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simplicity

I like to think I live a simple life but in reality what does that really mean?  This is something that I’ve been pondering extensively during Lent this year.

I’ve said before that we, as a family, try to be frugal in what we buy, the things we use, while looking closely at our needs versus wants.   We very rarely buy clothes, we wear what we have until it falls apart.  We grow a few fruits and veggies in our little garden and we try to only buy things that we really need, things that we’ll actually use [so not taking advantage of a bogof offer just because it’s there].  This avoids wasting resources and money.  We have this beautiful planet to care for so we each need to try to do our bit, and I suspect that very few of us actually do all that we can.   Surely it’s all relative though right?  What I see as frugal, someone else might view as actually quite extravagant.  It’s also dependent on where you live, here in the UK my life is relatively simple and non materialistic; drop my lifestyle and my little house into the slums of Calcutta however and I’d be living like a queen in comparison.  There is a selfish element to our frugality too, the less money we need the less pressure there is on us to earn huge amounts so we can take simple jobs and work to live, not live to work.

Does living out a life of simplicity just stop at what we buy though?  My lifestyle would probably seem really boring to those looking in, however we view it as simple, not boring and we live this way through choice.  We rarely go out socially except very occasionally with immediate family.  We neither of us smoke and I don’t drink except for a cheeky cider on special days.  Our idea of heaven is to be at home together, so going out is not all that enjoyable for us.  We are both real home birds and although not anti-social by any means, we tend to keep to ourselves. 

As a couple, our whole approach to life is quite simple; slow down, enjoy the moment, appreciate what’s around you even if it’s howling wind and teeming rain.  I love listening to the wind howling and the rain lashing the windows, especially if I’m just drifting off to sleep.  If you’re busy rushing around [which is unavoidable sometimes] then it’s really easy to miss those simple beauties. 

What about simplicity of thought?  From a faith perspective I have also found it really useful to keep that simple to.  After all God simply asks us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and [very importantly] love ALL others as ourselves.  I’ve noticed that this only becomes tricky when I allow other stuff to get in the way.  Things from my past, things that are man-made and not God given, expectations of society etc.  All of these can create a very negative thought process in me which takes up way too much head space.  While I’m busy doing the, ‘I’m not worthy’ number on myself I’m not being the woman that God wants me to be.  So, I’ve learnt to keep it simple; to remember God loves me, that He sent His son to save me[us] and that His mercy and grace are freely given through faith and love.  It really is that simple.  People want to make it more complicated but seriously, it really isn’t. 

I’m a bit of an Ignatian woman at heart, and I love the simplicity of their charism, primarily to, ‘Find God in all things’.  He’s there in the beauty of the Mass, he’s there in the amazing sunrise, but he’s also there while you’re washing the dishes or sorting the laundry.  It’s simple, you walk with God, He walks with you….all the time and everywhere, not just on Sunday and not just in church.  That fits nicely with my other favourite saying by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”  Let’s be honest, that’s most of us.  We’re not all going to be doing earth shattering deeds each day, not all going to be saving lives or finding a cure for cancer.  However, we can all do those simple small things, smile at someone in the street, chat to the person next to you in the queue, hold open a door, hold a friend’s hand while they share a sadness or a worry.  These are not big things on the face of it, but to the old lady who sees no one all day your smile or friendly word is everything, your friend will never forget that time you spent listening to them with love and concern.  These are HUGE things to them but they’re simple to us.

 

On the face of it, living a life of simplicity probably doesn’t seem very exciting or worthwhile until you look closely at who benefits from it.  If we slow down, lift our faces to God and give our hearts freely to all those around us then everyone we meet benefits.  We benefit too from the lack of stress and self-imposed pressure.  The planet benefits because, hopefully, we give back more than we take.  I love this way of living.  In this fast-paced materialistic world I need to be reminded of who I am, where I’m going and why I’m going there.  Simplicity in life and faith is the perfect foundation for that.

Sharon xx  

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pointed-cabbageI spend a lot of my life trying to come up with new ways to cook and prepare vegetables.  We eat an awful lot of veg and very little meat.  Today I thought I’d try stir-fry cabbage with garlic and lemon.  No idea where that idea came from.

I used the following: ~

One de-stalked, very finely shredded sweetheart cabbage, ‘cos that’s what I had  growing in our garden, but your favourite cabbage will work fine I’m sure.  I don’t have a food processor so I just used a knife and cut it across the leaves to make thin shreds. 

One clove of garlic, crushed.

Good slug of extra virgin olive oil.

1 oz butter.

Juice of half a lemon or a good slug if you have the concentrated bottle variety.

Black pepper to taste.

Shake of garlic salt.

Place the oil and butter in a large wok or heavy based frying pan and heat until it starts to foam.  Add the crushed garlic but lift it straight off the heat to avoid the garlic burning [never nice] and just swirl it around for a few seconds to incorporate the flavour of the garlic into the hot oil and butter.  Place the pan back on the heat and straight in with the cabbage.  Stir immediately and keep stirring until it starts to soften.  At this point add your lemon juice, pepper and garlic salt to taste.  Serve immediately. 

I have to say this is now probably my favourite way to eat cabbage, truly delish.  I think you could also add a pinch of chilli flakes or finely sliced fresh chilli if you like a bit of heat.

It would go very nicely with fish due to the lemon.  We had it with chicken breast that I’d marinated in Thai sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, chilli flakes and black pepper.  Potato dish was crushed, roasted garlic new potatoes.  It was an absolutely lovely supper and very light and easy to eat given the heat of the day.

Apologies for no photo but it really wasn’t much to look at,  just a shredded cabbage 😀 .

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Just a tiny bit left

Just a tiny bit left ~ not a great photo but you get the idea

Here, as promised, is the recipe for my roasted vegetable ratatouille.  As with everything I make it started out as a way to use up left over veg that was starting to look a bit sad.  It’s also great for taking advantage of any veg that’s on special offer or cheap in season.  You can use quite a variety of veg depending on what you like and what you’ve got in.  At the moment aubergines are very cheap, 50p each for a huge one in Tesco, so I’m buying them weekly.

Here’s what I used yesterday and this served two of us amply with a tiny bit left over which is in the photo above.

1 aubergine 

1 medium/large red or white onion

3 carrots

1 medium sized sweet potato

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife

1 400g can of whole or chunky chopped plum tomatoes.  Aldi sell the chunky chopped variety which are lovely quality, they also sell them with herbs already added which you could also use.  If you use whole ones then just break them up a bit with a fork as you add them.  Same difference really.

black pepper

garlic salt

all purpose seasoning if you have any [see below**]

two shakes of tabasco [I use a lot of tabasco 😉 ]

generous slug of extra virgin olive oil.  I buy mine in Aldi, cheap and very nice flavour.

I have also used parsnips, courgettes, fresh tomatoes, peppers and new potatoes in the past.  I’ve tried open cup mushrooms but not a great result, I think button mushrooms would have been better.

Preheat oven to 190C.  Wash all the veg and chop it into decent bite-sized chunks, not so big that they take ages to cook but not so small that they melt away in the cooking process.  I cut the onion smaller as I’m not keen on great big bits of onion and it caramalises better if cut smaller.  Place everything, apart from the tin of tomatoes, in a large roasting dish.  I use the one I do my roast spuds in. You don’t want the veg too deep, a single layer is best so it cooks quickly but I do pack it in, there’s not a spare inch of tin showing.

Place a good glug of olive oil over the veg, enough to coat it all  but not so much that it’s swimming [get your hands in at this point and give it a good mix].  Give the veg a good shake and add your dry seasonings but not the tabasco yet.  Stir to get the seasoning on all the veg and add a bit more seasoning if necessary.

Place dish in the middle of the oven for about 30 – 45 minutes stirring once halfway through until veg is starting to brown and cook down.  At this point open your tomatoes, add the tabasco to them and stir in a bit.  Pour the tomatoes over the veg and combine well.  Put back in the oven for a further 15 – 20 minutes.  That’s it!!  Enjoy because it’s absolutely delicious.  We eat this on top of jacket potatoes, with roast chicken, fish/fish cakes or mixed through pasta.

You can also add a broken up mozzarella ball 5 minutes before the end if you want to.  It creates a lovely stringy, cheesy texture and suddenly it’s a bit like an aubergine parmigiana.

**A quick note about All Purpose Seasoning in case you’re wondering what I’m on about 😉 .  I bought this in the world foods aisle in Tesco and  use it for lots of dishes from potato wedges [white or sweet] to roast vegetables and soups.  I also sprinkle it on my roast chickens before they go in the oven.  It’s main ingredients are: paprika, coriander, mustard, chilli, garlic, onion and celery salt.  It’s one of those things that I bought on a whim and it’s turned out to be really useful for all sorts of things.  There are other varieties: chicken, fish, tropical, caribbean and barbecue being some of them.  I chose ‘All Purpose’ because it contained a lot of the spices I use anyway but in one tub.  Again, very cheap too.

All Purpose Seasoning

All Purpose Seasoning

 

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Image courtest of the BBC.co.uk

Image courtesy of the bbc.co.uk

It’s not often I post an actual recipe for something I’ve cooked but today is going to be the exception.  We had Thai-style fishcakes with creamy dipping sauce and roasted vegetable ratatouille.  All the recipes are my own, they’ve kind of morphed out of trial and error over the years, with a splash of inspiration thrown in from other recipes that I’ve seen in books or on TV.

Sharon’s Thai-style fishcakes

These are Thai-style because they’re not very authentic if I’m honest, but they have overtones of Thai in them because I like a bit of heat.

1lb [approx] of mashed potatoes or any that you have left over which is the best way, as I’m all for using up leftovers. 

1 can of tuna – whatever sort you usually use.

1 large or 2 small fish fillets, cooked, you can use absolutely any fish you like, even smoked.  I used  two small frozen cod fillets today that have been lurking in my freezer for ages.  You could just use one type of fish if you prefer.  I’ve made them with just tuna before and they’re just fine.

4 spring onions/scallions chopped into tiny discs.

3 oz grated matured cheddar [optional]

1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes [cheapest by far bought in the World Foods aisle, usually to be found in rather unglamorous plastic bags, but just as good as the expensive little jars and last a lot longer if you transfer them to an airtight tub]

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper

whole egg

good slug of lemon juice

flour for dusting

oil for frying

Quite simply break the fish up into small pieces and then mix the whole lot together in a bowl being careful to season to your taste as you go, especially with the cayenne and chilli flakes, heat is not for everyone so you could leave them out.  Try not to mash it together too much or you’ll end up with a paste rather than a fishcake, a bit of texture is good.  Then form it into patties using floured hands.  This made 14 small to medium sized cakes today.  I froze half of them for another time.  I make them small so Ethan can actually pick them up and eat them with his fingers once he’s dunked them in his dip of choice.   I always chill them for at least an hour or so if I have time, as they hold together better when being cooked.  Fry for about 7 minutes on each side.  I served them with roasted vegetable ratatouille today (recipe to follow tomorrow) but they’re equally lovely with a crispy green salad and freshly buttered, brown bread.

* * * * * *

I always make a dip of some sort with these depending on what I’ve got in.  Today’s was…

Sharon’s Thai-style creamy dipping sauce

1 tablespoon good mayonaise

1 tablespoon of half-fat creme fraiche or sour cream

shake or two of tabasco

pinch of cayenne [optional]

generous teaspoon of thai sweet chilli sauce

half a teaspoon of hot horseradish sauce/cream

good slug of lemon juice

Mix and pop in the fridge to allow the flavours to blend a bit.  If you don’t have the thai sweet chilli sauce you could just add a good squeeze of tomato ketchup instead, the tabasco and cayenne will give some heat and spice.

I apologise for not having any photo’s but as I don’t usually post recipes I hadn’t planned ahead and it’s all eaten up now :D.  The borrowed image above is exactly what they looked like though.  Thank you bbc.co.uk.

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Today has been just lovely.  One of those days that are hugely productive but in a truly enjoyable way; doing things I love doing especially when I’ve got the time to do them. 😀

I ran the gauntlet of Mr Tesco this morning as soon as I’d dropped Ethan off at school.  I was in the store before 9am 🙂 .  Along with the usual fayre I bought a HUGE chicken for £3.75 [half price as sell-by today].  Also got some lovely liquid hand soap for 45p, it was cheap due to clearance and large bottles so I bought two of those.

I put the chicken in the oven the minute I got home as it was at the end of its shelf life, so the house has been full of lovely smells all day.

I harvested some of our rhubarb, after I’d unpacked the shopping, as it’s starting to take over the tub it grows in and needs thinning out.

I love rhubarb, it’s one of my favourite fruits and not one that’s in the shops all year round.  It’s also very expensive even when it is in season, hence we grow our own.

Rhubarb day June'14 (2)

Rhubarb tub, thinned out

Rhubarb day June'14

The ‘crop’

I chopped it up. . .

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Such vibrant pink [and a cuppa lol]

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Little half-moon discs

washed it. . .

Rhubarb day June'14 (7)

Good job the sink was clean lol

stewed it. . .

Rhubarb day June'14 (8)

So pretty

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Mmmmmmmmmmm

and turned half of it into a lovely crumble, the other half is in the freezer for another day.

Rhubarb day June'14 (16)

Double mmmmmmmmmm

While I had the oven on [again] I threw in a batch of mini rock buns. . .

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Lovely moist mini rock buns, not a rock in sight

one of which I had [buttered 😉 ] with a cup of tea.

Rhubarb day June'14 (14)

Best part of the day

There’s still half-an-hour left of the afternoon for me to sit and do a bit of Choccy crochet before I fetch my gorgeous boy from karate. See? I told you it was a perfect day.

 

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1940's wifeToday I heard on the news that a group called ‘Action on Sugar’ has suggested that our government consider putting a tax on sugar to force encourage us to eat less of it.   Sigh!!  Don’t get me wrong, in principle I actually do agree with some of the points they’ve raised but really?  Making our food bills even bigger?  That’ll stop people reaching for a chocolate digestive with their cuppa won’t it?  Or will it actually make them reach for the biccy box even quicker? 

I’m getting slightly fed up with being given a constant guilt trip about what we should or shouldn’t be eating.  Maybe if these ‘health groups’ spent a bit more time promoting common sense and healthy living in general, rather than targeting individual food groups, people wouldn’t become quite so defensive and cross.  I feel like eating a biscuit in protest. 

My other fear is that, like with alcohol and cigarettes, putting the prices of sugar laden foods and drinks up will just result in people still buying them but then having less money for the important things such as meat, veg and utilities.  It’s the children who suffer when this happens.  Not everyone is prepared to go without a cigarette or a drink in order to feed their child.  Not everyone has their priorities quite right, but that’s a choice they’re making and taxing sugar won’t change that.  Educating people in finances, nutrition and common sense would be far more sensible.

Also, there are those of us who are constantly trying to keep our family diet healthy.  Cook all meals from scratch; easy when I’m off work for two months, more of a challenge when I’m working full-time and exhausted, even with the best will in the world.  Watching the sugar and fat intake.  Trying to keep up with the FIVE a day, or is it SEVEN a day now?  I’m struggling to remember it changes so often.  So when I hear these things on the news I find myself scrutinising what we’ve eaten this week.  I find myself feeling guilty for that packet of sweets Ethan had after school yesterday.  It’s ridiculous!  I bet those who don’t care, still don’t care and those, like me, who try hard will try even harder. 

The way I see it we’ll be back on WWII rations within ten years.  That won’t be a bad thing either, we’re nearly there already, they’re just using TAX to ration us instead of Ration Books.  We were never as healthy as a nation than during the second world war.  Admittedly things were different then [no imported foods and a very scary German man] but ultimately we’re going to end up with a similar scenario by way of a world food shortage if we don’t eat less, waste less and generally take some level of responsiblity for our space here on this Earth.

It is our job as parents to educate our children to eat healthily and sensibly.  Not to scare the pants off them about fats, salt, sugar, cigarettes and alcohol.  We need ALL our food groups in order to be healthy.  Your body would make it’s own cholesterol if you didn’t eat any, interesting huh?  Your body will also make sugar out of the carbohydrates you eat, TAX THAT Mr Health Group.  It’s about all things in moderation.  It’s about avoiding huge amounts of processed foods but the occasional Mac D’s to celebrate an achievement or child’s birthday should not become a huge guilt trip.

The tricky part is who is going to educate the parents whose parents did not or could not educate them?  Who is going to share the right information with the young mother/father who was raised in care without a parent to love and guide?   Schools now focus some of the curriculum on nutrition and exercise which is great but ultimately this has to be lived out at home to create a long-term habit.  I don’t know the answers but then that’s why I’m not Prime Minister [and we’re all grateful for that 😉 ].  However, I still think that a general common sense approach would work best.  Once the majority are on board and it becomes ‘cool’ to drink water not coke, ‘cool’ to bake like your Nan did and ‘cool’ to eat fresh produce then maybe the rest will follow.

Finally, going back to what I said about cooking from scratch being more of a challenge when I’m working full-time.  I wonder if this is a contributing factor as well?  The pressure to be all things to all people is huge for working women.  Work all day, spend ‘quality’ time with the children [homework, play, cuddles, bedtime], produce a healthy meal, keep uptodate with the domestics AND stay sane?  It’s a big ask and I can quite understand why you’d shove a pasty in the oven and break open a tin of [salt and sugar laden] beans when you’re on your knees with exhaustion on a Thursday night.   Make the cost of living cheaper Mr Prime Minister, and maybe more women would be able to afford to stay at home and produce this amazing diet the government and other well intentioned ‘health’ groups are telling us we should be eating.  Miracles take just that bit longer I’m afraid and we’re doing our best, we really are but quite obviously it’s still not good enough. 

Found these rules from the war years and they’re actually still applicable today. . . if we all lived by these we’d not go far wrong.

1940's rules

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Today has been one of my baking days.  I woke up with that urge to create good, wholesome food and use up some leftovers and bits that have been lurking in the freezer and fridge for a while.  So we have a fish pie; using a tin of pink salmon, some smoked haddock that had been in the freezer for a few months and some potatoes [for the topping] that had got tired of waiting and started growing to amuse themselves. 

Fish pie. . .

Fish pie. . .

We also have a fruit pie and fruit crumble.  I like crumble, but Si likes pie hence the pudding ensemble.  They are both filled with plum and apple, the plums were the last of a batch I bought at the back end of last year.  If I remember rightly they were incredibly good value in Tesco if you bought large boxes, so I did, then stewed and froze them.  The cooking apples were uber cheap in Aldi last week so I couldn’t resist a fruity pudding opportunity.  I’ve already used a couple of them in some Apple and Cinammon muffins I made last week so they really are the gift that keeps on giving.

Plum and apple pie

Plum and apple pie

Plum and apple crumble

Plum and apple crumble

I hope you’re all having a very blessed and peace-filled holy week in this lead up to Easter Sunday.  For me it’s a time of reconcilliation to my faith and a drawing closer to God.  May you all experience renewal during this most important and exciting week in the Christian calendar.

Pax

Sharon xx

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SuccessAs the sudden influx of posts is testimony I am off work today because my son is a bit poorly.  I have to admit that once the guilt at not being at work subsides [why do we feel guilty about having to be off work even if it’s totally justifiable??] I really relish and enjoy an expected day at home.  I often spend a lot of time wondering how to spend these gifted hours, and usually resort to housework [yawn] but today has been different.  My house is actually pretty clean and tidy due to it only being Tuesday, [we spend most of Sunday trying to achieve domestic perfection :/ in the cleaning department] so instead I’ve opted to cook, and boy have I cooked!! 

With one small boy ensconced on the sofa, loaded up with pain relief, a blanket, the TV remote and some juice I headed for the kitchen.  So far we have; a chicken roasted and resting in the fridge, an apricot and raisin flapjack cut and stored away for snack-times, a loaf of my Artisan bread proving in the microwave [safest place with five cats always on the prowl for an unexpected snack], a Victoria sponge baking in the oven as I type and last, but not in any way least, there’s quite a substantial amount of vegetable soup in tubs in the freezer.  Impressed??  Or just peeved and daunted by so much domestic activity 😆 ?   I often read about such heights of domestic perfection on other blogs and just feel totally exasperated at that Domestic Goddess having so much motivation and spare time to achieve the impossible.  However, today I am that ‘Goddess’.  It probably won’t happen again any time soon [well, not until we break-up for Easter anyway] but it feels very good just now. 

I often wonder if it’s healthy to look at what others achieve and feel jealous, daunted or just plain fed-up?  For me it usually highlights my own perceived inadequacies, and instead of making me want to do more, I often just feel like giving up in the face of such unattainable domestic ‘perfection’.  I purposely use the term ‘domestic’ because I never feel this way about any other type of success in those around me, i.e. work achievements or academic qualifications.  Everything else just passes me by and I celebrate with that person and feel only joy for them with no desire to replicate that for myself. 

I suppose that really we [I] should be inspired by other people’s success’, whilst always maintaining a sense of self.  Keeping a realistic outlook that should remind us that no two people are alike, we all have different calls on our time and lives, different skills and talents.  God makes us all different for a very good reason.  We’re all called to enjoy and succeed at different things or we’d have gaps in our society that no one would ever fill.   So next time someone shares their, ‘I’ve had a successful day,’ post just read, be inspired if it applies to your life-style, be glad for them and move on!!  As the image at the top suggests, it’s not a reflection on you.  Cake anyone?  😉

 

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Dawn

Dawn in Milton Keynes

“Waking-up cocooned in my soft, clean bed.  Dozing in the silence, suspended in the half-light.  Aware of the warmth of my gorgeous man beside me.  Feeling safe, familiar, comforted, warm.  Considering grabbing a jumper and going down to make a cuppa….decide on staying put…just another five minutes.  The joy of actually having a choice, the blessing of half-term.”

Just in that first five minutes of my day there are many blessings to be found.  Even in that short time I experience [and often take for granted] things that others can only dream of and hope for.  I am safe, warm, comfy.  I have my health and my mobility.  I am not alone or lonely.  I can go and make a hot drink or some breakfast as I have running water, electricity and a fridge full of food.  So many choices, myriad options.  Rich indeed!

Alternatively, how many people wake-up lying on the floor in an over-crowded slum with numerous family members squashed in beside them, all wearing the same clothes they wore yesterday.  An absence of running water and electricity means no hot drink without lighting a fire [if you have the means] and walking half a mile to the river to bring back a bucket of dirty, disease infested water.  No food at all and no chance of any until the only working adult receives their meagre weekly wage tomorrow.  Or maybe the money should be spent on medicine for Grandma who has been coughing for over a month and is now desperately ill.  Food for all or medicine for one?  Tough choices.  Impossible choices.

Are there any similarities between these two extremes?  Can love be found in both?  Love for family, for each other?  Love of God?  Is God even in both scenarios?  I wonder if He might be more evident in the hearts of the poor than in my own?  When you have nothing God might be all you have.  If the choice is to go without food in order to buy medicine for someone else then surely God is in that selfless decision?  Everyday I experience luxury and riches, I have more than I need and very few opportunities to share it as most of the people I know also have more than they need.  I give my time, my love, my energy but I’m not sure this is enough.

This post was inspired by The Examen and the question ‘Do we actually realise the life we live while we’re living it?’ [The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, p102].  When you practice the Examen and review your day with gratitude you realise how truly ‘rich’ you are.  What would my Examen look like if I lived in the overcrowded room?  I think about this often, but do I think about it enough?

Slums in Mumbai, India

Slums in Mumbai, India [click for larger image]

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Reuben at the cat show looking every inch a winner…

It’s been such a long time since I posted here but that’s a good sign as I’ve just been so busy for all the right reasons.  Things have moved on somewhat since my last posting.  We really are ‘living the dream’ and life is just fantastic.  The new shed is up thanks to Si who, despite being a shed virgin, did a wonderful job [see photo’ below].  We’ve just had the kitchen, dining-room, hall and down stairs toilet floors tiled, a late but very welcome housewarming present from my mum [again photo’ below].  Yesterday we harvested and ate the first produce from our garden which was lovely.   We have carrots, potatoes, beetroot, salad leaves, cucumbers, onions, garlic, blackberries all coming along very nicely.  We are still skint but more than breaking even each month without having to struggle or worry, we have no debt and for that I’m thankful on a daily basis.

I’m cooking everything from scratch most days.  Take-outs are a thing of the past which has not been that much of a sacrifice if I’m honest.  We do still go to a local carvery for a roast lunch some Saturdays but at just under £4 each we’re not going to break the bank with that.  We are masters of a cheap quality meal out when we fancy a treat.  My food bill is always well under budget and I’m turning into a right ol’ super scrimper 😆 .

I’m enjoying weekday Mass immensely and Sunday Mass is far more doable now I’m not spending all weekend cleaning the house and preparing for work on Monday.  Mass aside my faith still needs some attention for the day-to-day stuff as it seems to have taken a back seat to all the frugality.  Suddenly however I’m aware of a hiatus in the hustle and bustle.  A lull in this process of change as really the change is ‘done’ and here I am able to breath a sigh and know that we’re out the other side with everything intact.  Time now to thank God, to move closer to Him once again and to embrace this wonderful opportunity of ‘time’ and ‘head space’ that I’ve been given.

We’re in the middle of trying to move Ethan to a different school, we’ve chosen a local catholic school.  It’s a slow old process and one which has caused us alot of angst and heartache but we feel that this is right and off the record I’ve heard that he has a place but I won’t believe it until the official letter drops on the doormat as sometimes these things go awry so we’re not counting our chickens until it’s properly official…..

Last month I entered my Devon Rex kitten Reuben into a cat show and he actually won [see opening photo’] so I was very proud of him and will be showing him again at the end of the summer when he’s an adult….Go Reuben, Go Reuben!!!!

Now for some photographs…

New shed!!

New shed = safe bikes…!!!

New tiles in dining room….

New floor tiles, we used the same ones right through.

Oh and finally I’m crocheting like a woman possessed…quilting has taken second place for a while.  I’ve crocheted since I was about ten and every now and then I take it up again and at the moment I’m enjoying making some throws.  Below are some samples of the blocks I’m making for the throw I’m working on at the moment…

Crocheted blocks.

Pax et bonum.

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