Thursday, 29 November 2012

A full moon

Took a picture of a beautiful full moon on the way back from my run at 7am.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A stitch in time...

Had a lovely lunch and catch up after the gym with a friend and work colleague.


2 mugs to school for the staffroom, cute design from the Queens Jubilee Tea Party in June but not used.

Rubber ducks dan wanted for his birthday but they are never played with at bath time.


Fixed: R's favourite gym shorts he ripped on the opposite pocket from last time!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Wardrobe dejunking continues!


A pair of indigo flare jeans
A denim mini skirt

Both barely worn and too big for me now

The girl I gave them too is a lovely Pilate's teacher with 3 girls! She was thrilled and said that she needed more jeans which is great. They have been sitting in a bag waiting to be re homed for a few weeks now, didn't fit my sister or my gym buddy so very pleased they have gone to a new home!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Dejunking with friends

A good friend texted me for dejunking help.  I was happy to oblige.

We focused mainly on her girls bedroom.  We sorted 4 bags of toys for charity and another 4 for landfill as items unsuitable for recycling or charity.

Hubby was a brilliant help doing jigsaws to check the pieces etc and looking after the children.  The kids all enjoyed playing together too.

This spurred us on to dejunk from our own house!

We found:

An immaculate blazer of my husbands, too big
A large white T shirt bought to be a roman tunic for a school history day
An Elmer story no one likes to read, was a gift
A mans tie 

All for the charity shop

I also gave my friend pink, purple and flesh coloured felt tip pens as not colours my boys like to use!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Christmas Presents

I am not anti Christmas just anti turning it into a retail festival.

Christmas is a lovely time to relax, reflect and enjoy either on your own or with friends and family if you wish.  It should not be about stress, to do lists and getting into debt.

We haven't bought gifts for family members for years now as everyone has all they need.  My two boys aged 9 and 6 will receive a few items but we will combine them so that they are received from the majority of family members.  Typically they will receive a new LEGO set they have chosen but not a Star Wars Death Star! A book and some chocolate etc.  Maybe a replacement of items wearing out which is currently their pack lunch boxes.

We typically have a relaxed day, with an early morning run, building a new lego set, going to church, enjoying a meal at home (with or without others), an afternoon walk, a christmas tea (with or without others) and a christmas TV special.  We enjoy lovely food but don't overindulge with alcohol or lots of high fat foods.

I enjoyed reading this article from financial Journalist Martin Lewis this week.

I also read a short book this week called retail therapy by Andy Hickford exploring consumerism.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lost Property

Being a simple living and minimalist family we don't do duplicates of things except maybe pants and socks! We tend to have one of everything we need or wear.

When I collected D from school last week he was still wearing his PE tracksuit bottoms.  Despite D getting changed for PE in the classroom and leaving his school trousers on the back of his chair the school trousers were nowhere to be seen.  With frustration I left school as D has an OT appointment to get to.  I returned to school later to collect J from science club and went to the now deserted classroom to search for the trousers, but without success. His class teacher agreed to look and says that she has had everyone check their kit bags.  I have also sent an email to the year 2 parents with no replies.  I was feeling very cross that trousers can go missing from the back of a chair during changing.

The lost property situation at school is out of control.  There are always items of school uniform lying around indoors and outdoors.  School say that any labelled items are returned but this is yet to happen to me. Every item of my kids stuff has a sewn in or stuck on name tape.  We live in an affluent area where people have plenty of disposable income and children have multiples of clothing so parents don't realise, or care, when items go missing.

Following an email to school and conversations with staff, school have taken my thoughts on board and are going to implement a better approach to Lost Property which is brilliant.  I said that I was concerned that if items of clothing are left lying around it shows everyone, children, parents, staff and members of the public that we don't care for our belongings and it sets a terrible example.  It is very important to me that my children appreciate the need to care for things and the resources neeeded to make and buy them etc.

So despite the weather D is back in his school summer shorts until the trousers are found!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Working from home

Hubby worked from home yesterday so we had a quick lunch together in between his phone calls.

I cooked salmon fillets with stir fried peppers and quinoa

I made a marinade with a dash of soy sauce, ginger paste and olive oil for the salmon. I spread it on the top of the fillets and poached on a medium heat in the microwave for 5 minutes.

I stir fried a supermarket pack of mixed peppers, carrots, shredded green cabbage and beansprout.

I used a merchant gourmet pack of quinoa which cooks in 40 seconds.

A brilliant quick and balanced meal.

Once again half eaten before I remembered to photograph it!

Bin day today so last night hubby took the kitchen drawers out that we have in plinth space under the units and I hoovered the debris! I found Lego, marbles and bits of a card  game and a bit of dust!

These drawers are a brilliant use of space. Unfortunately they cant be fitted without disassembling the units as they fit on the unit legs before they are fitted but are worth keeping in mind if you are getting a new fitted kitchen soon.  I have them under most of the kitchen units and store skinny flat stuff like table mats, chopping boards, recipe books, food bags, cling film, foil, rolling pin, keys etc!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Grandpas Birthday Weekend

Took my boys to the Odeon cheap seats on Saturday to see the 2009 film The Nativity with Martin Freeman and Ashley Jensen.  J enjoyed it but D was a bit bored as it was a bit long for him.

Was my grandfathers 83rd birthday so we went to visit him in his care home.  J baked a cake, my gran was thrilled and grandpa did seem to enjoy eating a piece.  My gran thought that he recognised my hubby R which was sweet.

Was collection for shoebox Sunday at church so my boys both contributed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, there was quite a stack of them!

Cooked a new curry, aubergine and sweet potato tikka, R said it was very good.  Great to add a couple of portions to the freezer for the Christmas holiday period.

I also cooked a pear and ginger cobbler for pudding but forgot to take a photograph until we had all tucked in!

Went to Raynes Park Community Church evening service which is held once a month for prayer, worship and communion. I haven't been able to go for a while and it was great.  Had a great chat with a friend too and am looking forward to meeting up with her for coffee/munch and more chats and catch up soon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Landfill Tuesday

After our game dejunk on Sunday the cupboard in my kitchen I use to store educational stuff in is looking much tidier and easier to use.

Struggling to add much to my landfill today so we tested all the felt tip pens and binned the ones running out of ink and sharpened all the colouring pencils!

Up cycled Cupboard

This kitchen unit was left over after our house refurbishment and couldn't be returned as  damaged. I stuck a piece of white gloss perspex to the top, screwed casters to the base and a handle to the door. It sits neatly under the stairs storing school and educational stuff.  White boards, phonic books, memory games, theraputty etc. It ensures that other kitchen cupboards don't end up with random bits dumped in.  Everything is to hand for when you have a few minutes to revise the weeks spellings etc.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday

Very emotional and moving talk at church today as Remembrance Sunday.  Covered the impact of death on families and how different people's responses can be.  Some interesting examples from World War 2 and Northern Ireland.  Reinforced the importance of peace to prevent escalating violence.

Tided up garden and alleyway that runs behind our house by raking up autumn leaves.

Went to a friends home this afternoon.  So lovely to spend time with her two young sons and husband.

She made a beautiful apple pie with apples from her garden.


Some games to my friend that my boys have outgrown but hers will grow into.

Tracksuit bottoms from both boys, both ripped at the knees.  Bought J a new pair but unusually for D he got a hand me down pair of tracksuit bottoms and a pair of jeans from J.  Trousers don't have a very long life in our house, luckily they both love shorts and J wears them to school even in winter. But with frost on the ground they both wear trousers in the winter till about Easter time.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Back to School

Kids are back to school after the half term break.

I aim to keep everything as ship shaped and organised as possible the majority of the time but its funny how once the kids aren't here I find little things that need to be done!  Had an hour this afternoon for a guilty pleasure of fixing the Lego that got trashed during the week!

So unseasonably cold.  I bought J a new tracksuit as when I picked him up from athletics which I rarely do as I work that day his was rather too small!  He was very pleased as I got one with a hoody, J loves a hoody and has to be asked to put it down for photographs! An H&M bargain too.

Bin day today and I dejunked an old empty nail varnish! A kids stop biting your nails one for J, hasn't worked!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Guy Fawkes

Went to a local bonfire and firework display

Was hosted by Ham and Petersham Sea scout group as they have outdoor space.  We go to another local Seascout Beaver and Cub colony (R is the leader) but we have a boatyard and a building.

The Ham and Petersham group are fund raising for a new building so was good to be able to attend their event and feel that we were contributing to their fund raising efforts.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Don Aslett

Don Aslett  Donald Andrew Aslett (born 1935) is an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker who specializes in cleaning and housekeeping products, services, and techniques.

He wrote a book called Clutters Last Stand, the first book I read on dejunking that made me question possesions.

I was reading an interview with him recently and loved his reply to a question about women:

“One thing exposure to all the ladies of the media did teach me is that I’m definitely not a showgirl man. I really dislike candy-wrapper women parading around in glittering clothes or lack of same. Good mothers, on the other hand, I find attractive anywhere and anytime.”

Love this so much as I definitely don't look like a showgirl!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

You can't buy christmas

Found this and my heart is breaking.  I am wary of charity giving as governments are inherently corrupt.  I am always concerned that my few pounds wont make a difference. But $450 billion is insane and makes $20 billion seem achievable. Please click and watch the video from advent conspiracy...

Morden Hall Park

Took the boys to Morden Hall Park

Its a National Trust place, we get good use out of our annual membership with access to country houses, gardens, landscapes and beaches etc while helping to conserve these places for the future.

They discovered how the recently renovated 19th-century Stable Yard is the most energy-efficient historic building in the country. They found out how you can make changes to your own lives to be more green. They enjoyed playing with the eco dolls' house and the model turbine.

They enjoyed a walk along the river and a ride on the zip wire too!

 J finding out about the energy required to power different kinds of light bulbs.

Light Parties

Took my kids to a couple of light parties as opposed to Halloween parties.  A Light Party is a family oriented event that provides fun and values in a safe environment.

Both at churches we attend, one regularly in the morning and one a church further away that I go to the monthly evening service.  The boys had a great time making crafts, cooking, singing, playing games, and eating sweets etc!  I also took a good friend with her girls.

Was great to catch up and chat with friends. With a lot of young children around some people I see infrequently.  One lovely friend I saw said I was thinking of you today Jen when I was putting the baby in her cot for a nap. I looked at my cot and thought that is such a beautiful cot and Jen gave it to me!  So lovely to hear stuff like that.  We purchased a good quality wooden cot when we had J with the intention that it would get lots of use as opposed to a cheaper cot that would inevitably break.

I always enjoy seeeing other kids wearing our good quality hand me downs!

J in the stokke crib which increases in size to a cot and then a bed.  Passed on to other new arrivals.