Search this website

A simpler life

Monday, February 15th, 2016

I set off this year to live a simpler life. Nothing earth-shaking, but little changes for the better.  Less materialism, using up what I have, seeing friends more and taking time to do the things I love. I really want to use up what I have – fabric, yarn, food, clothes – rather than buying yet more stuff that just accumulates and doesn’t get used up.

Six weeks in and actually I’m starting to see the difference. No online shopping late at night, slowing down and taking time to stop and enjoy the little things in life. Making time to spend with friends and and family. Reading books, knitting, watching movies, taking relaxing baths and being self-indulgent…..

Of course at the back of it all is working less at the day job and cutting down on stress. This actually seems to be working out pretty well and if I’m honest, I don’t think one single person  except me has noticed. Even though I have clocked up less overtime, things have still got done.

I’m taking time in the mornings to make myself a green smoothie before work and looking that my nutrition is as good as it can be. Thankfully the result is that he dragging tiredness from before Christmas seems to be lifting. I still feel tired at the weekends sometimes, but when that’s the case, I am indulging in delicious afternoon naps. Yes, I lose a few hours, but I’m learning to listen to what my body is telling me and it feels good. I even sometimes make it to bed a little earlier and I let myself take one train later in the morning, so things are just a little less rushed.

Of course it helps that I only have one child still at home (and what he wants more than anything is for his mother to neglect him!) and I have failed big time on my goals of losing weight and getting fit again….but somehow It feel good that at least some areas of my life are going in the right direction.

I’m sure the others will follow. Once the snow goes and the spring comes to the hill I will actually want to get out into the woods and have a little run . Right now, despite the fact I have lovely friends to run with, the weather is so cold and it is so dark in the mornings, there is just no way it is going to happen. The decision is between having the discipline to do what is good for me and being kind to myself. Right now kindness is winning.

And you know what? That’s ok.




Sunday, January 17th, 2016

I have done something (a little bit) radical. After 35 years as a blonde of various hues I have stopped dying my hair. Or rather (to get to the nub of the issue) I have stopped spending inordinate amounts of time at the hairdressers every six weeks; I have stopped worrying about how much my roots are showing or how I can deal with the sometime straw-like nature of my hair.

The exhilarating feeling of freedom is just wonderful!

It has all been a bit of an adventure, albeit a little one.

You see, I actually had no idea what colour my hair really was. I knew there was some grey, but how much, who knew?

The revelation is that my hair is MUCH darker than it was all those years ago, when it was somewhere among the masses of dirty blondes. Now it is dark without being brown. There is grey. More round the ears than on the top, but a bit glittery and if I say so myself, quite a nice soft grey. I actually rather like it.

It has opened up a whole new palette of colours to me – blacks, red lipstick, reds and oranges. Colours I never actually felt all that happy in before. Now I catch a glance in the mirror and think, who is that devastating woman? (OK, so that bit was a joke…but it did take a little time to get used to the new look me!)

It’s sooooo exciting.

There have of course been comments. Fashion designer daughter said I should immediately go back to being blonde; after a business lunch with my foreign exchange dealer (who was in a bad mood with me because I wouldn’t buy anything she was trying to sell me), she looked at me and said in a caustic voice ‘you’re looking rather grey Helen, time for the hairdresser’ (How rude was that?!!). But on the whole people have been positive. Soft grey probably suits my complexion and personality more than the blond look ever did. An elderly gentleman at church today told me I still looked like a teenager (but I guess all things are relative!)

I have invested in a rather natty short and gamin hairstyle and I have come to the conclusion that if the haircut is good then grey most certainly does not mean old lady.

In my book it means being happy with who I am and where I am in life. It means accepting that I am getting a little older and positively embracing it – together with the feeling of not needing to pretend to anybody or anything that I am something I am not. It says ‘this is me, unashamedly, this is who I am and I am ok with it’.

It is good.


PS. I’m not actually sure my dear husband has even noticed……

Christmas is over

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

DH and I have been quietly pottering along taking down the Christmas decorations this morning and dismantling the tree. The purist in me wanted to leave everything up until 12th Night, but the realist won the argument, as once we are back at work tomorrow we will have less time and will be dragging the tree up the garden in the dark. Not to mention that my angel cleaning lady comes on Wednesday and it would be much easier for her to hoover round with all the clutter out of the way.

It’s always a bit of a sad job. Another Christmas over. Maybe the last one where my mother will be able to travel over to see us. But on the other hand, it was, on the whole, successful and a job well done. The stress beforehand was worth it …..(I think….probably….)

The wonderful thing about having put everything away and tidied up is the sense of space and freshness that goes with it. I will try to buy myself a bunch of tulips this week to brighten things up and give us a sign of spring – but as winter hasn’t even got going this year yet, real spring seems a long way away and it’s certainly still very dark in the morning when we get up.

I’ve avoided calling mum this weekend. She doesn’t remember if I’ve called or not and conversation seems limited these days to the weather she can see out of her window. She won’t have done the things she was supposed to have done as regards giving me information to finalise all the house sale details and I know my blood pressure will only go shooting up again, which I can live without. (I am however immensely thankful that I moved her into her wonderful retirement living complex last May. That was my project for 2015. She didn’t want to go – but is very contented there now – and I see how much harder it would have been if I had left it another year. I’m glad I trusted my instincts on that one!)

There is more than enough stress anyway today in trying to get DD2 out of bed to work on a university application personal statement that should (I now discover) have been given to her school on 7th December…..She flies back to England tomorrow, so it has to be done today. Co-operation is zero and it is anything but ready to go.

I’m really feeling the sandwich generation problems. Add the menopause and stress at work and I get a rather black vision of what 2016 may hold…..

Onwards and upwards then ladies. I suspect many of you out there may be faced with similar issues. Really not a bundle of laughs…



Another Year

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

Happy new year everyone….

I hope to be here more often in 2016. I’m trying to slow things down. Taking time to do more of the little things. Yoga, meditation, sewing, walking, knitting, reading. Living a quiet life. Less work, less stress, less internet. More travelling and more smelling the roses.

I hope you will come with me.

I’m starting out by having a bit of a tidy up. I’m a bit ashamed about the amount of stuff. Lovely stuff mind you, but too much. Time to stop buying more and use up what I have. I’ve spend a morning dreaming of lovely projects tidying up my fabric and yarn. It feels good, even if I will need to live to be 200 to use it all up.

2016 may turn out to be a year of change. A job move is possibly on the cards as my commute will become unmanageable in the spring. Scary but exciting too. It feels like a new stage of life might be starting. I’m going to be travelling a lot too – being forced to take back holiday means that I’m finally going to visit places that I’ve dreamed of going my whole life.

I’m hoping that there will be a little quiet on the ageing parent front. Mum seems very happy in her retirement living complex, but her visit over Christmas, together with the frustration of finalising the sale of my childhood home, have shown just how bad her dementia has become. I struggle hugely with the patience needed to deal with this, mainly because she won’t or can’t work with me and I’m trying to do everything long distance. I hope that now that most of the legal stuff has been taken care of, we can have a little respite and I will not be continually driven to the edge.

The children seem to be making their way in the world. I’m learning to go with the flow on that front too – and trust that pass or fail they will find the way that is right for them. It’s all about letting go so that they can spread their wings and fly.

Me too. I need to fly, but not far, just a little……

I wish you much joy in the year ahead and the strength to deal with what life inevitably throws at you…




Back on track

Friday, October 30th, 2015

Gosh I’ve been away from here for ages – two months – I hadn’t realised it had been so long.

Life has been busy – when isn’t it? Nothing drastic or particularly new, same old same old, teenagers, elderly mother, work, trying and failing to get fitter, do more sport, achieve elusive balance in my life. I am making time for me though. Whenever I can.

After a particularly stressful, and frankly very annoying, week at work I decided that today was for me. I ran in the morning with the running ladies. It wasn’t great. Too fat, unfit and full of beta blockers for that, but at least I went. I tried. It can only get better! Since then I’ve been reading and rag-rugging.

Rag RugIMG_6010jpeg

There is something incredibly satisfying and relaxing about making a rag rug. I’m sure it has to do with my never-ending urge to simplify and use up everything I have. I really love the rugs I make. I couldn’t buy something similar and they are just so incredibly practical. This one is heading from the space on the wooden floor where I get out of bed….

The fabric situation is rather out of control again and a rag rug is a perfect destash method. 15 yards of ugly fabric that would otherwise never be used. I still can’t see the slightest difference in the fabric cupboard. That’s always the way, isn’t it? Once I’m done I should probably have a little bit of a sort out and tidy up and see if someone the piles of fabric that are sitting around my sewing room might just fit in.

Which would be really very satisfying.

I will try not to leave it so long the next time. I have some things I really want to show you. I’ve been busy!

Have a nice weekend,