June: A sunset, some sparkle, and living alongside wildlife

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June – midsummer – a beautiful time of year, and this year we took more time to enjoy it by having some long weekends, or sitting in the garden after work (sometimes with a gin and tonic each.)

10 June - sparkly sandals

Sparkly sandals are a simple pleasure of summer. £15 well spent last year! This month was the first month since 2013 when we didn’t record all our expenditure. It felt like a big change for us to stop doing it but now we are settled and coming up for 2 years on our one-income budget, there really isn’t any need to do it.

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This day-flying moth was a new sighting for us. It’s called a Mother Shipton, named after the prophetess whose face the wings resemble.

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We also have a new house-mate! This is our porch, where a leafcutter bee has made a nest. We’ve seen it carrying in the pieces of leaf, and packing them in tightly.

17 June - Sheringham sunset

Another first for us was the experience of seeing the sun set into the ocean. On a very hot afternoon we headed to the coast expecting a cool evening sea breeze. It wasn’t much cooler there, but we enjoyed ice creams, fish and chips, and a walk along the shore before the sun turned deeper orange, then red, and then appeared to be swallowed by the sea!

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We collected some jam jars and added to our wall of candles. The Mexican fleabane was only sowed into the wall 1 year ago, and now looks like it was always there.

 

 

JUNE BOOKSHELF:
Kevin Maher – The Fields
David Whitehouse – Mobile Library

JUNE PLAYLIST:
Goldfrapp – Annabel
case/lang/veirs – Greens of June
Perfume Genius – Otherside
Ludovico Eindaudi – I Giorni
James – Nothing But Love
Radiohead at Glastonbury
Grizzly Bear – Mourning Sound
Years & Years – Shine – This month Lucy finished listening to all the music we own, A-Z, and de-cluttering unwanted tracks. This was the final artist of the alphabet. The whole process took 3 years!

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Living Simply: October 2016

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Red and gold leaves, sunrises and sunsets and Strictly Come Dancing – there are many reasons to love the autumn and especially October! We’ve enjoyed it so much this year, and had a relatively simple month although there were some big purchases.

Our washing machine broke after 13 years of service, which is hugely impressive, so we didn’t mind at all spending a day in the city looking for a new one to arrive later this week. Lucy is on a week’s holiday from work and we made a special day out of it with a café breakfast and lunch, and another unexpected purchase shown below.

Here’s our October spending summary:
– An expensive food/drink month, average £16.13 per day but the treats were worth it
– Set of USB charging bicycle lights: no more batteries!
– Bus fares, one fill of petrol
– Green paint for our windows
– A washing machine
– A Christmas decoration
– Shoelaces
– Haircare, soaps
– A pair of Doc Martens!

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These were an unplanned buy, made after walking into the city to choose the washing machine and noticing that one of Lucy’s winter boots was slouching uncomfortably to one side. After a discussion about the fact most women’s shoes are badly designed for cold seasons (hard to wear with socks), we ended up in the Doc Martens shop investing in these. They weren’t cheap, but should last for years.

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The sky puts on a display on the way to work

October is a spectacular month full of free natural wonders. After the summer’s long days, to see sunrises and sunsets again as part of the office-hours day is a privilege. This month has been particularly stunning, with lots of rainbows and even seeing the full moon set one early morning. There is so much going on out there: every day something special.

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Early morning moonset

 

Lucy’s Book & Music Club

OCTOBER SOUNDTRACK:
Anohni – Drone Bomb Me
INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
Christine & The Queens – Safe & Holy
Tame Impala – The Less I Know The Better
Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Crystallise

BOOKS READ:
Anne Tyler – If Morning Ever Comes
Anne Tyler – Back When We Were Grownups

 

October 2015 Review: Simpler, slower living

Saluting an amazing sunset

Saluting an amazing sunset

October is over and having just looked back at our photos to select a few for this monthly review post, we’re amazed at how long the month seemed – in a good way! Time usually flies by so fast, but it’s slowed down noticeably since Brian left work at the start of the month.

Financial review
Here’s how we did for October:

  • BILLS ETC: We had higher costs this month as we are switching to some pay-ahead utilities e.g. phone and broadband. But in the long run, it will be a big saving! Also, we didn’t use very much electricity this month at all.
  • FOOD AND DRINK: Our average daily spend was £12.71. More than last month, but we did have a staycation during the month, and bought all the ingredients for Christmas cake baking along with other stock-ups.
  • PETROL: Only one fill for the month – this is beyond what we expected! We will probably travel around more in the summer months.
  • BUSES: Park and Ride to the cinema to see James Bond (the film was free –  we’ve had a gift card since Christmas to spend!)
  • LUXURIES: £3 on printing CD covers for our seasonal mix CD
  • HOME AND GARDEN: A box of assorted washers, and a fern
  • DOMESTIC: A lunchbox and an umbrella
  • DENTAL: Payment for one procedure
  • HEALTH: A more expensive month than usual, but only slightly over budget
  • TOILETRIES: Haircare and moisturiser
  • CLOTHING: Lucy has been buying a cardigan for work each month – last one next month!
  • GIFTS: A few Christmas spends

It’s been a really encouraging month – no real temptations for spending, as we are enjoying setting ourselves frugal challenges, celebrating no spend days, and doing no-spend hobbies – such as wood carving, see below for the spiral carved stick which Brian recently made!

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At home, Brian has been working on big jobs such as removing floor tiles, tree pruning, and working out a variety of fantastic healthy dinners, along with all the other everyday jobs like bringing in firewood and coal, shopping, cleaning, and laundry. It’s so nice to be able to air the house and keep things fresh, such as our owl cushions which are seen here enjoying a bit of time outdoors during a cleaning session:

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One way in which we have savoured some of our extra time is in reading many of the other fantastic simple living blogs out there, and watching inspiring videos, so that we feel really connected to a wider world of people trying to achieve a more mindful and sustainable life. We’re always so grateful for everything we find which helps motivate us and gives us the chance to share in other people’s experience and wisdom.

Happy November!

A Weekend With a Bit of Everything

This was our first weekend after Brian left work! We had no plans and just wanted to enjoy this moment after waiting and planning for it. The weekend then just naturally filled up with all the right things.

Lucy went to the library in the sunshine on Saturday morning and got a book about the weather and three novels (including her first ever Poirot!) After making brownies she then had a bit of time to read in the garden while they cooled.

A reading space

A reading space

As we sat down to eat the brownies we discovered the first Christmas film of the year on TV and enjoyed some early festive feelings and excitement. When Christmas is separated from consumerism and shopping, it doesn’t feel too early to start looking forward to it in mid-Autumn and watching a nice cheery family film felt just right for this Saturday afternoon!

The wintery scenes inspired Lucy to start again on two unfinished knitting projects. These should be finished by the end of the month:

Current knitting projects

Current knitting projects

On the left is a pair of fingerless gloves, and on the right a sparkly scarf. The knitting continued through Strictly Come Dancing, and then started up again today after our big breakfast this morning as the sun streamed in through the windows.

This afternoon we had a long walk through the fields and lanes, with lots of gulls flying overhead, ending in a beautiful sunset. We returned home hungry, happy and tired, especially Brian who had already had one long walk today…after waking up at 3.45am too excited about the changes in our lives to carry on sleeping!

Sunset in the fields

Sunset in the fields

We’ve both had colds this week and felt under the weather at times this weekend, but brownies, books, knitting, a Christmas movie, Saturday night family TV, a big breakfast and a big sunset together make a very good medicine!