Simple Living Review: March 2016

 

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Taking time to appreciate the simple things

March: always the month for us which rushes past the fastest, and this can sometimes mean spending very little (too busy to go shopping) or sometimes spending a lot (too busy to be frugal!). It has been an expensive month this time, but we saved about £25 so we’re still in credit.

We spent an average of £15 per day on food and drink, even higher than last month, however that has to be balanced against the volume of practical jobs that got done as a priority over cooking from scratch. If we had paid someone else to do things for us instead, it would come to a lot more than what we overspent on food and drink!

Our other main purchases were:
– Minor bicycle repair
– Two fills of petrol (unusual!)
– Library borrowing of DVD (Wild)
– Ikea reading lamp
– LED lightbulbs and outdoor light
– Two Lilac bushes
– Sunblock
– Jeans and t-shirts (Brian’s first clothes shopping for almost a year)
– Silver necklace chain to replace one which broke in 2014
– Gifts

March projects and progress

03 01 Stool holes

Warning! Varnished stool slots

From cutting slots into our kitchen stools (above) on 1st March to reducing the height of the Christmas tree on 31st March (below), Brian has had quite a relentless month of practical work of all kinds. The serious tree work was the biggest challenge, and he had help from his friend Andy on a couple of days which made a big difference. Dealing with the trees (and some hedges) has created numerous piles of plant material in all sizes from thick trunks to tiny sticks, which will now keep him busy sorting and storing them for use on our fires next winter.

Here is a before and after of the Christmas tree:

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It may look horrendous now, but this will grow again and is already being visited by the same birds as before, including blue tits in a nest box. The important thing is that it is now manageable for the future.

This month’s books and music

Music
Song of the month:
Manic Street Preachers – Postcards From a Young Man
Owen Pallett – The Secret Seven
Martha Wainwright – These Flowers
Meilyr Jones – Love
The Smiths – The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
Gossip – Heavy Cross
Years & Years – King

Books (I only finish books I enjoy, so all my listings are recommendations):
Book of the month:
Elizabeth Gilbert – Big Magic
Matthew Quick – Silver Linings Playbook
David Nicholls – Us
Carson McCullers – The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (re-read)
John Boyne – The Absolutist
Natalie Goldberg – The True Secret of Writing

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