Tuesday 31 October 2023

A Few Freebies and Frugal Finds

In recent weeks, when I've been out and about, I've managed to come across quite a few freebies and frugal finds, so I thought I'd make a short post about them. I'm always happy to give a home to something that might be useful or solve a problem that I might have and the following items have fitted the bill perfectly.

The first thing that I found recently was this wicker basket with a lid. It was left outside someone's house as I was returning from the gym one day, so I scooped it up and brought it home. It was in very clean condition and I've decided to use it to house my fabric scraps and offcuts. It also takes up slightly less space on the shelf than the basket I was using before, which was starting to fall apart.

Another frugal find, one that I bought, but that was very inexpensive, was this small set of wooden drawers from IKEA. They cost £5 from the Tip Shop when we went up to Yorkshire to visit family. I painted them  with some tester pots we had in the paint cupboard, which cost nothing, so they now fit in well with some that I already have and they have helped to resolve some clutter issues I'm having in the sewing room. (More about this in another post) 

Here's a picture of them painted and in use:

I have an identical set and they sit on top of one another perfectly to provide a little more storage.

One day, as I was heading out to the gym, I noticed that our neighbour was giving away this plant pot, as it was sat on the wall outside their house. I quickly popped it inside our house and went on my way, as I'm always needing a larger pot to pot up house plants that I grow from cuttings or offshoots and it is a very pretty design with no damage or chips. LB later bought me a belated birthday present of a plant and here it is in the pot.

The same neighbour was having a big clearout one weekend recently, as they are moving house soon, and I picked up a few bits that they put out. One was a piece of grey velvet fabric. I have in mind a use for it if the piece is big enough. If not, I'm sure I can use it to back a cushion or something.

I also picked up this wooden bench from them. I've been looking for a bench for a while and had earmarked some on eBay, but they were £100 upwards and I didn't have the cash to buy one. This is perfect for the purpose I had in mind, namely to sit my plants on in the bay window of our living room. They struggle to get enough light on the floor and this just raises them up to window level, so they can get more light, especially in the winter. I quite like how they look more orderly lined up on the bench. They also give us a bit of privacy, as we don't have our shutters in place at the moment. 

So, I've been extremely lucky to find all these things lately, which I'm very happy about. I love looking out for things that people put out in the street, you can sometimes find some really nice items and if they are something that I can use on a daily basis, I'll happily bring them home.

Saturday 28 October 2023

A More Productive Week and a Surprise Win W/E 28th October 2023

This week has been a much more productive week for me at home. I started the week with a bit of clean of the kitchen on Sunday. It needed it and as OH was out all day at a cycle event, I had the house to myself, which is always preferable when cleaning. It wasn't a deep clean as such, but the important bits, that needed cleaning got done and this felt very satisfying.

On Monday, the weekly shop went well, as I was able to keep to a tight budget on account of it being the end of the month and my finances were rapidly dwindling. I cut the shopping list down to the bare minimum, as we had lots of things in the cupboards and freezer. What is the point of over buying on the weekly shop? We only needed enough to get us through the week. It was the cheapest shop I've done for a long while and just proved to me that reducing spending on the weekly shop is possible, without even really feeling it.

On Tuesday, my winter puffa coat came out for the first time this autumn when I went out to walk the dog. It kept me lovely and warm on a cold, wet day here and I was happy that it fitted a lot better since I lost some weight. It was a little snug before, but now it fits well. 

I went to a class at the gym as usual and then when I got home I decided to paint some wooden drawers I bought whilst we were up in Yorkshire. I bought them as an inexpensive storage solution for the sewing room. (More in another post) I got a couple coats of paint on, but they still needed a final coat. Also on Tuesday, I finished the quilt top for the Xmas Wreath quilt. 

I think I'm finally starting to accept the idea of not working this Xmas. I'm less interested in spending time looking for and applying for jobs and I am using my time to do things around my home and working on myself instead. It's hard to believe that there's only 8 more weeks until Xmas. I'm sure it will fly by, job or no job. There's plenty to keep me busy, if I just put my mind to it.

On Wednesday, I went to my Soca Aerobics class as usual, which was fun. Later, I took all the papers out of the Xmas quilt top. It's now ready to sew the backing fabric onto. I'm not planning on using any wadding in this one and I don't have any vintage blankets left to use. I may change my mind about this though and buy some or find some other solution to wad it.

I also put a final coat of paint on the top of the wooden drawers. I still need to paint the bottom of them when the top is completely dry and then I'll be able to fill them and put them into use.

Thursday, marked another 4 weeks on my fitness journey, so it was time to take photos and measurements. There was very little change in my measurements, save for losing a half inch off my hips, but every little bit is something. In total, I've now lost 20lbs in 20 weeks and at least 3 inches from my main measurements. Sounds like slow progress, doesn't it, but I'm happy enough. I'm hoping that losing it slow and steady like this will help keep it off and be more sustainable. I can see progress since the beginning and quite a few of my clothes are now a lot looser when I put them on. A lot of weight has shifted from my middle area, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Still lots more progress to make though, but I'm not putting pressure on myself. There's no particular hurry.

I had a bit of good luck on Thursday. I received a scratch card from this week's Lidl shop on Monday and I won £47.41 off my next shop. Basically, for the month of October every time you shop you have a chance to win a voucher for the value of your shop and I actually won one, as this was the cost of my shop this week. What a nice surprise, which means I get almost a free shop next week, although I will probably spend more than this, as I kept it super basic this week. Very happy with this win, as it just creates a bit more wriggle room in the budget with Xmas on the horizon. Thank you Lidl.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided to take myself out and do a little bit of Xmas shopping. I managed to get everything to complete the shoe box that I make up for a child each year. Once again, I've gone for a girl aged 10-14 years. Hopefully, they'll like the contents. I also bought a couple of other bits for people that I need to buy for. I got a bargain for LB that was half price. I think she'll like it.

OH and I have decided that we'll each buy ourselves what we want for Xmas to the same value this year. This is mainly because OH likes cycling gear and needs to try it on before he commits, so it's easier for him to buy it himself. In my case, I no longer want alcohol or chocolates and I got perfume and trainers for my birthday, which makes it difficult for OH to buy presents for me, so I'll just buy things when I see them out and about and then I can focus on what I really need, especially now I'm not working and don't have a lot of spare cash to buy things for myself. We'll each wrap what the other has bought for themselves, so the present opening on Xmas day will still go ahead. To be honest, this is what we usually do anyway. I probably will still buy a few other bits for OH, mostly consumables.  I don't see the point in buying presents that someone doesn't really want just in order to surprise them. It's too much of a waste.

I enjoyed looking around a few shops. I don't really do it that often, so when I do it's fun, but it was very tempting to spend money. I tried to be as restrained as possible.

On Thursday night, I decided to start a new English Paper Piecing patchwork project. It's a bit more complex than ones that I've done lately. (More about it in another post) I can't help myself. I always seem to want to start new projects before I've finished older ones. It helps sustain my interest by giving myself a variety of projects to work on. I've still got so much fabric in my stash to use too, that I need to keep making things to use it up. Besides, autumn and winter are the perfect seasons for hunkering down and working on quilt projects. 

I seriously considered buying pre-cut paper pieces for this new project, but in the end I bought a very inexpensive digital template on Etsy, printed lots of sheets off and proceeded to cut out the shapes whilst watching the final episode of Celebrity Race Across the World. We've really enjoyed this series. It has inspired us to potentially visit a few different places in Europe at some point in the future.

On Friday, I had a long walk with the dog and then when I got in a did a few small jobs, painted the bottom of the drawers and had some lunch. It was a quiet day at home, but I was suckered in by a sample sale on ASOS and bought a few things, most of which were gym wear and a dress to wear to a family wedding next year. The dress was only £10, so I hope it looks nice when it arrives. I sized down one size, in view of my fitness journey, and hope it will be okay on the day. For £10 it was worth a punt and it is very pretty.

Saturday, was my day to go to the free gym session as usual, which I enjoyed. Our dog became the grand old age of 11 today. She's a lot slower than she used to be and usually only manages one walk per day now, but hopefully she'll be with us for a few more years to come, bless her. We're so lucky to have her.

LB came home for a few hours today, which was lovely. She needed to pick up a few bits to wear at a Halloween party in the evening. It was so lovely to see her. She seems happy and busy at Uni, which is all good. OH took us all out to lunch at a local cafe, which was a treat. Despite the rainy weather, we had a lovely day.

I spent some time potting on some house plants and cuttings in the afternoon. It was a job I've been meaning to do for a while, so it felt good to get it done.

A good week for me this week, getting quite a few things done. I hope you're week has been productive too.

Monday 23 October 2023

Back in London W/E 21st October 2023

We returned to London on Monday evening of this week, after a nice weekend away, so it was a short week this week. I was a bit worried about jumping back on the scales, as I'd eaten way above my calorie allowance on most days we were away, so I was expecting a weight gain. I was surprised to find my weight had gone down, but it has subsequently gone up again a little.

I think sometimes, that giving your body a couple of days' rest from a disciplined routine of low calorie eating, often does have positive effects. It seems to be the case in my experience. I'm not sure if it was the cold weather that made me want to eat more, but I'm glad it didn't have too much of a negative effect on all my weight loss efforts.  I'm now back to trying to stick to my calorie deficit and to continue exercising and on Tuesday, I managed to get to one of my favourite classes again, after a two week absence due to work committments. I was very happy to get back to it and I could try out my new trainers for the first time too.

After the class, I needed to go and do the weekly shop at Lidl and get a few extra bits from Tesco. The allotment has finished providing us with food, so it's back to buying salad items every week. We had a good summer of not needing to buy them and we've still got lots of vegetables in the freezer to use in soups, casseroles, sauces, etc. and some beetroot to pickle.

This last couple of weeks and going forward, I'm focusing on eating down the freezer, so that I have space and can start to buy food for Xmas over the coming weeks. 

Job hunting in the lead up to Xmas, hasn't been very successful and I'm beginning to think it might be a better idea to take a complete break from working this Christmas, so that we can travel up to Yorkshire and visit family for the first time in a number of years. OH's father is becoming increasingly frail, and who knows how many more Christmases he'll experience, so it's probably a good time and reason to do this. 

OH actually booked us some accommodation in Yorkshire for Christmas this week, which has made the decision more definite. There was already very little left, so we thought it best to book something now. We'll see what happens, we can still cancel without cost if I do get a job, but it has actually put me off looking. I love working in retail in the lead up to Xmas, but it is very restrictive in terms of being able to get away to visit family over the festive period. If I can find a compromise, that would be ideal, but I don't know if this will be possible.

Anyway, this week, I'm enjoying myself staying cosy at home, especially when the weather outside is horrible, working on the binding of the navy quilt and not really thinking too much about finding a job. I just need a break from putting myself under pressure to find one. 

In an attempt to be frugal this week, I pickled some beetroot and red salad onions this week to put in my salads. I also tried something called Konjac rice for the first time, which is super low in calories, but it didn't really taste like rice to me as it tasted very gelatinous. I didn't enjoy it, so I probably won't eat it again. Sometimes more calorific food is better, but you have to try these things to realise it. 

A bit later in the week, I got a nice surprise, when I got paid for some temp work I did in September. I ended up getting nearly £200 more than I thought. I did go back and check that the number of hours worked was correct and it was. I think I'd just undercalculated how much I was owed. The overage was in part due to the fact that I'd been given holiday pay, which is pretty generous of the employer, considering I'm a just a temp. It's probably a legal requirement, but an extra £70 due to this alone was very welcome. This has put my mind at rest a little, as I will now have enough money to see me through to Xmas. The money I earned a couple of weeks ago will be paid to me in November, so combining these payments, I feel a lot less pressured financially now, but I will still have to spend money wisely for the forseeable.

It has been an expensive month this month so far, what with an 18th birthday gift, an engagement gift and starting to buy Xmas presents. From now on though, it should be just Xmas and maybe part of LB's 21st birthday in January to buy for, but for the minute, I'm trying not to spend any money at all, save for on groceries. Xmas shopping can wait, until I get a list from LB of exactly what she would like.

On Friday night, I finally finished binding the navy quilt for LB's bed, whilst watching a movie with OH. I will post a picture on a separate quilting update post. It felt very satisfying to finally get it finished, just in time for colder weather, although LB is not currently here to use it.

The week ended on a positive note when I went to my usual free gym session, which I enjoyed and then had a protein filled brunch. My weight had hit a new low in the morning, but I don't expect it to stay this low, as there appears to be a pattern of it dipping then going up a little again, and this repeats constantly, with my weight very slowly and gradually coming down. In the last month or so, I've started to plot it on a graph, so I know what to expect. I weigh myself daily to desensitise myself to fluctuations. Here's a picture of the graph:

Each vertical small square represents 1lb in weight. These are the fluctuations in the last month. The gap in the graph is from when we went away for the weekend and I didn't have access to scales. The overall direction is still downward though.

I find it interesting to plot my weight daily like this. Overall, it does tend to make you less anxious about the fluctuations, as they become normalised over time, but my weight loss has slowed down a little in the last couple of months.

It's been a regular week this week, nothing much to report, just getting back into a routine again and getting back to working on myself. I do think that my consistency is paying off in the long term. I figure that I may as well use this time that I'm not working, towards something positive in terms of my health. I hope you've had a good week.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Birthday Week W/E 15/10/23

This week has been quite an eventful one, as it was my 57th birthday this week. As a consequence, I ate out a few times, once with some friends, as we had one of our regular meet ups on Monday evening.  

We'd not actually met up for a while, I think the last time was the end of May, but we always enjoy catching up with each other's news. I tried to be a little careful what I ate, but I ate the dish I always eat, which is a vegetarian dish with rice. I'm a creature of habit and it is so tasty. It's a Persian dish made with Okra. I did have a glass of wine or two and went a little over my calories, but hey, life's for living and I'm usually pretty disciplined.

When I got home, a job that I've wanted for a while came up, so I made an application and I'm waiting on the outcome of that.

I was working one day this week, to finish off the temporary job I'd been hired to carry out. On that day, I finished by 3pm, so I got to leave early which was nice. It felt good to be free again and to know that I'd earned a good amount of money towards Xmas presents.

I had a lovely day on my birthday this week. I went to the gym and walked the dog in the morning, as I would normally and then LB came home in the afternoon and we all headed out to the local mall later for OH to buy me a couple of things that I wanted for my birthday and then for a meal afterwards. He bought me some new trainers and my favourite perfume, which I was very happy about, in addition to flowers and a big bottle of gin earlier.

I chose to go to Pizza Express this year for my birthday meal out, as it was weightloss journey friendly and gives calorific values of all the dishes. I chose one of their Leggera Pizzas, which has the middle cut out and filled with salad leaves. It was so tasty and the perfect amount of food. I went for the Padana, which is sweet caramelised onion and goats cheese. It tasted divine and was only 700 or so calories. I had a small glass of wine too and a piece of birthday cake back at home, plus a few chocolates, so I didn't totally deprive myself of enjoyment on the day and did indulge a little. 

The best thing, of course, was having LB home for the night and catching up with all her news from Uni. The best birthday treat of all.

The next day, LB stayed home until the afternoon and then headed back to Uni. I dropped her off at the station and then popped to Lidl to do a top up shop to last us until the end of the week. I then mended a jacket of OH's which had a broken zip. I had ordered a new zip from eBay and then swapped it out, so that he could carry on wearing it. It's not a perfect job, but it should keep it in use for a while longer.

At the end of the week we headed off to Yorkshire to visit family for a long weekend. I made sure to get an extra session in at the gym before we left. I had to renew my gym membership this week, which cost me £42. I have a Pay and Play type membership, where I pay an annual fee and then pay for each class as I book it.  The sessions I book only cost £2, so it works out quite inexpensive now I'm aged over 50.

On this visit to Yorkshire, we were actually staying on the south side of the Humber Bridge in North Lincolnshire, as the best value accommodation we could find was there. The cottage was beautiful. It was pretty old, dating from the17th century, with an interesting history and was a listed building, but had been converted beautifully. We really enjoyed staying there. The village was lovely and quiet, but with everything that we needed. There was even a fish and chip shop a couple of doors down, so supper when we got there was sorted. Staying there did mean crossing the Humber Bridge a number of times at £1.50 each time, but it still worked out way cheaper than renting available accommodation we liked north of the river Humber. It made a change for us too, as it was a new to us area to explore a little.

We caught up with OH's parents and my sister and her daughter, which was lovely. It did make me realise that I really could do with a longer break from London, maybe a week if possible at some point. It's just so restful to stay somewhere that is really quiet and allows you to get back to nature a little.

We returned to London on Monday. Despite having had a lovely weekend, it felt good to get home, as the weather had turned a lot colder and I hadn't really taken suitable clothing, so I felt a little cold most of the weekend. I was glad to get back to my quilts and jumpers. When I got back, I decided that it was definitely time to sew the binding onto the navy quilt that I made for LB's room. The perk of doing that, is that I can sit with it covering me as I stitch it, which is very cosy. I'll post a picture when it's completely finished and on the bed.

So, I had a lovely week this week, doing lovely things and catching up with friends and loved ones. I hope you had a good week.

Saturday 7 October 2023

Another Busy Week W/E 7th October 2023

This week got off to a lovely start as OH and I (and the dog) had another day out in Sussex. OH was competing in another Cycle Cross event and we stopped off at another car boot sale on the way. The car boot sale was run by the same company as the one we went to previously, but in a different location, not too far away. I had more time this time to look around, so I managed to get around quite a lot of stalls.  There weren't actually as many things that appealed at this one though. 

I did buy a couple of plants for a couple of pounds each. One a houseplant and the other a fern for the garden. I also bought some perfume, which I thought smelt okay when I tried it, but I have subsequently decided I don't really like it. I'll wear it for the next couple of weeks until my birthday, as OH is buying me some of my favourite perfume as a present. I'll probably then donate it.

The rest of the items I bought were super inexpensive ranging from 10p for a couple of cards and a couple of balls of wool for LB, to 50p for various other items, including a super small present for LB, a pair of black jeans which fitted quite nicely and a black t-shirt to wear at the gym. 

The cycle cross event was okay. I spent most of the time talking to LB on the phone and taking video footage and the odd photograph for OH, but my skills are very questionable. It was great to catch up with LB and make sure she was okay. A few things that have happened amongst her friends since she started back at Uni and I wanted to make sure she was in a good place. She seems to be. We came straight home after the event. I'd taken a packed lunch with me and lots of snacks, so we didn't really need to eat out.

Whilst I was at the cycling event, I was checking for jobs online and found another job to apply for. It's with a company I've applied to before and by the time I'd got home, I had an interview arranged.  They are interviewing a lot of people over the course of this week, so I don't know if I'll be successful, but it is only a short bus ride from the top of my street and is easy to cycle to if I wished to. I booked my interview for Monday afternoon.

As a consequence of my working this week, on Tuesday and possibly Thursday and Friday. I decided to book a gym session on Monday, to ensure I got some exercise in during the week. I didn't need to do a food shop, as I'd done it on Friday, I just needed to walk the dog, get to the gym, get back and have lunch, shower and change and then head off to the interview on the bus later in the afternoon. It made for a busy day, trying to fit it all in.

The interview was short, very short. Turned out one of the shifts was 8pm to 4am, but this wasn't mentioned in the ad. So it was a complete waste of time and money for me to attend. I'm not interested in working nights. I was very disappointed, as with clearer advertising, I wouldn't have applied. It's not the first time I've had this experience with this company. It's put me off applying for any more jobs with them. It's irritating that they allow this to happen and mislead you. It cost me £3.50 to travel there and when I'm not really working regularly, it's money I'd rather not spend on a wild goose chase.

On Tuesday, I was due at work doing data entry work, as mentioned in my last post. I needed to be at work for 9am, so OH took the dog out and then he was heading north for a couple of days to visit his parents and attend another cycling event over two days. The timing wasn't great due to my working and having to walk the dog, but I just had to try to make it work as best I could.

Work on Tuesday went okay. I wasn't actually doing what I thought I would be, but I just got on with the task I was given, as I'm just happy to be earning some money. It was strange coming home to an empty house, save for me and the dog, but I was fine with it. I got a message from a friend today who was trying to organise a meet up for next week. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it, but it does depend on whether this temp job is extended. I'm pretty sure I won't finish all that needs to be done in three days, but it depends whether they've got funding for me to complete it.  I was quite tired on Tuesday night and retired to bed quite early.

On Wednesday, I woke up and got ready to take the dog out. She wanted to go out early, so we headed off at 8am. I was back by 9.30am. One good thing, was that I saw the lady who had lost her dog the other week (from a distance) and I think she had all three dogs with her, so I think she found her dog. I'm not 100% sure, but I think I saw all three dogs.

When I got back from the dog walk, I had a little time before I needed to head out to Soca Aerobics, so I caught up with a few jobs in the house. My class was really good. I enjoyed it today.

After lunch, I decided to do some cleaning. The bathroom upstairs was in need of a deep clean, so I got on with that. It felt very satisfying. I've been trying to use up some items from the freezer whilst OH is away, and decided to make some turkey fajitas for supper. OH doesn't really like turkey or fajitas, so it was a good opportunity whilst he was away to use the turkey up. I forgot how messy fajitas are to eat though.

I got some good news today. I won another £100 on the Premium Bonds, which was great. Each time I win, it gets reinvested into more bonds, so despite having very little income at the moment, I'm managing to save a little money by reinvesting the winnings. It's better than nothing. 

One day, I would like to have the maximum holding of £50K and then any winnings will be income or could be reinvested elsewhere, as it can't be reinvested in any more Bonds. It will take me forever to save this much though. Especially at the very slow rate I'm buying them at the moment. I do try to buy some bonds most months, using odd bits of money that come my way or savings that I want to move around.

I calculated how much I've won on them in the last two years and it came to £600, which is quite a good amount. I possibly could get a better return elsewhere, but I do like the excitement of being in the draw each month and the very minute possibility that I could win a big prize, with little or no effort on my part.

Thursday, was a busy day. I was due to be at work for 9am and I had to drop the dog off at the dog sitter's on the way and then catch the bus. It would have been a long day for her at home on her own and OH wasn't sure when he was going to be back on Thursday. It could be late into the night. Besides, it was a treat for the dog, as she loves going to the sitter's house. She really likes him, which is a really good thing and she hasn't been since March this year when we went away to Lanzarote.

I witnessed two cases of road rage on the way to work and a woman on the bus complaining to someone on her phone for the whole journey. I've had several bus journeys like that recently when going to work or out and about. On one, a woman was discussing the reasons for breaking up with her partner with her partner on the phone, for the whole journey.  Then there was the woman who was trying to get some money paid into her account and getting agitated with whomever was on the other end of the phone and was supposed to be paying it, but hadn't.  Do people save difficult conversations until they get onto public transport? These incidents can take up a whole bus journey and don't exactly get my day off to a good start. I'd much rather not know the ins and outs of people's personal and financial problems. Sometimes staying at home and minding my own business is much simpler.

Anyway, rant over, work was okay. I just keep thinking that I am earning money towards my family's Christmas presents, and it gets me through the day. It's not terrible or anything, but it's quite repetitive. I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to find another job. It seems much more difficult this time around. I'm starting to feel unemployable at times. I've had several rejection letters this week which is disappointing. Maybe I should just find some voluntary work and try to enjoy that instead. I might do this once Xmas and LB's birthday have been and gone. I don't want LB to miss out because I'm not really earning much money anymore. It doesn't seem fair.

OH was going to be late home on Thursday, so I picked up the dog from the sitter, walked her home, fed her, did a few jobs at home and then made some supper. After that, I'd done enough for one day and just chilled and caught up with a bit of blogging and YouTube. I think I have one more day at work and then the job is finished. So I should be able to meet up with friends next week and get back to my usual classes and the gym. It's been nice to earn some money again though, I am grateful for the opportunity.

Friday, I was at work again. I determined to try to complete the job I've been given as best I could, although I didn't think I'd be able to finish it by the end of the day. In the end, I was told that I was okay to come back next Tuesday to complete it, so that's another day or few hours that I'll get paid for, which is good news.

I had a nightmare trying to get home from work on Friday. Two buses had collided in the grounds of a hospital and so the buses on my route had been re-routed to avoid it. As a consequence, I had to walk a fair way to catch a different bus to get me home. I was glad when I finally walked in the door.

I did need to go out later on Friday, to Lidl, so that I could use the 10% voucher I'd earned last month. It wasn't too busy when I got there and I managed to get most of what I needed. I saved over £7 on the shop using the voucher, which was spent on a small Xmas gift for LB. I'd seen it a while ago and it was now reduced by £3, so I decided to buy it using the money I'd saved. I think she'll like it.

Eventually, I got home, put the shopping away and could finally relax for the evening and start to enjoy the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I was back to the free session at the gym again. It felt so good to exercise, after a couple of days of sitting at a desk at work. I then decided to spend the day pottering at home, as I'd been out at work quite a bit this week, so it was nice not to have to go anywhere. I went up to the sewing room and  did some sewing, which was very relaxing.

I hope you've been able to spend some time relaxing this week.

Sunday 1 October 2023

Getting Autumnal - W/E 30th September 2023

This week, the weather really turned autumnal on Sunday, I was wearing jeans and a sweater for the first time in ages. I really love autumn, winter and spring. Summer is my least favourite season. I know that sounds crazy, but I was an autumn baby, maybe that's got something to do with my liking cooler temperatures.

On Sunday, OH was heading off again to a cycling event in Crystal Palace this time. I was tempted to go, as he was going to try and meet up with LB for a drink afterwards and I would have loved to see her, but it involves just too much waiting around for me and it's a long journey to South London, so I stayed home. Besides, he was riding his bike there and I would have had to get the train over, as I didn't want to drive myself. Hopefully, I'll see her in a couple of weeks, as it's my birthday next month.

Instead, I decided to do some sewing for a couple of hours before lunch. I think today was one of those days where it hit me that LB has gone back to Uni until Xmas. I know it sounds silly, but when I'm working, I don't really think about it, but as soon as I stop, I feel it. When I get like this, I tend to just indulge myself for a day and then I snap out of it and get on with my life again. I'm happy she's independent and enjoying her life. A consequence of which, OH didn't end up meeting up with her, as she was out with her friends, but that's a good thing, that she's made friends and is having fun, which is what any parent wants for their child.

I got some good news from my sister on Sunday. Her daughter has just got engaged whilst on holiday with her boyfriend. I'm really happy for them and hopefully we will see them to congratulate them the next time we visit Yorkshire.

Monday, started with an early dog walk. Now the dog is getting older, she rarely wants a second walk, but she does tend to need to get out earlier to go to the toilet. We don't have a dog that will poo in it's own back yard, which is good as far as I'm concerned, but sometimes it would be helpful. Anyway, it was quite nice getting out early and getting back earlier too.

I was back to doing the weekly shop on Monday this week, so after getting ready and having breakfast, I headed out. I always enjoy my weekly shopping trip. It gets me out and about. I put a new audio book in the CD player in the car and I was away. 

I went to the out of town Lidl that I usually go to. We didn't need as much as usual, as we still had a lot of food from my shopping trips over the last few weeks. I tried to keep food purchases to a minimum in order to use up some of what we already have in the cupboards and freezer. I picked up a few little things for Xmas, just some stocking fillers.

Next stop was B&M. I always love shopping in here. I didn't go mad for the autumn/winter stuff in there but I did end up buying an air fryer for £30, as LB has taken the one we were using over the summer back to Uni. I only got a small one. It's useful for cooking chicken for the dog and other food for us. I also purchased a few Xmas presents in here. Confectionery and stocking fillers mainly.

I had to drop into my old place of work again, as I needed to buy a new lava lamp for LB. I'd accidentally broken hers when we moved her into her room. I'm annoyed at myself for being so clumsy, but it was only right that I replaced it. I saw a few old colleagues and had a chat.  I had a few other stops to make at Tesco and Card Factory and then I came home for lunch. 

On Tuesday, I was able to return to one of my favourite classes at the gym. It's a basic aerobics class with weights and I really like it. Today's class wasn't a disappointment. It was lovely to get back to it.

I didn't do a lot on Tuesday afternoon. I've been feeling very tired lately, I'm not sure if I'm still recovering from working for the past month and just needed some down time, so I wasn't too hard on myself.

On Wednesday, I went back to Soca Aerobics. The regular teacher was back which was good, as I love her class. In the afternoon, I went up to the sewing room and got a few jobs done that I'd been meaning to do for a while, which boosted my spirits. I finished sewing together the layers of the navy quilt I made over the last year. I now just need to bind it, which shouldn't take too long and then it can go on LB's bed.

I also worked on the Xmas Wreath quilt.  All the wreaths are now attached and I'm just filling in the spaces between them. I'm hoping I have enough green fabric, as it's a close run thing. I'll make it work.

In addition, I mended some broken stitching on a quilt I made ages ago, before I take it to the launderette to be washed, I mended a pocket lining in a jacket and a skirt of LB's that had got ripped, so I felt pretty productive. It made me feel better about myself, as I didn't feel I'd achieved much in the last week.

Later, I checked out some accommodation for a forthcoming trip to Yorkshire, made another job application, checked my finances, which were improved on the previous month and then OH and I watched Race Across the World Again, which we both enjoy.

Thursday, marked the end of the 16th week of being on my weight loss journey and every 4 weeks I take measurements, photos, weigh myself, etc. Although visually, the differences aren't that obvious, I've now lost 18 1/2 lbs and 2-3 inches off each measurement, which is encouraging. especially as I'd been discouraged this week by fluctuating weight readings. Getting good results today has really encouraged me to keep going, as I was worrying that I was slipping backwards.

I spent a couple more hours sewing today, which I enjoyed. In the afternoon, I decided to tackle the ironing basket, as it was piled high. I watched a bit of TV and Netflix whilst I did this. It's rare for me to watch TV in the afternoon, but I actually quite enjoyed it. It felt indulgent and made the ironing a bit less boring.

I received an email from the organisation where I just finished temping, asking me if I was available to do some more data entry work for a couple of days next week. I messaged back that I was available, so I'm just waiting to hear what time and where they need me. That will be so useful for earning some money for Xmas.

I put away most of the ironing.  Quite a bit of it was summer clothing that needed to be packed away with out of season clothes. The rest was put in the wardrobe. All that's now left to iron are a few flat sheets and some towels. 

On Friday morning, I woke up to the dog being sick. She was bringing up bile, and as a consequence of feeling unwell, she didn't want a walk.

Instead, I decided to go out and do a weekly shop early. I wanted to earn the monthly 10% off voucher from Lidl, so I brought the shop forward in order to meet the target. It seemed silly not to take advantage of it, but I will have to shop early again next week too to use it. I bought quite a lot of store cupboard items today, as we were getting low on some of them and I got a free hand wash using a voucher, which is not to be sniffed at.

Each shop I do from now on, I'm buying a couple of small items towards Xmas to spread the cost. Today, it was Snowy Chocolate Fingers and fun sized bags of Maltesers. Lets see if they last until then. If they do, I will be able to incorporate these into my calorie counting, so I can still have treats over the festive season. I need to start emptying the freezer, so that I can buy a joint of meat and other freezer items for Xmas in the coming weeks. This should help me save money on festive food, which I can then put towards Xmas presents.

On Friday, I got confirmation of the the work I'll be doing next week. It's only for 2 or max. 3 days, but that suits me fine, as I will still be able to get to the gym on the days I'm not working. It's in a different department from the one I worked for before, which should be interesting.

After lunch, I retired to the sewing room and did a bit more sewing. Then a bit later, the dog was feeling a lot better, so I took her out for a walk.

When I got back, I put a Lamb Hot Pot into the slow cooker. It's for us to eat on Saturday night, but the meat, which was taken out of the freezer a little early, needed using up quickly, so I cooked it with the vegetables and I will put it in the oven tomorrow with the sliced potatoes on top. It shouldn't take long to cook just the potatoes and warm up the rest.

Saturday was a quiet day. I went to the free gym session in the morning, which I really enjoyed and then didn't do a whole lot in the afternoon. I just took it easy, chilled and pottered before getting an early night.

It's been a quiet and pretty uneventful week this week. I'm certainly not complaining. I feel like I made small bits of progress here and there though. I hope you did too.