Spring and new routines

Spring is a season that brings with it hope, new life, renewed energy and lots of colour and there's no mistaking the Spring cleaning that many people get the urge for at this time of year. It sort of makes sense doesn't it?  There's been elements of Spring cleaning here - and more to come, no doubt - but I'm not the expert cleaner in this household, so I often contain myself with a bit of Spring rearranging. And there's a fair bit of that going on right now. 

Our eat the freezer challenge

We've currently got two fridge-freezers. When I say currently it was supposed to be a temporary thing, as the fridge-freezer I brought from my old house surely wouldn't last very long. For many years it was on our top floor and we used it for the cats' food, as they ate in their room and it saved having their "stinky" food (as MOH rightly called it) in the main fridge. It was also good for for cans of drink and as an overflow fridge space, and we've just got used to having it.

Well, that fridge-freezer is still going strong. We've lived here fifteen years this year! It's now in the conservatory, and well, it's not the look we're after, so we're restarting our eat the freezer challenge to get down to just one, because that's more normal right? 

Already I've rearranged some of the contents between the two as it makes sense to find space for the things we use regularly - such as bread rolls and bagels mainly - in the fridge-freezer in the kitchen. Now we're aiming for as many meals as possible to involve something from the freezer. I'm sure at some point it won't work, or we'll end up with some very odd combinations.

I'm also trying to use less of the fridge space and that's meant sorting through many of the opened bottles that were on the top shelf. It was amazing what I found, but probably best not to go there!

Getting my spray paint out

The lighter evenings are also a good incentive to get crafting again, especially for those crafts, like paint spraying, that need to be done outside. During the winter months I find that hard as I only have the weekends to complete that in, so if I've plans for the weekend that knocks that out too. I've a project in mind for the garden involving a pallet, some spray paint and Sugru, the mouldable glue, and now all I need to do is work out what colour using the new PintyPlus paint chart.

This is only one of the pages of the paint chart, and I'll freely admit I was way more excited than I should have been when I received this. I've loved using the chalk paint spray, but I'm really looking forward to using some of the bolder colours.  Definitely a case of watch this space!

A refreshing and decadent feeling cuppa

Another of my new routines takes place when I remember to leave work on time and arrive home before MOH on bright and warm days. It feels super decadent to get out my posh tea and my new Charles Viancin Tea Magnet and Infuser Set, to give it its proper name. I was sent this to review a while back and it's only now that I'm using it regularly. For me there's something about the brighter Spring days and proper tea and the ritual of brewing loose leaf tea.

charles viancin silicone camellia magnetic tea infuser

The tea goes into the metal drum, and when your tea has brewed enough you use the magnetic camellia stem to remove the drum and place it onto the camellia leaf, to avoid mess. It's dishwasher safe and the accompanying information says they'll never tarnish or lose their colour.

I'm a big fan of silicone in the kitchen and you'll most likely remember the daisy lids, the poppy trivet and the cute vegetable bottle stoppers from the same company. This works equally as well and while I like using it home for my early evening treat, I can see it being equally useful at work and am quite tempted to have one on my desk too.  I think drinking loose leaf tea, whether it's white, black or floral gives me the feeling of being more healthy than I actually am, which brings me onto...

Time to get into shape?

Over the winter months it's much easier to disguise an extra pound or two, but I know that deep down I'd like to tone up a bit. That'll partly come down to eating more healthily, and getting out on the bike again, but I think there probably needs to be more than that and a sustained effort. I'm toying with the idea of daily routine of press-ups and sit-ups and now I've typed it here maybe it'll happen. It probably should, but as you can see I'm still talking myself into it. I know that I'll want to see instant results, but I also know that it's going to take more than a day or two of healthy eating and a fitness routine.  

I've started with the willpower thing during Lent, by giving up cakes from the cafe at work. That may not sound much, but the cakes are huge (and lovely) and very tempting. It's a start, but it won't be enough on its own, so I need to convince myself - and to actually do something about it - while there's time to actually make a difference.  

I know it makes sense, I'm just still getting my head around it. How do you convince yourself a new routine is a good thing, let me know your tips, I think I could do with the extra motivation!

And pottering in the greenhouse

I've not done much pottering yet, but I'm hoping too. I need to get some seeds sown both for the allotment and some flowers for the garden too. We're having a bit of a do in the garden in June and of course I want the garden (and the house) to look its best. No doubt it won't be long before the greenhouse is full of seedlings and I'll be running out of space, but what a problem to have!

What's on your list of Spring jobs?



* This is a collaborative post but all views are my own.


Recovering from no wifi, and a week of no* blog posts!

It feels a bit odd to be back home and not to have written a blog post until now. I expected to be chomping at the bit to get blogging again, and in a way I am, but it's more of knowing where to start after a busy week in Dorset. But first, how did I cope without wifi? 

Honestly, in the end it wasn't so bad. But initially - and I'm not afraid to admit it - there was panic. Partly because in my head I had plans to catch up with myself, read lots more blogs and spend some time maybe even writing those blog posts I keep promising myself that I will. With no blog posts written for the week, I know it was optimistic, but hey, I'm an optimist. 

So discovering there was no wifi was a bit of a blow!

I knew it meant my plans to become uber-organised were unlikely to materialise and that didn't sound that great. Plus it's unlike me to go a week without posting and I hadn't prepared myself mentally for that. If I know I'm away I usually schedule at least some posts in advance, but not this time, there'd just been too much going beforehand.

I mean, who'd book a cottage without wifi?

Yes, indeed. Well, erm, me... 

Somehow I'd overlooked the lack of wifi. Clearly I'd been seduced by the loveliness of the cottage.


But at least I had no one else to blame, which was probably a good thing.  So do you want to see the cottage, or actually the converted barn?

blue skies and the Old Barn near Swanage
The entrance hall and stairs
The Old Barn near Swanage in Dorset
Somewhere to hang our coats

The stone exterior looked smart and the use of wood inside gave a nice homely feel. When we arrived the heating was on full blast, and was quickly turned down to more liveable levels. Rooms were allocated, things were unpacked, space was made in the large kitchen for the provisions we'd brought, and a bar area was quickly set up in the dining space.

Well, it would have been rude not to.

the living room of the old barn near swanage
A close-up of the open fireplace
A country kitchen in the old barn near swanage
the well equipped and large kitchen

The boys were soon making themselves very comfortable on the sofa in time for the last six nations game, and I'm not sure if they were impressed more by the lazy boy than the rugby. Actually I know they were, I'm not sure who I'm kidding!  MOH thinks he's having an inbuilt area in our next sofa for his beer glass and snacks, because it's such a great idea, isn't it?  Erm, no dear.

It was good to see the barn's transformation in photos, and no doubt it was quite an undertaking. 

following the progress of the Old Barn's history

Wood featured heavily in the bedroom furniture too, with similar pieces in each of the three bedrooms. 

The bed post
country curtains
The galleried landing
In the wardrobe
Just one of the chunky chest of drawers
An extra bed and a chair

The dining room was a double height galleried space, with roof lights flooding light into the space below. Our bedroom had a velux window which was a great way to check the weather for the day ahead, without having to move a muscle. 

sky lights shedding light into the dining area and the galleried landing
A velux window giving a glimpse of the blue skies

And over the road, we could see breakfast too!  I think those chickens must have been working overtime for their new neighbours - you can't beat a good egg for breakfast, can you?

Fresh eggs

Hatching a plan

By the end of the weekend I'd hatched a plan to explain my unexpected absence and you know what, it wasn't so bad! I didn't get the reading I'd hoped to done, or the blog posts written either and well, it wasn't the end of the world. It's not how I've been used to spending my evenings either, and I did make use of the time to edit many, many photos that somehow had escaped me, and now I've plenty more posts to actually get on and write. 

Nor was I totally cut off from the online world, I chose to post regularly on Facebook and Instagram, and saw my engagement on those channels increase, and I did make full use of my mobile data and any free wifi service I discovered when out and about. It was a great week away, and not only do I still have that reading and blog posts to do, I've a stack more photos to edit from our Dorset adventures too. 

And next time I book a cottage, I'll be sure to know in advance if there's wifi or not. And to plan accordingly!



* Well, when I say no blog posts, I mean hardly any!

Oops, no wifi....

Somehow I've booked a cottage without wifi, luckily it's a beautiful cottage and I can only imagine I was seduced by its charm and overlooked my usual check for connectivity.  Or when I booked I was enthused about not having wifi, who knows.

The result is that it'll be quieter here than usual for the next few days, but not so Instagram and Facebook, so join me over there to follow my Dorset adventures.

PoCoLo-ers: I expect to work something out for Friday, so please pop back then.  I'd hoped to catch up on my reading this week, but that's unlikely to happen now.  I will though make it over to your blogs as soon as I can.