Sunday, 27 January 2019

Weekend ramblings.

Fun photo of items featuring in my blog

Hello there, thank you for dropping by and for the lovely comments last time on QT's birthday. He's doing well though a bit fussy with his food, as usual.
The above photograph of yarn for crocheting, cooking, reading, cats and a tea set was me playing around with items represented in my blog. The teaset and scales are suitable in size and scale for a dolls house.

Blanket update

The Knit & Natter Challenge for Jan/Feb is to crochet or knit a blanket. It doesn't have to be the crochet attic 24 cal, it could be anything you like eg lap blanket, for the bed, for pets or like myself a gift. My woodland blanket attic 24, is growing steadily albeit slowly, I'm up with more of the blue shades now. I will post a photo next time.



Start With Your Sock Drawer by Vicky Silverthorn (youtube) her book is so good, one of those that makes so much sense. Not at all bossy, preachy or extreme. It's in chapters but with lots of sections making it easy to read, pick up and put down. There are no instructions or challenges, instead you gently read about how she's helped clients tackle clutter making it easy for you to join in slowly.
This was a birthday present last summer and I intend to continue reading through and applying her guidance throughout the year. Though she recommends starting with your sock drawer, you can start with any small area, about 20 mins max. The idea is to be consistent daily and not for long sessions never to be returned to again.
I started with the bathroom cupboard, then moved back to the books. I'm determined to reduce them further, it's far better that others get to enjoy them rather than them sitting collecting dust.


Live Green by Jen Chillingswith a library book, I will probably purchase this at some stage. It's a fantastic little book (6"x5" in size) with lots of advice about leading a more sustainable life. From making your own cleaners, to green home and garden and having a simple Christmas. The book is laid out with 52 steps but these are not at all shouty - no numbered or underlined instructions, just bold headings over a double page. A very informative book with lots of ideas to simply live green.

                                                        Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

Two books to read for the book club - Are You Afraid of the Dark by Sidney Sheldon and Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton.


I've been sorting some books that teen 1 cleared from his room. He's had a little a lot of help with book decluttering from E his lovely girlfriend. He's spoilt already it seems! The library have agreed to take the 'perfect condition' ones, including my set of classic books. I was going to donate the whole lot to the charity shop but with the library, the whole community benefits - 'if' anybody wants to read them! (I didn't!) I mean I did want to read them when I purchased them over 25 years ago, but... Such crazy fortnightly purchasing in the distant days of no kids and more money. Oh well, lesson learnt, don't buy unnecessary stuff!

My Weekly Plan - Menu

Mon - Leftover roast beef or sausage & mash
Tues - Slow cook chicken casserole
Wed - Slow cook Spag Bol
Thur - Fish Pie
Fri -    Jacket potato or Fish & chips
Sat -   Slow cook lamb shoulder & chips
Sun -  Roast lamb dinner

Jobs following The Organised Mum Method (30 mins each day)

Mon - Lounge & dining room
Tues - Bedroom & bathrooms
Wed - Entrance, stairs, landing
Thur - Kitchen, pantry, utility
Fri    - Focus Friday - Master bedroom
Sat   - Help clean teen's rooms (15 mins each).

I've tweaked the original list to match my family requirements. The idea is to have weekends free of housework but this seems to work best for me and the teens.
Anyway, we'll see how it goes. The idea is to only spend 30 mins a day cleaning plus 15 mins max doing basic level 1 jobs which are - clean something in a bathroom, 1 laundry load, make beds & hoover high traffic areas.
Most weeks I miss at least 2 days of job's off, especially at the moment whilst sorting diet issues. Without feeling sorry for myself, some days I'm just floored and do nothing more than the very basics and read or crochet.

Take care of you & yours, have a good week.
Cathy x

Sunday, 20 January 2019

QT's Birthday 18 years

Hello there, how are you? Thank you for your comments last time.
This week was QT's birthday, I'll let him tell you about his wander round the garden, which I think he enjoyed, despite his grumblings.

I'm 18 years old which is rather old in cat years, geriatric they say. Personally I think that's rather rude! I've ruled this family very well since I was 14.5 years old, it only took me 2 weeks to get them into shape. I think I'm doing ok but my people do insist on stuffing me in my a cage and dragging me off to see 'the lady to make me better' far too often! I'm mean, how's a cat to sleep when people push me in the carrier, tip me on a table, then poke me about, clip my nails and have my blood pressure checked - I hate my feet being touched too! It's the worst thing ever. Biscuit lady hates feet too but that doesn't stop her stroking my feet. Unfortunately us Maine Coons have fur between our toes and she loves it.
Anyway where were we, I'm fine, not at all fussy despite their complaints. I'm cleanish and run this household on a very strict timescale. I sometimes stay asleep and have a late dinner but if I do pop downstairs early, I get quite cross having to wait for my food, it's so tiresome to be kept waiting!

Today, I was bundled out the door for a quick photo shoot. Shocking, it's my lunch time really but I was sent out and pestered for my good side. It's a bright sunny cold Sunday 'lunchtime' don't forget. Still, I'm here for you dear reader, strutting my stuff in the wintery sunshine, at lunchtime!

Bird table 'cat tv'

Glossy coat and bushy tail

Chomping on grass

Oh aren't I shiny, biscuit lady always says my fur is like a mint humbug, whatever that is. I wish she used words I understand like lunchtime and biscuits. Still I do have beautiful stripes, she's right about that. I think I'm pretty awesome too!

I'm starting to fade away with hunger pains, it looks like we're going back in now for food, at last!

Whilst my people are preparing my lunch, I found these photos, not yet uploaded on the blog. Don't know why, I love them - oh look it's me!

Superb whiskas and ear furnishings. Well I had a fabulous birthday, plenty of peace and quiet, just how I like it. I can still run up the stairs and jump on chairs, of course I can - I just don't want to.

I've had my lunch now and have just time to fit in an afternoon snooze before dinner time. I think she got my good side zzzzz
QT x

Menus with the slow cooker

These photos are from September 2018, I'd meant to put them on last year. Being on a Low Fodmap diet, I've found replacements for onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery and stock containing onion etc. The purpose of the chart (below) is not because I'm ocd, it's just easier and simpler when I was making up 5 bags of food complete and ready to freeze - defrost - and then slow cook. I don't need to keep referring to recipe books. You can buy freeze to slow cook bags which saves on the washing up but as many are cutting down single use plastic, I question the sense on that one.

Casseroles ready for the freezer
Defrosting overnight

I really need to get back to this time saving habit, it's so nice arriving home without needing to cook. QT was pleased to have us running round after him and feeding him first too.
I hope you've enjoyed your visit to my blog today, I'm off to crochet more of my blanket and prepare for the book club.
Bye from QT and me

Sunday, 13 January 2019

New Year - Hope it's a good one!

Hello there, Happy new year to you for 2019.

Grab yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable. So sorry it's been a long while since my last visit. How have you been, do leave a comment below to let me know?
I lost my way a bit regards regular blogging, editing and faffing about with photos.
Thank you to everyone who left lovely comments on my blog last time, it really is very kind of you. I love to read your comments and I've tried to keep up with visiting your blogs too. Today, I just wanted to drop by and say hello and chat about what I've been thinking about since last time. Sorry there's not any QT photos this time, I'll try and include some next time.

New Year Thoughts
For now I'm aiming to try and blog once a week and see how that goes. In the future I may do some more 'Weekend Stitches' (crochet), maybe a 'plan for the week' & even some cooking. For now, I'm aiming small with weekly commitments, that sounds manageable for now.

I'd 'still' like to be more present eg less social media and more actual making or reading time. Which I know sounds crazy as I take up my keyboard again but...
Also I'd like to finish more projects that I've started and knit more socks. I'd love to knit a pair a month which at the moment is too big a challenge but if I knit 2 pairs, that's double last years effort! I'll finish the my blanket and then set a goal for sock knitting, I think that'll be best.

At the moment I'm busy crocheting attic 24 Woodland Ripple blanket. It's a gift so unfortunately I won't get to keep it after all my hard work. I'm not particularly keen on the colour orange, so I can live with that. I am glad it'll be permanently here as a record in photos. I decided not to do the new CAL (crochet-a-long) which is attic 24 beautiful Sweet Pea blanket.  As usual Lucy has designed a crochet blanket for the new year, this time with a beautiful colour scheme using sweet pea colours. I'd originally planned to do her coastal blanket and have the colours ready, but... I need to finish the woodland one first. It does produce happy memories of your own walk in the woods. For me that would be in The New Forest, Queen Elizabeth Country Park both in Hampshire. Sherwood Forest Nottingham and The Lake District.

Christmas books

I've just finished Let Me Go by Helga Schneider, wow what a book. The story is not the usual account about Jews, instead it focuses on a daughter visit to her Mother a former SS officer. At only 150 pages, it's an intense quick read, both emotionally disturbing and haunting to boot.
At the moment I'm reading Christmas at Thrush Green, I've read it before and it's an enjoyable read though not officially a Miss Read book, as her editor Jenny Dereham wrote it with guidance. If you like tame & cozy village life tales maybe you'd enjoy this. Sometimes it's just nice to read a gentle comfortable book.

Last year I was using my slow cooker more than I had previously. I came up with a few recipes that could be bagged up ready to store either in the fridge for a few days, or freeze & cook later straight in the pot. Somebody mentioned cooking mince (5% fat) straight in the slow cooker without the need to brown the mince first. What a game changer that is, if prepared in advance it can all be placed in a bag with the other ingredients until needed to. I'll try and get some together to show you soon.
Over Christmas, mince pies, peanut butter pies (swap mincemeat for peanut butter - teen 1 favourite) and sausage rolls. No Christmas cake or pudding this time. I've also cooked a few soups, flapjack and shortbread.

I've been following Team Tomm - The Organised Mum Method - mainly through instagram but also her facebook page. Both have links to her blogs which provide the print outs, recipes and interesting information. I quit the facebook support group as it was more social media - that for me was unnecessary. I'd given up with Flylady but felt I needed to have some cleaning routine going on, as the major clean ups before guests are too chaotic. How I long for a Mrs. Bird ref  Paddington Bear of the Brown family. She cooks, cleans and launders, she sounds wonderful. Anyway that's not likely to happen, so armed with a routine it's getting easier each week.

Eco thoughts
Sandwiched between cleaning and decluttering is another blog that I just want to share with you. Wendy Graham at Moral Fibre is on both instagram and a website blog, she is an author of a book with homemade cleaning recipes, called Fresh Clean Home. The information is all on her blog. I've not tried making any cleaning recipes yet, she uses essential oils to help with fragrance and cleaning.
Nb - please be careful with any essential oils that you use around the home, as these can be dangerous to pets. Cats in particular can't cope with many essential oils and scent in general.

Who isn't? Very much the 'in thing' at the moment. I'm following Small Sustainable Steps which is gaining in popularity on instagram. Amanda provides you with plenty of ideas and sets regular challenges to help you declutter your home if this interests you.

A friend of mine said my blog helped her to 'smell the roses' which I thought was a lovely thing to say. Google explained this - 'To become calm and reflect upon the finer or more enjoyable aspects of life, especially when one has become overworked or overly stressed'.
So with this in mind I want my blog to continue with appreciating the good things in my life, not particularly in consumerism but in family life, the home and simple beauty.

As many are now back at work and in education, I wanted to wish you all the best. May you learn more, work hard and enjoy life!
Thank you for dropping by, please leave a comment and I'll try and answer any questions.
Cathy x

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