I went to bed, not relishing the drive to work the next day. Here's a picture of the back garden on Monday morning:

I think I was feeling a bit overwhelmed last week, with so little time and so much to do. I'm hoping that this week, I'll feel a little better and be able to get on top of the present wrapping and then I can enjoy the week before Christmas without too much stress, especially as I expect work to get busier and busier over the next few weeks.

On Monday morning, I made sure to get up early, as I had quite a few things to do before work and I had to clear the car of snow and get it running before heading off 2 hours early, to allow plenty of time to get there on time. I put on my thermals and wellies, walked the dog in the snow, posted off the remainder of our Christmas cards and hopefully the last two online parcels, although they won't be collected until tomorrow, because of the postal strike, gathered together the grocery shopping list and bags, in the hope of having time to do the weekly shop before work and made a packed lunch to eat when I got there.

I was due at work for 1pm and by 11am the main roads that I take to work were pretty clear and thawed out.  Some of the side roads were a bit more precarious, but it just meant taking it very slowly. I had plenty of time to do the grocery shopping, and a few extras found their way in, such as a cute leopard print fleece cardigan for me to wear around the house and a really cosy faux fur blanket and cushion for LB's room, plus a new velvet lampshade. If I can't splash out on welcoming her home, when can I. I hope she likes them.

Work was busy and passed quite quickly. I stayed an extra hour as they were short staffed, but didn't want to stay any later as the roads start to ice up again and I wanted to get home. I still had to pick up the fridge/freezer bits of shopping, before I could head home too.

I was glad to get home, unpack the shopping and have a couple of hours to just chill before bed.

On Tuesday, we were up early, as we were due to drive over to South London and pick up LB and all the things she wanted to bring home for Xmas. The drive there wasn't too bad and took us less time than we expected.  I did a bit of cleaning in LB's room when I got there, sorry, the Mum in me couldn't resist and I changed her bedding, so that she had clean bedding to come back to, then we set off for home.

As a rare treat, OH bought us lunch at McDonalds, which we ate on the go, and we got back around 2.30- 3pm. LB liked her cosy bedroom and subsequently got straight into bed and slept for the rest of the afternoon, bless her.  It is lovely to have her home again.

I started on some of the washing that she'd brought home with her, walked the dog and then I decided to wrap up all of her presents, so she couldn't peek at them. I decided that I would take one thing back, as I don't think she'll use it and she gave me an idea of what I could buy her instead, that would be much more useful and practical for her. 

We brought her airfryer back with us too, as she uses it a lot and we've missed it. It might also be useful over the New Year when we have visitors. It will go back to Uni with her in January though, so we need to make the most of it whilst we have it.

The remainder of the day, I spent on a new Xmas patchwork project, of a fabric wreath, the idea for which I got from Emma Jones Vintage Sewing Box on YouTube. I am making it very slightly differently to hers, but it is so easy to make and I was able to use some of my favourite Xmas fabrics from my stash. Here's a picture of it in progress:

I'll post another picture later in the week when it is finished.

This week, I'm dividing the weekly blog into two parts, as it can get way too long, so see you in part two.

Sunday, 11 December 2022

This Week - W/E 10th December 2022

This week has been mixed again. It started off slowly on Sunday. OH was feeling very unwell after overindulging on his night out with his cousin. He was subsequently out of action all day, so I took the dog out and then had a quiet pottering kind of day.  To be honest I needed one, as I'd spent every spare hour during the previous week cleaning, in preparation for our visitor. It felt great to not have to do anything much and just take it easy.

On Monday, OH was feeling a lot better thankfully. I was working in the afternoon and went early again to post some online parcels and do the weekly shop. Work is getting busier at the moment, so it went quite quickly. I did a bit more shopping when I left and then was home by 7pm and was able to relax and do a bit of patchwork.

My sister had contacted me whilst I was at work, so I rang her for a catch up and a chat about Xmas presents this year.

Tuesday, I felt pretty tired when I woke up. I just didn't feel like rushing around with the dog, so that I could get to the gym on time, so I gave my usual class a miss and had a long slow dog walk instead. It was nice to get out and get some fresh air.

Disappointingly, I received a £65 traffic fine on Tuesday, after the disaster I'd had a couple of weeks ago. I'd  dodged it for a while, due to the postal strikes, but it found it's way to me eventually. I'm hoping there are no more to come, I'll just have to wait and see.

It feels like I take one step forward and two back financially at the moment, but such is life. Many people have it a lot worse.

I spent the rest of Tuesday at home, save for popping out to the Post Office to post more online parcels. This week is the last week I will be selling online before Xmas, due to the coming postal strikes. I caught up on a few jobs around the house and made some more pickled beetroot from some bunches I'd bought at Lidl. I was down to my last jar.

OH was back on the roof, trying to finish off the last of the jobs that needed doing. The scaffolding came off the next day, as he managed to finish everything and the scaffolders were in the area, so agreed to take it away. 

The weather is much much colder now, so I'm wrapping myself up in lots of layers to keep warm, both inside and out. I enjoyed just spending my day off doing exactly what I wanted.

On Wednesday, I was due at work for 5pm again. I had a leisurely day, we did a tip run and I walked the dog back home. OH got the Christmas tree and boxes of decorations down from the loft and I wrote and sent off some Christmas cards before heading off a little early to work. 

I did a bit more Xmas shopping before and whilst at work. My staff discount has become available for the store in which I work, so I was able to buy a couple of things for LB and my niece and used it for the first time. It wasn't super busy and I was put on a new section to tidy up at the end of the night, which was a bit of a challenge. It's all good to help me get more familiar with different parts of the store though.

Thursday, I was due at the dentist at 11.30 am. I wasn't looking forward to one and a half hours in the dentist chair. It's been a number of years since I've needed any serious treatment.

Before heading off, I spent some time in the morning deciding on my Xmas wrapping theme for this year. I haven't bought any new wrapping paper this year to speak of, as I still had quite a few rolls left over from previous years and I want to use them and start from scratch next year, possibly not using paper at all.  I'm looking forward to wrapping gifts this year. Now that we don't buy for lots of people, I enjoy it more and it's easier to use reusables.

Anyway, I went to the dentist. It was quite a long session of treatment and was very uncomfortable at times. Not the actual work on the tooth, but the coldness of the water used in my mouth. I came away with a very swollen face. I was going to check out a couple of nearby charity shops, but I just couldn't face it, as I felt very self conscious, so I came straight home.

I spent the afternoon decorating the Xmas tree and taking the dog out, after which I felt really tired.  We were going to go out and do some Xmas shopping, but I couldn't face it, so we had a cosy night at home instead, with no pressure to rush around amongst crowds of people. I think it was the right decision. I just needed some quiet time after quite a traumatic day. All being well, I've now got a reprieve from dental work until January 3rd, when I go back for the last part of my treatment.

Friday, I was due at work for 5pm again, so I spent the morning walking the dog, doing some laundry, washing up, baking some jam tarts to use up some pastry, etc., etc. Just pottering really. I set off a couple of hours early and did some more Xmas shopping. I've only really got OH to buy for now and he wants some new clothes, so we need to go shopping together for those.

I didn't have a great shift at work. Some shifts are just less enjoyable than others due to a number of factors and Friday night wasn't a shift I particularly enjoyed, put it that way. The car was iced over when I left at 10pm, so I had to de-ice it before I could head off home. The roads had been gritted too, so I was glad to just get home safely.

On Saturday morning, I woke up feeling really tired. I think that working in the lead up to Xmas is taking its toll on me both physically and mentally. Only two weeks left to go, but then the really busy sale period after Christmas starts. I'll be glad to get to mid January when hopefully things will calm down a little and I might get to take some leave.

Anyway, despite this, work was good today. There was a good atmosphere and the shop was really busy, so the time passed really quickly. When I got home, OH and I watched a movie on Netflix called The Swimmers about two young female Syrian refugees who made their way to Germany along with thousands of others at the height of the conflict in Syria. It was really good.

I was happy to get to the end of the week this week. LB is coming home next Tuesday and I'm really looking forward to seeing her.

Thursday, 8 December 2022

A Bit of a Do Up

For the last month, we've had scaffolding on the front of our house, as OH has been sprucing it up a little. It's long overdue to be honest, we never really finished painting it after having the builders in 10 years ago to renovate the basement into an office for OH.

A few months ago, we got new sash windows installed upstairs in our bedroom and in the bay window downstairs. These were double glazed and replaced the old single glazed units, making the house more energy efficient and improving the overall appearance. As a consequence, the surrounds and sills got a bit bashed up and needed repairs and we also needed to remove the remains of an old dead creeper that a neighbour had cut down this year.

The day after the scaffolding went up, OH was up there removing the creeper and prepping the brickwork and sills for a bit of pointing and filling. Once the filling was done, he needed to wait a couple of days for it to dry properly, before he could paint it. The biggest headache was getting the colour right for the paintwork around the bay and window surrounds. It took several attempts at mixing to get a colour we both liked. Thankfully we got there in the end.

Once all the masonry painting was done, it was the turn of the front door. It was looking very scruffy and the battleship grey colour was looking very dirty and dated. We opted for our favourite shade of blue from Little Green which is called Hicks Blue. We have this in our living room and kitchen, so why not the front door too. Besides, I knew it would look nice with the brass hardware that I'd bought, mostly from eBay during Lockdown.

It has been so lovely to get the front of the house finished. It was looking tired before and now looks much fresher. OH has also been up on the roof to put in an access hatch for roof/aerial repairs and done a few other bits too, to maintain the house. 

I've been so impressed by how quickly he's got the work done, and he actually quite enjoyed it once he got up there. He's done a great job and saved us a lot of money too. Anyway, the scaffolding came down yesterday and here's the result of his work.

Here's a before photo:

and here's an after one:

Subtle changes, but it's looking a lot better maintained and feels like a different house for LB to come home to next week.

Saturday, 3 December 2022

This Week - W/E 2nd December 2022

I was so happy to get to Sunday this week, after a particularly horrible week last week. Sunday is my day to reset and just calm myself after a busy week at work. I stayed home pottering, sewing, doing laundry and preparing for the week ahead.

OH wasn't cycling, which is unusual, so he volunteered to take the dog out in the morning and I could have a lie in and a leisurely breakfast. It felt blissful.

I spent most of Sunday in my sewing room, making an Xmas present for LB and also making some stock to sell. I really enjoyed it. 

Monday, I was working from 1pm, so I walked the dog and then posted off a couple of online sales and an Xmas card to my sister in Australia.  I was going set off for work early and do the weekly shopping, but I didn't, as I had another 10% off voucher for my shop at Lidl and I wanted to make the most of it, so I went after work. I ended up staying an extra hour at work today, as someone had called in sick. It was a horrendously busy afternoon for a Monday, but I did get to do a different job which helped me to find my way around the store a bit more, so I was happy for that.

I was glad to get home and put the shopping away and then I chilled by doing a bit of patchwork. It always calms me down when I've been busy. I've gone back to working on a table runner I started a few months ago. I might try to finish it before I go back to the new quilt project, but who knows, I may get bored and swap back onto the new project again at some point. That's the beauty of having more than one project on the go.

On Tuesday, I was due at the dentist at 12.30pm. OH had taken the car in to have it's MOT. Luckily it passed and he was back home in time for me to go off to the dentist in it. I knew it was potentially going to be expensive to fix my broken tooth and I was right, but I am going to let the dentist re-construct my tooth, as it's a molar and is important for chewing and eating. 

If I'm honest, I think I'm more frightened of having an extraction than having re-construction work done. It is going to be expensive, but if it needs to be done, I'll have to use some money from my savings. My oral health is more important than keeping money sat in the bank. I go back next week for most of the prep work to be done and then I should just have one more appointment and the work should be completed.  It's not the best time of year, but I can't help that. I just need to suck it up and get on with it. I'm fortunate that I have some money in the bank to pay for it.

The dentist was very thorough in his explanations of everything, so I came away feeling very reassured that I was doing the right thing. It would be easy to just have it extracted, but I may regret it at a later date.

When I got back from the dentist, I headed straight out to meet some friends for lunch. We hadn't met up for a couple of months, so it was nice to see them and have a catch up. In the evening, I spent a couple of hours catching up on blog reading. It had been nearly two weeks since I'd read my favourite blogs. 

I then spent an hour catching up on my finances, as they are in a bit of a mess at the moment, for various reasons. (Despite the fact I'm working again, I'm still playing catch up financially, especially with Christmas almost upon us) I'm just going to have to muddle through this Christmas, which is not what I wanted. Fortunately, I have already bought quite a few gifts for LB.

I was working a late shift on Wednesday, so I had most of the day to start cleaning the house in time for OH's cousin coming to visit this weekend. OH has been lighting the fire most nights for the last week, which has been nice and makes the house feel cosy. The weather here has really turned colder this week. It will be a shock coming here from Australia. I hope he has lots of woolies with him.

Anyway, I started the cleaning upstairs, stripped and changed bedding, vacuumed and mopped floors and cleaned surfaces. I had ordered some new bedding for the guest bed from work. It wasn't too bad to be honest, but it still took a couple of hours. I then stopped for breakfast at 1pm!

As I needed to walk the dog, I took her out before getting ready for work. I went early again, as I don't trust the traffic around rush hour. I did some online learning assessments that were outstanding when I got there, as I had an hour to spare until I needed to start my shift.  I only had a few days left to complete them, so they were a priority.

On Thursday, I was up and off to my voluntary work, which went okay. I had to let them know that I wouldn't be coming next week, as I had a dental appointment to start the work on my tooth. There was no other time that was suitable. At least I will get a bit of a lie in next Thursday. 

When I got home, I had just the afternoon and evening to clean the rest of the house, i,e, the whole of the downstairs and the bathroom, so I needed to get started pretty quickly after lunch. I didn't get it all done. There was still the kitchen and bathroom to do after work the following day.

I was working a 9-4 shift on Friday, so it was an early start for me. I ended up getting to work half an hour early again, so spent a little while shopping in B&M. They sell some really good dog treats and as we were almost out of them, I picked some up. I also found a couple of things from my Xmas food/present shopping list, so that was good.  

Work was busy all day and I was a little late getting away. I then went to a nearby huge Tesco store to do the second installment of my Xmas food shop. I managed to get a few meats and other items we needed, that will go into the freezer and I was able to use the last voucher I had for £5 off a £50 shop. There's only the fresh stuff and a couple of other items that I now need to get, which I will buy nearer the date.

When I got home, it was more cleaning and last minute preparation before our guest arrived and we could chill and spend the night chatting and catching up with family news. 

On Saturday, I woke up after a great night's sleep and took my time getting up and ready, which was nice.  I had a parcel to post and then we all headed out onto our local high street for brunch, before I had to get ready and go out to work.

Work was okay and didn't seem too bad for a Saturday. I was glad to get home though and put my feet up. OH and his cousin had gone out for the evening, so I had the house to myself and was able to enjoy some valuable me time at the end of another super busy week. 

Next week, I'm hoping things slow down a little, so that I can enjoy the build up to Christmas a bit more.

Sunday, 27 November 2022

This Week - Week Ending 26th November 2022

This week started with a bit more sewing on Sunday. I finally finished the grey hexi patchwork cushion that goes with my lap quilt. It took most of the afternoon, as I needed to put a zip in, which was a little tricky, but it turned out okay. Not perfect, but good enough. Here's a picture:

I also received some online orders on Sunday, so I spent a little while packing them up ready to post on Monday and I also prepared a little more stock, which made things a little tidier in the sewing room. It felt like a productive afternoon.

On Monday, I did my shopping before and after work again. I was late getting off work, as it was a really busy afternoon. I was glad to get home. unpack the shopping and just chill.

Tuesday was my day off and I was going to go to my usual class at the gym, but then I got a message to say that something I'd ordered for LB for Christmas, was going to be delivered and there was also a delivery of manure at the allotment that someone needed to be there for, so I went there instead. I did a bit of pruning of the raspberry, gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes whilst I was there. There's more to do, but it was nice to pay a visit and make a start, as I've not been there since the summer. 

I also cut a few bits of rosemary at the plot, which I'm going to attempt to root in water. I'll see how it goes. It might not work, but I could do with some more plants and don't want to buy any.

I spent the afternoon ironing as the ironing basket was full, and that's after I stopped ironing many things. I managed to get most of it done, just some summer clothes left to iron and then put away until next year, but they weren't a priority. Interestingly, I checked the electricity usage for the 2-3 hours I was ironing and it cost about 50p, which I thought was very inexpensive. I watched a mini series on Netflix whilst I ironed about a young guy who took on PEPSI Co for false advertising. It was interesting.

On Wednesday, I had booked to get a Covid booster, so I headed off to do that and pick up a prescription, before heading into work for 2pm. Work was busy and I was a bit preoccupied, because of something that LB had contacted us about, so it wasn't an easy shift. I was glad to get home and talk to LB on the phone. She seemed okay and it was nice to catch up.

Thursday, I was up early and off to my voluntary work. I really wasn't feeling it and when I got there I gradually started to feel worse and worse as the session went on. I was so happy to come home and go back to bed. I think the effects of the Covid booster had taken hold. I spent the afternoon in bed sleeping. I got up a bit later and had some supper and watched the movie House of Gucci on TV. OH has signed up for a free trial subscription to Amazon Prime. I still didn't feel good when it was time to go back to bed. I wasn't really expecting a reaction, as I felt fine the last time I had a booster jab. It was a bit of a lost day all things considered.

Friday, was Black Friday and I was due at work for 5pm. I thankfully felt much better today, so I tried to make the most of the day, by catching up on a few jobs that I'd fallen behind on. 

I was happy to get my first wage from my current employer today, but then a bit of one of my teeth broke off this morning whilst flossing, so I had to book a dental appointment for next week. If I have to have the tooth extracted, it will be uncomfortable and expensive, so it wasn't a good start to the day. 

I then got stuck in traffic for two hours on the way to work, partly due to a fatal accident that had happened in the early hours of the morning and partly due to the rush of people trying to get home to watch England play in the World Cup. Needless to say, work was very quiet when I did eventually get there.

Saturday, was another disastrous day. I mistakenly ventured out in the car in the morning to a Zero Waste event to take some donations and got lost in a traffic calming system on the way back. It felt like being a rat caught in a trap. Eventually, I asked a very kind man who gave me directions to get out of there, but I think I probably earned at least one fine, so I was very upset by that. I then had to get home through gridlocked traffic before heading straight out again to get to work for 2pm. Never again.

Work was manic today, more than making up for it being quiet on Black Friday. The last two hours of the shift were spent tidying the store, which gets very messed up on a Saturday. I got to tidy up the premium bedding displays, which were beautiful. It was like a little slice of heaven in this section.

It's been a bit of a manic week, one that I don't wish to repeat.  Horrible if I'm honest. I can't wait for a calm Sunday at home, going nowhere.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

This Week - W/E 19th November 2022

Now that I'm back working in retail, Sunday is the only day on the weekend that I can do as I please, so I always enjoy and appreciate the freedom it brings. I seem to be less mentally tired these days and feel able to do creative pursuits when I'm not at work, as I'm not constantly thinking about work. I can actually switch off in this job, for the most part anyway.  I'm trying to make a point of using my time off productively doing things that I enjoy. It might not last.

On Sunday last, I did a bit more sewing. I did a bit of finishing to a quilt I'd made previously, but wasn't quite satisfied with. It looked much better once I'd sewn around the edges to finish it off. I also started a new patchwork project. This one is going to be a quilt for LB's bed, using up some blue coloured fabrics from my stash. I'm really into stash busting at the moment and making space in the sewing room. It's crazy cluttered in there and I'm trying hard to sell/donate things I no longer want and use the things that I do want to keep.  I've posted separately about this project.

Later in the evening, I decided it might be a good idea to complete one of the several outstanding quilt projects, so I finished piecing a cushion panel and it now just needs making into a cushion cover. I did this whilst watching the first episode of the new series of The Handmaid's Tale, which was a bit gruesome.

On Monday afternoon, I was at work. This week, I set off early and did most of the weekly shop before work. Work wasn't too busy and I got a chance to do a different job off the tills. It involved picking out the online orders to be collected. I enjoy this job, as it helps me to find my way around the store and become more familiar with where everything is and the kind of products the store sells.

After work, I completed the shopping, (just fridge and freezer items) and then went home to a supper made by OH, which was nice. 

Tuesday, was another rainy day, so I wasn't able to get out with the dog. I decided to try to get back to a class at the gym today, so I went to that first and OH took the dog out later. After missing three weeks of classes since starting this new job, it felt so good to do some exercise again. It's good to just take it where I can at the moment.

I had a few online sales to post today and then I needed to wrap my Operation Christmas Child shoebox ready to take to the toy store this week for drop off.  I find wrapping the shoe box the most difficult thing about the whole process. Most of the rest of the afternoon was given over to my new project and making a veggie sausage casserole for supper.

On Wednesday, I got up and took the dog out. When I got back I headed out to Soca Aerobics which is now held in a leisure centre closer to where I live.  The facilities aren't as nice though and the builders were hammering away in one corner as we did the class.

When I got back I made sure to have something a bit more substantial for lunch and then got ready for work. I was working late tonight from 5 till 10pm, so I take a sandwich with me as it's too late to eat when I get home. I set off a couple of hours early and before heading into work and I went to a huge Tesco store and did an Xmas food shop. Just dry goods such as nuts, crackers for cheese, Xmas cake and pudding, individual cards for close family members and other treats and bits for the festive season. I also bought a small present for LB and a nice Xmas candle.

I had a £7 off a £50 spend voucher to use, which was too good to pass up, plus another £1.50 in Clubcard vouchers to use. I have two more of these vouchers which are both £5 off a £50 spend to use over the next couple of weeks and the next one I intend to use for Xmas meats, such as a lamb or beef joint and pigs in blankets, etc. I'll buy them now and put them in the freezer until Xmas. I couldn't really buy these today, as they'd have sat in the car for 5 hours whilst I was at work.

Work wasn't too busy with customers, but there was plenty of other work to do, so the shift passed really quickly. For the last hour, I was rushing around trying to tidy several areas in the shop, which was a challenge. I think I managed to do what I needed to, as much as was physically possible in the time anyway. I was glad to get home and just chill for an hour before going to bed.

Thursday was a busy day this week. I got up super early to get to my volunteering for 8.30am, on the bus again this week, as it was raining. When I got home, I had some lunch and then needed to go out again to our local mall to drop off the Operation Christmas Child box at the Toy Store. I also needed to go to the bank to pay a cheque and some coins in. 

I took a look in a few shops and bought a few small things, some gifts for Xmas and some things I needed myself. I didn't spend a lot as I haven't been paid yet and I aren't sure when I do get paid. I am looking forward to being paid a wage again.

Whilst walking around the big mall, it did make me grateful that I didn't get a job in one of the shops there, despite it being closer to where I live, as it is so busy to the point of being overwhelming. The store I work in stands alone almost on a retail park, and although it gets busy, it has a completely different feel. 

When I got home, I then needed to take the dog out, before I could finally sit down and put my feet up for the evening.

On Friday, I was on another late. This means I do have time during the day to do jobs at home which is nice.  I walked the dog and set off early for work again because Fridays get busy with traffic quite early with everyone trying to get home early to start their weekend. I used the time to do some Xmas shopping at a large TK Maxx store. I managed to find a few presents for LB and OH.  I'm going to do my shopping this way this year, before work, so that on my days off I don't need to go shopping and I can relax at home during my time off.

Saturday, I was back at work and it was busy this week as the buses and tubes were running normally. I was glad to get home and start what was left of my weekend. OH had gone out and got us a takeaway supper, which was nice to come home to.

A busy week, but I'm finding time to do some Xmas shopping and some creative activities which makes me happy. I hope you have had a good week.

Friday, 18 November 2022

A New EPP Patchwork Project

This week, I started a new English paper pieced patchwork project. I've got four on the go at the moment, as I like to give myself some variety and I've come to the conclusion that one of them isn't really working for me, so I've laid it aside for the time being.

Another one I've finished, but I need to sew it into a cushion panel and the third, I've almost finished the top, but need to piece the bottom, as it's going to be a reversible table runner. Anyway, I'll continue to work on this one, but it's going to be a slow burner, as is this new one that I've started.

The new project is going to be made in a similar fashion to the Hexi lap quilt I made recently, (pictured above) where I made multicoloured hexi diamonds on a dark grey background. I liked the contrast of the plain and patterned fabrics in this quilt. The only difference is going to be colour and shape of the pieces.  

This new quilt will be made with small rectangles pieced together as in the photograph below:

This is the first completed block. It took quite a while to piece together. Probably a whole afternoon from scratch, but I think it will take less time as I get used to the construction process. There are 25 rectangles in each block and I will be making three blocks in each of 4 fabrics, which should produce enough blocks to complete the quilt. 

The infill between blocks will be a plain blue fabric, probably a dark blue or navy, but there may be smaller configurations of rectangles between each row of blocks. I haven't quite worked out the pattern fully yet. That is half the fun. 

I'm looking to use a linen fabric again as the plain fabric, as I like the weight and texture and it makes the quilt a bit heavier. I have ordered a sample of some navy linen on eBay and may purchase this if I like it, but for the moment, I will just focus on making the patterned blocks, until I have made as many as I need.

I completed a second block this week, which is pictured below:

And another fabric I will be using for blocks is this one:

The one's I've chosen are mostly vintage florals, but I may add other fabrics into the mix.  I'm excited to be starting a new project to keep me occupied during the autumn/winter months and I'll keep you posted on progress.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

This Week - W/E 12th November 2022

This week got off to a lovely slow start, thanks to the rain. As it was raining again on Sunday morning, the dog was not interested in going for a walk, so I got to have a slow leisurely morning in my dressing gown.

It was during this slow morning, that I realised I hadn't read any of my favourite blogs for a whole week, so I spent a couple of hours catching up with the week's posts, commenting and blogging. It was lovely.

Later, when the rain had eased, I got dressed and walked the dog and inspired by some of the blogs I'd been reading in the morning, I spent most of the rest of the day sewing. It felt so nice to get back to doing something creative. I have already posted seperately about what I made or started to make.

On Monday, I was due at work at 1pm again. The scaffolders came to put up some scaffolding on the front of our house, as OH is going to paint the front of the house over the next few weeks and also remove some dead climbers.  

I got up and ready and walked the dog, posted a parcel and then set off a little early for work. It was just as well, as there was traffic on this occasion. Work was super busy and by the time I left, my head felt like it was going to explode. So many decisions, questions from customers, complicated till transactions and refunds. It was so mentally exhausting. Very different from the previous Monday when I'd worked and it had been relatively quiet by comparison.

When I left work, I needed to do the weekly shop again. I only did it after work because I was using a 10% off my next shop voucher, and I wanted to get the most from it.  In future, I'll be trying to get to work early and do most of the shopping (minus fridge and freezer items) before work and will then just top up with these items after work. I'm too tired to do the full shop after work.

Anyway, shopping done, I headed for home, but it was raining so hard, a road sign was covered with branches and I inadvertantly came off at the wrong junction and then got a bit lost. I ended up in a bus lane and will possibly get a ticket. I'm hoping not, but we'll just have to wait and see. 

On Tuesday, I had a bit of a lie in before getting up and going out with the dog. I just wasn't feeling like rushing off to the gym, so I missed my class again. I was still feeling a bit out of sorts from the previous day.

OH started work on the front of the house today. He's tidied up the brickwork and cleared the climber and now just needs to fill and paint. The weather isn't being co-operative with lots of rain showers, but it's quite exciting.

In the afternoon, I did some more sewing. It felt so therapeutic to spend time in my sewing room, working on projects. It really helped me recover from the stress of the previous day.

On Wednesday, I had another leisurely start to the day, as OH took the dog out as she was up and chomping at the bit. As a consequence, I got to take my time. I decided not to go to the Soca Aerobics class again and to do a bit of cleaning in the sewing room instead, as many of the surfaces were looking dusty. It felt good to get it all looking clean and decluttered again. I managed to remove a lot of junk from the desk, giving me more room to work/sew, which feels great. I'm going to try to get back to classes next week. I just don't like all the rushing around in a morning trying to get the dog walked and get to them.

I was due at work for 5pm, so I spent the afternoon pottering and then took the dog out early before setting off for work. I actually don't mind working late, as the last hour is spent tidying up the store, which makes a change from being on the till. It just messes with your meal times, that's the worst thing, but I can handle that.

Anyway, Wednesday's shift was quiet, so I got to check out where things are in the store a little more and was given a different area to tidy when the store closed. I welcomed a quieter shift after Monday's shift.

On Thursday morning I was able to go to my volunteering on my bike. It always passes really quickly when I get there and I do quite enjoy it now I'm getting more familiar with what we need to do. It's a nice group of volunteers too.

When I left, I was riding home and saw a pigeon stuck in some netting on someone's balcony. I stopped to ring the RSPCA, but they are too busy to deal with such things and the bird was very distressed. Every time it flapped it's wings to try and free itself, a couple of other birds would come over to it, as if to give it support. 

I couldn't just leave it like that, so I worked out which flat in the block it was, from the front and went around the back and knocked on the door. Luckily, a young man answered and asked me in to help free it. I was a bit reticent at first, as I didn't know him, but he seemed okay, so I went in and managed to cut the bird free. It had got it's head and wings through a hole in the net that was only a couple of inches square, so cutting the net was the only option to free it. It looked completely exhausted.

Once freed, I held and stroked it for a while until it had calmed down and recovered a little. Eventually, it flapped itself out of my hands and scuttled off under some big wheelie bins. At least it would have some shelter there from predators until it recovered properly. Hopefully, it will be able to fly off once recovered from the shock. There wasn't really much more I could do. At least it was free and not exhausting itself to death in a vain attempt to free itself.

On Thursday afternoon my grey Irish linen fabric offcut arrived, that I ordered from eBay at the weekend. It was really good quality, the colour match was good, and there was more than enough of it for what I needed, so I was very happy with it. I proceeded to cut out and stitch together the paper pieces and fabric pieces ready to add to my cushion, which made for a relaxing way to spend the afternoon of my day off.

On Friday, I was back at work in the afternoon. I didn't do an awful lot before work, just the usual dog walk and posting off the odd parcel. Life has quickly settled into a new routine, which I enjoy.

On Saturday afternoon, I was back at work again. The traffic was very busy getting to work, due to bus and train strikes in London. Luckily, I had allowed sufficient time, so I wasn't late. It wasn't too busy at work either, for I suspect the same reason. I was glad to get home on Saturday night and chill and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, 10 November 2022

A Super Small Charity Shop Haul

Today, whilst out walking the dog, I decided to drop into our local RSPCA shop. I hadn't been in for a couple of months and thought it might be nice to have a look around.

I didn't see an awful lot that I wanted to buy, but I did come away with a few items. I spent a total of £5.50 and for this sum I got the following:

The first item was this Burda sewing pattern for a loose fitting dress with pockets. I thought it looked relatively easy to make and might be a good one for next spring/summer. It is uncut and goes up to a size 18. For £1.50 this was a bargain. I prefer the version with short sleeves. I'm thinking that it could be made with either a knit fabric or a cotton fabric.

The next item was this A5 filofax insert for 2023. I have to admit that I don't own an A5 filofax folder as yet, but for £2 it was good value. I could always use it on a bulldog clip as a daily to do list/diary, especially now I'm working and need to put my hours down somewhere, as the times I work vary from week to week.

I then bought two non-fiction books, which looked vaguely interesting. Both cost £1. Having looked at them, the one on mimimalism looks the more interesting of the two as the money book seems to be aimed at a younger readership.  Might be more useful for LB in the future to be honest.

So, there you go, small but sweet. The best kind.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

A Sunday Afternoon Sewing

On Sunday, I got the urge to go into my sewing room and do some sewing. I hadn't done any sewing or making for a good few weeks, mainly due to looking for a job and then starting a new job, so it felt so good to do something creative again.

I was inspired by a couple of the bloggers I follow regularly, so a big thank you to Jackie and Marlene, who are are always making beautiful things.

I decided that first of all I would make something practical. I regularly use curling irons and when we go away I just throw them into my bag, but sometimes, after I've used them they are still a little warm and I thought it might be a good idea to make quilted case to carry them in.

I kept it very simple, using two pieces of the same fabric with some wadding sandwiched in between. I sewed these three layers together around the edges and then quilted them along vertical lines. I used a small piece of a second fabric to bind one edge and then folded the quilted fabric in half to make a pouch which I then turned out. It closes by way of a couple of press studs, which is quite old fashioned, but was the best and simplest solution.

Here's a picture of the finished case:

I don't know when we will next go away, but I will definitely use it at some point. This small project cost me nothing but my time and it was satisfying to use up more fabric from my stash.

I then decided to try to use up some very small Xmas fabric scraps. They are about 2" square or slightly larger and are a by product of some items that I make to sell online.  Although the pieces are very small, I hate to throw them away, as they could still be used for a variety of purposes. 

I've been trying to sell some of them online and thought I'd try and make something out of them that I could photograph and use in my listings, as an example of what can be made with them. When I started, I had no idea what I was going to make, I just sewed a few together into a strip.

I then decided that I would sew strips together to make a cushion cover, as I had so many of them. It took most of the afternoon, but it was quite enjoyable just adding one strip to another, quilting as I go. It's quite a random design, but here's a picture of the finished cushion:

I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  On the reverse, I have used this red and white spotted fabric. 

I didn't use a fastening. I just sewed it closed and I will wash the whole thing if it ever needs it.

I also cut some fabric to make two sturdy reusable shopping bags. It's a project I've been intending to do for a while, but just haven't got around to it. I wanted to use this shiny red star print denim fabric for this project, as I've had it for a long time, it's strong and thick and I really like it. I completed one bag a couple of days later, it's a good big size for shopping. Here's a picture:

The fabric has a slight stretch to it, but this shouldn't be a problem for this purpose. I'm thinking I might give one to LB for Xmas and keep one for me to use when out shopping. 

Finally, I've also ordered some grey Irish linen offcuts on eBay this weekend, to use to finish my patchwork cushion cover that matches the lap quilt I made. Here's a picture just to remind you of what it looks like:

They cost about £3, which I'm happy to pay, as I just need a few more hexies for around the edge of this cushion panel. It may not match the fabric I've used perfectly, but hopefully it should be a good enough match to finish this project.

On the subject of sewing, I just have to share with you a new YouTube Channel that I've started watching lately. It's called Shabby_Style and the sewing projects featured in the videos on this channel are great. There are some super ideas of how to recyle all sorts of fabrics into useful things. I'd recommend taking a look.

Monday, 7 November 2022

This Week - Settling In and Trying to Find a Balance

This week, has been pretty busy, but a little less frantic, with not quite so much new information to take on board, thankfully.

On Sunday, we packed up and left the hotel in Yorkshire. I visited a family grave at the local churchyard to leave some flowers, as I hadn't been for probably a couple of years and felt a visit was long overdue. OH and I then explored the village allotment site where my father had a plot many years ago. It was unlocked, so we went in and took a little look. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me.  OH then went off for a run, whilst I walked the dog and we met up again at his parents house, before eventually heading back to London.

To be honest, I was glad to get back home and get sorted before another working week began. My hours this week were more spread out and the shifts were all the same length.  My official hours are 20 each week, usually worked over four days, with days off inbetween. I will be working my first weekend shift on Saturday, which will be interesting, as it is supposed to be very busy.

When we got back, I did some unpacking and then we watched some TV before heading to bed.

On Monday, I had a few things to do prior to going in to work for 1pm. I needed to walk the dog, post some parcels and also write a shopping list for the weekly shop.

Work was a bit quieter today. It wasn't constantly busy on the tills, so it did pass a little less quickly. When I left work, I needed to do the weekly shop, so I ended up getting home quite late at 8pm. After unpacking the shopping, I had some supper and then did some financial housekeeping and blogging before going to bed.

Thankfully, I wasn't working on Tuesday, so I was able to have a homey day and catch up with myself. I had also hoped to get back to my favourite class at the gym, which I'd missed the week before. Unfortunately, though, it had been cancelled this week for some reason, so I did a couple of circuits of Hackney Marshes on my bike instead. It was nice to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise at the same time.

In the afternoon, I did some laundry, posted a parcel, made some Calendula balm and caught up on paperwork and jobs at home. I even took a nap for an hour in the afternoon, which felt like bliss. It was so nice to have a day to myself, doing exactly as I pleased. It restored the balance a bit.

On Wednesday, I was working my first late shift starting at 5pm, so I had most of the day to do my own thing. I was going to go to the Soca Aerobics class in the morning, but after rushing the walk with the dog to get home, so I could rush off to the class, I started to wonder why I was rushing around trying to go from one thing to another on my day off. I decided to miss the class this week, as it should be moving back to my local leisure centre very soon, so I'll go again then, if my work hours allow.

Instead, I took my time to get ready for work in the evening and set off early so I would miss any traffic build up that can occur at certain times of the day. This allowed me time to go to Home Bargains and do a bit of shopping that I didn't have time to do on Monday. 

I then went into work, where it was pretty steady all night. It felt strange working so late until 10pm. The store closes at 9pm, but then we need to tidy the store for an hour. There was torrential rain on the way home, which was a bit scary, but I just took it steady.

On Thursday morning, I had to set the alarm to be up and off to my weekly voluntary work session for 8.30am. It was still raining, so I had to get the bus today.  The bus was so full, mainly with kids on their way to school. I then had to find my way to the venue on foot, making it there in time. 

The session was very busy again. There were a couple of volunteers I hadn't met before. We seemed to get quite a lot done, which is always satisfying, but I was glad to get home and just chill for the afternoon. I even had a nap again. Hopefully, once I get used to my new job and the voluntary work, I won't need to do this on my days off, but if I do, then so be it.

On Thursday evening, I headed out to the local library to return some books. I bought some more audio books whilst there. (More about these in a seperate post)

Friday, I was due to be at work for 9 am, so I set off at 8 am in case there was a lot of traffic. Unfortunately for me, there wasn't, so I was half an hour early. I sat in the car and caught up with a bit of YouTube on my phone. The shift was very busy and my head was a bit scrambled by the time I left at 2pm. I'm gradually getting used to it though. 

By the time I got home on Friday, I chilled for an hour and then it was time to take the dog out before it started to get dark. 

On Saturday, I was due at work for 2 pm, so I was able to get up in a very leisurely manner, do a few odd little jobs about the house, walk the dog and then get ready for work. It was my first Saturday at work and it was busy, with a constant stream of customers.  The queue at the till got quite long at several points, so it was very intense, but it passed quickly. I was glad to get home though and chill with OH and the dog. It was Bonfire Night and the dog always gets very anxious, so we never go out and leave her.

A busy week, but I think I'm slowly settling into my new job. I'm enjoying not having any responsibility for anyone but myself and can come home and not really bring work home with me, which is good.

I hope you had a good week.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

More Audio Book Purchases

This week, I needed to go to my local library to return some books. Whilst on a dog walk, I took a look at the opening times displayed on the door and as I did, I saw a table full of audio books for sale in the library foyer.

I mentioned in a previous post that I've been having trouble settling down to reading in recent months, so had bought a couple of audio books to listen to in the car. I've now almost finished these and needed some more, so I made a mental note of the ones for sale in the library and took some cash in with me when I took my books back.

Unfortunately, when I got there the next day, the table had disappeared, along with the audio books. I was a bit disappointed, so I asked the librarian if they still had them and she brought out a couple of boxes full from the back room and I was able to go through them and pick the ones I wanted.

All of the audio books were 50p each, which was a steal, so I bought the following ones:

These two consist of 6 or 8 discs,

the next two had 12 or 13 discs

and the last two are 26 and 6 discs respectively.

I'm particularly looking forward to listening to William Makepiece Thackeray's Vanity Fair, which is 26 discs long, as I've watched a few TV adaptations and I always enjoy them.

In total there is 71 hours worth of listening here, which should keep me entertained on my drives to and from work over the next few months. The one's I've already finished, I will pass along via a local Little Free Library, so that someone else can enjoy them too.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Making a Calendula Salve/Balm

About 18 years ago, when LB was a baby, I did a short workshop on making herbal remedies. The teacher was a local herbalist and she talked to us about how to make decoctions and concoctions and I found it fascinating. I can remember buying one of her herbal salves at the time, a Calendula salve that is both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. At the time I suffered from Athlete's Foot and I found it to be very effective in treating this and re-bought it from her another time.

In recent years, I've not been troubled so much by Athlete's Foot, but LB has recently been diagnosed with Psoriasis on her hand. When we went to Devon, I bought her a calendula cream in a shop that seemed to work quite well in relieving her symptoms. I felt really relieved at the time, but when I tried to use it, I found that it caused my skin to sting. When I looked at the ingredients, I realised that there were quite a lot of chemicals in it, so I decided to make my own.

When I saw Vivi's (from What Vivi Did Next) YouTube video about making cold macerated calendula oil, that can be use to make salves and for other purposes, I decided to try it. I bought some sweet almond oil and some dried calendula petals on eBay and set to making calendula oil, that could later be made into a calendula salve/balm.

To make the oil Vivi added half a jar of the dried calendula petals to half a jar of sweet almond oil, shook them up together and then left them covered on a warm windowsill for 6-7 weeks, so that the calendula would infuse into the oil. The oil is then sieved through muslin to remove the petals and can then be used as an ingredient in a calendula salve.

Fast forward 6 or 7 weeks and the oil was ready to go. It wasn't as dark in colour as Vivi's, possibly because her calendula was freshly dried and used straight from her allotment, but I'm hoping the therapeutic benefits will be the same

Here's my oil and petals mixed in a jar when I first combined them:

Once the 7 weeks were up, I separated the petals from the oil using a muslin jam strainer and was left with the lovely calendula oil, which I then used to make some salve/balm.

Vivi's recipe for the salve was:

1/4 cup beeswax

1/2 cup Calendula Oil

1/4 cup Coconut oil

You can also add essential oil such as Calendula or Lavender or whatever else you wish and 1/2 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil which acts as a preservative.

The ingredients are then heated over a bain marie until they have all melted and then can be poured it into small pots and allowed to set. This made two good sized pots of salve and there's probably enough oil left to make another two.

This is a super simple recipe, that is so easy to make.

Here's a picture of the finished salve:

I'm hoping this might work even better for LB, as it is completely natural.  It's also a good thing to have in your medicine cabinet for burns, cuts, grazes, etc. I'll let you know how well we get on with it.

Monday, 31 October 2022

This Week - A New Start, A New Routine and A Weekend Away - W/E 29/10/22

This week got off to a very wet start on Sunday. OH was off cycling as usual. I had to wait until a break in the rain to walk the dog, so it was late by the time we got out. I saw a couple of neighbours on the dog walk and had a chat to them which was nice.

I didn't do very much for the rest of the day, as I was very tired after not sleeping well the night before, so I had a leisurely Sunday and napped on the sofa in the afternoon.

On Monday, I needed to so some laundry and complete a welcome pack online for my new job and then I went out to do the weekly shop. I stayed close to home today and shopped at our local Lidl, which was really busy. I was able to use a £2 off voucher on my shop.  I made another online sale in the afternoon, so I packed and posted it off before the postal strike the following day.

On Tuesday, I was due to have my induction for the new job, so I got up early and allowed plenty of time to get there. It's a 25 minute drive from where I live, but at peak hours it can take an hour, so I allowed extra time, just in case. I made a stupid mistake in forgetting some important documents and ended up having to go back home for them.

When I got back, my induction started. It's a huge store, much bigger than I'm used to and with so much more stock to be knowledgable about. I'm sure I'll eventually find my feet and my way around. Most of my induction involved going through different kinds of online learning and assessments.  The usual Health & Safety and other company policies, etc.  I didn't quite get all the learning done, there were two sections left, that I will need to do another day.

I spent the final hour of my shift being trained on how to work on the tills.  It was enjoyable and the time passed very quickly, as there was a constant stream of customers.  There's a lot to take in and so much to learn. The staff that I engaged with all seemed very nice and helpful. Starting a new job always feels quite overwhelming, but I'm hoping it will feel less so as I settle in. 

On Wednesday, I was working again. I did some more of the online learning and met the Store Manager who seemed very nice and clarified a lot of things for me. The rest of the shift I was working on the till, mostly on my own just serving customers.  A lot of different things cropped up and I had to ask for assistance quite a lot, but everyone was very helpful to me, which was good. I feel like I made progress today and got more comfortable on the till and finding my way around the store. I was shown how to pick some Click and Collect orders for customers ordering online. It felt like a much more productive day.

On Thursday morning, I was due to participate in some voluntary work that I'd applied to do. It was my first proper shift. It was quite physically demanding and I came away feeling quite tired. I think there was a bit more to do than normal, according to a longstanding volunteer, so maybe it won't be like that every week.

When I got home, I had to eat and then get ready to go to work again. I was working a longer shift in the afternoon and evening. To be honest, I don't know how I got through it as I was so tired. There were also a lot of complicated transactions that needed to be done on the till. By the time I got home, my brain was well and truly frazzled.

On Friday, we were due to travel up to Yorkshire to see family.  First, we needed to clean the house, as LB was coming home and some friends of hers were coming to stay. OH and I both spent most of the day cleaning and packing and then we set off late afternoon, getting to the hotel where we were staying at 9pm. We had a drink in the bar and then went to bed.

On Saturday, we had breakfast and then headed out to do a bit of shopping. Stupidly, I had forgotten to take any underwear and socks and needed to go buy some. I was annoyed with myself over this, but it's been a busy week, so I didn't give myself too hard a time. Having done that, we spent most of the rest of the day at OH's parents before meeting my sister and her husband in the evening and going for something to eat. It was lovely to see them and catch up.

It turned out to be a very hectic week. I'm hoping things will be a little less hectic next week.