January 2016 Simple Living Review

January sunrise

We’re saying goodbye to January today, a month that hardly anyone looks forward to but which has actually been quite magical this year. Starting and ending the day with starry skies on cloudless days, beautiful sunrises when the sky is cloudy, and every day a bit more light and a few more signs of spring. Everything is waking up.

We have some very flirty birds in our garden now and today we spent an hour doing the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. The highlight was two tiny goldcrests with the brightest fiery orange crests we’ve ever seen, busily catching insects on the Norway Spruce.

This month has also been very motivating, and this has come from a diverse range of sources: reflecting on David Bowie, getting angry about events in the news, being moved by incredible music and writing, and seeing some of the ideas we care about becoming more mainstream (such as the new series of Tiny House Nation starting, and finding out about another tiny house series starting soon). The best thing we saw this month was Satish Kumar’s Earth Pilgrim documentary set on Dartmoor. Whenever we feel like we’re just a drop in the ocean, we look around us and realise we’re actually part of a tide!

Financial review

We’re been good savers this month, with 15% of our income left over. There were more No Spend Days than ever before. Here’s where the spend money went (other than the usual bills etc)

Food and drink: We averaged £11.75 per day. Our original £10 a day goal looks like it was quite unrealistic, but we’ll keep it for now as it is still motivating us!
Transport: Parking at the seaside, one fill of petrol, Park & Ride top-up
Luxuries: MP3 downloads, and a plain notebook to cover with fabric for Lucy’s next project
Home and Garden: We bought a handheld blender for making soups, £20
Health & wellbeing: Dental check-up, soap, shampoo and special offer sunblock (thinking ahead!)
Clothing & accessories: Lucy has to confess now to an impulse buy, a set of 3 sparkly stud earrings from a supermarket of all places. It was an unplanned purchase but they were really, really sparkly and it was only just after Christmas! (A £5 moment of weakness).

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Green tea break

 

As we get more used to our new balance of roles, some of the ways we spend our time are changing. Lucy is doing more reading and more yoga and is nurturing the thought of trying some creative writing and/or playing her guitar again. She has also developed a love of decaffeinated jasmine green tea!

Brian is managing his time more in tune with what he needs physically, to minimise pain and the risk of injury with his back, neck, wrists and knees. We’re almost ready to research and shop for new kitchen flooring as almost all the horrible sticky floor tiles have been removed. Once all the day’s work is done, evenings are often spent working gently on one of his home-made walking sticks. More about those soon!

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Words and music (Lucy’s nerd corner):

This month’s favourite songs:

David Bowie – Lazarus
Low – Point of Disgust
Love – the whole of the Forever Changes album
Billie Holiday – This is Heaven to Me
Antony & The Johnsons – Bird Gerhl and the cover version by The Unthanks

This month’s reading:

Colm Toibin – Nora Webster
John Boyne – A History of Loneliness
James Kelman – How Late It Was, How Late

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